Obama Prioritizes Weakening Russia, Over Weakening ISIS

Eric Zuesse

Michael Snyder noted at Global Research on March 1st, that the U.S. is now air-dropping weapons into ISIS territory inside Syria. The U.S. is arming ISIS against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whom Obama wants to remove. Snyder asks rhetorically: “We have the most sophisticated military on the entire planet and yet we drop weapons into the hands of the enemy by mistake? Come on.” Can it be that the U.S. Air Force doesn’t have maps showing the half of Syria that’s controlled by ISIS? Of course not. ISIS’s chunk of the country constitutes almost the entire northeastern half of Syria.

Snyder further notes: “When it comes to airstrikes [against ISIS], the Obama administration has had an ‘Iraq first’ policy. This has put ISIS on a defensive posture in Iraq, but this has actually encouraged expansion of ISIS in Syria. ISIS is just following the path of least resistance. Is Obama trying to discourage ISIS from committing troops and resources in Iraq because he actually wants them to focus on taking down the Assad regime in Syria?”

Well, it’s certainly working. Snyder also notes that, “ISIS has almost doubled the land it controls in Syria since the US-led coalition began airstrikes against the extremist group in the summer, a new map has revealed.” He points out the obvious conclusion: “Obama knows all of this. He just wants to take down Assad.”

He closes with the question: “So is Barack Obama actually trying to help ISIS take over Syria?” However, Snyder ignores one crucial thing: the reason why Obama is so obsessed with causing regime-change in Syria.

Bashar al-Assad is an ally of Russia, and Obama’s chief foreign-policy objective is to defeat Russia, not to defeat Islamic extremism.

Whereas President George W. Bush did nothing to defeat Islamic extremism (and he may actually be said to have created ISIS by his overthrow of Saddam Hussein and replacement of him by a Shiite, bigoted anti-Sunni, regime in Iraq), President Barack Obama started his Presidency with an authentic focus on killing Osama bin Laden, and on similarly droning-to-death most of Al Qaeda’s top leaders, as well as many Islamic extremists in Yemen and in Pakistan. So: no one can say that Obama just doesn’t care about Islamic extremism (which one could say about Bush, though perhaps Bush did care and was merely too stupid to be at all effective against it). Obama does care about suppressing Islamic extremism; but he cares more about causing regime-change in Russia. (So do Republicans, which is why Bush was even weaker against Al Qaeda than Clinton was, and far weaker than Obama has been.)

Almost all Republicans, plus the top level of the Democratic Party such as Obama, hate Russia, even after communism ended and the Soviet Union broke up. They are simply obsessed with destroying Russia. So: although Bush was weak against Al Qaeda, he was strong against Russia: he brought into NATO, the military club against Russia, the following seven nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia – six of which seven nations had formerly been members of the Warsaw Pact along with the U.S.S.R., against the U.S.

The reality is: Obama, like Republicans generally, hates Russia.

That’s what his Ukraine-policy has been about. That’s what his Syria-policy has been about. That’s what his Iran-policy is about. And that’s what his Libya policy has been about.

Syria is important in this objective he has, because Syria is the key to replacing Russia as Europe’s main source of natural gas. Syria is the sole block against a natural-gas pipeline from Qatar through Saudi Arabia then Jordan then Syria then Turkey into Europe. Building and operating such a pipeline would enable Qatar to compete against Russia as a supplier of gas to Europe – the world’s largest gas-market. (Russia, Iran, and Qatar – in that order –have the world’s largest gas-reserves. Iran, an ally of Russia, has been blocked by U.S. sanctions, so has been out of the picture for supplying that; Obama wants to replace Russia by Qatar, which sponsors the moderate-extremist Muslim Brotherhood, not only in Egypt but in Syria and elsewhere.) Furthermore, the U.S. military alliance (NATO) could then end Russia as a gas-supplier to Europe, and switch all of that business to the royal family of Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood.

The only other route that Qatar had been considering, “through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq” into Turkey, was sidelined because Iraq was considered too unstable. Now, Syria too is on fire, so plans for both pipeline routes are in abeyance.

If Assad is defeated, then the United States will be able to arrange the entire Qatar-Saudi-Jordan-Syrian portion of the non-Iraqi route all the way up to the Turkish border, and the only question then will be Turkey, which at least until recently was hoping to become a transit-nation for Qatari gas. However, on 14 January 2015 was announced, in the anti-Russian news-medium Bloomberg, “Russia to Shift Ukraine Gas Transit to Turkey as EU Cries Foul,” and Turkey, in effect, allied with Russia. The anti-Russian Bloomberg quoted EU-sources as saying that “The decision makes no economic sense.” However, even whether it does make “economic sense” or boost their wealth, is almost beside the point. International aristocrats are far more interested in power than in wealth. What difference does another billion dollars make to someone whose net worth is already ten billion? It makes a difference, but power over an adversary is what’s key to them. At this level, power is key, economics is not.

Obama had been working with Turkey and Qatar to get the Muslim Brotherhood into control of Syria; and, now, Obama is switching to support the Saudi-backed ISIS, because the Muslim Brotherhood (Syria’s Qatari and U.S.-backed ‘moderates’) have simply proven ineffective. Syria, it turns out, is not just another Egypt.

