(To see that 3-minute video of the Syrian war, click here.)
Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
On May 19th, the Washington Post headlined “Agreement that could lead to U.S. troops in Libya could be reached ‘any day’,” and reported that Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that U.S. troops will be sent to Libya to fight against ISIS, and that, “There will be a long-term mission in Libya,” in order to deal with the mushrooming presence of ISIS fighters who have come to Libya after the secularist leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown there by U.S. bombing backed up by other NATO forces, and some Libyans on the ground. “There is interest among some NATO nations in participating in the mission, Dunford said, but the specifics of who and what would be involved remain unclear. The operation will likely focus on training and equipping militias that pledge loyalty to Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, the leader of the new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA),” which “has not yet been accepted by either existing rival government in Libya.” In other words: the U.S. and its allies had produced a failed state and a festering jihadist breeding-ground where U.S. troops now will be sent in order to re-establish the peace and prosperity that it had destoyed there. They’ll do this by participating in Libya’s civil war — trying to dictate whom Libya’s leader will be.
So, on the Libyan matter, America’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s, famous victory statement, “We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha!!” turns out to have been more the start of a U.S. defeat in an unprovoked invasion, than the start of a U.S. victory against any authentic provocation by ’the enemy’. Obama’s current plan to turn his defeat into victory there has no more reason to succeed than his predecessor, George W. Bush’s plan to do likewise in Iraq did after he had, on 1 May 2003, declared victory there, aboard the warship USS Abraham Lincoln. Then, his famous 2007 “troop surge in Iraq” utterly failed to produce peace and to end the sectarian war the U.S. and its allies had generated by their thoroughly counter-productive and shameful invasion against a nation that (like Libya) hadn’t invaded nor threatened to invade the United States — nor its allies. There, as in Syria, too, America’s aggression produced only mass death and misery — and trillions of dollars in U.S. federal debt, which hasn’t yet resulted from America’s invasions of Libya and Syria, but might. And, of corse: millions of refugees.
Two days prior, on May 17th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a joint press conference, in which the Obama Administration’s longstanding bottom-line demand, that “Assad must go” before any peace negotiations can start in Syria, was finally and totally abandoned by Kerry, when he said that “all of the parties” (including now the United States, which formerly had refused to join with Russia and Iran on this) “have agreed on a basic framework, which is a united Syria, nonsectarian, that is able to choose its future through a transitional governing body which is, in effect, the implementation of the Geneva process.” Previously, the Obama regime had demanded that Assad step down before there can be any negotiations, and U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon had repeatedly condemned that stand against democracy in Syria, by asserting that “the future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people,” and “it is up to the Syrian people who have to decide the future of President Assad.” As I previously reported, the reason why Obama had been standing firm on removal of Assad prior to any political process was that:
Even Western polling firms have been finding that Assad’s remaining as Syria’s leader is supported by 55% of Syrians, and that the U.S. is blamed by 82% of Syrians as being the source of Syria’s civil war: “82% agree ‘IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group’.” In other words: Syrians, the most secular, the most anti-theocratic, people in the entire Middle East, blame people such as John Brennan as the source of their miseries. This same poll found that “79% agree ‘Foreign fighters made war worse’.” It also found: “70% agree ‘Oppose division of country’.”
In other words: it was Obama who had been standing in the way of a democratic solution to the question of whom the leader of Syria would be — Obama knows that any democratic national election of Syria’s leader will produce the same leader that now heads Syria’s government: the only non-sectarian head-of-state still remaining anywhere in the Arab world. (Assad is a non-sectarian Shiite, and the few Syrians who want him overthrown are the most-fundamentalistic of Syria’s Sunnis.) And, as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other honest historians also have noted, the U.S. CIA has been trying ever since 1949 to overthrow Syria’s non-sectarian governments in order to become allowed by a fundamentalist-Sunni regime to build through Syria “the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria.” The ultimate intended destination of that oil and gas has been Europe, the world’s largest oil-and-gas market, so as to choke off Russia’s main export market, and transfer that business from the U.S.S.R. and now from just Russia, to the American aristocracy and its allied aristocracies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE. (Those Arabic oil royal families, especially the Sauds, are the main funders of jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, but now with the added help of their fellow fundamentalist Sunni Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, ISIS’s main funding comes from selling the stolen oil from Syria and Iraq.) As RFK Jr. described the proposed pipeline, it:
would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the U.S. Central Command’s Mid-East headquarters.
