Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

President Trump Is Right on Syria

Posted by M. C. on October 18, 2019

Let’s Hope He Follows Through this Time

The unified foreign policy establishment in Washington, the Deep State politicos—from Lindsey Graham and Lynne Cheney in Congress, to the inveterate Never Trumpers like Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal, [“he’s (Trump) all impulse, blithely operating out of his depth”], to the near totality of the progressivist Left (e.g. Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, and others), have come together (as they always do) to protect their sacred commitment to globalism and, this time, in opposition to President Trump’s decision to finally withdraw American support troops from northeastern Syria.

If it is one thing that brings the “Swamp” together in solidarity it is a serious threat to their hegemony in administering America’s foreign policy. From the pseudo-conservative “right” to the loony Left, the one issue that unites these agents of the Managerial Administrative State is the absolute imperative for the United States “to be involved” practically everywhere in the world, the zealous pursuit of “democratization” and the imposition of “egalitarian” values—most significantly in our export of “educational” programs and the various strings attached to our voluminous aid packages. Such programs always follow in the wake of any boots on the ground. They are part and parcel of the Deep State’s attempt to re-fashion the world along the lines and with globalist postulates that are, in fact, inimical to the traditions and heritage of the American founding.

Such initiatives mirror in numerous ways the goals of international financiers and subversive globalist instigators such as George Soros, whose multiple “Europe without Borders” (“Europe sans frontiers”) initiatives involve the virtual destruction of that historic continent by dissolving national borders and via an open door policy towards immigration, most especially from “Third World” countries. Soros and his apparatchiks have run into fierce opposition from Hungary and its valiant Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and, to some degree, from Poland and now from Italy, under its more rightist populist government. Yet, for Soros such opposition is a mere hindrance. He and those internationalists like him continue feverishly their scheming towards a global “nation” founded on ruins of an older, Christian civilization.

Just as with the massive “re-education” of Europe following German defeat in 1945, the results are not always what we are informed they will be. In the case of post-war Germany, it was not only the tearing out, root-and-branch, of any supposed trace of Naziism and antisemitism, but the real and practical disauthorization of ANY actual, traditional conservative presence (including traditional, non-Nazi conservatives), to the point that German history was so completely re-written and sanitized as to make any defense of even pre-1918 Germany—of Prussian history—any defense of a “national German spirit,” the equivalent of “the recrudescence of antisemitism and Hitlerism.” Germans were taught and continue to be taught to despise and reject their past, not just the twelve year interregnum under Adolf Hitler, but in fact its near entirety. The German nation has become, in a real sense, one immense bog of continuous apologies and imposed, never ending penance.

The ignominious demise of Soviet Communism, a threat to us and our existence prior to 1991, in no way lessened the beating war drums and the dreams of international “democratization” or the desire for imposing “egalitarian values” emitted from the American foreign policy establishment. Nor its implicit, if not always seamless, tacit collaboration with the aims of uber-globalists like Soros. The specter of the George W. Bush years, of a John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and of Neocon “thought leaders” like Bill Kristol and James Kirchick demanding that the full panoply of “gay and lesbian rights” be implemented in Russia, that “democratic values” be imposed in Iraq, and that America intervene in Syria, are stark reminders that those policies continue full blast in the Swamp.

And thus when Donald Trump uttered the unutterable and ordered the withdrawal of American troops, he enraged not just the fanatics over on the progressivist Left, but the unelected managerial bureaucrats and Republican and “conservative” denizens of that same Swamp (who hold themselves condescendingly above all those rubes and deplorables out in the American hinterland). How dare the Trumpster question the “national consensus”! How dare he challenge the irrepressible advance towards world democracy and equality for everyone, everywhere! How dare he be so petty and insular as to reject “progress”!

Thus the howls of disapproval and anger directed at the president for his announcement last week that he is doing exactly what he declared he would do, both during his presidential campaign and back in December: withdraw American “advisers” from the Turkish border in extreme northeastern Syria.

Unlike the jeremiads one hears from nearly all the media, including Fox News and pundits like Chris Wallace and Brian Kilmeade, this decision was not unexpected, but had been in the planning stage and in the offing since this past December (when General Mattis resigned because he disagreed). The president just finally decided to follow through on his promise.

Perhaps the most pointed—and poignant—argument used by those who oppose the president is that we are leaving “our Kurdish allies in the lurch, we are deserting them,” placing them at the mercy of the Turks just across the border who have already begun to attack them. Those who make this argument appear to forget that the Marxist Kurdish resistance in that region has been and continues to be, in many respects, an anti-Turkish terror group hoping to carve out of Turkey a large area to be part of an independent Kurdish nation. Over the years they have engaged in various barbaric acts of terrorism and mayhem directed not only against the Turkish military but also against civilians. Our alliance with them, such as it was, was one of convenience: that we would offer them some temporary aerial cover, a kind of shield against their hereditary enemies, and in return they would assist us in that small area of northeastern Syria that continued to be subject of ISIS attacks.

This they did.

But too often we Americans suffer from both strategic and historical myopia...

And, given our very dubious record (at best) in the Middle East, our efforts at “democratization” and “peace-keeping” should have taught us a lesson or two. Unfortunately, the foreign policy Swamp and the globalists continue to believe that they can reconstruct human nature, with enough American advisers, enough American aid, enough secularized education and population re-programming and re-educating…and maybe a few body bags thrown in for good measure.

