US Didn’t “Change Priorities” in Syria, It Lost

The document would then openly admit that – failing to overthrow the Syrian government – bleeding the nation would be an acceptable alternative

April 18, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The United States – according to Western media sources – has shifted priorities in Syria, no longer focusing on regime change aimed at Damascus. 

However, in reality, it is not a shift in priorities, it is recognition that US ambitions in the Middle East have been thoroughly disrupted by Syrian, Russian, and Iranian resolve.

The US must now resort to pursuing secondary courses of action – no less malicious in intent or ultimate outcome than its original plan which has left a region at war since 2011, killed tens of thousands, and displace or otherwise disrupted the lives of millions more.

A Reuters report titled, “U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on ‘getting Assad out’: Haley,” would claim:

The United States’ diplomatic policy on Syria for now is no longer focused on making the war-torn country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, leave power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Thursday, in a departure from the Obama administration’s initial and public stance on Assad’s fate. 

The view of the Trump administration is also at odds with European powers, who insist Assad must step down. The shift drew a strong rebuke from at least two Republican senators.

And while some have taken this recent announcement as “proof” that the White House has made good on its promise to withdraw from American adventurism abroad,  US ambassador to the UN AIPAC darling Nikki Haley would go on to claim:

Do we think he’s a hindrance? Yes. Are we going to sit there and focus on getting him out? No. What we are going to focus on is putting the pressure in there so that we can start to make a change in Syria.

That “change in Syria,” however is verbatim the partitioning of the nation that began under the previous administration of former US President Barack Obama. It is essentially the secondary objective laid out by corporate-financier funded US policymakers as early as 2012 when initial attempts at lightning-fast regime change failed and the Syrian conflict transformed into a protracted, highly destructive war.

A 2012 Brookings Institution document titled, “Middle East Memo #21: Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” (PDF), revealed US policymakers openly declaring their intentions to create “safe havens” stating (emphasis added):

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

The document would then openly admit that – failing to overthrow the Syrian government – bleeding the nation would be an acceptable alternative, claiming (emphasis added):

The United States might still arm the opposition even knowing they will probably never have sufficient power, on their own, to dislodge the Asad network. Washington might choose to do so simply in the belief that at least providing an oppressed people with some ability to resist their oppressors is better than doing nothing at all, even if the support provided has little chance of turning defeat into victory. Alternatively, the United States might calculate that it is still worthwhile to pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.

Reaffirming US commitment to this 2012 policy is US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. The Guardian’s article, “Rex Tillerson says US will set up safe zones for refugees from Isis,” notes:

Rex Tillerson has said the United States would set up “interim zones of stability” to help refugees return home in the next phase of the fight against Islamic State and al-Qaida in Syria and Iraq. The US secretary of state did not make clear where these zones were to be set up. He was addressing a meeting of 68 countries and organizations gathered in Washington to discuss accelerating the battle against Isis.

The notion that the US is in Syria to “fight the Islamic State” is a documented absurdity. It was the US and its allies, by their own admission, who sought the creation of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria precisely where the Islamic State now exists. The militant proxy maintains an immense fighting capacity possible only through equally immense, multinational state sponsorship – provided by the US and Europe and laundered through their regional allies in the Persian Gulf – primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Funneling weapons, supplies, and additional fighters to the Islamic State has been for years carried out by NATO-member Turkey which maintained extensive logistical networks connecting the Islamic State’s foreign sponsors to the Syrian territory it was occupying.

Funneling weapons, supplies

Upon Russia’s entry into the conflict in late 2015, these logistical networks have been targeted by Russian air power, disrupting them and contributing directly to the Islamic State’s now waning strength across the region. US intervention now serves two purposes, to maintain the defacto partitioning of Syrian territory the Islamic State’s presence contributed to by replacing defeated Islamic State forces with US forces – and to portray the US as having “defeated” the very terrorist proxy front it created in the first place and perpetuated as long as logistically, politically, and militarily possible.

US Secretary of State Tillerson’s reaffirmation of US policy rolled out during the Obama administration is yet another illustration of “continuity of agenda,” and how special interests on Wall Street, not politicians in Washington, steer US policy at home and abroad and explains how two apparently politically diametrically opposed presidents have maintained virtually the exact same policy over the course of six years and counting.

And while the US clearly lost in its bid to outright overthrow the government of Syria, it continues pursuing an agenda that will divide and destroy the Syrian state through every means available. Continued exposure and resistance to both this agenda and the special interests ultimately driving it is essential to ensure this aspect of US ambitions in the Middle East fails as well.

Grateful Syrians React To Trump Strike: ‘I’ll Name My Son Donald’

 

Daily Wire

On Thursday night, President Donald Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield in response to Bashar al-Assad’s gruesome chemical weapons attack on his own people earlier this week.

US general: Iran ‘destabilizing’ element, military force needed

Gen. Joseph L. Votel   “Iran seeking to undermine Iraq’s sovereignty. Iran must believe there will be prohibitive consequences if it chooses to continue its malign activities designed to foment instability in the region.”

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“This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”  US Gen.Wesley Clark
Oops, we didn’t hear that.
March 31, 2017

A robust military deterrence is necessary in order to counter Iran, which is working diligently to destabilize the Middle East, the head of the US Central Command told Congress.

The commander of US Central Command told the House Armed Services Committee that Iran is the greatest danger to peace in the region and suggested that a sizable military force may be necessary to stem its expansion.

During a Congress briefing regarding regional threats on Wednesday, Centcom Commander Gen. Joseph L. Votel discussed the current campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan and other trouble spots in the region.

“We are making progress in many areas, but much, much work remains,” he told legislators.

The malign influences of Iran and its proxies are at the heart of the instability in the region, Votel said. He warned of Tehran’s ambitions in Yemen, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Syria, noting that the 2015 nuclear pact did not quell the Islamic Republic’s territorial aggression.

“It is my view that Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to stability in this part of the world,” he stated. Iran wants to be “the hegemon” in the region and is actively pursuing that goal, he added.

Image result for greater israel map

The Zionist Plan for the Middle East, also known as the Yinon Plan, is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

 Votel observed that Iran and its proxies are diligently working to “hinder achievement of US objectives in Afghanistan and some Central Asian States.” Iran is also seeking to undermine Iraq’s sovereignty by exerting influence over the Shiite militias that comprise the Popular Mobilization Forces operating inside the country, the general explained.

Countering Iran is challenging, Votel conceded, as the country operates in a “gray zone,” which he defined as “the space short of conventional conflict where miscalculation can easily occur, leading to escalatory conflict and misunderstanding.”

Such examples could be found in the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb Strait, where Iran and its proxies have harassed US ships and planted naval mines.

The nuclear agreement “removed a key threat posed by Iran,” Votel said, but it “is not the case” that the deal has addressed all significant threats presented by Iran.

“They have a robust theater ballistic missile program, and we remain concerned about their cyber and maritime activities, as well as the activities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Forces (IRGC-QF) and their network of affiliates,” he said.

‘A Strong Deterrence Posture’

Combating Iran effectively would require “a strong deterrence posture, targeted counter-messaging activities, and…building partner nations’ capacity,” Votel asserted. These steps must be backed with clarity in communication to “ensure the credibility of US intentions.”

 “Iran must believe there will be prohibitive consequences if it chooses to continue its malign activities designed to foment instability in the region,” he stressed.

All of this is based on trust, and the command must work to build and maintain trust in the region, he continued. “The fact is we cannot surge trust in times of crisis, and we must do what is necessary now to assure our partners of our commitment and our staying power.”

“Finally, we must make sure that we are postured for purpose in this region,” Votel said, adding that it means maintaining a trained and ready force and effective programs that build and shape partner forces in the region.”

 

Sorry Israel: Iran Gets Green Light For Naval Base in Syria

| March 16, 2017

 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has approved the creation of an Iranian naval base close to the Hmeymim airbase used by Russia’s air force in Syria, according to reports. 

Citing Syrian sources, Nezavisimaya Gazeta claims that the deal for an Iranian base in Syria has already been made:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given the go-ahead to the deployment of an Iranian naval base close to the Hmeymim airbase used by Russia’s Aerospace Forces to carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State (terror group, outlawed in Russia), some media reports said citing Syrian sources.


 Mar 17, 2017 Israel, Assad Regime Engage in Most Serious Military Incident Since US- led invasion of Syria
The Assad regime’s retaliation Thursday pointed to a decided shift in behavior toward Israel amid numerous reports on Israeli strikes


There is no official confirmation of these reports yet, but the issue was raised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

Summing up the outcome of his meeting with the Russian leader, Netanyahu told reporters that Tehran’s efforts to ensure its permanent presence in Syria chiefly motivated him to visit Moscow.

Although it is unclear what the parties have agreed on, it is safe to assume that without Moscow’s tacit consent, Assad would have hardly approved Tehran’s plans.

Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Iran’s General Staff, earlier said that the Iranian Navy could soon need bases in Syria and Yemen.

At that time, that statement was seen as a propaganda move, but now the situation seems to have changed considering that Tehran is one of Damascus’ key allies in the fight against IS extremists.

“If regular Iranian troops take part in military operations in Syria, Assad will win,” asserted military expert Yury Netkachev. “This is very bold scenario. The United States, Israel, NATO member-countries, including Turkey, which is formally considered Iran’s ally in the peace process organized within the framework of Astana, will work vigorously against this,” he noted.

Meanwhile, political scientist and expert on Iran, Vladimir Sazhin, said that Tehran could play a more significant role in ensuring Syria’s defense capacity. “According to official statements, Iran sent only military advisers and instructors to Syria.

