Debating Syria

When is a debate not one? When New York Times editors sponsor them. They’ve had them before. They’ve got a new one on Syria.

Debates should give all sides equal time and space to air views. Times editors changed the rules. They made their own. They exclude anti-establishment viewpoints.

Opinions contradicting state and corporate policy are prohibited. Vital truths are suppressed. So is free and open dialogue.

Dissent is marginalized. Groupthink is sought. Readers get biased views only. Managed new misinformation is longstanding Times policy.

In August 2012, Times editors presented three similar views on how to end the Syrian war. They were uncompromising. They supported Washington’s imperial agenda.

Here we go again. On December 21, Times editors asked: “For Peace in Syria, Will Assad Have to Stay?”

Five so-called debaters presented views. None represented what readers most need to know.

Ryan Crocker is a former US ambassador. His postings included Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He’s a longstanding imperial agent. He supports the worst of US policies. He headlined “Assad Is the Least Worst Option,” saying:

“We assumed (he was) ripe for toppling…” Ruling Alawites know they “either hang together (or) separately.”

“There was never a question that the security forces would turn against the regime and thereby sign their own death warrants.”

“Assad isn’t going. Most likely, he will get the country back, inch by bloody inch. Perhaps (radicalized elements) will hold a few” northern enclaves.

“(D)o we really want (a) major (Arab) country” run by Islamic extremists?

Crocker understands what he didn’t say. Washington deplores peace and stability. It thrives on violence. It stokes it. Doing so furthers its imperial agenda.

It loves radicalized allies. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and other Gulf states are prime examples.

It deplores independent governments. It wants reliable vassals it controls. It wants access to their resources.

It wants unchallenged global dominance. It pursues it by co-opting or ravaging one country after another. No-holds-barred tactics are used.

War is a common strategy of choice. Crocker omitted explaining what readers most need to know.

Ambassadors are paid to lie. Their job is supporting their governments right or wrong.

The New America Foundation is an establishment organization. Bilderberg Group/CIA-connected Google CEO Eric Schmidt chairs its board of directors.

Right-wing ideologue Anne-Marie Slaughter is president and CEO. Randa Slim is an adjunct research fellow. She’s a former Rockefeller Brothers Fund senior program advisor.

She headlined “Regional Powers Will Tire of Assad and Conflict,” saying:

“The Assad family’s regime is finished. (T)he status quo ante can no longer be restored.” Syria is predominantly Sunni. “Assad can no longer be their president. He has become their children’s assassin.”

“Going forward, a war of attrition is the most likely scenario.” Opposing sides focus “on outright victory.”

“Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Iran will be consequential to ending the civil war…”

Slim is a so-called Middle East analyst. Her analysis suggests otherwise. She’s more propagandist than expert.

There’s nothing civil about war in Syria. US-supported death squad invaders are involved.

Syria is Obama’s war. He began it. He can end it. He can do it by denying insurgents weapons, funding, training and other support.

He can apply pressure on anti-Assad nations. He can end conflict by leaving radicalized elements on their own with no outside help.

They’ll largely dissipate without it. They’ll no longer be an effective fighting force. It won’t happen quickly overnight. It’ll take months, perhaps longer.

Conditions will slowly improve. In a year or so perhaps stability can largely be restored.

Over two-thirds of Syrians support Assad. A small minority oppose him. The longer conflict persists, the greater his popularity.

It makes sense. Syrians deplore war. They want it ended. Millions of internal and external refugees want to go home.

The vast majority of Syrians want peace and stability restored. Assad is their last line of defense. He stands between them and radicalized killers. Without him, no one is safe.

If a free, fair and open election was held today, he’d win convincingly. He’d prevail overwhelmingly.

No one can defeat him fair and square. Years earlier, things were different. Not now. Obama’s war boosted his popularity. As long as conflict persists, it won’t likely diminish.

Professor Joshua Landis heads the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies. He headlined “A Cease-Fire Is the Best Hope,” saying:

“If the United States and the West are unwilling to depose Assad or destroy the Syrian army, they must come to terms with (his) survival.”

