Syria Endgame Approaching Fast


The tempo of events in Syria has accelerated in recent weeks. The government forces have scored significant battlefield victories over the rebels, and this has provoked a mixture of war provocations and peace offers from the U.S. and its anti-Assad allies.

With Obama’s blessing Israel fighter jets recently attacked Syria on three occasions; in one massive air strike on a military installation in Damascus 42 Syrian soldiers were killed. Shortly thereafter Obama finally agreed to a peace conference with Russia, which had been asking for such talks for months.

Obama is entering these talks from a weakened position; the Syrian government is winning the war against the U.S.-backed rebels, and success on the ground is the trump card of any peace talks. Obama and the rebels are in no position to be demanding anything in Syria at the moment.

It’s possible that Obama wants to avoid further humiliation in his Syria meddling by a last minute face-saving “peace” deal. It’s equally likely, however, that these peace talks are a clever diplomatic ruse, with war being the real intention. It’s not uncommon for peace talks to break down and be used as a justification for an intensification of war, since “peace was attempted but failed.”

And Obama has plenty of reasons to pursue more war:  he would look incredibly weak and foolish if Syria’s president were to stay in power after Obama’s administration had already announced that Assad’s regime was over and hand picked an alternative government of Syrian exiles that the U.S. — and other U.S. allies — were treating as the “legitimate government of Syria.”

Here’s how the BBC referred to Obama’s Syrian puppet government:

“… the Syrian opposition’s political leadership – which wanders around international capitals attending conferences and making grand speeches – is not leading anyone. It barely has control of the delegates in the room with it, let alone the fighters in the field.”

If an unlikely peace deal is reached, these Syrian exiles — who only a tiny minority of the rebel fighters actually listen to — will be the ones to sign off on the deal.

Many politicians in the U.S. are still clamoring for war in Syria, based on the unproven accusation that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels. In actuality, however, the UN so far has only indicated that the exact opposite is true: there is significant evidence the U.S.-backed rebels used chemical weapons against the Syrian government:

Of course this fact only made the back pages of the U.S.media, if it appeared at all. Similarly bad news about the U.S.-backed rebels committing large scale ethnic/religious cleansing and numerous human rights violations didn’t manage to make it on to the front pages either. And the numerous terrorist bombings by the U.S.-backed rebels that have indiscriminately killed civilians have likewise been largely ignored by U.S. politicians and the media.

The U.S. position is weakened further by the fact that the majority of the rebel fighters are Islamic extremists, who are fighting for jihad and sharia law, not democracy. The Guardian reported recently:

“Syria’s main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organization with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad’s [Syrian] regime.”

The New York Times adds:

“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

But even with all these barriers to the U.S. dictating its terms to the Syrian government, Obama has trump cards of his own: the U.S. and the Israeli military.

It’s possible that the Israeli airstrikes on Syria were used as a bargaining chip with the proposed peace conference in Russia. If Obama threatened to bomb Syria into the Stone Age there is plenty of evidence —Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — to back up this threat.

Following through with this kind of threat is actually considered intelligent foreign policy to many politicians in the U.S., since a country not aligned with the U.S. will have been weakened and fragmented as an opposing force, lowering the final barrier to war with Iran.

U.S. foreign policy is now completely dependent on using the threat of annihilation. As U.S. economic power has declined in relation to China and other countries, the economic carrot has been tossed aside in favor of the military stick. Plenty of U.S. foreign policy “experts” are demanding that Obama unsheathe the stick again, lest this foundation of U.S. foreign policy be proven to be just talk and no action.

This is the essence of U.S. involvement in Syria, which is risking regional war that could include Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with the potential to drag in the bigger powers connected to these nations, the U.S. and Europe on one hand and Russia and China on the other.

The fate of the already-suffering Middle East is hanging in the balance.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org)  He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?
Ben Debney
Guns, Trump and Mental Illness
Pepe Escobar
The NATO-Russia Face Off in Syria
Yoav Litvin
Israeli Occupation for Dummies
Lawrence Davidson
Deep Poverty in America: the On-Going Tradition of Not Caring
Thomas Knapp
War Party’s New Line: Vladimir Putin is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Brandon Jordan
Sowing the Seeds of War in Uruguay
Binoy Kampmark
Imperilled by Unfree Trade: the TPP on Environment and Labor
John McMurtry
The Canadian Elections: Cover-Up and Steal (Again)
Anthony Papa
Coming Home: an Open Letter to 6,000 Soon-to-be-Released Drug War Prisoners From an Ex-Con
Ramzy Baroud
Listen to Syrians: The Media Jackals and the People’s Narrative
Norman Pollack
Heart of Darkness: A Two-Way Street
Gilbert Mercier
Will Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite Militias Defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
John Stanton
Vietnam 2.0 and California Dreamin’ in Ukraine
William John Cox
The Pornography of Hatred
October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Cuba’s Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War