[News] The Obama Two-Step on Syria

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 23 11:29:34 EDT 2015


*http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/the-obama-two-step-on-syria/*


  The Obama Two-Step on Syria

by /*Ajamu Baraka*/

It was a pathetic spectacle, another black face in a high place in the 
person of General Lloyd J. Austin III, head of the United States Central 
Command, came before the Senate’s Armed Services Committee to report 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/world/middleeast/isis-isil-syrians-senate-armed-services-committee.html?_r=1> 
to incredulous members that the 500 million dollar program to train 5000 
so-called moderate rebels in Syria had only resulted in the training of 
a few dozen.

He went on to report that of that number, half had already been either 
captured, or some say “integrated,” into the al-Qaeda’s official Syrian 
affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, leaving just four or five individuals in 
what must be a record for the most expensive training process in human 
history.

With howls of criticism coming from right-wing democrats and 
republicans, the impression developing in congress and the general 
public is that similar to the debacle that Iraq and Afghanistan became 
for George Bush, Syria is Obama’s foreign policy disaster.

Strangely however, while General Austin was falling on his sword on 
front of the Senate committee, spokespersons for Barack Obama were busy 
telling anyone who would listen that President Obama could not be blamed 
for the calamity unfolding in Syria.

The White House claimed that it is not to blame 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/world/finger-pointing-but-few-answers-after-a-syria-solution-fails.html?_r=1> 
on the training issue. In what some are calling his “the devil made me 
do it 
<http://finance.yahoo.com/news/devil-made-obamas-foreign-policy-141602608.html>” 
defense, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary argued that the 
finger should be pointed at those who convinced President Obama to get 
directly involved in training Syrian rebels, including by implication 
the former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 
<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/hillary_rodham_clinton/index.html>.

And on the general Syrian issue, the Administration appears to be trying 
to put distance between itself and its own policies.

But facts can be stubborn things, even when the interpretative framework 
for assessing facts is different. 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.

*Plan A: Regime Change; Plan B: the Destruction and Dismembering of the 
Syria State and Society*

This notion that Obama was a reluctant warrior who only got involved in 
Syria recently is a fiction.

 From the very beginning of the phony Arab spring actions in Syria, it 
was not even necessary for former general Wesley Clark to reveal 
<http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166> 
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.

Former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas blew the whistle 
<http://nsnbc.me/2013/07/03/former-french-foreign-minister-dumas-blows-the-whistle-on-western-war/> 
on
Western war plans against Syria, long before the first “spontaneous” 
protests erupted in 2011. While Dumas told a story of British and French 
intrigue, it was always clear that those two sub-imperialist nations 
would not have been engaged in anything of that magnitude and 
sensitivity without a green light from the U.S. hegemon.

WikiLeaks confirmed those plans when it released over 7000 secret 
diplomatic cables that documented that from 2006 to 2010, the US spent 
12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and 
propaganda against the Syrian government 
<http://www.globalresearch.ca/decoding-the-current-war-in-syria-the-wikileaks-files/5473909>.

Millions were spent to support dissident groups and for disinformation 
campaigns targeting the corporate media in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Once the destabilization plan was launched reports in the alternative 
press immediately emerged of CIA involvement with illicit arms being 
funneled to Syria opposition fighters, including tons of equipment from 
Libya that had been destroyed by NATO forces.

Seymour Hersh the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter revealed 
<http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/04/real-benghazi-story.html> 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. This was the 
activity that Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, was providing 
political cover for in Benghazi when the CIA annex and diplomatic 
compound was attacked by one of the disaffected armed groups that the 
U.S. was dealing with.

Those reports became so wide-spread in media outlets globally that 
finally even the New York Times could no longer avoid the reports and 
ran a story 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=0> 
that essentially corroborated reports of CIA involvement in support of 
Syrian opposition forces.

But clearly the most damaging information that revealed the extent of 
the Obama’s administration moral complicity with the carnage that it 
unleased in Syria was the report 
<http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/pgs-287-293-291-jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812-2/> 
from the Defense Intelligence Agency ( DIA) written in 2012 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.” And like the 
report that exposed that white terrorist organizations represented a 
major threat to domestic security in the U.S., this report was also 
ignored by the administration.

When retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the 
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was asked 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG3j8OYKgn4&feature=youtu.be&t=8m49s> 
why the Obama administration didn’t act on his agency’s concerns, his 
response was that the administration apparently decided to ignore the 
findings, “I think it was a /willful decision.”/

The DIA report was ignored because the Obama Administration had already 
decided on its course of action. The strategy that the administration 
was implementing was detailed in another piece of reporting by Seymour 
Hersh <http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection>. 
Hersh revealed that the strategy first formulated in the latter years of 
the Bush administration and carried over into the Obama Administration, 
was that radical jihadists would be used in a manner similar to how they 
were used in Afghanistan in the 80s, as the “boots on the ground” for 
the U.S. in Syria.

Embracing this strategy was not a very difficult one for the 
Administration, especially since Obama and many others in his 
administration believed that the creation of a “moderate” force of what 
Obama divisively referred to as former doctors, farmers and pharmacists 
capable of dislodging Assad was a fantasy 
<http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html?_r=3&referrer=>.

The geo-strategic objective for the Obama Administration was regime 
change, therefore, the plan implemented for that objective had nothing 
to do with wanting to liberate Syrians. In their cynical calculations, 
eliminating al-Assad outweighed any considerations for the longer term 
interests of the Syrian people. For the cold-hearted strategists of the 
Obama Administration, the talk of a people’s revolution was only a ploy 
to obscure their real intentions and confuse liberals and even some 
leftists.

The Administration peddled the outrageous fiction that there was a 
viable force of so-called moderates in Syria that they were supporting 
at the same time that they knew that the al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic 
State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) had emerged as the central forces in 
the anti-Assad insurgency.

And by early 2013 when it became clear that the al-Assad government 
would not surrender, the destruction and dismemberment of the Syria 
State 
<http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/the-lebanonization-of-syria.html> 
became the goal of U.S. policy. The impact that this decision would have 
on the people of Syria was of no concern for U.S. planners.

It would not be an exaggeration to argue that despite whatever 
contradictions existed in Syria, and there were many, 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.

No, the devil did not make Obama engage in the incredible cynicism that 
sacrificed an ancient culture and the lives of so many. It was the 
imperatives of empire and the ethical position that Westerners have the 
right to determine the leadership of states and what lives have value.

Being the self-centered narcissist and operating from a colonialist, 
Eurocentric mindset, Obama is now taking a familiar position that 
European imperialists have taken for years after committing unspeakable 
crimes against humanity – they feign innocence.

But this is Obama’s war and while he may escape prosecution as the war 
criminal that he is, the consequences and moral condemnation that it has 
generated is inescapable. It is his legacy, a legacy written in blood 
that no amount of slick public relations will be able to erase from the 
pages of history.//

/*Ajamu Baraka* is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political 
analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy 
Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist 
for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: 
An Anthology of American Violence 
<http://store.counterpunch.org/product/killing-trayvons/>” (CounterPunch 
Books, 2014). He can be reached at www.AjamuBaraka.com 
<http://www.ajamubaraka.com/>/

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