Now that Obama needs to choose between defeating ISIS, or else defeating Russia, he is clearly choosing to defeat Russia. Forced to a choice in this matter, he is finally sacrificing everything, to his war against Russia.

And that gets us to the case of Iran: If Secretary of State Kerry can swing a deal there, then perhaps a way could be found to get Iranian gas into Europe. Turning Iran against Russia would certainly be game-changing. It can’t be done in Iran by a “color revolution” coup like in Ukraine, but our State Department are trying to do it, somehow. However, America’s virtual co-President Benjamin Netanyahu, has solid Republican backing to kill any such deal. So: it’s unlikely that Iran will be able to replace the current role of Qatar (as an alternative supplier of gas to Europe). Israel supports the jihadist Sunni Muslims (including the Qataris), against the Shiites (Iran), because that keeps Israel popular in the United States, where the average person is opposed to jihadists. (And every televised jihadist beheading thus adds to Israel’s support in the U.S.)

Furthermore, the U.S. has long been allied with Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist Sunni sect, against Iran and its Shiite sect. ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist Muslims are Sunnis, not Shiites; and the Saudi sect of Sunni, the Wahhabist sect, are the most extremist of all muslims. The deal between the fundamentalist Muslim cleric Wahhab and the first King Saud, which made him the king, was reached back in 1744; and it’s the foundation of the Saudi nation even today. Osama bin Laden’s accountant or bookkeeper, who kept the detailed financial records of all of the many million-dollar-plus donations that kept Al Qaeda going and that paid its top fighters handsomely, was kept muzzled by George W. Bush and Barack Obama until just recently, but finally he was able to reveal, and under oath, the deal between Al Qaeda and the royals of all of the Arabic oil kingdoms, all of whom are Sunni. 9/11 was financed by those royals, and Al Qaeda’s bookkeeper explained how he had picked up the checks that kept them going.

Things didn’t start this way. Wahhabist jihad developed only after the CIA arranged for fanatical jihadists to pour into Afghanistan to overthrow the Soviet-backed regime there. This created what Obama now calls “extremism.” Back when it was the weapon-of-choice against the U.S.S.R., it was praised by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who now advises Obama as a friend. Brzezinski said of Al Qaeda’s forefathers — the Mujahadin:

We know of their deep belief in god — that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over there is yours, and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.

Brzezinski is a former Polish aristocrat who has hated Russia throughout his life (the child of Polish aristocrats, who hated Russia and not only communism), but who hid the hatred from birth, for as long as the Soviet Union existed and he could pretend that the only bone he had to pick with the U.S.S.R. was ideological – communism – not ethnicity, not Russians per se, not like the people who are being bombed in today’s Ukraine, people who are not communists but just Russian-speakers in the easternmost region of Ukraine, and the war against whom is financed today by U.S. and European taxpayers because Western aristocrats can arrange for their respective nation’s publics to pay for these aristocrats’ wars-of-conquest against supposedly inferior peoples. So: he has basically been, throughout his life, an undercover warrior against Russians. However, this became clear only when the U.S.S.R. dissolved and broke up and so the ideological explanation for his hostility was gone. All that was left was: against Russia.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the founder of the progressive Democratic Party, had a very different motivation for creating the U.S.-Saudi alliance. Today’s Republican and Democratic Parties are alien to FDR’s entire pprogram.

Back at the very end of World War II, Roosevelt met with the Saudi King and sealed the Saudi-U.S. alliance, in order to supply Saudi oil in return for U.S. protection of the Sauds against their own people and against any outside power. This was not originally an anti-Russian alliance at all. However, it was anti-communist, and it was even anti-imperialist because both Churchill and Stalin were imperialists, so the U.S. needed this energy-security for its own future, not as part of an alliance against any nation. Indeed, the war was now all but over, and FDR was already planning for a post-war world in which there would be no more big-power war but instead the end of all empires. The Republican Party, as the Party of Big Oil (“Drill, baby, drill!!” in 2008), was especially delighted to have this alliance. However, after Reagan, in this anti-FDR period we’re in, even the Democratic Party is now imperialist. This is the real reason why extending NATO missile-bases up to Russia’s very borders dominates U.S. foreign policy today.

Think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the way the U.S. felt in 1962 about having missiles in only one nearby country. Russia is being surrounded by them. How much longer will Russia be patient with the return of aggressive U.S. imperialism? Did Obama’s coup in Ukraine in 2014 cross the line?

Obama now is telling Russian President Vladimir Putin, with each one of those weapons-drops into ISIS territory: We’re moving forward against you, no matter what

He’s telling him: Eliminating you is more important to us than eliminating ISIS.

He’s telling him, by his actions (not merely words, which from Obama are always to the contrary): Either resign from office, or we’ll do what we need to do in order to get rid of you.

He’s betting the planet, not merely the house. That’s his message to Putin.

Meanwhile far-right ‘news’ media criticize Obama for not being sufficiently anti-Russian.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.