Can the West Get Out of Its (Self-Made) Cul-de-Sac in Syria?

Earlier this week, The World Financial Review published our latest article, on Syria—“Can the West Get Out of Its (Self-Made) Cul-de-Sac in Syria?”  Click here to read it online (with footnotes); the text is also appended below.  As always, we encourage readers to offer comments both on this site and on The World Financial Review Web site.

Can the West Get Out of Its (Self-Made) Cul-de-Sac?

 In recent years, the limits on America’s ability to shape important outcomes in the Middle East unilaterally—or even with a few European partners—have been dramatically underscored by strategically failed interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.  Last year, President Obama’s inability to act on his declared intention to attack Syria after chemical weapons were used there in August made clear that Washington can no longer credibly threaten the effective use of force in the region.  Still, American and other Western elites persist in thinking they can dictate the Middle East’s future by helping armed insurgents overthrow Syria’s recognized government.  If Western powers don’t drop their insistence that President Bashar al-Assad leave power—even though he retains the support of a majority of Syrians and is winning his fight against opposition forces—and get serious about facilitating a political settlement between Assad and parts of the opposition, they will do further damage to their own already distressed position in the Middle East.   

Since protests broke out in parts of Syria in March 2011, Western policy has focused on destabilizing President Assad and his government.  American, British, and French decision-makers calculated that, by undermining Assad, they could inflict a damaging blow to Iran’s regional position.  They also reckoned that targeting Assad would help coopt the Arab Awakening that had emerged in the months preceding the start of unrest in Syria.  America and its British and French partners wanted to show that, after the loss of pro-Western regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and near misses in Bahrain and Yemen, it wasn’t just authoritarian regimes willing to subordinate their foreign policies to Washington that were at risk from popular discontent.  Western powers wanted to demonstrate that it was also possible to challenge governments—like Assad’s—committed to foreign policy independence.

So, soon after unrest began in Syria, Washington and its European partners declared—as President Obama put it—that Assad “must go.”  To this end, Western powers began goading an externally supported but internally conflicted “opposition” to mount an armed insurgency against Assad’s government.

Roots of Failure

Since the Cold War, pursuit of regime change by externally supported coups and insurgencies has come to seem an almost “normal” aspect of American foreign policy, used by U.S. administrations to eliminate governments seen as overly challenging to American ambitions or to deprive geopolitical rivals of allies.  This approach, though, flies in the face of the most basic principles of international law and politics.  What is the West’s moral high ground for preaching rule of law and observance of international norms when America and its partners regularly support the overthrow of recognized governments?  (Vladimir Putin is not alone in noting Western hypocrisy on this point; for many Middle Easterners, Western encouragement of the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government evokes U.S.-backed coups in their part of the world, from Iran in 1953 to Egypt last year.)

But, to paraphrase Talleyrand, Western strategy toward the Syrian conflict is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake.  From the start, anyone prepared to look soberly at on-the-ground reality in Syria could see that arming a deeply divided opposition would not bring down Assad.  All that outside support for armed oppositionists—a sizable percentage of whom are not even Syrian—has done is to take what began as indigenously generated protest over particular grievances and, from early on, turn it into a heavily militarized (and illegal) campaign against the recognized government of a United Nations member state.  But the popular base for opposition to that government is too small to sustain a campaign that could actually bring it down—much less replace it with a functionally coherent order that Westerners could plausibly describe as “democracy.”

Since Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafiz, became Syria’s president in 1970, the main alternative to the Assads’ secular Ba’athism has been Sunni Islamism.  For much of Hafiz’s thirty-year tenure, this was embodied in Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, which—unlike the original Brothers in Egypt—conducted a violent, sustained, but ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the elder Assad.  Since Bashar succeeded his father in 2000, the Islamist alternative has been embodied in more radical groups—some openly aligned to al-Qa’ida.

This is problematic for those who want to challenge the Assads.  While a majority of Syrians are Sunni Arabs, those Syrians who don’t want to live in a Sunni Islamist state—including non-Islamist Sunnis along with Christians and non-Sunni Muslims—add up to more than half the population, providing the Assad government a strong base.  Since early 2011, polling data, participation in the February 2012 referendum on a new constitution, participation in the May 2012 parliamentary elections, and other evidence indicate that at least half of Syrian society has continued to back Assad.  There is no polling or other evidence indicating that anywhere close to a majority of Syrians wants Assad replaced by some part of the opposition.  Indeed, NATO estimates that opposition support is declining as it becomes ever more sharply divided among secular liberals (mostly resident in London, Paris, and Washington, with little standing in Syria), Muslim Brotherhood-style Islamists (whose current standing in Syria is also questionable), and more radical, al-Qa’ida-like jihadis (the most effective opposition fighters).

The Rising Costs of Hubris

The West’s Syria strategy has backfired against virtually all the constituencies it was ostensibly intended to help.  It has also backfired against Western interests.

Syria, of course, has paid the highest price of all, with over 130,000 killed (so far) and millions more displaced as a result of fighting between opposition elements and government forces.  Iran—from the West’s perspective, the real target of the anti-Assad campaign—has had to bear the costs of stepped up support for the Syrian government.  But the Western strategy of working with oppositionists to effect Assad’s downfall has not undermined Iran’s regional position.  At the same time, the Syrian conflict is imposing increasingly serious security, economic, and political costs on Syria’s neighbors, especially Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey—costs that, as they mount, could potentially threaten these countries’ long-term stability.  More broadly, the conflict is helping to fuel a dangerous resurgence of sectarian tensions across the Middle East—in turn, giving new life to al-Qa’ida and similar jihadi movements around the region.