In so doing, they actually bring on the eventual demise of the America Empire.

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Truth Is A Kremlin Talking Point – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on October 18, 2019

I can remember when everyone had or needed “gravitas”. Now the media has a new buzzphrase.

Parasites feeding off each other.

In response to a statement during the Democratic primary debates by presidential candidate Andrew Yang that both Russia and the United States have engaged in election interference, liberal pundit Molly McKew tweeted, “I now retract any vaguely nice thing I ever said about Yang knowing technology things because he answered the question on Putin with moral equivalency and a Kremlin talking point.”

If you’re in the mood for some depressing amusement, just type the words “Kremlin talking point” without quotation marks into Twitter’s search engine and scroll through all the results which come up. Just keep on scrolling and observe how this label, “Kremlin talking point”, gets bleated by mainstream empire loyalists to dismiss subjects ranging from the rigging of Democratic primaries to criticism of US regime change wars to endless US warmongering to concerns about new cold war escalations to disliking John McCain to criticism of Nancy Pelosi. Any criticism of the status quo which cannot be labeled false or misleading gets labeled a “talking point” of Russia/Putin/the Kremlin by those who support and defend the status quo of US-centralized imperialist world hegemony.

Yang’s statement about US intervention in foreign elections is indisputably true, of course. Both alternative and mainstream media outlets have thoroughly documented the fact that the US government’s own data shows them to have interfered in scores of foreign elections, far more than any other nation on earth. This includes an interference in Russia’s elections in the nineties that was so brazen they made a Hollywood movie about it. Former CIA Director James Woolsey openly admitted on Fox News last year that the US still interferes in foreign elections to this very day.

These are not conspiracy theories. These are not even secrets. These are facts. But because they are inconvenient facts, they get labeled “Kremlin talking points” by those whose job it is to defend the status quo.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was also branded with the accusation of voicing “Kremlin talking points” for remarks she made during last night’s debate. In her case those “talking points” consisted of the indisputable fact that the bloodshed in Syria can be blamed on US politicians from both parties, and the indisputable fact that the US has armed extremist militias in that nation with the goal of effecting regime change.

“Literally a Kremlin talking point, but whatever,” tweeted #Resistance pundit Leah McElrath in response to Gabbard’s debate comments.

“It is a fact that the Russian talking point for years has been that the United States arms al-Qaeda in Syria. Tulsi Gabbard just said it on national television,” tweeted journalist Scott Stedman.

“How odd to listen to Tulsi Gabbard mouthing Syrian and Russian talking points on the Democratic debate stage…sorry but no one thinks US troops withdrawn by Trump were there as part of a ‘regime change war’ by the US,” tweeted Susan Glasser of CNN and The New Yorker.

So the establishment narrative managers now have an official three-word debunk of any criticism of the establishment which employs them, which applies even when that criticism is fully based in facts and reality. Facts are a Kremlin talking point, and anyone who believes them is Russian. Facts are Russian. Truth is Russian. Skepticism is Russian. Asking questions is Russian. Dissent is Russian. Revolution is Russian.

So let’s all get Russian then, baby. Let’s all fill our heads with objectively true Kremlin talking points and Cossack dance our way to a fact-based relationship with reality. Get as Russian as possible. Get aggressively Russian. Get offensively Russian. Get so Russian it hurts. Get so Russian it curls Louise Mensch’s hair. If they are going to start telling us that truth is Russian, then the only appropriate thing to say in response is dasvidaniya.


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Washington Is Wrong Once Again – Kurds Join Assad To Defend Syria – Original

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2019

It was a colossally dumb idea to train and arm the Kurds in Syria in the first place, but after spending billions backing what turned out to be al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, Washington found that the Kurds were the only willing boots remaining on the ground.

Now “our Kurdish allies” are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Assad – who we are still told by US officials “must go.” Washington doesn’t understand that our intervention only makes matters worse. The best way to help the Kurds and everyone else in the region is to just come home.

When President Trump Tweeted last week that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars,” adding that the US would be withdrawing from Syria, Washington went into a panic. Suddenly Republicans, Democrats, the media, the think tanks, and the war industry all discovered and quickly became experts on “the Kurds,” who we were told were an “ally” being sent to their slaughter by an ignorant President Trump.

But it was all just another bipartisan ploy to keep the “forever war” gravy train rolling through the Beltway.

Interventionists will do anything to prevent US troops from ever coming home, and their favorite tactic is promoting “mission creep.” As President Trump Tweeted, we were told in 2014 by President Obama that the US military would go into Syria for just 30 days to save the Yazidi minority that they claimed were threatened. Then that mission crept into “we must fight ISIS” and so the US military continued to illegally occupy and bomb Syria for five more years.

Even though it was the Syrian army with its Russian and Iranian allies that did the bulk of the fighting against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, President Trump took credit and called for the troops to come home. But when the military comes home, the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex loses its cash cow, so a new rationale had to be invented.

The latest “mission creep” was that we had to stay in Syria to save our “allies” the Kurds. All of a sudden our military presence in Syria was not about fighting terrorism but rather about putting US troops between our NATO ally Turkey and our proxy fighting force, the Kurds. Do they really want us to believe that it is “pro-American” for our troops to fight and die refereeing a long-standing dispute between the Turks and Kurds?

