FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Syrian Horror

by SAUL LANDAU

President Obama has fueled Syria’s civil war flames and lied to Congress about his “modest” role in that conflict. Between 2002 and 2007, I visited Syria four times. I drove through the fertile valleys that parallel the Mediterranean coast, and to the Golan Heights’ barbed-wired border with Israel.

Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Christians and even Jews reassured me: Assad’s government encouraged free religion but had not practiced democratic politics. During the Arab Spring his failure to reform got his government into trouble. Instead of dialoguing with Syrian protestors, he tried to cover the holes of his authoritarian government’s façade. Then Saudi Arabia and Qatar, not models of democracy, supplied money and arms, and foreign troops into Syria to intensify the conflict. Washington and Western Europe, with their oily regional partners, began fueling a war that has taken 70,000 Syrian lives, and left one million plus refugees.

Obama assured Congress that Washington only supplied minimal non-lethal aid to the “Free Syrian Army,” while simultaneously ordering the CIA to supervise large weapons shipments to the rebels, including some who were sworn enemies of the West with extremist Islamic perspectives. Photos and horror stories show ruins where homes and public buildings once stood, dramatize famine where restaurants and markets once offered abundant food. Why has Obama directed this death march in which Washington “helps” rebels allied to right wing Islam? These are sectors that, should they prevail in the war, could and would turn these weapons against the very governments that supply them.

The New York Times revealed Obama’s lies about the U.S. role in this war, and, about Washington’s level of participation. U.S. efforts have far exceeded what the President has admitted. The CIA has funneled and distributed large weapons shipments to the rebels – more than 3,500 tons worth to date – from Jordan and Turkey, while Obama claimed it as “non-lethal” military aid. (C. J.Chivers and Eic Schmitt, NY Times March 24, 2013)

“The C.I.A. role in facilitating the [weapons] shipments… gave the United States a degree of influence over the process [of weapon distribution]…American officials have confirmed that senior White House officials were regularly briefed on the [weapons] shipments.”

Obama supervised arms supplies to the Al Nusra Front, the Syrian rebels’ most effective fighting force, with links to Islamic terrorist groups.

Witnesses in northwest Syria testify that some rebels have used those weapons to  slaughter Alawite and Christian villages.

Obama’s opposition to peace talks with the Assad government, from which he demands surrender, raises a question. Why demand as a  “precondition” for negotiations the ouster of Syria’s government?

Over the last decade, Assad’s government delivered to Washington intelligence warnings about planned terrorist attacks aimed at U.S. targets. These tips, confirmed by then U.S. Ambassador Theodore Kattouf to former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, a Democrat from South Dakota, and myself (2003), helped save U.S. lives and property. A former Syrian ambassador to Washington complained of the U.S.’ lack of positive response to them, as in “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Obama chose his own candidate to represent the “National Coalition of Syrian Revolution” by naming as Syria’s non-elected prime minister, Ghassan Hitto, a Syrian American and a U.S. citizen, who lived most of his previous 30 years in the U.S.

Moaz al-Khatib, previous National Coalition of Syrian Revolution head, had resigned to protest Obama’s opposition to peace negotiations with Assad. So, “Obama made a U.S. citizen the opposition group’s Prime Minister and instructed him not to talk with the Assad government as if ignoring the millions who remain in Syria and have become witnesses to their country’s destruction because outsiders have banned negotiations that might settle the conflict.”

Obama also pressured the Arab League, mostly undemocratic governments loyal to Washington, to authorize the non-elected National Coalition of Syrian Revolution as Syria’s government. The rebels’ seat in the Arab league implies that the U.S. wants “regime change,” no matter how many people die, or the acrimonious odor of existing political alternatives.

Russia called the Arab League’s decision “… an open encouragement of the \[rebel] forces which, unfortunately, continue to bet on a military solution in Syria, not looking at multiplying day by day the pain and suffering of the Syrians…” Moscow wants a political settlement, not destructive military scenarios.

Obama’s increased weapons trafficking. “…Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed Syria’s Foreign Minister’s offer of peace talks and instead began a nine-nation tour of European and Arab capitals to help organize support for the Syrian rebels.” Obama cannot dictate the outcome of Syria’s war because he doesn’t have popular support to send in U.S. forces. He will, however, decide when peace talks can begin and under what conditions.

After two years, Assad’s Air Force still attacks rebel posts. Assad obviously retains significant support inside the country, which mainstream media ignores.

Obama feigned outraged when the media reported chemical weapons use in Syria. Did he forget the tons of Agent Orange U.S. planes dropped on Vietnam, when he warned Assad against even thinking of using chemical weapons? Syria had actually accused the rebels of using the chemicals, which Washington dismissed without investigating. Syrian rebels, however, admitted they had used chemical weapons to kill 16 Syrian government soldiers and 10 civilians. The rebels then claimed the government had accidentally bombed themselves with those chemicals. Obama has not responded to claims of rebel atrocities against the Syrian population.

Why should Washington get so invested in the Syrian war? To weaken Iran, Syria’s ally, and strengthen NATO’s sordid Middle East partners?

In his quest to overthrow the Assad government, Obama has focused exclusively on the strategy “to weaken Iran’s strategic position, and incite a movement to spark the Islamic Republic’s overthrow.”

Saul Landau produced “Syria: Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” (2004) on DVD from roundworldproductions.com.

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

More articles by:
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
Howard Lisnoff
The Elephant in the Living Room
Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece
John Laforge
Wild Turkey with H-Bombs: Failed Coup Raise Calls for Denuclearization
Dave Lindorff
Moving Beyond the Sanders Campaign
Jill Richardson
There’s No Such Thing as a “Free Market”
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey
Winslow Myers
Beyond Drift
Edward Martin - Mateo Pimentel
Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?
Jan Oberg
The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World
Johnny Gaunt
Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake
Mark Weisbrot
Attacking Trump for the Few Sensible Things He Says is Both Bad Politics and Bad Strategy
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Think Three’s a Crowd? Try 2,000
Corrine Fletcher
White Silence is Violence: How to be a White Accomplice
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail