Featured Post

The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is Obama finally coming out of the closet about Assad?

Recent developments in US policy with regards to the civil war in Syria must really be embarrassing for those that have been claiming that much of the blame for this disaster lies with Obama's policy of "regime change" in Syria. With each new move on the part of his administration, it becomes increasingly clear that he favors maintaining something like the totalitarian Assad regime, with or without the man himself, however that works out. Israel has also been on board with this policy and it's anything but "regime change."

Maintaining the status quo has generally been the favored imperialist response to revolution. And why not? The Assads never caused them any serious problems in 40 years and they kept the people, including the Palestinians, under wraps.

Putin and Iran have openly supported this dictatorship, Obama has had a long relationship with it, but publicly has played the "good cop," to their "bad cop," hence he has called for "regime change" in Syria many times, remember?
18 Aug 2011: Obama says, “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

20 Aug 2012: Obama says, “I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down. So far, he hasn’t gotten the message.”

30 Apr 2013: Obama says, "My policy from the beginning has been that . . . the only way to bring stability and peace to Syria is going to be for Assad to step down. "
If you still think he has a policy of "regime change" just because he keeps asking Assad to step down, then you may be that guy, sitting in a jail cell, wondering when the "good cop" turned bad.

Regime change in Syria is already happening

One of the cadaverous facts about the current Syrian government, is that in spite of the best efforts at propping up by Russia, Iran, and now Hezbullah and Iraq, not to mention the duplicity of the United States and the infighting among the opposition, is that "regime change" is taking place in Syria right now anyway. This "regime change" is not the long fought for victory of the revolution. It is not being brought on by the death or resignation of Assad. It is the, now rapid, decay of the government in place. The Assad regime is indeed changing. It is now a mere shadow of its former self. Propped up by foreign money and foreign military might, it is quickly degenerating from a national government into a sectarian gang.

Those that have been worried about who will run Syria if Assad falls, are now beginning to wonder who will run Syria if Assad stays. Iran to the rescue, even Obama is coming around to that point of view. There have been some side discussions on Syria at various international conferences and a plan is being hatched. As usual, the principals will be the last ones told.

Word on the street is that it is really Iran that is giving the Assad regime whatever backbone it still has and that even the US government is coming 'round to the view that they are going to need Iran to run things in Syria for a while. Ironic echoes of Syria's role in Lebanon after the civil war. Hence the rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. They are using the Syria card to deal themselves back into the league of nations.

For the US and NATO, backing a real people's movement they didn't control has been too unnatural and too full of risks. They have never gained that control, so they have never committed to support those revolutionary forces to victory. Now they fear that if the Assad regime falls, the Dark Side, meaning al Qaeda, will prevail and that fear is leading them to give the Iranians a mandate to restore the Assad regime.

Of course, Bashar al-Assad has had a fine appreciation of this Western fear of terrorism and al Qaeda from the beginning and has always carefully tuned his propaganda against all of his opposition so as to cast them in that mold. He farmed out his special talents as a torturer to Obama in the name of unity in the war on terror, and always pushed the view that the only alternative to his dictatorship in Syria is chaos and terrorism on the rampage.

So now, in the name of "stability", a word more pleasant to the ears of the master than to the ears of the slave, all the "great" powers are uniting around some sort of "peace" that preserves the Assad Regime or something like it. This, in turn, is forcing Obama to, more and more, drop his "good cop" mask and show his true preference for a Syria ruled by Assad. Scott Lucas at EAWorldView looked at two recent reports in the mainstream media and asked :
Syria Analysis: Is Obama Preparing to Accept Assad in Power?

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an overview with the frightening headline, “Jihadist Groups Gain in Turmoil Across Middle East“.

The article was superficial but the headline and one of its quotes pointed to a deeper significance: the spectre of “extremism” may be pushing the Obama Administration to accept President Assad remaining in power:

“We need to start talking to the Assad regime again” about counterterrorism and other issues of shared concern, said Ryan C. Crocker, a veteran diplomat who has served in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. “It will have to be done very, very quietly. But bad as Assad is, he is not as bad as the jihadis who would take over in his absence.”