Furthermore, as Seymour Hersh and others have reported, the Obama regime has been strongly backing and arming Al Qaeda in Syria, which is called Al Nusra there, and Obama thus had long insisted that Russia not be allowed to include Al Nusra along with ISIS as being able to be bombed by Russia in Syria while the peace talks go on, but Russia refused to allow the U.S. to protect Al Nusra, as if that group were anything other than jihadist, and so the only way that Obama could allow these talks to take place was by accepting Russia’s condition, that Al Qaeda was beyond the pale, just like ISIS. Otherwise, Russia would not negotiate terms for a cessation of hostilities there.
So, when Kerry in that press conference on May 17th said, “we call on all parties to the cessation of hostilities to disassociate themselves physically and politically from Daesh and al-Nusrah,” this inclusion of Al Nusra along with “Daesh” (the Saud family’s favorite term for ISIS) constituted a major concession to Russia.
Finally, Kerry made another major concession to Russia there by saying that “we pledged our support for transforming the cessation of hostilities into a comprehensive ceasefire.” This is actually the last shoe to drop, because it means that the Obama regime is now fully committed to ending the invasion of Syria by means of a political process, instead of by means of a conquest. The U.S. aristocracy now accept that the dream of transporting the oil and gas from the Saud family’s Saudi Arabia, and from the Thani family’s Qatar, through Syria, into the EU, cannot be achieved, at least in the short term.
Only one American reporter, from the New York Times, was given the opportunity to ask a question at the end of this joint press conference, and he seemed quite hostile toward Kerry. He said: “It appears you have less leverage over President Assad now than you did when the Vienna agreement was reached at the end of October. If anything, thanks to the intervention of Mr. Lavrov’s government, Mr. Assad seems to feel now more secure than he did eight months ago.” Kerry gave a defensive, anti-Russian, answer, to satisfy the reporter. They just don’t let up, but Obama now is no longer going along with the effort; he now accepts that the Syrian people, democracy, will decide Syria’s leader.
On Tuesday May 17th The Hill bannered “Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia”, and reported that, “The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, defying vocal opposition from the White House. The upper chamber approved the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act by unanimous consent.”
As I had reported a month earlier:
Saudi Arabia, owned by the Saud family, are telling the U.S. Government, they’ll wreck the U.S. economy, if a bill in the U.S. Congress that would remove the unique and exclusive immunity the royal owners of that country enjoy in the United States, against their being prosecuted for their having financed the 9/11 attacks, passes in Congress, and becomes U.S. law.
Obama demanded that the bill to lift the immunity of the Saud family not be passed and he said he’d veto it if it comes to his desk. But, as it turns out, the Sauds might not even have the capability any longer to retaliate in the way they’re threatening to:
On May 18th, Mish Shedlock headlined “Saudi Arabia Delays Payment to Contractors, Considers IOUs: Liquidity Crunch at Best”, and he reported that, “Saudi Arabia burnt through its reserves faster than anyone thought. In signs of a huge liquidity crunch, at best, the country has delayed paying contractors and now considers paying them in IOUs and tradable bonds. In retrospect, the Saudi threat to dump US assets looks more ridiculous than ever.”
The U.S. Congress is about to call the bluff of the Saud family and of President Obama. That would throw another huge monkey-wrench into the effort to overthrow Assad, whom the Sauds hate, and whose overthrow they’ve spent huge sums to finance. From yet another standpoint, the Sauds and Obama are losing.
On May 20th, the Syrian Free Press bannered “Erdogan seems to be out of control: is Turkey on the brink of military coup? ~ Turkey shelling Nusaybin, using bulldozers inside Syrian territory”. Since Turkey is now a dictatorship, in which no independent journalists are any longer permitted and the best of them are in prison and being charged with ‘treason’, the most reliable reporting about Turkey is coming from outside. According to this Syrian report:
The situation in Turkey keeps getting worse. Private debt is out of control, the tourism sector is in free-fall and the decline in the currency has impacted every citizen’s buying power. Because of increasing pressures on the central bank and political storms, Turkey’s annual growth rate has already slowed.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be out of control. He is cracking down on opposition, imprisoning opponents and seizing media outlets. Not [only] once the Turkish leader has threatened to dissolve the constitutional court. It is taking place at the time the security problems have deteriorated amidst a wave of terrorism.
Turkish people have a very simple choice: either to replace insanity with intelligence and wisdom on the way to peace and prosperity, or continue on the present downward course under the smoldering ashes of civil war and destruction.
