Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
HOW MODERN MONEY WORKS — Economist Alan Nasser presents a slashing indictment of the vicious nature of finance capitalism; The Bio-Social Facts of American Capitalism: David Price excavates the racist anthropology of Earnest Hooten and his government allies; Is Zero-Tolerance Policing Worth More Chokehold Deaths? Martha Rosenberg and Robert Wilbur assay the deadly legacy of the Broken Windows theory of criminology; Gaming the White Man’s Money: Louis Proyect offers a short history of tribal casinos; Death by Incarceration: Troy Thomas reports from inside prison on the cruelty of life without parole sentences. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on how the murder of Michael Brown got lost in the media coverage; JoAnn Wypijewski on class warfare from Martinsburg to Ferguson; Mike Whitney on the coming stock market crash; Chris Floyd on DC’s Insane Clown Posse; Lee Ballinger on the warped nostalgia for the Alamo; and Nathaniel St. Clair on “Boyhood.”
Only a Truce in Syria Can Stop ISIS

The Absurdity of US Policy in Syria

by PATRICK COCKBURN

If the United States and its allies want to combat the Islamic State jihadists (IS, formerly known as Isis) successfully, they should arrange a ceasefire between the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-IS Syrian opposition. Neither the Syrian army nor the “moderate” Syrian rebels are strong enough to stop IS if they are fighting on two fronts at the same time, going by the outcome of recent battles. A truce between the two main enemies of IS in Syria would be just that, and would not be part of a broader political solution to the Syrian crisis which is not feasible at this stage because mutual hatred is too great. A ceasefire may be possible now, when it was not in the past, because all parties and their foreign backers – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran – are frightened of the explosive advance of the Islamic State. US Secretary of State John Kerry told the US Security Council on Friday that there is room for everybody “including Iran” in an anti-IS coalition.

President Obama was much criticised for admitting that he had no strategy to cope with IS and, despite his address to the nation on 10 September, he still does not have one. Assuming he is not going to send a large US land army to the region, he lacks a credible and effective local partner in either Syria or Iraq with the necessary military force to take advantage of air strikes, even if they are intensified in Iraq and extended to Syria.

Mr Obama won the assent of the House of Representatives last week to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria who are supposedly going to fight both Assad and IS. This is essentially a PR operation, since IS forces 30 miles from Aleppo are poised to move against the last rebel strongholds, while the Syrian army is close to regaining control of the city itself.

Likewise in Iraq, air strikes can only do so much. The government in Baghdad and the Iraqi army are still Shia-dominated and, however much the Sunni in Iraq dislike IS, they are even more frightened of its opponents. The US will try to split Sunni tribes and neighbourhoods away from the fundamentalists as it did in 2007, but there were then 150,000 US troops in the country and al-Qa’ida in Iraq was much weaker than IS. At the same time, it will find it difficult to advance further because, aside from
JihadisReturn_WebAd_2014_08_20_Counterpunch_Square_300x300Baghdad, it has already seized the areas where live the 20 per cent of Iraqis who are Sunni Arab. In Syria at least 60 per cent of the population are...

CounterPunch’s Top Stories
MIKE WHITNEY
“We are currently witnessing an epic and historic event. The Ukrainian regular army and the punitive battalions are...
ARUN GUPTA
I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000...
GARRY LEECH
Without question, the beheading of US journalist James Foley was an inexcusable and savage act of violence by...
JOHN PILGER
“There is a taboo,” said the visionary Edward Said, “on telling the truth about Palestine and the great...
VLADISLAV GULEVICH
The US State Department has given its support to the military operation undertaken by Kiev in Donbass. Jen...
MIKE WHITNEY
“In the implementing of their policies, our western partners– the United States first and foremost – prefer to...
NAFEEZ AHMED
Part 1 – OUR TERRORISTS “This is an organisation that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually...
SARA ROY
Mr. Wiesel, I read your statement about Palestinians, which appeared in The New York Times on August 4th. I...
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR AND ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Cockburn calls one morning back in 2005. “Jeffrey, don’t you think Frankie could play Behemoth in the movie?” Frankie was...
Visit our archives for even more interesting articles from past CounterPunch authors.