America and its British and French partners have not paid in blood or (much) treasure for their proxy intervention in Syria.  They are, however, suffering various forms of self-inflicted damage to their own regional position—like the accelerating proliferation of violent jihadis.

It was utterly predictable that encouraging Saudi Arabia’s assumption of a leading role in funding and supplying Syrian oppositionists would condition the rise of violent, al-Qa’ida-like fighters to prominence in opposition ranks.  America and its European allies have experience working with Saudi Arabia to fund jihadis willing to target a perceived common enemy.  They tried it in Afghanistan and got al-Qa’ida and the Taliban as a result.  They tried it in Libya and got a dead U.S. ambassador and three other murdered official Americans as a result.  Yet Western powers opted to try this approach once again in Syria.  And today, the U.S. Intelligence Community estimates that 26,000 “extremists” are now fighting in Syria—more than 7,000 of them brought in from outside the country.  U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warns that many want not just to bring down the Assad government; they are preparing to attack Western interests—including the American homeland—directly.

Western powers are also paying for their ill-conceived Syria policy through increasing polarization of relations with Russia and China.  Intelligence services for all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have identified Syrian-based jihadi extremism as a significant and growing security threat.  The American, British, and French governments have only themselves to blame for this. The Russian and Chinese governments blame America, Britain, and France.

Strategically, the Syrian conflict has prompted closer Sino-Russian cooperation against Western efforts to usurp the Middle East’s balance of power by overthrowing independent regional governments.  On March 17, 2011, the Security Council narrowly adopted a resolution authorizing use of force to protect civilian populations in Libya; Russia and China abstained, permitting the measure’s enactment.  In short order, though, Washington and its partners distorted the resolution to turn civilian protection into a campaign of coercive regime change in Libya.  Within weeks, Russian and Chinese officials were openly characterizing their acquiescence to the Libya resolution as a “mistake”—one they would not repeat on Syria.  As early as June 2011, Moscow and Beijing indicated they were prepared to use their UN veto to block external intervention in Syria; they have done so three times already, and are ready to do so again, if necessary.

Western policy toward Syria has hardly persuaded Middle Eastern publics that the West actually supports their interest in political change.  By backing Syrian oppositionists and calling for Assad to go, America and its European partners hoped to show that, somewhere in the Middle East, they could put themselves on the “right” side of history.  But the hard truth—which Western posturing on Syria can’t obscure—is that demands by Arab publics for leaderships accountable to them, not to Washington and its allies, directly threaten the West’s longstanding strategy of securing regional dominance by partnering with local autocrats.  (For the West, the problem with Assad isn’t that he is an autocrat, but that he hasn’t been a cooperative one.)  Washington’s not-so-tacit support for the (Saudi-backed) July 2013 coup against Egypt’s elected government removed any residual doubt that an America intent of preserving its hegemonic prerogatives can endorse moves toward real democracy in the Middle East.

Clinging to a Failing Policy 

The only way out of the Syrian conflict is serious diplomacy to facilitate a political settlement based on power sharing between the Assad government and elements of the opposition.  Russia, China, Iran, and even the Assad government have all acknowledged this.  But, by staking out a maximalist demand for Assad’s removal, Obama and his European partners have severely truncated prospects for a negotiated solution.

This was on full display in the “Geneva II” peace conference in January.  America and its partners insist that the June 2012 “Geneva I” blueprint for a settlement to the conflict requires Assad to relinquish power.  This is, to say the least, disingenuous.  At Geneva I, America, Britain, and France wanted language in the final communiqué barring Assad from any future political role; Russia and China insisted that such language be left out—and it was.  Western powers have nonetheless continued claiming that the Geneva I blueprint bans Assad from being part of a transitional government or from standing for election after a settlement is reached—even though this is clearly not true.  Washington and its British and French partners blocked Iran from taking part in Geneva II—even though Tehran is critical to any serious effort to resolve the conflict—precisely because Iran will not accept their warped reading of Geneva I as to Assad’s future.  As a result, Geneva II has so far produced only limited relief for civilians in the besieged city of Homs, with no progress on the issues at the heart of the conflict.

As Syrian government forces continue making gains on the battlefield, Assad and his supporters may well be preparing a potentially decisive political challenge to the opposition and its Western supporters.  Syria is supposed to hold its next presidential election this year—the first under the constitution adopted in 2012, which permits multi-candidate, multi-party elections.  Assad and his government will work hard to hold this election—and challenge the opposition to run candidates against him.  If Assad is able to hold the election, he will win—thereby underscoring his standing as the legitimate head of the internationally recognized government of Syria, and further marginalizing the opposition.

How many more Syrians will have to die before the United States and its partners get serious about conflict resolution in Syria?

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


102 Responses to “Can the West Get Out of Its (Self-Made) Cul-de-Sac in Syria?”

  1. James Canning says:

    In my judgment there was no “inability” for Obama to hit Syria with hundreds of cruise missiles, in wake of Aug. 21 CW event last year in that country. I think he was relieved an excuse or good reason not to attack was to hand, thanks partly to the Russians.

  2. James Canning says:

    I of course very much agree the demand that the Assads abandon power has been a mistake on the part of the US and other countries.

  3. Don Bacon says:

    “If Western powers don’t drop their insistence that President Bashar al-Assad leave power—even though he retains the support of a majority of Syrians and is winning his fight against opposition forces—and get serious about facilitating a political settlement between Assad and parts of the opposition, they will do further damage to their own already distressed position in the Middle East.”

    A political settlement is not possible.
    –The US demands regime change b/c Syria is an ally of Iran (also a regi9me change target) and Syria supports Hezbollah.
    –The anti-Syria opposition, supported by Saudi/Turkey/US, but primarily the former, is not interested in a political settlement, and neither is Syria.
    –Stumbling Kerry has proven it isn’t possible.

  4. Karl.. says:

    April 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    You are fully right. EU would never dare being this aggressive againt Russia if it wasnt for US backing them. They are nothing with the US these days, so pathetic.

  5. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Maybe Tom’s been reading this site…

    Sheldon: Iran’s Best Friend


    “Adelson personifies everything that is poisoning our democracy and Israel’s today — swaggering oligarchs, using huge sums of money to try to bend each system to their will.”

    Of course Tom is a pussy and doesn’t have the courage to say the obvious:

    The word is “OLIGARCHY” not “democracy”.

  6. Rehmat says:

    In September 2013, Matea Gold confirmed at the Washington Post said that pro-Israel and Jewish groups strongly back military strike against Syria. Jewish leaders such as ADL chief Abraham Foxman are drawing parallels to the holocaust as an excuse to attack Syria.

    Due to the Jewish Lobby’s significant power in Washington, much of America’s foreign policy revolves around Israel. As Israel-First Sen. John McCain once admitted in a CNN interview, that the substantial amount of aid going to Egypt and Turkey every year is merely a bribe so they will maintain friendly relations with Israel.

    On August 28, 2013, New York-based geopolitical analyst and blogger Eric Draitser, said: “Perched comfortably on Syria’s border, Israel has played a key role in stoking tensions and fomenting unrest on the other side of the Golan Heights. Not only did Israel carry out a number of blatantly illegal bombings inside Syria’s borders, there have been dozens of mainstream accounts, including videos, of Israeli Special forces commandos inside of Syria. Naturally, Israeli intentions are to further their own interests which for decades have been centered on the destruction of Iran, their main regional competitor and rival.”

  7. Don Bacon says:

    Israel is a tiny factor in Syria compared to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the U.S., primarily the former.

    Seymour Hersh has a long article out on the Syria gas attacks which highlight Turkey involvement..

    from Moon of Alabama:

    *In 2012 the CIA build a rat-line to provide weapons from Libya via Turkey to the Syrian insurgents.
    *That rat-line was stopped by the CIA after the attack on the U.S. “consulate” in Benghazi but the Turks continued to run it on their own.
    *The Turkish prime minister had bet all his cards on the Syrian insurgency. His intelligence service MIT was supporting not only the Free Syrian Army but also Al-Nusra. When the war turned against the insurgents and the Syrian government was on the verge of winning Turkey needed to change the game.
    *Turkey trained al-Nusra on the production of Sarin and provided the precursor chemicals.
    After several Sarin incidents, on of which killed some Syrian soldiers, Erdogan pushed the White House to react to the supposed breach of Obama’s red-line against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. Obama at first declined.
    *In August 2013 chemical weapon inspectors arrived in Damascus. The Turks used the visit to instigate a spectacular chemical warfare incident in Ghouta. This incident pushed Obama to declare that the red-line had been crossed and that he would use air attacks against the Syrian government.
    *Provided with physical probes from the incident via the Russians and the British U.S. government laboratories found that the Sarin used in Ghouta did not match the Sarin the Syrian government was supposed to have.
    *Knowing that the case was weak and the proposed action would likely escalate throughout the Middle East the U.S. military urged to call the attack off. Obama then threw the ball over to Congress and, after Congress declined to pick it up, took the Russian deal.

  8. kooshy says:

    Can anybody tell how come ( what happened) that Aljazeera is willing to publish this article criticizing and blaming KSA, West, Gulf states for Syria

    “Iran, Orientalism and Western illusions about Syria “

    “Over 100,000 deaths and millions of refugees later, is the Western narrative similar to what Iranians have been saying?”

    Last updated: 06 Apr 2014 09:11
    Seyed Mohammad Marandi

    “Extremist and sectarian Salafi clerics repeatedly gave fatwas permitting the slaughter of minorities on satellite television channels. The Saudi-based “mainstream” cleric Saleh al-Luhaidan also said: “Kill a third of Syrians so the other two-thirds may live.”

  9. fyi says:

    Rehmat says:

    April 6, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Protestant Christians, including such “harmless” ones like the Quakers, are in love with Israel – ancient and modern.

    It is part and parcel of their religious outlook in US, UK, Canada, Australia.

    This will remain so until domestically other groups will revolt against the very high-cost of this unrequited love of Israel.

    We are decades away from that, however.

  10. nico says:

    Why everybody is still discussing the US involvement in Israel is a wonder…
    The US and the west are at the origin of Israel and are supporting the zionist project for a century or so.
    Still people think it might somehow change…
    Should Western support for Israel falter there will be no Israel anymore overnight.
    To curb Israel expensionsim and apartheid policy there is only one solution for the Muslims.
    To change the balance of power.

    Surely KSA is the number one issue (among many secundary issues) in such change in the balance of power.

    As long as the KSA regime is in power there will be no peace and selfrespect for muslims.

  11. fyi says:

    kooshy says:

    April 6, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I agree, Arabs are cunning but ultimately rather stupid.

  12. fyi says:


    Mr. Hersh on the “Chemical Weapons Event” (the wording of Mr. Canning):

    As I stated before, the world has entered a new age of barbarism, a new Warring States period.

    We are harvesting the fruits of the shredding of CWT, NPT, WTO regulations – all of them initiated in order to crush and independence-minded Iran.

    It is astonishing that the rise of Iran – over 34 years – has been opposed by US, USSR (Russia), China, and EU at such a high cost to international law; to the point that international law and the Charter of UN have become dead letters.

    The salient lesson in this is that nuclear attacks against Iran cannot be ruled out.

  13. James Canning says:

    In his New York Times column today, Tom Friedman accuses Khamenei of working to destroy Israel by preventing a withdrawal from the West Bank. I think this charge is not true.

  14. James Canning says:


    Obama could have caused the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad after the “event in Syria last Aug. 21st. He chose not to cause it, by direct US attack. You surely are aware of the pounding Obama has taken since then, for not having attacked Syria.

  15. James Canning says:


    Israel very likely could obtain weapons from China, Turkey, perhaps even Pakistan, if for some weird reason Israel could not obtain weapons from France, the UK, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia, the US, or other countries you call “the west”.

  16. James Canning says:


    Czech Republic, or Slovakia (not Czechoslovakia)

  17. James Canning says:


    You might recall that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognise Israel.

  18. James Canning says:


    “Protecting” Israel has cost the US trillions of dollars, in one does an honest accounting. This fact is of course suppressed in US news media etc etc.

  19. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    You still do not seem to grasp the real cost:

    A religious war between Protestantism & Judaism on the one side and Islam on the other side.

  20. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Significant quantities of weapons were indeed shipped from Libya to insurgents in Syria.

  21. Jay says:

    Don Bacon says:
    April 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for linking to the Hersh investigative reporting.

    In addition to providing valuable lessons, the material in the article by Hersh savages ridiculous claims by some regarding the motives and methods of the West in the region.

    The article makes clear that the cronies of Mr. Obama, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Hollande among others, were ready and eager to ravage the Syrian people with utter destruction at the behest of their American superiors. It was not the PR by the Syrians that prompted this criminal plan by the West. Rather, it was PR by the West to accuse Syrians!

    The message in the article reinforces that Iran’s position vis a vis any attack – responding with the most widespread and massive counterattack Iran can muster – is the proper course of response.

  22. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Do you agree with Tom Friedman of the NYT that Khamenei is trying to help Sheldon Adelson, in seeking to prevent Israel from ending its occupation of the West Bank?

  23. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    It would have been another quagmire like Iraq and Afghanistan – US and EU could not win.

    In fact, the Axis Powers wars against the Shia Crescent – which they themselves contributed so much to create – was lost from the start:

    1 – Axis Powers have lost the wars against Resistance Alliance on the level of Morality.

    2 – Axis Power have lost the wars against Shia Crescent (a.k.a. the Resistance Alliance) on the Mental Level as those combatants chose to fight on rather then run away

    3 – Axis Powers have lost these wars against Shia/Irani power and allied states and people also on the legal ground – there were no legal basis for initiating those hostilities

    4 – Axis Powers shredded what was left of international law to crush Iran, destroy the Ba’ath state in Syria and so on.

    What all of this means is that the Axis Powers, practically, will have to either end the hostilities or escalate to direct involvement of NATO states in hot wars against the Resistance Axis.

    What the Axis Powers have chosen to pursue, on the other hand, is an intermediate policy of continuing the wars hoping to sap the strength of the Resistance Alliance.

    That will also fail at which point they would have to revisit their policies again.

    The best that could be hoped for is an implicit cease-fire.

    The worst would be a war from Hind Kush to the Mediterranean Sea and from Caspian Sea to the Red Sea; roughly coinciding with the territory of the Achaemenid Empire.

    Given the degeneration of Axis Powers political leaders and the religious nature of their opposition to the Shia/Irani power, should they chose escalation, I will not be surprised.

  24. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “Israel very likely could obtain weapons from China, Turkey, perhaps even Pakistan, if for some weird reason Israel could not obtain weapons from France, the UK, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia, the US, or other countries you call “the west”.”

    Who cares the kind of weapon Israel can get ?
    Maybe nukes might be used as a blackmai against power. But at the end of the day that is pointless.

    It seems you did not listen the SL well enough.

    In what fashion nukes helped the soviets ?

    The point is that Israel benefits from POLITICAL unlimited support from the west.

    China or others would never provide such support. Never ever.

    In addition Israel survival in its current form is related to western control and devide and rule policy over the muslim world.
    It is only possible with KSA support.

    Should the west lose KSA and KSA and Iran experience rapprochment then Israel is finished.

    That is tiny country not even worth noting for its geography that would crumble in few days under political pressure save KSA and the west.

  25. Jay says:

    Here is our British friends planning “to seed state propaganda” across internet (GCHQ’s own words).

    “The GCHQ document we are publishing today expressly contemplates exploiting social media venues such as Twitter, as well as other communications venues including email, to seed state propaganda–GHCQ’s word, not mine–across the internet:”

  26. James Canning says:


    One can make a strong argument that Iran indeed has helped prevent an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, by causing discord in the Middle East due to expansion of its nuclear programme. I am aware you do not like to accept this argument.

    However, I think Iran has made reasonably clear it will accept whatever deal the Palestinians agree to make with Israel.

  27. James Canning says:


    I want Israel to get rid of its nukes. And I think there is no doubt Israel can buy arms, and buy political support.

  28. Don Bacon says:

    re: weapons
    The US military, the best-equipped fighting force the world has ever seen, has gotten whipped in Iraq and Afghanistan by citizens using bags of fertilizer (IED – improvised explosive devices).

  29. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “One can make a strong argument that Iran indeed has helped prevent an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, by causing discord in the Middle East due to expansion of its nuclear programme. I am aware you do not like to accept this argument.”

    One can take history by studying pointless details.
    History is small sequences included in larger sequences which themselves are included in longer sequences.
    You can argue that in the shortest pointless historical sequence the Iranian nuclear program had this pointless consequence.

    Fact remains that the muslim world has been dominated for centuries by the west. And the western project is to keep that dominance going for eternity.
    That is a tribal and ideological clash of civilization due to balance of power in favor of the west.

    Iran is fighting back on civilizational scale and that is actually the only relevant scale in such struggle.
    While you idiotically sum it up to some kind months long dispute.

    At the end of the day the shift in the balance of power needed for circulstances to trully change may be sacrifice in shorter time frame.

    Well the neocon and other western ideological extremist have exactly that worldview and are fighting to bring “democracy”… and that may be legitimate.

    However the point is that the deeds to achieve one goals is of the essence.
    I mean true deeds with fact on the ground and real suffering not some kind of propogandized or demonized BS.
    And surely the Israel not leaving the west bank because of Iran imagined threat is such kind of propagand BS.
    But I am quite aware that you are the kind to advise people to satisfy the criminal and blame the victim.

    Iran commited no deeds while the US, the west and Israel did in term of widely accepted people Natural rights.
    But I am to quite aware that you do not accept such rights as you are a supremacist, a nihilist and a tribal racist.

  30. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “And I think there is no doubt Israel can buy arms, and buy political support.”

    Sure they can buy political support in the west but not elsewhere.
    And again the Jews are in league western white “hulanitarian” supremacist and other civilizational warriors and MIC to dominate the Muslims.
    But I guess you are a lost exceptionalist and a lost case to comprehend that.

  31. James Canning says:


    Is Pakistan part of “the West”, in your view? Indonesia? Nigeria?

    I am very much aware of the huge influence rich Jews and their friends who are non-Jews, wield globally.

  32. James Canning says:


    You attribute far too litttle importance to Iran’s nuclear programme, in terms of its impact on relations between Muslim countries.

  33. James Canning says:


    The Iranian nuclear dispute has made it easier for Israel to continue its programme of attempted theft of futher portions of the West Bank. And made it easier for Israel to continue to oppress the Palestinians in Palestine.

  34. James Canning says:


    I think many neocon warmongers see “promoting decomcracy” as a way to “protect” Israel and in PR terms help to convince the American public that letting Israel do as it pleases with the Palestinians is not such a bad thing.

  35. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    The US simply had no business putting large ground forces into Afghanistan. In my judgment. Fantastically expensive, making “defeat” almost guaranteed.

  36. humanist says:

    On Gareth Porter’s new book entitled Manufactured Crisis:

    Joseph Goebbels the Nazi Propaganda Minister once said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”

    I think Goebbels and Nazis couldn’t fathom the dynamics of history which already had established: “eventually big liars end up Big Losers”. The following popular proverb also accords with the same concept: “Lies might fool some people forever, Lies might fool all the people for a brief period of time but Lies can never fool all the people forever”.

    Abundant examples show that, often the short sighted Israeli warmongers, who have held high places employ different Nazi tactics (watch The Gatekeepers, there you’ll hear the shamed confessions of some of frustrated Israeli officials who notice such exact equivalence).

    This is expected. Both Nazis and Zionists believe they are special people (Aryan race versus Chosen or super intelligent People). Both are extraordinarily Self-Righteous (Mein Kampf texts versus Israeli claims they and only they have the right to preemptively clobber their victims. One Knesset member once said “since we are 100% right our enemies must be 100% wrong). Bout are outstandingly apathetic, racist, ruthless and remorseless. Both try to fully control nearly all kinds of media to indoctrinate the masses. Both bribe and most probably blackmail or coerce officials … and so on.

    The bogus crisis of Iranian nuclear scare is indeed a colossal Goebbelsian Lie perpetually propagated by the same type of myopic Israelis as the Gatekeepers. The lie succeeded to fool countless millions for decades, psychologically conditioning them to approve another heinous war, this time with Iran.

    Although during that period there were quite a number of direct or indirect knockdowns on the validity of the crisis (such as NIEs, countless compelling writings by a few incorruptible analysts, Manning’s leaks and so on), none of them noticeably changed the behavior of the Israelis.

    Now Gareth Porter’s GREAT book might change that, smash the fraudulent crisis hasbara hard or even crucially shake the foundation of the Zionist propaganda machinery.

    As a part of deceptive tactics the Israelis were claiming the Iranian nuclear bomb is not only a threat to the world but specifically is an existential threat to them. Now (mainly because of the book?) history is sprouting a reverse reality: The Iranian non-existent bomb could have been a threat to no one and the real existential threat to Israelis was the accumulative effect of their own actions, ie the consequences of their own brutal and deceptive Nazi style “modus operandi”

    Great book? Yes indeed. This book would further invigorate the current movements that are dedicated to halt all ongoing Israeli aggressions including the ending of their heinous multi-generational atrocities in Palestine.

    In am convinced since the Israelis swim against the torrents of “History”, sooner or later, the cumulative effect of these uni-directional forces will result in the collapse of their apartheid state. Just the certain influence of the book on that collapse makes it quite exemplary..

    Who is Gareth Porter? Gareth’s resume flashes out as the image of a RARE, courageous and highly respectable historian and journalist. His writings on exposing official lies that are detrimental to our humanity tell it all.

    Whenever I have read any of his writings I have felt a compound sense of deep respect, salutation, hope and comradery since the sensation that, in this Kafkaesque world, there are intelligent scholars whose honesty and integrity can not be bought, no matter how high the price is quite uplifting….and so gratifying,

    Hats off….

  37. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “You attribute far too litttle importance to Iran’s nuclear programme, in terms of its impact on relations between Muslim countries.”

    Who cares ?
    The arab regimes proved to be sold out and slaves to Westerners.
    Their “sensitivies” are just good enough to be discarded upright.

    James Canning says:
    “The Iranian nuclear dispute has made it easier for Israel to continue its programme of attempted theft of futher portions of the West Bank. And made it easier for Israel to continue to oppress the Palestinians in Palestine.”

    This reason or that reason. Who cares ?
    The Zionist are after a civilizational project. No less.
    They would invoke all the good reasons no matter what.

    Only balance of power and civilizational confrontation is worth something with them.

  38. humanist says:

    Sorry, I meant to post my book comment on the previous thread.

  39. fyi says:

    humanist says:

    April 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I think the most significant lesson a non-Western person can take from Mr. Porter’s book is the extent to which in the West dissenting opinions are possible and tolerated. That is, dissent does not get you killed or imprisoned – although it could cause one to starve.

    The comparable absence of tolerance for dissent outside of the Euro-American world had had very serious consequences indeed.

    In my opinion, for non-Western people to get out of where they are, must produce their own solutions: political, philosophical, technical, scientific, cultural and so on and so forth.

    Freedom to engage in expressing dissenting opinion (to the state or to the various interests) without fear of retribution is essential to Freedom of Inquiry; which is itself a prerequisite for authentic and native development.

    For example, There was an attempt at the life of Hitoshi Motoshima – the mayor of Hiroshima – in 1990 when he stated that the Emperor bore some responsibility for World War II.

    Or consider this:

    Armenian journalist Hrant Dink assassinated in Istanbul in January 2007, by Ogün Samast, a 17-year old Turkish nationalist. This was shortly after the premiere of the genocide documentary Screamers, in which he is interviewed about Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the case against him under Article 301.

    Photographs of the assassin flanked by smiling Turkish police and gendarmerie, posing with the killer side by side in front of the Turkish flag, have since surfaced. The photos created a scandal in Turkey, prompting a spate of investigations and the removal from office of those involved.

    And many many more such cases all over the non-Western world….

  40. Karl.. says:


    I would say that the problem in the west is that no one dare to have another opinion.

  41. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    April 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    No doubt the West is degenerating but there is a lot of scope left in the West for free inquiry that has never existed outside of Western Europe and North America.

    Given the salience of Islam and the Revelations of the Quran you would expect there to be thriving scholarship centered around Islam in the Muslim countries – that is research around philology of Semitic languages, Near Eastern archeology, Religious Philosophy, Early Muslim History, Quranic hermeneutics, Logic, Arabic linguistics, as well as researches on other religions – revealed and non-revealed.

    Well, none of that exists – in certain areas one would be risking one’s life exercising Free Inquiry.

    In other cases, importation of books dealing with other religions would be almost impossible for fear that those books are used for the propagation of this or that religion.

    How do you overcome the weakness and fear within?

  42. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    When the late Mr. Rabin and the late Mr. Arafat signed a deal on the White House lawn in September 1993, the expectation among Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims was that there would be a Palestinian state within not too long a time; say a decade.

    The most charitable thing you can say about the United States is that she is incapable of delivering the Palestinian state.

    The harshest thing you could say is that US & Israel conspired to emasculate the Palestinian resistance and to brow-beat into accepting an apartheid status for Palestinians in their own country.

    The truth probably lies somewhere in between but the political damage to US and later EU has been done.

    Iranians, having been despised by US, EU, Russia, India, Arabs, Turkey, Georgia, may be forgiven to take advantage of the Axis Powers’ failure in Palestine to the full extent possible.

    They (Iranians) had nothing to loose.

  43. James Canning says:


    Very harsh words are appropriate, for how the US has acted re: Israel/Palestine since the deal was made in 1993. However, I think it is fair to say Iran has indicated it will accept Israel within pre-1967 borders, if the Palestinians do so.

  44. James Canning says:


    As you are no doubt aware, some of Iran’s enemies claim Iran is a roadblock preventing a deal between the Palestinians and Israel. I think this is not true. You seem to argue it should be true, or that it is true.

  45. James Canning says:


    what is “the opinion” in the west, that “no one” dare not subscribe to, in your view?

  46. James Canning says:


    You make clear your contempt for the governments of most Muslim countries, and then you seem to wonder why the Muslims cannot work together. Fair comment or question?