Without Erdogan in power for Turkey to serve as the transit route into Syria for jihadists and American weapons for those ‘rebels’ (financed largely by the Sauds and the Thanis, as well as by Turkey’s sale of Syrian oil stolen by ISIS), there’s little hope to oust Assad. Under Erdogan, Turkey has largely led the efforts to overthrow Assad.
The former CIA officer, now turncoat against the U.S. regime, Philip Giraldi, headlined in The American Conservative magazine, back on 19 December 2011, “NATO vs. Syria”, reporting that:
NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. … Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council. … CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated.
On 20 April 2013, Reuters reported that, “The EU said this week it wants to allow Syria’s opposition to sell crude in an effort to tilt the balance of power towards the rebels.” That oil is sold via Turkey (by Erdogan’s son and his friends); so, fellow NATO-member Turkey is essential to the U.S.-EU-Saud-Thani effort (and some very-inside people are already getting very rich from it).
Two days later, the AP headlined “EU lifts Syria oil embargo to bolster rebels” and reported “Being able to take advantage of the country’s oil resources will help the Syrian uprising ‘big time,’ said Osama Kadi, a senior member of the Syrian opposition.” No qualms were expressed at this being oil which was stolen from Syria, marketed by Turkey. “The sector was a pillar of Syria’s economy until the uprising, with the country producing about 380,000 barrels a day and exports — almost exclusively to Europe — bringing in more than $3 billion in 2010. Oil revenues provided around a quarter of the funds for the national budget.” The Syrian people weren’t just being slaughtered; they were being robbed, by the Western alliance. Participants in this effort included the Erdogan regime, the Obama regime, the aristocracies of the EU, Saudi Arabia (the al-Sauds), Qatar (the al-Thanis), UAE, and Kuwait (the al-Sabahs, whose daughter had lied the U.S. into the first U.S. invasion against Saddam Hussein). All of them were allies together, to overthrow Assad, an ally of Russia.
And because of Turkey’s crucial location, overthrow of the Turkish regime would end, for now, the scheme to overthrow Assad.
As RFK Jr. put the matter, in retrospect:
Thanks in large part to Allan Dulles and the CIA, whose foreign policy intrigues were often directly at odds with the stated policies of our nation, the idealistic path outlined in the Atlantic Charter was the road not taken. In 1957, my grandfather, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, sat on a secret committee charged with investigating CIA’s clandestine mischief in the Mid-East. The so called “Bruce Lovett Report,” to which he was a signatory, described CIA coup plots in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at face value, their government’s denials.
The report blamed the CIA for the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root “in the many countries in the world today.”
And perhaps it all will remain “virtually unknown to the American people.”
RFK Jr. went on:
Despite the prevailing media portrait of a moderate Arab uprising against the tyrant Assad, U.S. Intelligence planners knew from the outset that their pipeline proxies were radical jihadists who would probably carve themselves a brand new Islamic caliphate from the Sunni regions of Syria and Iraq. Two years before ISIS throat cutters stepped on the world stage, a seven-page Aug. 12, 2012 study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), obtained by the right wing group Judicial Watch, warned that thanks to the ongoing support by U.S./Sunni Coalition for radical Sunni Jihadists, “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [now ISIS], are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”
Using U.S. and Gulf State funding, these groups had turned the peaceful protests against Bashar Assad toward “a clear sectarian [Shiite vs Sunni] direction.” The paper notes that the conflict had become a sectarian civil war supported by Sunni “religious and political powers.” The report paints the Syrian conflict as a global war for control of the region’s resources with “the west, Gulf countries and Turkey supporting [Assad’s] opposition, while Russia, China and Iran support the regime.”
The most important of all parts of Obama’s foreign-policy plan was the one that enabled him to slap economic sanctions against Russia and that enables NATO to treat Russia as an ‘aggressive’ enemy: this is the matter regarding Ukraine and its former peninsula, Crimea, which Russia accepted back into the Russian Federation after Obama’s coup seizing Ukraine had terrified the Crimean people.