It was a colossally dumb idea to train and arm the Kurds in Syria in the first place, but after spending billions backing what turned out to be al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, Washington found that the Kurds were the only willing boots remaining on the ground. While their interest in fighting ISIS was limited, they were happy to use Washington’s muscle in pursuit of their long-term goal of carving out a part of Syria (and eventually Turkey) for themselves.

We can never leave because there will be a slaughter, Washington claimed (and the media faithfully repeated). But once again, the politicians, the mainstream media, and the Beltway “experts” have been proven wrong. They never understand that sending US troops into another country without the proper authority is not a stabilizing factor, but a destabilizing factor. I have argued that were the US to leave Syria (and the rest of the Middle East) the countries of the region would find a way to solve their own problems.

Now that the US is pulling back from northern Syria, that is just what is happening.

On Sunday the Kurds and the Syrian government signed an agreement, brokered by the Russians, to put aside their differences and join together to defend against Turkey’s incursion into Syrian territory.

Now “our Kurdish allies” are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Assad – who we are still told by US officials “must go.” Washington doesn’t understand that our intervention only makes matters worse. The best way to help the Kurds and everyone else in the region is to just come home.

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.



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Is the Interventionists’ Era Over for Good? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2019

Today, the Middle East and world have been awakened to the reality that when Trump said he was ending everlasting commitments and bringing U.S. troops home from “endless wars,” he was not bluffing.


President Donald Trump could have been more deft and diplomatic in how he engineered that immediate pullout from northeastern Syria.

Yet that withdrawal was as inevitable as were its consequences.

A thousand U.S. troops and their Kurdish allies were not going to dominate indefinitely the entire northeast quadrant of a country the size of Syria against the will of the Damascus regime and army.

Had the U.S. refused to vacate Syrian lands on Turkey’s demand, a fight would be inevitable, whether with Turkey, Damascus or both. And this nation would neither support nor sustain a new war with Turks or Syrians.

And whenever the Americans did leave, the Kurds, facing a far more powerful Turkey, were going to have to negotiate the best deal they could with Syria’s Bashar Assad.

Nor was President Recep Erdogan of Turkey going to allow Syrian Kurds to roost indefinitely just across his southern border, cheek by jowl with the Turkish Kurds of the PKK that Erdogan regards as a terrorist threat to the unity and survival of his country.

It was Russia that stepped in to broker the deal whereby the Kurds stood down and let the Syrian army take over their positions and defend Syria’s border regions against the Turks.

Some ISIS prisoners under Kurdish control have escaped.

But if the Syrian army takes custody of these prisoners from their Kurdish guards, those ISIS fighters and their families will suffer fates that these terrorists have invited.

Denunciation of Erdogan for invading Syria is almost universal. Congress is clamoring for sanctions. NATO allies are cutting off weapons sales. But before we act, some history should be revisited.

Turkey has been a NATO ally, a treaty ally, for almost seven decades. The Kurds are not. Turkish troops fought alongside us in Korea. Turkey hosted Jupiter missiles targeted on Russia in the Cold War, nuclear missiles we withdrew as our concession in the secret JFK-Khrushchev deal that ended the Cuban missile crisis.

The Turks accepted the U.S. weapons, and then accepted their removal.

The Turks have the second-largest army in NATO. They are a nation of 80 million, a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. They dominate the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, the entrance to and exit from the Black Sea for all U.S. and Russian warships.

U.S. warplanes are based at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, as are 50 U.S. nuclear weapons. And Turkey harbors millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war, whom Erdogan keeps from crossing into Europe.

Moreover, Erdogan’s concern over the Syrian Kurdish combat veterans on his border should be understood by us. When Pancho Villa launched his murderous 1916 raid into Columbus, New Mexico, we sent General “Black Jack” Pershing with an army deep into Mexico to run him down.

With no allies left fighting on our side in Syria, the small U.S. military force there is likely to be withdrawn swiftly and fully…

Hence, it was stunning that the administration, at the end of last week, under fire from both parties in the House and Senate for “abandoning” the Kurds, announced the deployment of 1,500 to 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to bolster the kingdom’s defense against missile attacks.

The only explanation for the contradiction is Sen. Henry Ashurst’s maxim: “The clammy hand of consistency should never rest for long upon the shoulder of a statesman.”

Yet, this latest U.S. deployment notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia has got the message: Trump will sell them all the weapons they can buy, but no Saudi purchase ensures that the Yanks will come and fight their wars…

Undeniably, the decisions — not to retaliate against Iran for the attack on Riyadh’s oil facilities, and the decision to terminate abruptly the alliance with Syria’s Kurds — sent shock waves to the world.

Where the Americans spent much of the Cold War ruminating about an “agonizing reappraisal” of commitments to malingering allies, this time the Yanks may be deadly serious.

This time, the Americans may really be going home.

Every nation that today believes it has an implied or a treaty guarantee that the U.S. will fight on its behalf should probably recheck its hole card.

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The Plague of Western Adventurism in Syria

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

The Russian and Turkish leadership attended a summit in Ankara on September 16th, 2019, where the two leaders agreed to cooperate in Syria. Besides such cooperation, Mr Erdogan and Mr Putin also committed to the future of the Turkstream pipeline. And at the MAKs air show, Mr Erdogan expressed his great interest in the potential purchase of SU-35 fighter jets, and perhaps the SU-57 when it becomes operational. Consider too, the additional element of NATO member Turkey’s S400 defensive missile purchase from Russia, despite warnings sanctions imposed by the United States.

In light of the above, a picture emerges where this important NATO member has either defacto withdrawn from NATO, or is threatening to do so. So what is any US leader to do? The answer is that the US must initiate new cooperation with Turkey, and respect Turkey’s security concerns as a NATO ally.

Turkey’s security concern relates to forty years of operation by the PKK inside the country. Even the United States – supposedly an ally of the Kurds – has listed the PKK as a terror group. While such labels are largely meaningless, that designation by the US of the PKK highlights the great element of hypocrisy present in US foreign relations, and its alliances.

Thus Trump has made his move, removing US troops from Manbij, to allow Turkey to subdue the PKK/YPG in northeastern Syria. Simply put, Trump is attempting to appease Turkey and bring Turkey back into the NATO fold, while Erdogan plays both sides. It’s called geo-politics. Simple. And unreported by the major media.

Also unreported by the major media is the US destabilization of Syria since 2011. US State provided the funding and backing for that insurgency. And US State provided the weaponry. Now Neocons and Neoliberals cry about the tragedy in Syria, a debacle that the US created beginning in 2011.

The United States has no right to be in Syria. The United States was, and still is in Syria illegally, according to international law. Obama relied on the unconstitutional AUMF to destabilize Syria in 2011, and then to invade and occupy Manbij and al Tanf, where the US still protects terrorists today. The AUMF is also illegal under international law, and even according to the US Constitution.

Likewise, Russia does not welcome the US withdrawal, since Turkey’s attempt to establish a 20 km ‘safe zone’ along the northeast border may potentially destabilize much of the northeast, and could place Russian forces in harm’s way. But the greater point is that the legitimate government of Syria has objected to all forms of international adventurism there since 2011, as it attempts to craft a new Constitution that will likely favour Kurdish measures for autonomy….

If Turkey were to attack the SDF to the north while the Syrian SNA attacks from the west, Kurdish forces would be hard pressed to defend the oil fields, thus depriving the PKK/YPG of much needed resources. Complicating this however, is Iran’s interest in pushing the US out of eastern Syria, where the US still has an air base in al Tanf.

In the end, it will be necessary for the Kurds to strike some sort of agreement with Turkey, Iran, and Syria, to provide the northeast region some form of autonomy and security, without the participation of the United States or Israel.

Speaking their own language and a proud and resourceful people, the Kurds may find that their best interests are served now by a political realignment, refraining from their association with Israel and the United States in an ever-changing geopolitical climate. Such a development will represent a major shift in Western Hegemony, highlighted by the fact that the former United States and Israel are incapable of granting the Kurds their own state.

To paraphrase (with great license) Mr Trump:

“The US was supposed to be in Syria for thirty days, that was in 2011 when the Clinton’s and Victoria Kagan-Nuland controlled US State. The United States stayed in Syria and got deeper and deeper into battle with no true goal in sight. The Kurds cooperated with the US, but were paid massive amounts of money and given billions in US military equipment to do so. They have been fighting vs Turkey decades. It is time for the United States to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal.”

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Kurds in Toronto are protesting Turkey's attack on the Syrian Defence Force

Kurds in Toronto



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Pompeo Can’t Blame Iran For Attacking Itself – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

They jumped the gun on impeachment. They didn’t neuter Trump, they unleashed him. Because he simply has nothing left to lose…

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”


Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water someone poked a couple of holes in an oil tanker belonging to Iran. This sent oil prices up briefly in the vain hope of stabilizing them. But, strangely, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was silent.

This was a warning to Iran from someone on the Saudi/Israeli/U.S. side, “You won’t win without costs.”

Well, of course, that’s true. The big question everyone is asking is, of course, “Who did this?”

Details are sketchy with a lot of back and forth. Iran initially reported missile strikes.

But Iran’s national tanker company, the owner of the boat, is now ruling out missiles.

But who did this is honestly not even relevant at this point. It could be Israel, the Saudis, rogue U.S. or British agents, etc.

Once we started down this path of sanctions, attacks on oil assets, and the like, it opened up the possibility of anyone with an axe to grind creating an incident for their purposes and blaming someone else for it…

The people squawking the loudest about the President’s recent policy decisions in the Middle East are the ones most likely behind this. They are the ones with the most to lose if Saudi Arabia falls and the U.S. pulls much of its force out of the Middle East.

The most likely candidate is the one actor who has consistently overstepped its bounds in attacking neighbors it considers hostile for any reason. Israel…

But the reality is that the partitioning of Syria has been a U.S. neoconservative project from the beginning of the civil war. Israel has given aid and comfort to ISIS fighters along the Golan Heights. This is not news, folks.

And the use of the Kurds to destabilize not only Syria but Iraq, Iran and Turkey by outside actors, like the U.S., Saudi Arabia and YES, Israel, is well established.

Pompeo has helped preside over sending the Kurds more than 30,000 truckloads of weapons. Who paid for those weapons, by the way?

We did.

How many of these SDF fighters are nothing more than foreign mercenaries paid by us to hold strategic areas of Syria– the oil fields and the border crossings –to starve Assad out of power?

It’s been long established that the U.S. presence in Syria is unsustainable. But who keeps the pressure on Trump politically to maintain the situation?


There comes a point where the evidence of influence is overwhelming and the state of the game board so degraded that it’s time for someone to make a bold call and change tactics.

