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Monday, December 14, 2015

Why is Salon publishing "soft" neocon guff about Syria?

Do we need articles like this in left-wing publications like Salon and Tom's Dispatch? Author Peter Van Buren is partly on the side of the angels, but only partly, and an odor of brimstone still wafts around him.

(Is that a pitchfork you're trying to hide behind your back, Peter? Step out of the shadows so I can see you better...)

Let me give you an example of what I mean. As most of you know, it is an established fact that ISIS and Nusra have received funding from the Saudis, Qatar and Turkey. Yet Pete gives us this guff:
Direct funding links are often difficult to prove, particularly if the United States chooses not to publicly prove them.
Pete does admit the following...
However, one person concerned in an off-the-record way with such Saudi funding for terror groups was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back in 2009. In a classified warning message (now posted on WikiLeaks), she suggested in blunt terms that donors in Saudi Arabia were the “most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
Pete -- I call him Pete -- also mentions that Vladimir Putin and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel have stated that the Saudis fund jihad.

But why stop there? We have so much more evidence. For example, Gunther Meyer directs Arab studies at the University of Mainz...
Meyer says he has no doubt about where ISIS gets its funding. "The most important source of ISIS financing to date has been support coming out of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates," Meyer told Deutsche Welle. The Gulf states' motivation in financing groups like ISIS was to support their fight against the regime of President Bashar al Assad in Syria, according to Meyer.
A huge number of ISIS fighters are, in fact, Saudi. The Syrian "civil war" is really a foreign invasion.

Also see here:
But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.

“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
WINEP is AIPAC. And WINEP openly supports Al Qaeda (also known as the Nusra Front). No one can say that I am relying on fringe pinko sources.

I'm relying on people like General Jonathan Shaw, Britain's former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff...
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have ignited a "time bomb" by funding the global spread of radical Islam, according to a former commander of British forces in Iraq.

General Jonathan Shaw, who retired as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in 2012, told The Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists.

The two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet.
Let's give up the pretense that the facts are murky; let's snip the maybes and perhapses out of our sentences, because we have passed the point of equivocation. Our allies in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar brought ISIS and Nusra into being. Our elected leaders could have stopped them from doing so, had they the desire.

But there's a lot more guff to be found in Peter van Buren's guff-bucket of an article. He says -- get this -- that there are no effective anti-ISIS groups in Syria...
The Obama/Clinton/Sanders/Cruz/Rubio/Pentagon/et al. solution — let someone else fight the ground war against IS — is based on what can only be called a delusion: that regional forces there believe in American goals (some variant of secular rule, disposing of evil dictators, perhaps some enduring U.S. military presence) enough to ignore their own varied, conflicting, aggrandizing, and often fluid interests. In this way, Washington continues to convince itself that local political goals are not in conflict with America’s strategic goals. This is a delusion.

In fact, Washington’s goals in this whole process are unnervingly far-fetched. Overblown fears about the supposedly dire threats of the Islamic State to “the homeland” aside, the American solution to radical Islam is an ongoing disaster. It is based on the attempted revitalization of the collapsed or collapsing nation-state system at the heart of that region. The stark reality is that no one there — not the Gulf states, not the Kurds, not the Turks, not the Sunnis, nor even the Shia — is fighting for Iraq and Syria as the U.S. remembers them.
Christ. Where to begin?

Let's start with the last line: There are people who are fighting for Syria and Iraq as they were -- if by "as they were" we mean the current national boundaries and a non-sectarian government. In fact, there are whole armies fighting for that goal. At the top of the list are a couple of guys named Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin. Putin's solution to radical Islam has been incredibly effective -- and instead of allowing Turkey to shoot down his jets, we should be rushing to his aid.

If we could simply give up the sick dream of regime change in Syria, if we worked with Putin, we could destroy ISIS and Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham (the new head of the jihadi hydra) within months.  

You want to support a secular force in Syria? Assad is secular. Christians and other religious minorities prospered under him. Assad understands the need to protect religious freedom because he is (at least nominally) an Alawite, a small sect which Sunni Muslims have persecuted.

You want democracy? Bashar Assad won an election that no-one in this country is ever allowed to talk about, even though international observers considered it clean. Moreover, he'd win a fair election held tomorrow, which is why Obama won't contemplate any scenario in which Assad is allowed to run.

Let's get real: If Assad really were an "evil dictator," why not let him take part? Obama's refusal to contemplate that scenario is inexcusable.

Bashar Assad is as westernized as one might expect. He's a doctor from Britain who did not expect to be running the country. Much of what we were told about the horrors of his regime is the kind of mendacious propaganda that invariably precedes our attempts to destabilize a nation. (Much of the so-called evidence came from a defector code-named "Caesar," who is just another Curveball.) Even if we believe the very worst that has been said of Assad -- and I do not -- he's still better than the vile thugs who run Saudi Arabia.