However, according to unofficial data, the Iranian armed forces, primarily the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, are participating in the fighting in that country. The Iranian forces in Syria have done a lot to save the Assad regime, but they could do more,” the expert emphasized.

 

Now we just have to wait for confirmation from Assad. Netanyahu is going to have a stroke

Zionists scrambling to the defense of the anti-Semitic Saudi regime

Soldiers don’t “give” their lives for you and I. They are killed for profit. They are killed for oil. They are killed for the 1%.

 

Feb 19, 2017

“Iran aimed to “undermine stability in every country in Middle East … their main destination at the end of the day is Saudi Arabia,” Avigdor Lieberman told delegates the Munich Security Conference, saying he was looking forward to hearing comments from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.”

 Israel’s defense minister says Iran wants to undermine Saudi Arabia

 

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Israel’s defense minister said on Sunday Iran had an ultimate objective of undermining Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and called for a dialogue with Sunni Arab states to defeat “radical” elements in the region.

Iran aimed to “undermine stability in every country in Middle East … their main destination at the end of the day is Saudi Arabia,” Avigdor Lieberman told delegates at the Munich Security Conference, saying he was looking forward to hearing comments from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

“The real division is not Jews, Muslims … but moderate people versus radical people,” he said.

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Iranians commemorate the 1979 overthrow of the US-backed Shah

The US government hates Iran. One reason for this is that when the Iranian people overthrew a brutal dictator in 1979 they also inflicted a massive blow to US imperialism in the Middle East.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to begin a nationwide celebration of the 38th anniversary of the country’s 1979 revolution.

Marchers chanted traditional slogans against the United States and Israel as they gathered in the main streets of the capital Tehran on Friday.

In an address to crowds gathered at the Azadi [Freedom] Square, President Hassan Rouhani issued a warning to those using “threatening language” against the country.

 
The rallies commemorate the 1979 overthrow of the US-backed Shah [Mohammad Ali Najib/Al

“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran … They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran,” Rouhani said.

“They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians … We will strongly confront any war-mongering policies.”

The official Mehr News Agency reported that Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the atomic energy agency, had also joined the Tehran march.

Thirty years ago Iran’s revolt struck a blow against US imperialism and showed the power of workers in the Middle East

The US government hates Iran. One reason for this is that when the Iranian people overthrew a brutal dictator in 1979 they also inflicted a massive blow to US imperialism in the Middle East.

Up until the revolution, Iran – alongside Saudi Arabia and Israel – was central to upholding US policy to ensure the stability and safety of Western oil supplies in the region.

Iran’s ruler, the Shah, was a despotic monarch brought to power in 1953 by a coup organized by the CIA and British intelligence.

The 1953 coup toppled Iran’s popular prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq.

British and US leaders were angry at Mossadeq for nationalizing the oil industry, which was owned and run by Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP).

Image result for the shah of iran and nuclear energy

This is an ad from the 1970s purchased by a number of U.S. power companies using the puppet Shah’s nuclear power program to convince Americans of the necessity and safety of nuclear energy.

From the early 1970s, Iran was home to the CIA’s Middle East headquarters, with 24,000 “military advisors”.

It was also the world’s largest arms importer in that decade.

The British backed the Shah right up to his downfall.

Recently released documents show the British ambassador to Iran reported in 1978, “The Shah remains in complete control of the country and of the government. The security forces remain effective and, I believe, loyal to the Shah.

“I do not foresee any serious trouble in the near future. There will be ups and downs, but in the short term I think the Shah will not be forced to make any radical alterations to his policies and will be able to govern, as he is at present, without any genuinely dangerous opposition from any quarter.”

The ambassador could not have been more wrong.

The Shah had pushed through a harsh programme of capitalist development (including of nuclear technology) that alienated sections of the traditional religious establishment and the millions of poor people forced to leave the countryside to seek a livelihood in the slums of the cities.

Abject poverty existed next to fabulous wealth. Political dissent was ruthlessly crushed and national minorities suffered bitter oppression.

Crushed

The Shah also crushed all opposition from the working class and the left – jailing and torturing over 20,000 political prisoners.

The Shah’s state seemed impregnable. The secret service, known as the Savak, was everywhere. Only Savak-endorsed trade unions were allowed.

But in 1975 a drop in oil revenues – Iran’s main source of income – led to a serious economic crisis. This set the stage for the protests that eventually toppled the Shah.

While the Muslime clergy had gained a base among the poor, the left concentrated on a guerrilla struggle against the regime.

In June 1977, the first protests against the Shah in 14 years took place. They involved thousands of slum dwellers from Tehran, the capital city.

Cuts in wages also sparked strikes, which peaked in July when workers at General Motors set their factory on fire in protest.