  47. James Canning says:


    You also appear to say that if Iran has in effect helped Israel to continue to oppress the Palestinians, you simply do not give a fig. Fair comment?

  48. fyi says:


    Iran Can’t Withdraw Much Oil Revenue Under Interim Nuclear Deal

    This is only the proverbial tip of the sanctions ice-berg; the financial war against Iran cannot be stopped or removed….

  49. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Sorry to burst your baloon. The WSJ is a certified member of Israel Hasbara Committee.

  50. Rehmat says:

    NYT Op-ED by Tom Friedman:

    “It occurred to me the other day that the zealously pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, actually have one big thing in common. They are both trying to destroy Israel. Adelson is doing it by loving Israel to death and Khamenei by hating Israel to death,” wrote Friedman.

  51. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Don Bacon: “Israel is a tiny factor in Syria compared to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the U.S., primarily the former.”

    While that is the case in terms of direct support for the Syria crisis, Israel is the SOLE reason behind the Syria crisis, as I’ve said before here. The fact that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the GCC have an interest in taking out Assad is almost irrelevant, except insofar as they provide the “muscle”. They’re henchmen who think they’re bosses. The real bosses are in Washington and Tel Aviv.

    Hersh’s article is an eye-opener. What it makes clear is that Obama is once again hiding his own intentions behind those of others, a hallmark of his administration and an indication of his narcissistic personality.

    Important points from Hersh’s piece:


    ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

    End Quote

    Clearly we see here the obvious intent to eliminate Syria as a threat to Israel in an Iran war and thus provide Israel with an easy route into the Bekaa Valley to try to eliminate Hizballah as a threat to Israel. This was no mere attempt to eliminate some chemical weapons – this was a full-scale regime change attack Obama was planning.


    The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

    The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

    End Quote

    Here we see that Obama’s own reasons for stopping the attack boil down to his desire to avoid being BLAMED for it! Exactly as I’ve said before, Obama is perfectly willing to start a new war – or more than one – in the Middle East as long as HE PERSONALLY is not BLAMED for starting it. He needs a justification so that he can convince himself that his undeserved Nobel Peace Prize won’t be tarnished. But he is STILL more than willing to start those wars, as his actions clearly demonstrate.

    Furthermore, despite the tone of Hersh’s article, I find it difficult to believe that Turkey would be doing any of this if they did not have US permission. I can believe that Turkey might cook up any number of plots on their own – they don’t view themselves as that beholding to the US – but I doubt anything as serious as the sarin attack was done without direct US permission at some level – meaning either covertly from the CIA or directly from the White House.

    This all ties in, by the way, with Sibel Edmonds and her evidence that senior elected officials of the US government are directly involved in treason involving Turkey and that the Turkish “deep state” has a great deal of corrupt influence in the US government rivaling that of Israel.

  52. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Justin Raimondo’s reaction to the Hersh report…

    Who Was Behind the Syrian Sarin ‘False Flag’ Attack?
    It wasn’t just Turkey\


    So they lied to everyone, perhaps even to themselves. Because neither of these explanations even approaches the truth – which is that the President, even after being confronted with evidence he’d been hoaxed, decided to try to rope everyone into the lie. Rather than call the whole the whole thing off, the White House did a good imitation of observing the democratic process – all the while asserting in testimony before Congress that the Assad regime had “gassed their own people” and that the rebels were the victims rather than the perpetrators. Indeed, they assert the same nonsense to this day, as indicated by the terse denials included in Hersh’s piece. Yet they were (and are) lying through their teeth, reports Hersh, without coming right out and saying so.

    And speaking of intercepts – this brings up an issue not raised by Hersh, who pins the blame on the Turks alone.

    At the height of the war hysteria, you’ll recall, we were told Israel’s Unit 8200 electronic counterintelligence task force had intercepted the internal communications of the Syrian army commander on the scene and Damascus headquarters – and that the transcript proved conclusively the Syrian government had ordered the attacks. Yet an article by Kenneth Timmerman in the Daily Caller last year claimed those transcripts were “doctored,” although the piece kept mum on the question of who did the doctoring.

    What did the President know – and when did he know it? Hersh says “The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House” – except when Obama was confronted by the joint chiefs with the British report. “‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told [Hersh]”:

    “‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’”

    The President didn’t care about the facts in the first place, and his knowledge of the truth didn’t lead him to change course. If not for the public outcry against US intervention he would’ve gone ahead with it as long as he thought he could get away with it.

    The initial limited strikes proposed by the Pentagon were rejected and as D-day approached the target list kept expanding until it included most of the Syrian infrastructure. So much for Kerry’s “unbelievably small” air strike: what Washington had in mind amounted to nothing less than pulverizing the country, toppling the regime, and occupying the country.

    The really fascinating question, as far as I’m concerned, is who was really behind the Syrian false flag operation? Yes, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis – the usual suspects – did the dirty work, but what I want to know is who inside the administration was pushing back so strenuously against the Pentagon’s opposition to a strike – and keeping the intelligence away from the White House until the joint chiefs confronted him with it? Who “doctored” those Israeli intercepts? Who almost lied us into war – again – that time?

    It wasn’t just Turkey, Qatar, and the Saudi king. They had to have American accomplices. Who were they?

    That’s what I want to know.

    End Quote


  53. Bussed-in Basiji says:


    Come visit Iranian universities and seminaries and you will see thriving research in all areas.