You aren't going to get anywhere in your understanding of Syria unless you are willing to use the dreaded C-word. The attempt to remake Syria is part of a vast neocon conspiracy. That's not a theory: It's a fact, and we all need to admit it out loud.

Neocon conspirators are the enemy in the world today, and they are to be resisted at every turn. The despicable Straussians must be opposed and stripped of all power. If possible, they should be tried and convicted. In a just world the most powerful neocon manipulators would be executed as traitors, because they sure as hell don't have America's best interests are heart.

Peter is suggesting that we give in to those Machiavellian schemers -- that we accept ISIS rule over part of Syria. His unstated bottom line: Get used to the idea of an Islamic State in a substantial part of Syria.

The very idea is odious. Here's my bottom line:

Support Assad.

Support Putin.

The answer is to the ISIS problem is just that simple.

Instead of printing Peter Van Buren, Salon would have done better to publish Robert Parry...
The solution to the crisis in Syria could be democracy – letting the people of Syria decide who they want as their leaders – but it is the Obama administration and its regional Sunni “allies,” including U.S.-armed militants and jihadists, that don’t want to risk a democratic solution because it might not achieve the long-held goal of “regime change.”
An obvious alternative – favored by Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – is to achieve a ceasefire and then have internationally supervised elections in which the Syrian people could choose their own leaders.

Although President Barack Obama insists Assad is hated by most Syrians – and if that’s true, he would presumably lose any fair election – the U.S. position is to bar Assad from the ballot, thus ensuring “regime change” in Syria, a long-held goal of Official Washington’s neoconservatives.

In other words, to fulfill the neocons’ dream of Syrian “regime change,” the Obama administration is continuing the bloody Syrian conflict which has killed a quarter million people, has created an opening for Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists, and has driven millions of refugees into and through nearby countries, now destabilizing Europe and feeding xenophobia in the United States.

Let's have more of that.

And let's have no more half-truths and semi-truths and quasi-truths and pseudo-truths from "soft" neocons.

A final word about Ahrar al Sham: These guys are the new face of jihad -- the mask that ISIS wears when they want to seem unthreatening to the outside world. As Parry writes...
Ahrar al-Sham announced its withdrawal from the Riyadh conference because the meeting didn’t “confirm the Muslim identity of our people.” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sought to maintain a secular government that protects the rights of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other religious minorities, but Sunni militants have been fighting to overthrow him since 2011.
Got it? Just another bunch of jihadi maniacs. That's all they are.

From Moon of Alabama, on the so-called Syrian peace conference (which was really a war conference):
A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda aligned Ahrar al Sham, which closely cooperates with the al-Qaeda entity Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, also took part.
There was also this illuminating word game:
Islamist delegates objected to using the word “democracy” in the final statement, so the term “democratic mechanism” was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting.
The Ahrar al-Sham delegate at the meeting signed the deal while the Ahrar al Sham bigwigs, who took not part, damned the deal and announced they were completely against it. They demand an Islamic State in Syria that would follow their militant Salafi line of believe.
What are we doing? This is madness.

If Assad falls, ISIS and Al Qaeda and Ahrar al Sham (three heads of the same jihadist monster) will take over. Our only option is to give up the sick neocon dream of regime change. Let us support Bashar Assad, Vladimir Putin, and the brave anti-ISIS fighters of Kurdistan and Iran.
Van Buren's "realism" concerning ISIS falls in line with a proposal made by the Turkish government, but not reported in the English language press, that it would be a splendid idea for ISIS to establish a consulate in Turkey for the purpose of recognizing it as a legitimate force, and to facilitate negotiations. This is part of the Iraq/Syria partition game that mouth pieces like Joe Biden have promoted over the last couple years.
Absolutely true Joseph;

"The Syrian "civil war" is really a foreign invasion.

Bush is responsible for approximately 1,000,000 civilian deaths. By 2005-6 Bush had lost about half of his supporters and those that remained were very quiet

Obama is responsible for approximately 350,000 civilian deaths. By 2015 Obama retains most of his supporters and they are very loudly proclaiming him ONE OF THE GREATEST PRESIDENTS EVER. And so, the innocent civilians must continue to be murdered.

And if the supporters of Obama continue to clap load enough...perhaps we can have an apocalyptic WW III. And then Obama will eclipse Bush's numbers, indeed, since Hitler comparisons are all the rage these days, he'll make the NAZIs look like the JV team.

So our Middle Eastern Allies support terrorist groups. Why? Is the idea the U.S. supports both Israel and the countries that don't like Israel as a way to hedge their Middle East influence while also finding a way to keep weapons sales amped up in the Middle East?

And yet, religion seems to play a huge role as well in the Middle East and I wonder how much influence the U.S. has over Middle Eastern religion.
Alessandro, Israel has very close to ties to Saudi Arabia. It's very much in their interest to have their middle east neighbors be failed states, as that means less threat to them. Hence, the USA does what Israel wants, which just happens to align with US interests in the region.
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