Crocker is no longer in Government but his prominence in a piece whipping up fear — “American intelligence and counterterrorism officials [believe] that militants aligned with Al Qaeda could establish a base in Syria capable of threatening Israel and Europe — raises the possibility that he is speaking on behalf of those inside the Administration with similar views.

Yet, on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal portrayed a different US Government approach: The U.S. and its allies have held direct talks with key Islamist militias in Syria, Western officials say, aiming to undercut al Qaeda while acknowledging that religious fighters long shunned by Washington have gained on the battlefield. More...
As usual, Washington is playing all angles and is even bringing the Islamists into their machinations. The NY Times article EAWorldview cited, carries these further thoughts:
Some analysts and American officials say the chaos there could force the Obama administration to take a more active role to stave off potential threats among the opposition groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. But striking at jihadist groups in Syria would pose formidable political, military and legal obstacles, and could come at the cost of some kind of accommodation — even if only temporary or tactical — with Mr. Assad’s brutal but secular government, analysts say.
It is not clear whether or when the White House would be willing to make such an abrupt shift in approach after years of supporting the Syrian opposition and calling for Mr. Assad’s ouster. It would certainly require delicate negotiations with Middle Eastern allies who were early and eager supporters of Syrian rebel groups, notably Saudi Arabia.
Any behind-the-scenes look at Obama's Syria policy will show that is not an "abrupt shift" at all and that his "years of supporting the Syrian opposition" have as much real substance as his "calling for Mr. Assad’s ouster resignation." NY Times is doing Obama a kindness with "ouster".

In anycase, some dirty work is certainly afoot in the forest because we also have this recent report from the Jerusalem Post:
Report: London is mediating indirect secret talks between US and Hezbollah

Talks reportedly deal with fight against al-Qaida, regional stability and other Lebanese political issues.
The US and Hezbollah are in secret indirect talks managed by London dealing with the fight against Al-Qaida, regional stability and other Lebanese political issues.

Senior British diplomatic sources, quoted in a report in Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai on Wednesday, said British diplomats are holding discussions with leaders of the Lebanese organization and transferring the information to the Americans.

The discussions “are aimed at keeping tabs on the changes in the region and the world, and prepare for the upcoming return of Iran to the international community,” according to diplomatic sources in Washington. More...
The thing is, this is not a shift in policy on Syria so much as it is the real policy being revealed. Mike Giglio wrote a very telling piece in the Daily Beast with the provocative title Did the CIA Betray Syria’s Rebels? last 13 Feb 2013. The Syrian activists he talked to definitely felt betrayed:
The Americans introduced themselves as CIA officers and said they were there to help with the overthrow of Syria’s authoritarian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The activist declined to be named for this article, because he didn’t want to be connected publicly to U.S. intelligence. He is respected in Aleppo, and I first met him, in another southern Turkey hotel, at a State Department–funded training seminar for activists, where he was a keynote speaker. According to the activist, the officers questioned the group about creeping Islamism in the rebel ranks. Were Aleppo rebels supportive of democracy? Hostile to the West? What about al Qaeda? Then the officers asked how they could help.
“We are here to help you bring down Assad,” one of the officers repeated.