If the neocons and Israeli Firsters in Congress (and formerly in his cabinet) have turned on Trump to the point of starting impeachment proceedings against him for not going to war with Iran, then Trump is free to finally just blow it all wide open.

Which is exactly what he is doing. The Kurds were simply mercenaries to help us defeat ISIS. Job’s done, your beef with Turkey is your problem.

Remember that Russia’s intervention in Syria outed who was really behind the coalition to overthrow President Assad and when Turkey’s Erdogan was framed into a fight with Russia, shooting down an SU-24 in November 2015, Erdogan realized he would be the scapegoat for the entire operation and swiftly began changing his tune.

Don’t you think Trump can see the same setup happening here now with the Kurds?

They jumped the gun on impeachment. They didn’t neuter Trump, they unleashed him. Because he simply has nothing left to lose…

So, to me, it makes perfect sense to see rogue elements around the region acting independently to try and revive the war footing while cynically supporting a collapsing oil price.

It’s clear that no one in the U.S. or Saudi Arabian power circles wants oil collapsing below $50 per barrel. The Russians and the Iranians don’t care, they trade oil now mostly outside the dollar and their currencies immunize them to the fluctuations.

Trump watches the stock market like a hawk and the Saudis watch the price of Brent like their lives depend on it, because they do.

So, some noises that talks are good and an attack on Iran’s tankers are good for oil prices. An end to the trade war (very unlikely) and Iran bowing to U.S. demands to stop exporting oi (even less likely) is doing nothing more than creating yet another opportunity to short oil.

That’s the legacy of the chaos created by making terrible decisions intervening in other people’s affairs. That’s why it really doesn’t matter who attacked the Iranian tanker. It was a bad move. All it does it convince Trump further that it’s time to get out of the way and cut bait.

The Saudis and the Israelis are harboring huge and ancient grudges against Iran that can no longer be tolerated in U.S. political circles. This is crippling U.S. politics.

Regardless of who actually attacked this tanker their collective grudge and control over the corridors of power in the U.S. is the fuel that keeps these conflicts ongoing.

Trump, to his credit, is now finally voicing and acting on his long-held beliefs that the Iraq War was a mistake, that Syria is an Obama/Clinton quagmire and that Russia has a strong role to play in cleaning up their messes.

And the less we listen to the cries of anguish from “the usual suspects” the quicker we can back away from war.

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Trump on Troop Withdrawal From Northern Syria: Time to Get US Out of ‘Ridiculous Endless Wars’ – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on October 8, 2019

including capturing thousands of ISIS fighters, mostly from Europe. But Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA! I said “NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.”

Life will be tough for the Kurds but we shouldn’t be there to begin with.

The situation is likely worse than if we had never been in Syria, much like Iraq.

This is the right thing to do. Trump is right, the US is being played for a sucker.

The American military has reportedly evacuated several outposts from the region ahead of a Turkish offensive against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), previously announced by Ankara.

President Donald Trump has written on Twitter that getting the US out of wars was the reason he was elected, just hours after reports emerged that American troops are withdrawing from their positions in Syria.

​Trump earlier commented on the situation in northern Syria, where they plan to create a safe zone in order to prevent new clashes between Turkish forces and US-backed militants from the SDF. He stressed that the US has destroyed the Daesh* terrorist group in the region, adding that his country shouldn’t have involved itself deeper in local conflicts.

According to the American president, the US military should fight only where it is in the country’s interest, “and only fight to win”.

Trump further elaborated that if Ankara does anything he considers “off-Limits”, he will “totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey”.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon stated that the US does not endorse the Turkish operation in northern Syria.

The statements come as Turkey prepares to clear Kurdish-led militants from Syrian territories east of the Euphrates. In the meantime, the SDF has called it “a stab in the back”, claiming that the US had assured the militants there would not be any Turkish offensive in the region. The Kurdish-led forces, however, stressed that they would fight against Turkey’s forces without any hesitation.

The US stated that it would not support the operation and evacuated two American observation posts in Ras al-Ain and Tell Abiad.

The two NATO allies have previously negotiated about the possibility of creating a safe zone in the northern part of Syria, but last month Turkey accused Washington of stalling the process and warned that it would establish a safe zone without US help if needed.

Addressing the decision, Damascus declared that both states are occupants, as their forces have been deployed in the country illegally, without any authorisation from the Syrian government of the UN Security Council.

Turkey has long been attempting to drive the SDF militants away from its border, as its government consider the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), leading the group, to be a part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara has blacklisted as a terror organisation.

* Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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Why isn’t the media covering Turkish President Erdogan’s ties to ISIS

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2019


…But what should disturb Americans most about Erdogan is not his efforts to influence Congress, his abysmal record as a jailer of journalists, his genocidal war against the Kurds, or even the $100 million mosque he has constructed in Lanham, Maryland.

It’s Erdogan’s commitment to global jihad, and specifically, to ISIS terrorists. Since 2012, the Turkish intelligence service, MIT, under Erdogan’s direction, has been providing resources and material assistance to ISIS, while Turkish Customs officials turned a blind eye to ISIS recruits flowing across Turkey’s borders into Syria and Iraq.

Scores of ISIS fighters captured by pro-U.S. Kurdish forces in northern Syria showed Turkish exit stamps on their passports, and otherwise boasted of the direct assistance they had received from Turkish authorities.

“Turkish intelligence knows everything,” one captured ISIS fighter told his Kurdish captors recently.