The protests by workers and the urban poor forced the Shah to allow some dissent.

He hoped that this would allow the movement to let off steam and prevent it becoming a real problem.

Instead it encouraged other sectors of society to openly protest against the regime. Intellectuals, who had previously been silenced, joined the protests, as did the clergy and their allies – the traditional merchants, shopkeepers and small business owners.

As in every great spontaneous revolution, many different sections of the population were involved.

Public poetry readings attracted tens of thousands onto the streets. Between October 1977 and September 1978, anti-Shah protests grew from being weekly to daily events. The protests culminated in a demonstration of some two million people on 7 September 1978.

The Shah imposed martial law and his troops massacred more than 2,000 demonstrators.

In response 30,000 oil workers joined the strikes. Coal miners struck in support.

Rail workers refused to let the police or army onto trains.

Dockers would only unload food and medical supplies or paper for campaigning against the regime. Units of the army began to rebel.

The movement grew as an insurrectionary one. Factory managers often simply fled.

Where that happened, elected strike committees took over the running of the factories. The working class, even though it was a minority of society, wielded enough power to be the tipping point against the regime.

As late as June 1978 the Shah was still boasting, “No one can overthrow me. I have the support of 700,000 troops, most of the people and all of the workers.”

Yet just a few months later – on 16 January 1979 – the Shah was forced to flee the country.

Armed militias defeated the last of the Shah’s troops. The prisons were opened and the radio announced the victory of the revolution. Strike committees – known as shoras – were formed again in the factories.

Peasant villages established their own shoras and began seizing the land from the landlords.

The shoras were the beginning of the type of organsation that could see workers take power.

Demonstrations

The peasants demanded land reform, women fought for liberation, and national minorities demanded the right to self-determination.

The revolution was an enormous blow to imperialism in the Middle East. It created a carnival of rejoicing as people spilled onto the streets.

An establishment politician was made the new prime minister, but mass demonstrations demanded his resignation too.

On 1 February Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and declared himself head of state.

Since the early 1960s he had been the most prominent religious leader to conduct an extended propaganda campaign against the Shah.

But the clergy wasn’t in control of the movement. There was an intense battle to decide the course of the revolution, and the type of society that would replace the Shah’s dictatorship.

The proponents of national capitalism sought to restore order.

The “liberal” upper middle class joined up with sections of the clerical establishment linked to the small capitalists and traders to work together against the left.

Khomeini was opposed to the growing power of the shoras. He knew they represented a threat to the clergy’s power and refused to recognise them.

The new provisional government declared that workers’ intervention in management affairs was “unIslamic”.

It moved to re-establish capitalist control. It was not an easy battle.

As one Shell worker said at the time, “What have workers got to do with religion? Workers are exploited all the same.

“That bloody manager who has been sucking our blood has suddenly become a good Muslim and tries to divide us by our religion. The unity through the shora is the way to win.”

The strength of the workers’ movement was shown on the May Day demonstration in Tehran in 1979. Unemployed men, women and their children led a march of 1.5 million.

The slogans of the demonstration were education for children not child labour, nationalisation of all industries, equal pay for men and women, long live real unions and real shoras, and death to imperialism.

The clergy fought back. Gangs were organised to attack the left and enforce “morality” against women who refused to wear the veil.

Offensive

At the same time, a military offensive was launched against Kurds and other national minorities who had gained some autonomy during the revolution.

But the clergy could only win control of the movement by changing tack. Sections of the small capitalists and traders, along with the clergy around Ayatollah Khomeini, wanted to maintain their independence from the US while smashing the left.

They were also afraid of cutting themselves off from the masses – who still expected to gain from the revolution.

So Khomeini ordered an occupation of the US embassy, and moved against allies considered “moderate”.

This helped to seal Khomeini’s domination of the post-revolutionary state.

Khomeini and his allies argued that national unity was needed to defeat the US. Any dissenters were enemies of the revolution. The left didn’t know how to respond.

Most of the left believed that Iran was not ready for socialism and needed a capitalist revolution before a socialist one.

This meant arguing for workers and the poor to make alliances with “progressive” capitalists – so effectively falling in behind the arguments for national unity.

The left’s focus on guerrilla struggle also meant they were isolated from the masses. They had no strategy to overcome this.

The price for workers was enormous as the new regime repressed one organisation after another.

After Iraq’s invasion of Iran and the start of the eight-year war between the two countries, the Islamic government crushed all opposition, fully consolidating its power.

This was not inevitable – for several months the future of the revolution hung in the balance.

The left’s failure to organize independently among workers and the poor to fight for socialism allowed Khomeini to consolidate power.

But the 1979 Iranian revolution sent shockwaves around the world.

It showed that Western-backed dictators could be overthrown by a revolution from below.

It also showed the power of workers in the Middle East and raised the possibility of workers’ control of society.