US Seeks to Amass More Forces in Syria…But for Which War?


US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is appealing for other nations to send their troops to fight a big war in Syria and Iraq.

“I personally reached out to my counterparts in 40 countries around the world in the coalition and asked them to contribute more,” Carter said Wednesday, Dec. 9, in testimony before the Senate (see video below starting at about 2:00).

Carter professes to be recruiting these additional forces for the war against ISIS, but one wonders if perhaps he might not actually have a different war in mind–say a war against Russia, or at any rate a direct attack on the Syrian Army, which could easily escalate into the same thing, as doubtless Carter would realize.

The removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad has been a primary US and Israeli objective for at least the past five years, and possibly much longer if we go by the now-famous words of General Wesley Clark. Syria’s fall quite probably would have been achieved by this time were it not for Russia.

That US military efforts against ISIS have been waged insincerely, that it’s airstrikes have been carried out in pursuit of some purpose other than that stated publicly, and that the Obama administration all along seems to have had a goal different from that of defeating the terrorist army, strictly speaking–these also have been apparent for some while. Over the past year as US planes were purportedly hitting ISIS targets, the power of the terrorists grew, the areas under their control in Iraq and Syria for the most part expanding (despite some defeats–thanks not to the US but to efforts of the Syrian Army and Hezbollah). It wasn’t until Russia entered the fray on September 30 that ISIS began to suffer major setbacks, including the bombing of its oil tankers.

Projecting perhaps their own scheming chicanery onto others, US officials at the time expressed doubts about the true intentions of the Russians, while Western media published widespread reports on deaths of civilians, reports based largely upon flimsy claims by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other dubious sources.

“The result of this kind of action will inevitably, simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria,” Carter asserted in September.

In the video above, the Secretary of Defense expresses some nominal concerns over Turkey’s “often porous borders,” but following revelations of Turkish involvement in ISIS oil smuggling, including by members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s own family, US officials appeared totally unperturbed. Likewise were they unperturbed with Turkey’s shoot-d0wn of a Russian jet, and, most recently, with its military incursion into Iraq (although it seems now at least some of the Turkish forces may be withdrawing). Turkey has been widely condemned by people around the world, but nothing it ever does seems to bother the US too much.

A Nest of Spies and Traitors?

Back on December 5, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the keynote address at the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum in Washington. In his talk, Kerry discussed the Syrian conflict and likened Russia and Iran to “problem children” for their support of the Assad government.

“If Russia and Iran stand as a block and allow Assad to simply stiff the process, and we get no transition at all, then it will be clear who the problem children are, and our options will be narrowed and we will have to make some tough choices,” said Kerry.

The arrogance on display was emblematic. That the US, rather than the Syrian people, has the right to choose who leads Syria, and to even oversee and engineer the country’s elections–these were the assumptions underlying Kerry’s remarks. And anyone who disagrees is a “problem child” and must be dealt with accordingly.

But the purported “urgency of defeating Daesh” wasn’t the only subject touched upon in the speech. Kerry also discussed the US relationship with Israel, touting America’s determination to “stand with” the Jewish state, presumably no matter how high its crimes against humanity may mount up.

The full text of Kerry’s remarks may be found here, and judging at least from the friendly acknowledgements issued in his opening comments, it seems to have been a largely Jewish affair, with perhaps a few token Gentiles present. Said Kerry:

Steny and Nita I know are here, and Jolie Ruben, my former colleague and longtime friend, and I think Bogie Ya’alon is out there somewhere. And Bogie, good to see you, my friend. And also Bougie Herzog is somewhere here. And oh my gosh, yes, madam, thank you for leading Wilson and all you’ve been doing. Appreciate it very, very much, Jane. Thank you. I’m really pleased that I could come here to be with you before I head back to Paris, where on Monday we sort of get into the ministerial period of the climate change negotiation. Let me just begin by thanking my very good friend, Martin Indyk. As we all know, Martin has invested literally decades of his extraordinary career in exploring ways and turning over every stone to try to help Israelis and Palestinians to find the path to lasting peace.

The two “Bogie/Bougie” men mentioned would presumably be Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Israeli Labor Party leader Issac Herzog. “Steny and Nita” would refer to Jewish Congresswoman Nita Lowey from New York and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer. Hard to say for sure about the Jolie Ruben mentioned, but perhaps it’s the New York Times staffer by that name. In addition, Kerry also made references to the late Sandy Berger, as well as to Haim Saban, who according to Wikipedia is a US/Israeli dual national, along with Saban’s wife Cheryl.

Indyk, by the way, who you see seated next to Kerry in the video here, is a former AIPAC staffer and a founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who later scampered through the revolving door into government, serving on the National Security Council and also as ambassador to Israel. In 2000, Indyk’s government security clearance was revoked over allegations he had violated security procedures but was restored a month later by Jewish Secretary of State Madelaine Albright. You can also go here to view an interview Indyk did with Andrea Mitchel in 2010 in which he asserted that Israel should allow Tony Blair to assist with its internal investigation into the Mavi Marmara attack, this so as to give the investigation “more credibility.”