Many former ISIS fighters have now joined the Turkish-backed forces that have occupied the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin, where they have engaged in ethnic cleansing.

Two Turkish intelligence officers, captured by Kurdish guerilla fighters in northern Iraq in 2017, provided insider accounts of Turkish government assistance to ISIS and other jihadi groups operating in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey’s assistance to ISIS starts right at the top. In 2016, Wikileaks published an archive of 58,000 emails documenting the involvement of Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, in helping ISIS market oil stolen from Syria and Iraq.

Until the publication of the emails, Albayrak had denied any involvement in the illicit oil trade.

Sümeyye Erdogan, daughter of the Turkish president, reportedly set up an entire medical corps, including a hospital to treat wounded ISIS fighters in Sanlurfa, a city in Southeastern Turkey close to the Syrian border.

ISIS evacuated severely wounded fighters across the border into Sanliurfa in Turkish army trucks without undergoing Customs inspection.

The evidence of Erdogan’s direct, personal and institutional support for ISIS and related jihadi groups is so extensive, the wonder is why the American media is not paying more attention to it.

This week a new group, the Turkey-ISIS Research Project, is sponsoring bus-billboards to roam the Big Apple. The message is clear: “Erdogan, the Godfather of Jihadist Terrorists, is Not Welcome in the United States.”

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Using Forged Emails, “Progressive” Journalists Smear Their Own for Challenging Syria Groupthink

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2019

By Alexander Rubinstein

Three American journalists decided to do what many of their colleagues have done since the outbreak of the proxy war on the Syrian government: they traveled to the war-torn country to report what’s happening from the ground. But unlike the reporters who have made a name for themselves traipsing through some of the oldest cities in the world recently put under occupation by a miscellany of jihadist groups, these three journalists reported from areas under the control of the government.

For the industry of experts and journalists giving media cover to Syria’s jihadist insurgency, the three of them had once again crossed a line. And so the campaign to deplatform journalists Rania Khalek, Max Blumenthal, and Anya Parampil was renewed, beginning with false accusations that the trip was financed by the Syrian government.

Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, told MintPress News why he went to Syria in the first place:

The Western public has been subjected for eight years to an industrial-grade information war designed to sabotage their critical faculties and inculcate support for military interventions, proxy wars and economic sanctions.

The point is, according to Blumenthal:

To break the information blockade by going on the ground in countries targeted for regime change and ripping the curtain off of elaborate regime-change propaganda constructs. I accepted an invitation to attend the General Trade Union Forum in Syria with that mission in mind, and was able to go off on my own for several days in and around Damascus and hear from actual Syrians about their experiences during the war and how the escalating U.S. economic war was darkening their future.

At this point, the military conflict is virtually over, but U.S. sanctions are doing enormous damage to working class Syrians, while failing to scathe the government and its inner circle.”

Behind the campaign to silence these critical, anti-war journalists was the same cast of characters that have become notorious in progressive circles for the viciousness of their attacks — attacks against Khalek and Blumenthal in particular, but also against anyone willing to come out against regime change in Syria.

Khalek told MintPress News:

The harassment these people inspire and participate in is relentless. It varies from libel and smears to attacks on my physical safety. I’ve been doxxed and had my livelihood threatened. I’ve been deplatformed and fired. That is their goal.”

The tactics employed to silence these reporters have included death and rape threats, spurious lawsuits, threatening phone calls, pressure campaigns to have them fired, and persistent harassment against any institutions publishing their work or hosting their talks, books, or documentary tours. Parampil, who also reports at The Grayzone, told MintPress:

Twitter may seem like the world to some, but when I’m out in the field meeting real people I find that my position represents the majority. Whether in Syria, the U.S. or Venezuela, I’ve found a lot of support and an audience that is hungry for the kind of reporting we do… As long as I can continue to speak with the working people of the world and punch holes in the corporate, pro-war narrative, I am happy. Everything else is background noise.”

But over the week, the illiberal McCarthyite campaign reached a new level of depravity, when prominent media personalities began circulating a forged email accusing Khalek of being paid by a Syrian businessman on the U.S. sanctions list.

“I’m not at all surprised that those attacking me have resorted to posting fake emails. They are nasty and sleazy in their attacks; they continue to sink lower and lower,” Khalek said.


Introducing the Usual Suspects

While this informal group seeking to take down alternative journalists come from an array of think tank and media institutions, many of them — including artist Molly Crabapple and journalists Danny Gold and Oz Katerji — were associated with VICE News, an outlet that celebrated the NATO-backed jihadist assassination of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and whitewashed neo-Nazi overtones out of its work in support of Ukraine’s Euromaidan insurgency. Those profiled in this section have participated in the attacks against the trio of journalists on Twitter.

Khalek told MintPress:

I’m being accused of supporting the Syrian government because I challenged the U.S. regime-change machine’s narrative and policy that sought to collapse the Syrian state and hand it over to a bunch of Islamist gangs, as was done with Libya. Anyone who questions the mainstream pro-war consensus should expect to be smeared and libeled. That is what the other side does to maintain hegemony over the discourse.

My approach to covering Syria has been my approach to all subjects: to challenge power, to challenge propaganda, and to challenge war They want to hide the reality that I’m trying to expose.”