He’ll likely “remain the ruler of a large part of Syria for years to come. The United States has no good choices for a solution in Syria.”

It’ll “have to climb down from its position that Assad must go. The Iranians and Russians will have to give up their hope that Assad will destroy the rebel forces arrayed against him and reconquer Syria.”

“The Saudis, Turks and Gulf Arabs will have to accept that they cannot destroy the Assad regime and achieve a total Sunni win.”

Landis recommends cutting off arms and military support to all sides. Maybe he wants Assad left defenseless.

“Only (denying all sides) will stop the destruction of Syria, outflow of refugees and endless human suffering,” said Landis.

“Syria will likely remain a patchwork of autonomous zones for some time.”

Recognizing Syrian sovereignty is fundamental. So is respecting international law. Landis mentioned neither.

No nation may interfere in the internal affairs of others. No reason besides self-defense justifies doing so.

Rebuilding, not destroying, Syria should be prioritized. Radicalized elements will lose control virtually everywhere if funding, weapons, munitions and other support are ended.

Who gives America, key NATO allies, and regional ones the right to decide who’ll govern Syria or any other nation?

Landis didn’t explain. Nor that Syria is Obama’s war. Waging it is part of Washington’s longstanding Greater Middle East agenda. Imperial conquest and dominance reflects it. Hegemons operate this way.

Hassan Hassan is an Abu-Dhabi, UAE, journalist. He writes for The National. It’s a government owned English language broadsheet. It publishes state-sponsored propaganda.

The United Arab Emirates strongly opposes Assad. It wants a radicalized regime like its own replacing it.

It provides weapons and other aid to Syrian insurgents. It does so with full US support. Hassan headlined “Fighting Will Not Stop While Assad Remains.”

He calls “a future for Syria with Assad…more of a slogan than a thought-out solution. Beyond the moral considerations, there are practical reasons that Assad cannot hold on to power.”

“Without his removal one cannot imagine an end to the violence in Syria.”

Hassan ludicrously believes if Assad goes, radicalized elements “will agree to work with the regime’s institutions if new leadership offers assurances that they will not be hunted down, and provides a viable, credible road map for a government transition.”

Washington ousted Afghanistan’s Taliban government. CIA/Union Oil-connected Hamid Karzai replaced him. War without end rages.

Saddam was deposed. Pro-Western puppet governance took his place. Iraq is a cauldron of violence. A state of war effectively persists. Daily mass killing reflects it.

It does so in post-Gaddafi’s Libya. Violence, instability, and human misery followed his ouster. Anarchical charnel house conditions exist.

Hassan claims fighting won’t end until Assad goes. His departure makes continuing it ferociously more possible.

Rime Allaf is a Chatham House associate fellow. It’s a London-based UK Foreign Office/pro-corporate think tank.

She headlined “War’s Victims Want No One With Blood on Their Hands,” saying:

Assad “continues to savagely repress both peaceful and armed opponents, hoping to terrorize them all back into submission.”

“(M)ost Syrians are fleeing into neighboring countries in increasing numbers mainly because of the regime’s massive military and air campaign.”

“Yet, ridiculous claims that things will get worse if Assad goes continue to circulate…”

“(T)he Geneva charade can’t resume without decisions to make a serious change.”

Allaf is a shameless imperial tool. Her views are polar opposite truth. Like Hassan, she ludicrously claims ending violence depends on ousting Assad. Restoring stability depends on him.

Most Syrians support him. They rely on him. Liberation depends on his defeating radicalized elements.

Obama bears full responsibility for Syria’s conflict. US backed Islamofascists reign death and destruction.

They target ordinary Syrians. Millions fled to escape them. Internally displaced people need Assad’s protection. Allaf turned truth on its head.

Times editors and management are longstanding imperial allies. They one-sidedly support wealth, power and privilege. They want Assad ousted. They want pro-Western governance replacing him.

They largely exclude anti-establishment views. Truth isn’t their long suit. Orwell called it “a revolutionary act” in times of “universal deceit.”

Establishment gatekeepers exclude what readers and viewers most need to know. Managed news misinformation, entertainment, and junk food news substitute.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

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