Berger, too, prior to his departure from this world two weeks ago, had a career somewhat tarred by controversy. In 1997 he paid a civil penalty to settle conflict of interest charges over his ownership of stock in a US oil company; in 1999 he landed in hot water over accusations he had failed to inform President Clinton that US nuclear secrets had been acquired by China; and in 2004 he was investigated for removing classified documents from the National Archives prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission, and then lying about it afterward to investigators.

“I also want to pay tribute to somebody that we all wish could have been with us today,” said Kerry. “Sandy Berger was a friend to me and I’m sure to many of you.”

Quite possibly he’s right on that. The Saban Forum took place at the Willard Hotel, roughly a six-minute walk from the White House, and it’s tempting to think of the event as little more than a gathering of those with, shall we say, less than complete loyalty to the United States (Joseph McCarthy, where are you when we need you?).

“We have given [to Israel] privileged access to advanced military equipment such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” proclaimed Kerry. “Israel is the only nation in the Middle East to which the United States sold this fifth generation aircraft. And earlier this year the president authorized a massive arms resupply package featuring air-to-air missiles and other advanced munitions.”

The comment about Russia and Iran being “problem children” came near the end of the address, during a question-and-answer session (with Indyk alone asking the questions). At one point Kerry seemed to allude to “promises” the US had made with regard to removal of Assad–though without specifying to whom these promises were made:

I think Russia understands and I think Iran is coming to understand that no matter how much you might want to keep Assad, even if we were the most Machiavellian in the world and we went back on our promises and everything else – which we’re not about to do, I want to emphasize – but let’s say we said we want Assad. Okay, let’s keep him for a while and see what happens, and go fight Daesh. Couldn’t do it. You can’t do it. There is no way to stop the support for the Sunni fighters – and remember, most of this is on that side of the ledger. There is no way to stop them from attacking and going after Assad, as long as he’s there.

In addition to chiding certain countries for being “problem children,” Kerry berated Russia as having “just plunked itself in, gone into the fight to, quote, support their friend, Assad.” He added:

“So I think there are reasons that we all have to want to end this as fast as possible. And what we’ve tried to set up is a transitional negotiation where Assad has to, under the Geneva communique, begin to devolve some power. The election is fixed. We’ve all said we’re going to have an election. Even Iran and Russia have accepted that. Iran actually had its own proposal of a ceasefire, constitutional rewrite, a unity government, and election. So even Iran is pushing for a transition of some kind.

And the question here is: When and how can we get to the point where it is clear that really Assad has to make a choice? And you can have a smooth transition, where the Alawi are protected, the Christians are protected, the Druze are protected, the Ismaili are protected, the Sunni are protected, and you have all segments of a society.

In other words, submit to US/Israeli policy in the region, and everyone will be “protected.” It sounds a bit like a mafia protection racket. The terror troops will be sicced upon those who fail to comply or pay up. And just maybe they were–five days later.

‘Godspeed, Mr. Kerry’

Kerry’s comment that “the election is fixed” may have been part Freudian slip as well. Earlier in the talk he describes the proposed election as one that “will be supervised by the United Nations under the highest standards of international law and of elections, with fair, full, transparency and accountability, in order for even the diaspora to be able to vote for future leadership.” Perhaps one day Russian and Iranian elections might need to be “supervised by the United Nations” as well.

Should there be any doubts about the UN’s hypocrisy and double standards, consider the Security Council’s rejection over the weekend of a Russian motion calling for condemnation of a terror attack which took place last Thursday in the Syrian city of Homs.

The attack occurred one day after a truce was brokered between the Syrian government and hundreds of rebels who had occupied parts of Homs since as far back almost as the outset of the conflict in 2011. The agreement reached, considered a major breakthrough toward peace and reconciliation, is discussed by the commentator in the video below:

On December 10, the same day the above video was uploaded, the following took place in Homs:

It is now known that a total of 22 people were killed. As the Press TV anchor noted, the blast occurred near a hospital. Responsibility has been claimed by ISIS.

On Saturday, Russia introduced a motion in the Security Council condemning the attack, this after a plea for UN action by the Syrian Foreign Ministry. “Russia has prepared a draft statement for the UN Security Council in connection with the attack in Homs,” an unnamed diplomatic source was quoted as saying. “The proposal was rejected,” the source added.

The UN Security Council is currently chaired by the US.

The final word at the Saban Forum on December 5 was an articulation of gratitude toward Kerry expressed by Indyk.

“Mr. Secretary, as you head off to Paris again, I think I could speak for everybody here,” Indyk said. “We wish you godspeed and thank you for all that you do.”


The featured graphic accompanying this article is entitled “Nuclear Winter,” by EmilisB.


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