But chief among the gaggle of prominent young regime-change propagandists is Charles Lister, whose role at the Middle East Institute (MEI) think tank in Washington has seen him vet so-called “moderate rebels” who have formed alliances with al-Qaeda. MEI, for its part, is funded by the United Arab Emirates, a Gulf petro-monarchy that has helped supply al-Qaeda with weapons in Syria. For Lister’s part, he has maintained that “al-Qaeda has really got it right” in Syria. He, like many of the other people who pounced on Khalek over the fake email, spent years promoting a now-suspended Twitter account, @ShamiWitness, as an expert on the Syrian conflict. The account, it turns out, belonged to ISIS and was used to recruit young men on the platform.

The email purporting to show Khalek on the payroll of an individual sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department was published by a Syrian regime-change activist based out of Quebec named Noor Nahas. Its publication by Nahas appears to coincide with a hit piece in Tablet Magazine against an NGO worker in Damascus who has advocated for ceasefire agreements in the country, who is also accused of receiving illicit funding in the fake email.

Lister promoted both the hit piece and the forged email on his Twitter account, but deleted all of the tweets focusing on the fake email. In those deleted tweets, Lister could hardly contain himself and even attempted to tag the U.S. Treasury on Twitter in order to alert them to the alleged violation of U.S. sanctions by Khalek, an American citizen and journalist. After deleting the tweets, Lister removed himself from the discussion.

Journalist Danny Gold, another former promoter of the @ShamiWitness account, retweeted a number of attacks against Khalek over the forged email, on one occasion writing “this thread is a wild ride, and leads to documented evidence of some of the favorite Assadist reporters taking money from the regime to whitewash their crimes.”

Gold is infamous as among the most vicious of his associates. But he is no impartial voice on the Syrian conflict, given his affinity for having geeky conversations about a high-fantasy television series with al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra.

Molly Crabapple has cultivated a reputation as a bohemian artist fighting for freedom alongside the world’s oppressed. She got started with the Occupy Wall Street movement, but over the years a pattern emerged wherein she repeatedly championed State Department causes and narratives. Over the years she has painted portraits of everyone from Oz Katerji; to the neo-Nazi hacker Andrew Auernheimer, or “Weev;” to Syrian refugees.

Crabapple was indeed so pained by the plight of Syrians that she once doxxed a United Nations aid worker in Erbil, Iraq for writing about the war. She has also falsely accused this reporter of participating in a protest against the White Helmets that I was there to cover.

Crabapple falsely accused Parampil, Khalek, and Blumenthal of “prancing around Syria on a government luxury tour,” calling it “some Goebbels shit.”

Oz Katerji — like Crabapple, who is a former burlesque dancer — seems to have little prior background in international affairs. Katerji, once a Dubstep artist, went from writing profiles for VICE of “The Strangely Uplifting Tale of the Cam-Girl with No Vagina” to articles like “The Syrian Regime Is Using DIY Barrel Bombs Against Its Citizens.” For that piece, he interviewed Elliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, an outlet funded by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy. Katerji’s own ties to Bellingcat, where he was considered an official contributor, were left unmentioned in the piece.

Another Bellingcat member, senior investigator Nick Waters, homed in on a picture of Khalek in Damascus, writing that she was posing for the camera “only a couple of degrees away from the infamous Saydnaya prison, where tens of thousands of people have been tortured and executed.”

But that widely reported figure (it even made its way into the New York Times and an Amnesty International report) is credited to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a state-funded pro-opposition front group based out of Qatar, a country that has also fueled the crisis in Syria. The Syrian Network for Human Rights has lobbied the U.S. for military intervention.

Katerji has also promoted the ISIS Twitter recruitment account. As Kevin Gosztola points out at Shadowproof, Katerji has sworn to “never rest while” journalists countering the narrative on Syria “are given platforms or publishing opportunities.”

Idrees Ahmad is another journalist who has spent the past few days on Twitter relentlessly attacking Khalek, Blumenthal and Parampil, even getting a piece published on al-Jazeera attacking the trio. That’s the Idrees Ahmad whose blog has published attacks on this outlet and this reporter for raising questions about Jorge Ramos and his interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro; a story later vindicated as multiple holes emerged in Ramos’ story. Ahmad, unsurprisingly, also promoted the @ShamiWitness account.

CNN reporter Clarissa Ward tweeted about the trip:

Started to read a certain ‘journalist’s’ thread from inside Damascus this AM, then found myself getting palpitations which progressed into spasms of rage. How can anyone be so blindly credulous? Are narcotics involved? It is such a disgrace.”

Ward’s fury may have been over the perceived credulty of the reporters on the trip, but it is more likely that she has an axe to grind against Blumenthal, who exposed how she had previously hired al-Qaeda propagandist Bilal Abdul Kareem to guide her through jihadist strongholds, where the “heroes” are “on the ground.” Kareem’s propaganda is so overt that he has even whitewashed a group of men on motorcycles waving ISIS flags as “civilians protesting.”

Alexander Reid Ross — a geography teacher who has made a name for himself in anti-fascist circles by attacking the likes of Blumenthal and Khalek over nebulous ties to fascists, using the tired “red-brown” technique — also participated in the Twitter pile-on.

Blumenthal told MintPress:

My ability to convey this reality back to the U.S. public was apparently such a threat to an unusually vocal echo chamber of regime-change fanatics that I was branded a Nazi (by Molly Crabapple), a drug addict (by a CNN correspondent), and told that I should have my life ruined (by a reactionary suburban doofus-turned-professional white Salafi ally). Their attacks were part and parcel of the Western campaign to isolate Syrians from the rest of the world, and all because their government held off a multi-billion dollar proxy war that would have transformed their country into an even more harrowing version of Libya if it had succeeded.”

