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Friday, September 25, 2015

Obama's Two-Step U-Turn down the Memory Hole of Syria

Many of us have been saying that US President Barack Obama was two-faced from the earliest days of the Arab Spring. As the revolution in Syria developed, we said Obama's claim of support for it was a lie. When he echoed the call of the Syrian masses for "regime change," we pointed to the military-to-military relations that Obama's Pentagon had re-established with Syria and the use of Assad's torture facilities in the CIA's "War on Terror." In September 2012, I published "Barack Obama's Courtship with Bashar al-Assad," which made public 21 new WikiLeaks sourced documents and laid out in excruciating detail [17k words] Obama's support for the Assad regime. I warned the thuwar that Obama was just playing "Good Cop" to Putin's "Bad Cop", that the promised military support would never arrive and that in the end game all would see that Obama, Putin and Assad were on the same side.

For Four years, Barack Obama said "Assad should step down!"  He sent shipments of Meals Ready To Eat and radios to the rebels, but the promised weapons turned out to be a ration of 16 bullets per soldier for some units while most got no support at all. He sent the CIA into Turkey and Libya to make sure the people Assad was bombing couldn't get their hands on portable anti-aircraft weapons, and the rising death toll from Assad's unopposed air assaults have been the result. He led the Free Syrian Army on for years with promises of a $500 million training and supply program that has resulted in 4 or 5 Syrian fighters in the field. To fight ISIS only, not Assad!

Every Grifter needs a Shill to sell his con from another angle. For Obama's "Good Cop" con to work he had to make a very tough sale. He had to convince the whole world, but especially the Syrians, that the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military the world has ever known really wanted Assad out, while doing almost nothing to take him out. Folks might recall how the Afghan Mujaheddin dealt with Russian helicopters and remember what it means when the US is serious about regime change. And he had to sell this as he was regularly murdering other people he truly found offensive with drone strikes. That's a tough sell!

"Anti-imperialists" to the rescue. What better way to make the story stick than to have a loud mouthed opposition accusing you of doing exactly what you want everyone to think you are doing? Obama couldn't possibly play his role as leader of the world opposition to the carnage without claiming to want Assad out. But when Obama says "I want Assad out," people may say "But where's the beef?" The thuwar will say "Put your money were your mouth is!" Then along comes the "anti-war" movement and the "Left" accusing Obama of being for "regime change." Protesting it even! Spreading all sorts of wild stories about his level of support for the opposition. How its 10,000 US trained fighter and billions of dollars. How they had to hold him back from striking Assad after all those sarin murders just like he had to hold back the French,  An American group named Veterans for Peace passes a resolution opposing "the U.S. Administration's declared policy of regime change in Syria." That's worth gold, if that's what he really wants people to believe. And Medea still hasn't figured out why they keep letting her sneak in.
This is Homs without a no no-fly zone

What the "anti-imperialists" campaigned most against was another Libya styled intervention with a no-fly zone and the use of force. They have largely gotten what they wanted from Obama. They have become active on Syria only when the nearly complete success of their non-interventionist policy appeared to be in danger of cracking, as was the case when Obama was called upon to honor his "red-line" promise. He reneged, as they demanded. They celebrated and so did ISIS because they gained so many new recruits as a result of the western betrayal.

Whenever Assad's atrocities spilled onto the front page, they came forward with rags to try and wipe the blood off his face. Other than these isolated outbursts, these "anti-war" activists paid little attention to this war of massacres that was creating millions of refugees. As much as it was kept out of view by the mainstream media, the "Left" War & Peace Report supported the blackout. The state of Syria today, with a loss of life already eleven times what the Libyans paid, is an "anti-imperialist" success story. They demanded "Hands off Syria" and 330,000 dead and 9 million homeless are the result. Their only way out of that particular conundrum is to claim that but for secret western intervention, the civil war never would've developed in the first place, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

All this was fine with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad needed the conspiracy of a powerful foreign actor working with terrorists to justify his war against his own people, and since he was already working with them, what better opposition than the CIA? Both Assad and Putin needed a "Good Cop" to lead the international community's "opposition" to the carnage they were creating. Without that, the danger that the people of the world might somehow find a way to unite enough to put a stop to the slaughter was greatly increased. With Assad's planes and Putin's bombs focusing the slaughter on civilians and Obama leading the humanitarian opposition, the first holocaust of the 21st century is already well into killing its fourth hundred thousand with no end in sight.

There always comes a point in The Game when the "Good Cop" reveals himself, and that point is quickly approaching for Obama on Syria. When this game is played by the police in its classic form, the naive convict is left sitting in his jail cell wondering just when his "Good Cop" turned bad. This is happening now to our "anti-imperialists." They have spent four years accusing the leader of NATO of trying to overthrow an Arab dictator, and being unable to do so. Now that the rush of events make it clearer everyday that Obama wants the Assad regime to stay, they have some explaining to do.

Since admitting that they were wrong is not an option, they have to claim that Obama really was for "regime change" before he was against it. They are like that hapless convict, still convinced that "his cop" was good, really meant what he was saying and really had his best interest at heart and then "turned." They explain the contradiction between Obama's past declarations on Syria and his present actions as a change in Obama's direction but that isn't what is happening. Obama's Syria policy has been like the car that goes down the road for miles with its "Left turn" signal just blinking away, but never making a left turn. Then he turns it off. No change in direction is involved.