Certainly, Obama’s extremely bloody coup in Ukraine isn’t known to Americans: the official line, promoted both by the U.S. aristocracy’s government, and by the U.S. aristocracy’s media, is that a ‘democratic revolution’ overthrew the democratically elected President of that country, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. The official line is that this ‘revolution’ arose spontaneously after Yanukovych, on 20 November 2013, had rejected the EU’s offer for Ukraine to join the EU. Not part of the official line is that the U.S. Embassy was already starting by no later than 1 March 2013 to organize the overthrow that occurred in February 2014. Also not part of the official line is that the EU’s membership offer to Ukraine came with a $160 billion price tag, and so was entirely unaffordable. Yanukovych had no real choice but to turn it down. After all, the West needed an excuse to explain the ‘Maidan democracy demonstrations’ that provided a pretext for the overthrow. If one is starting on 1 March 2013 to organize a fascist coup that’s to occur a year later, then one won’t want to provide the victim (Yanukovych and the Ukrainian people) an offer that will be accepted by him. One will need the offer to be rejected, in order to have a ‘justification’ to overthrow the victim. One ‘justification’ was that he was corrupt, but they didn’t mention that all post-Soviet Ukrainian leaders have been corrupt. The other was that Yanukovych had turned down the proposal from ‘the democratic West.’
Ukraine is the key in Obama’s plan for four reasons: it’s the main transit-route pipelining Russia’s gas into Europe; it’s also a large country bordering Russia, and thus ideal for placement of American nuclear missiles against Russia; it has (at that time it was on a lease expiring in 2042) Russia’s premier naval base in Sebastopol Crimea, which, for the U.S. to take, would directly weaken Russia’s defenses; and, most importantly of all, the entire case for sactions against Russia, and for NATO to be massing troops and weapons on and near Russia’s borders to ‘defend’ NATO against Russia consists of Russia’s ‘aggression’ exhibited in its ‘seizing’ Crimea, and in its helping the residents in the breakaway Donbass far eastern region of Ukraine (where the residents had voted 90% for Yanukovych) to defend themselves against the repeated invasions and bombings coming from the Ukrainian government. Crimea is especially important here, because, though Russia refused to accept Donbass into the Russian Federation, Russia did accept Crimea. However, the people in Crimea had voted 75% for Yanukovych and had also wanted to become again a part of Russia, ever since the Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine. And therefore Russia — not finding acceptable Obama’s soon-to-be seizure of their naval base — supplied protection for Crimeans to be able to hold a plebiscite on 16 March 2014 in order to exercise their right of self-determination on whether to accept rule by the bloody new Ukrainian coup-regime, or to accept Russia’s offer to regain membership (and protection) in the Russian Federation. 97% chose the latter, and Western-sponsored polls in Crimea both before and after the plebiscite showed similarly astronomically high support for rejoining with Russia. But that made no difference in Western countries, because their media never reported these realities but only the official line — as Obama put it: “The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is [sic] over.” Although he was there describing actually himself, he was pretending that it described instead Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, who was merely protecting Crimeans, and, in the process, protecting all Russians (by retaining its key naval base), from an enemy (Obama) whose gift for deceiving the public might have no equal in all of human history.
And that ‘seizure of Crimea’ is actually the pretext upon the basis of which Obama’s NATO alliance is now mobilizing to invade Russia. That’s Obama’s ultimate objective; and so, perhaps he doesn’t even care that he destroyed all of Ukraine in order to win there. Moreover, on May 22nd, even Obama’s stooge ruler in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was reluctantly admitting, “there’s no getting Donbass back militarily.” Apparently, Obama has now thrown in the towel on that.
All of the examples cited here are national leaders who have been friendly to, or even allied with, Russia: Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Viktor Yanukovych — and, of course, the central target: Vladimir Putin himself — and all of these targets have been demonized in the West, regardless of whether they’re actually more evil than, say, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In the Middle East, things haven’t been going well for Obama’s plans, but, he still retains the example of Crimea as symbolizing a thus-far-successful excuse for economic sanctions against Russia, and, perhaps (and maybe by the next U.S. President), ultimately for an invasion of Russia.
So: Is Obama’s entire foreign policy going down in flames? Or will the entire world? (However, the U.S. aristocracy now think that nuclear weapons are no longer for balance-of-power “Mutually Assured Destruction” MAD, but instead for victory. According to that scenario, only ‘the enemy’ will be annihilated, not the entire world, not themselves as well, because they expect to emerge victorious.)
The NATO summit on July 8-9 this year will probably provide the best advance indication of which of those two will be the outcome from all this. To a large extent, the answer will depend upon which of those two outcomes will be preferred by Barack Obama. Much of the world has been following his lead for nearly eight years now. Perhaps he’ll reverse direction at that Summit; but, perhaps not; and, if the latter turns out to be the case, then the question will be whether or not the Western world will abandon his leadership at that time. It’s already clear that the top leadership of NATO intends to stay with the plan.
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.