Lamentably, VICE News is not the only hip, left-leaning news outlet decidedly on the side of regime change in Syria. Mariam Elba, a fact checker at The Intercept, an outlet owned by a billionaire oligarch with prior ties to human trafficking, scoffed at Blumenthal and Khalek’s trip. “Neither of them speak Arabic, yet they claim to be ‘talking’ to many Syrians there.”

This is yet another false allegation, as Khalek does speak Arabic.


Breaking the media blockade

For Blumenthal, Khalek and Parampil, all of this — as well as the lawsuits and deplatforming campaigns — is a distraction from doing real, independent investigative journalism. In Syria, where Western reporters have flocked to Islamist-held regions, the story that has not been told, in their view, is that of the average Syrian. According to Parampil:

This group of Syrians represents the vast majority of the country, despite the fact that we never hear from them in corporate media. It is my job, as a U.S. journalist with the privilege of working independently, to visit countries and speak to people impacted by the policies of Washington, particularly those who are excluded from the mainstream narrative. Unless we hear from these people, the U.S. public will be more willing to support military and economic war against the Syrian people. That is why CNN and other outlets act as though they’re invisible. The media has been weaponized against the Syrian people.”

Khalek expanded upon the situation many Syrians currently face, arguing that people are much safer now that the fighting has mostly ended and the government came out with a victory:

Except for Idlib, the bombs and mortars have stopped falling, allowing people to return to some sense of normalcy. But things aren’t normal, because the U.S. is economically suffocating the country with crippling sanctions that have devalued the Syrian currency and made it impossible for people to rebuild or plan for a decent future. Everyone wants to leave Syria because of the economic strangulation. The war on Syria continues. In place of funding proxy death squads, the U.S. has launched a campaign of economic terrorism against the country.”

Asked what lessons she took away from her trip to the country, Parampil said:

I was most shocked to see how close foreign-backed extremist militants came to taking control of the Syrian capital. They were meters away from capturing the old city, the ancient heart of Damascus. When I rode into Damascus for the first time and saw the large Syrian flag still waving above the city, I was reminded that many of my colleagues in U.S. media were supporting a war that would have seen that banner replaced with one belonging to ISIS or Al-Qaeda.

The fact they failed is something all of humanity should celebrate. I spoke with people who described the hell they were forced to live in under the rule of foreign-backed militants. They were happy to be liberated by the Syrian military. They have every right to be heard in U.S. media, which is why I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to travel to Syria and meet them at the invitation of the country’s working people.”

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Progressive Foreign Policy Fails Again – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2019


Note: This is an excerpt from their book, The Impeachment of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for High Crimes in Syria and Libya.

What happened in Libya and Syria is simply a manifestation of a very dangerous mindset known as progressivism.  Progressivism amounts to a blind faith that government force can improve any given situation.  It is usually associated with domestic policy but progressivism also operates in foreign policy. Progressives ignore costs and consequences.  Progressives plunge into situations they do not understand, heedless of the consequences.  When progressives fail, they invariably attribute the failure to not using enough government force.  Thus, Obama, explaining his failure in Libya, stated, “I think we underestimated . . . the need to come in full force.”[1]

Thus, it is not merely Obama and Clinton who need to be held responsible.  Their underlying ideology also needs to be called to account.  We need to impeach progressivism too lest that dangerous ideology leads us into an endless series of future foreign policy disasters as it has already led us into 100 years filled with them.

It is important to understand that a callous disregard of consequences is intrinsic to progressivism,[2] whether applied to domestic or foreign policy. One consequence of foreign intervention which the progressives utterly ignore is blowback in the form of terrorist attacks in direct retaliation against the intervention.  It is probably a Freudian slip that those who supported overthrowing Gaddafi and Assad were oblivious to the consequences as these men had few ties to terrorism in recent years.

Another consequence of war that is rarely discussed in advance is the legal risk of engaging in war.  When a state is attacked, it has the legal right to respond and defend itself.[4]  Such a response may include attacking any military facility in the attacking state. Obviously, any such attacks in modern war run the risk of civilian casualties.  Since this is rarely if ever mentioned by politicians, they apparently expect us to simply put all of this out of our minds.

What is truly revolting is this.  Obama and Clinton, who are protected by heavy security, have launched the United States into wars against parties likely to retaliate against innocent and vulnerable civilians, when the perpetrators of these illegal wars are utterly incapable of stopping such attacks or protecting such civilians.  The only legal remedy for such moral depravity is impeachment…

To sum up, progressivism fails in foreign policy for a number of important reasons. First, the progressives are pervasively ignorant about the countries they are invading and conquering. Second, such intervention fails to deal with the underlying causes of problems, usually being related to the preexisting culture and character of a people or the arbitrary borders into which disparate ethnic, racial and religious groups have been consigned. Third, such intervention sparks resistance and retaliation among the victims. Finally, such intervention usually results in unforeseen and unintended bad consequences.

Thus, the lesson of this book is not just that Obama and Clinton blundered by intervening into Libya and Syria but that, once again, progressives applied their utopian theory beyond the borders of the United States with the usual disastrous consequences.

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