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        class="header"> <b><small><small><a
href="http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/the-obama-two-step-on-syria/"
                id="reader-domain" class="domain"><a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/the-obama-two-step-on-syria/">http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/the-obama-two-step-on-syria/</a></a></small></small></b>
        <h1 id="reader-title">The Obama Two-Step on Syria</h1>
        <div id="reader-credits" class="credits">by <em><strong>Ajamu
              Baraka</strong></em></div>
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              <p>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 <a
href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/world/middleeast/isis-isil-syrians-senate-armed-services-committee.html?_r=1">to
                  report </a> 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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>The White House claimed that <a
href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/world/finger-pointing-but-few-answers-after-a-syria-solution-fails.html?_r=1">it
                  is not to blame</a> on the training issue. In what
                some are calling his “<a
href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/devil-made-obamas-foreign-policy-141602608.html">the
                  devil made me do it</a>” 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 <a
href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/hillary_rodham_clinton/index.html">Hillary
                  Rodham Clinton</a>.</p>
              <p>And on the general Syrian issue, the Administration
                appears to be trying to put distance between itself and
                its own policies.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p><strong>Plan A: Regime Change; Plan B: the Destruction
                  and Dismembering of the Syria State and Society</strong></p>
              <p>This notion that Obama was a reluctant warrior who only
                got involved in Syria recently is a fiction.</p>
              <p>From the very beginning of the phony Arab spring
                actions in Syria, it was not even necessary for former
                general Wesley Clark <a
href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166">to
                  reveal</a> 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.</p>
              <p>Former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas <a
href="http://nsnbc.me/2013/07/03/former-french-foreign-minister-dumas-blows-the-whistle-on-western-war/">blew
                  the whistle</a> on<br>
                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.</p>
              <p>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 <a
href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/decoding-the-current-war-in-syria-the-wikileaks-files/5473909">against
                  the Syrian government</a>.</p>
              <p>Millions were spent to support dissident groups and for
                disinformation campaigns targeting the corporate media
                in the U.S. and Western Europe.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>Seymour Hersh the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative
                reporter <a
                  href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/04/real-benghazi-story.html">revealed</a>
                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.</p>
              <p>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
href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=0">a
                  story</a> that essentially corroborated reports of CIA
                involvement in support of Syrian opposition forces.</p>
              <p>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 <a
href="http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/pgs-287-293-291-jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812-2/">report</a>
                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.</p>
              <p>When retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former
                head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), <a
href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG3j8OYKgn4&feature=youtu.be&t=8m49s">was
                  asked</a> 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 <em>willful decision.”</em></p>
              <p>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 <a
                  href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection">reporting
                  by Seymour Hersh</a>. 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.</p>
              <p>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 <a
href="http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html?_r=3&referrer=">Assad
                  was a fantasy</a>.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>And by early 2013 when it became clear that the
                al-Assad government would not surrender, the destruction
                and <a
href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/the-lebanonization-of-syria.html">dismemberment
                  of the Syria State</a> 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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>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.<em> </em></p>
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            <p class="author_description"> <em><strong>Ajamu Baraka</strong>
                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 “<a
                  href="http://store.counterpunch.org/product/killing-trayvons/">Killing
                  Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence</a>”
                (CounterPunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at <a
                  href="http://www.ajamubaraka.com/"><a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href="http://www.AjamuBaraka.com">www.AjamuBaraka.com</a></a></em>
            </p>
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