However, in the months since, that activist, as well as many senior figures in the rebellion, have begun to suspect that the United States has no intention of living up to its promises. In a turn of events resonant of Iraq, many who had once been eager to work with the Americans feel betrayed, and some see meetings like those in Gaziantep as little more than a hostile intelligence-gathering exercise.
[Opposition military leader]Tlass told me that the Americans had kept none of those promises, that not even the communications equipment or hospital supplies had materialized. He then accused America of pushing a dark agenda in Syria—working to keep the war going instead of helping with the overthrow of Assad. “America,” Tlass said, “is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution.”
Reports from Free Syrian Army commanders continue to show that they have received almost nothing from the US, especially the heavy weapons they need for victory or anti-aircraft weapons that could end Assad's carnage from the sky. Then, in March 2013, news leaked that Obama was considering drone strikes against Assad's jihadist opposition. The LA Times reported:
CIA begins sizing up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes
The strategy is part of the agency's secret contingency planning to protect the U.S. and its allies as the violence there grows. Some militants in Syria are seen as closely linked to Al Qaeda.
Identifying possible threats in Syria would be "a logical step if the policy community sends a signal that, 'Hey, you guys might want to think about how you would respond to a possible request for plans about how you would thin the herd of the future insurgency,'" said a former CIA officer with experience in the Middle East.
Some former CIA officials expressed skepticism about any idea of using armed drones in Syria. There is no evidence, they said, that Syrian militants pose a threat to the U.S. homeland.

"If we do this, why don't we start droning people in Hezbollah?" asked a former CIA officer who worked in Iraq, referring to the Lebanon-based militant group that Washington considers a terrorist organization. "It opens the door for a lot of other things."
I made that phrase above bold. I wanted you to especially note their devious intentions. And I can tell that CIA official why drone attacks against Hezbollah aren't on the table. Its because Obama and Nasrallah are backing the same cat.

Phil Sands reports on how Obama's "good cop" relations with the moderate opposition was going as of 9 May 2013 in The National:
It was some six months ago that Syrian rebel commanders met US intelligence officers in Jordan to discuss the status of the war and, the rebels hoped, to secure supplies of the sophisticated weapons they need to overthrow President Bashar Al Assad.

But according to one of the commanders present at the meeting, the Americans were more interested in talking about Jabhat Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda-affiliated group waging war on the Syrian regime than they were in helping the rebels advance on Damascus.

The commander - a moderate Sunni and an influential rebel leader from Damascus who said he has met intelligence operatives from Western and Arab states - said the US officials were especially keen to obtain information about the identities of Al Nusra insurgents and the locations of their bases.

Then, by the rebel commander's account, the discussion took an unexpected turn. The Americans began discussing the possibility of drone strikes on Al Nusra camps inside Syria and tried to enlist the rebels to fight their fellow insurgents.

"The US intelligence officer said, 'We can train 30 of your fighters a month, and we want you to fight Al Nusra'," the rebel commander recalled.

Opposition forces should be uniting against Mr Al Assad's more powerful and better-equipped army, not waging war among themselves, the rebel commander replied. The response from a senior US intelligence officer was blunt.

"I'm not going to lie to you. We'd prefer you fight Al Nusra now, and then fight Assad's army. You should kill these Nusra people. We'll do it if you don't," the rebel leader quoted the officer as saying.
I have been told that what has taken the wind out of the sails of the revolutionaries on the ground more than anything else has been Obama's failure even to live up to his year old promise to do something meaningful about a massive poison gas attack. The demoralization that set in, in the face of this world class failure has done more damage to the revolution than the 21 August gas attack itself. This is the power of the "good cop" ploy. That is why it is so important to understand what is going on from the beginning and that the most important thing to remember about "good cop", "bad cop" is that there are two bad cops.

Like I've been saying:
How Obama has supported Assad's gas murder always
Obama's Real Syria Policy: Endless War
The Courtship Continues: Obama stopped French strike on Assad
The Courtship Continues: Obama's New Gift to Assad
How Obama Helped Assad Kill with Poison Gas in Syria
Win-Win for Assad as Obama Response to CW Mass Murder Put on Hold
Obama Denied Gas Masks to Assad's Victims
Obama's Dilemma and Assad's Opportunity
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad Exposed!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Chemical weapons use in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
SecState John Kerry and his "dear friend" Bashar al-Assad
How Obama's 'No MANPADS for you' policy in Syria is backfiring
More thoughts on Obama's 'No MANPADS for you!' policy
Obama: Did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?
Obama planning drone strikes against Assad's opposition in Syria
How Obama helps Assad: US tried to start war between FSA & al Nusra Front

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

No comments:

Post a Comment