So instead of this "Left" leadership doing some serious rethinking of their theory and practice around Syria in the light of today's real world developments, they are subjecting us to new rehashes of their same old tired line backed by the same old, long ago discredited "proofs" that Obama really was working feverishly for regime change before he became opposed to it. So far, the most popular phrase for this is "Obama's U-Turn" although, to be FAIR, Adam Johnson blamed a "Memory Hole," now Ajamu Baraka, writing for Counterpunch has come up with yet another way of phrasing the same tired line in The Obama Two-Step on Syria, 23 September 2015. First he begins by making it clear why they see no need to learn about the Syrian revolution. Its the same old devil they know:
similar to the debacle that Iraq and Afghanistan became for George Bush, Syria is Obama’s foreign policy disaster.
And he sees no need to find new evidence to support his conclusions:
For many of us, the historical record is clear – this war was/is Mr. Obama’s. And what we are witnessing in Syria today is the human and political consequences of his administration’s decision to embrace a policy of regime change in Syria.
If you don't believe in Santa Claus you'll never be able to prove he exists, so its a good thing the historical record is clear to many of them because they are six cans short of a six-pack when it comes to proof for such outrageous claims. But then our "anti-imperialists" have interesting standards of proof. A man comes out of Syria, gives his full name and a verifiable work history, and has 55,000 photographs he has taken of 11,000 Syrians tortured to death in Assad's prisons and they call that a lie. The Washington Post reports that an anonymous "intelligence official" says the CIA has sent 10,000 trained fighters into Syria without offering even a shred of evidence and it is instantly believed.

If I thought Obama was two-faced towards the Arab Spring, this Counterpunch writer thinks the Syrian Arab Spring was phony and calls upon Wesley Clark's revelations as proof:
From the very beginning of the phony Arab spring actions in Syria, it was not even necessary for former general Wesley Clark to reveal that Syria was on a hit-list of governments slated for subversion to see the reactionary presence of U.S. intelligence agencies in the “rebellion” in Syria.
These people are so enamored with the power of "their own imperialists" that they assume "presence" means control.
Millions were spent to support dissident groups and for disinformation campaigns targeting the corporate media in the U.S. and Western Europe.
Baraka says they spent $12 million in 5 year or an average of $2.4 million/year worldwide. I don't think that's enough to start a revolution. Maybe keep a foot in the door is all. Then its on to the next revelation, which is like an article of faith to these "anti-imperialists":
Seymour Hersh the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter revealed that President Obama and the Turkish PM, Erdogan concluded a secret deal in the beginning of 2012 in which the CIA and the British M16 would move heavy weapons out of Libya to supply the Free Syrian Army.
Apparently there is no need to explain why so few of the thousands of Libyan SA-7 portable anti-aircraft missiles, number #1 on the FSA shopping list, ever made it to Syria. The very small number of Syrian war planes brought down by MANPADS makes that fact tragic and well as indisputable. Of course, that doesn't stop Baraka from bringing up the same old discredited New York Times "C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition" story for the thousandth time. Please! These guys need some new material. Instead, that is followed by a repetition of a three year old "proof":
that clearly documented that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al- Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” being supported by “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey.”
Kerry & Assad, a quiet meal together, 2009
And while there may be no proof, there can be no doubt:
The geo-strategic objective for the Obama Administration was regime change...talk of a people’s revolution was only a ploy
And when they saw that wasn't working out, they changed tactics, according to Baraka:
And by early 2013 when it became clear that the al-Assad government would not surrender, the destruction and dismemberment of the Syria State became the goal of U.S. policy.
Which they accomplished by tricking Assad into carrying out sectarian massacres and bombing his own cities into rubble? Come on guys!

Then finally he gets to the foundation on which to base their absolution after four years and demanding "Hands Off Syria":
without the subversion by the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination and its allies, it is highly unlikely that any social upheaval that might have developed in the country as part of a pro-democracy movement would have reached the scale of suffering experience by the people of Syria today.
Outrageous! He is making the chauvinist claim that imperialist subversion was behind the pro-democracy movement all along so that he can also claim that if the "anti-imperialist" policy of "Hands Off Syria" had been followed religiously none of this would have happened. The millions that took to the streets to demand and end to the regime were the simple dupes of western imperialism

That is their only path to absolution after four years of the "Hands Off Syria" crowd getting pretty much what they have been demanding and when everyday it is becoming increasingly clear that forceful international intervention should have taken place long ago. I expect we'll see a lot more of this sort of doubling down from the "anti-imperialists" before their hour on the stage has passed.

Gabriel Ash
on Bashar al-Assad:
The immediate problem is indeed Assad. But that is the tip of the iceberg. Assad has been a stellar prince. He has fully grasped the potential of the current historical moment, the fortuna that opens possibilities for virtù, and acted on that understanding singlemindedly. Bombing one's own country to the stone age and expelling the majority of the people is a very high risk strategy, and few tyrants have survived it. But Assad has grasped where the world is today. He has correctly understood that defeating the threat of expanding democracy, everywhere, but especially in the Middle East, is not only the point of unity of all the world's powers, but even the dominant intellectual and cultural mood, and if he positions himself at that very point, he will be untouchable. He understood that none of his adversaries, not Turkey, nor the US, nor Israel, would risk his downfall if it meant an opening for popular empowerment. And the more he murders, the more he destroys, the more impossible it is it remove him without conceding the revolt. Syria is the 21st century Paris Commune. It is a flash of lightning that illuminates a furious global counter-revolution. Even hundreds of thousands of refugees are unlikely to change that. the EU would much rather build new concentration camps for them than risk inadvertently helping a popular victory against tyranny. About the left, the less one says the better.
Gabriel Ash

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria


  1. You and I both know that Al-Queda are fighting ISIS...ISIS being a conglomeration of mercenaries paid by USA and "affiliates. Al-Assad is supported by non-repressed, oppressed or "otherwise confused" Syrian people-yes, people.

  2. You and I both know that Al-Queda are fighting ISIS...ISIS being a conglomeration of mercenaries paid by USA and "affiliates. Al-Assad is supported by non-repressed, oppressed or "otherwise confused" Syrian people-yes, people.