    Also you might want to look at the media in Iran during Ahmadinejad administration and try to figure out exactly what they left unsaid about the poor man and his administration.

    Your evaluation holds true for the Islamic world 40-50 years ago before the Islamic revolution in Iran- a historic event of massive proportions conducted by your compatriots which you chose not to be part of.

    At least be intellectually honest enough to admit that you are wrong in the case of the Islamic Republic.

    Biroon az gowd harf zadan moft-e, jenabe fyi.

  54. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “You also appear to say that if Iran has in effect helped Israel to continue to oppress the Palestinians, you simply do not give a fig. Fair comment?”

    In the USrael-Palestinian conflict your position is that tye crminal need to be appeased to have a chance for the hostages to be released
    My take is that the criminals never planned to release the hostage anyway.

    Century and decades of history prove my point right and yours wrong.

    But surely the gullie fool can keep listening Kerry, Nyahou and KSA pretending games.

  55. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Abbasi rips Zarif a new a-hole.

  56. humanist says:

    New exposé by Seymour Hersh: Turkey staged gas attack to provoke US war on Syria:

  57. fyi says:

    humanist says:

    April 7, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Earlier, Iranians had informed UNSC of the transfer of Sarin to Syria.

  58. fyi says:

    Rehmat says:

    April 6, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    You clearly are also willfully ignorant; for the past few weeks multiple Iranian officials have been complaining of the absence of the access to these funds. Others had publicly warned Axis Powers to honor their commitments under the interim deal.

    My recommendation to you is to purchase a subscription of the Wall Street Journal; the best English language news paper available in North America.

  59. humanist says:


    I just noticed that the subject in question was already discussed on this thread.
    When I searched for “Hersh” 15 hits were highlighted. From now on, to avoid wasting space on time, I’ll try to read relevant comments first

  60. fyi says:


    Ambassador Herbst on Ukraine, Russia etc.

    I stated before that in the International Arena, Legitimacy and Force go hand-in-hand.

    Axis Powers soft power cannot match the hard power available to the Russian Federation in Ukraine.

    And note that the destiny of a weak state is being decided by foreign powers.

  61. James Canning says:


    Those recommending Wall Street Journal might also mention editorial policy of WSJ is largely neocon (for foreign p).

  62. James Canning says:


    If you are claiming Israel is a “criminal” needing to be “appeased”, by not being destroyed somehow, I think you are in Never-never land.

    Do I take it you think Iran should paint a target on its back? The way Saddam Hussein did for Iraq?

  63. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    The editorial policy of the Wall Street Journal is largely fascist.

    In fact, what goes by the name of “Paleo-conservatism” in US is an species of fascism which has now become the mainstream form of American Conservatism.

    Yet the reporting in Wall Street Journal is still reliable.

  64. James Canning says:


    WSJ has a lot of very fine reporting, as you note. But editorial line is neocon, rather than paleocon. Huge difference. Paleocons tend to loathe US policy on Israel/Palestine. And they loathe neocons, as a rule.

  65. James Canning says:


    You might enjoy watching “McLaughlin Group” (broadcast on PBS TV stations in America, but available online). Pat Buchanan argues the paleocon position, and Mort Zuckerman argues the neocon line. Generally. Members of the discussion panel change week-to-week.

  66. James Canning says:

    Marsha B. Cohen has some keen insight into thinking in Israel and Iran on Ukraine:

  67. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “humanist says: New exposé by Seymour Hersh
    “Earlier, Iranians had informed UNSC of the transfer of Sarin to Syria.”

    Perhaps the question should be, why is Hersh releasing this “”” EXPOSE””” now???

    the akp and its sultan just won the election fwiw. And the main election coming up?? this ought to get the sultan kicking like a mule! Just another day in the empire and its satraps.

  68. Karl.. says:

    Lavrov: US and EU line on Ukraine ‘unproductive and dangerous’

    When will west learn?

  69. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    April 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    The Russians spelt out their plan for Ukraine.

    Axis Powers have not agreed to that plan.

    Mr. Putin has made a threatening move in Eastern Ukraine, reminding Axis Powers that he has many “hard” alternative available to him.

    Let us see what Axis Powers do.

    They would be loath to admit defeat, and likely will demur on the Russian parameters for the future Ukrainian state; all the while calculating that sanctions on Russia will harm Russia more than them.

  70. Karl.. says:


    Putin? Thats ukrainian people protesting on the streets.

  71. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “If you are claiming Israel is a “criminal” needing to be “appeased”, by not being destroyed somehow, I think you are in Never-never land.Do I take it you think Iran should paint a target on its back?
    The way Saddam Hussein did for Iraq?”

    Ahaha !

    You are quite the representative of western idiocy.
    No surprise when you feed every day from the FT and other solid nazi crap.
    You fully the wipe off the lap propaganda and the existential threat BS

    Who said the jews or Israel need to be destroyed. That is nonsensical comment

    Surely the racialist, tribal and religious based apartheid need to cease.
    And surely a regime change is needed there.
    Such regime based on the zionist religious, tribalist and civilizational project of the pure race inhabiting that country.
    With otters natives being treated like second class citizen and ethnic cleansing.

    Obviously such regime is a criminal one based on universal morality.
    And the palestinian are the hostage

    As for Iran do not worry that much its leadership know what is in its best national and civilizational interest, they know how to de fend themselves and it is not it not my aim to say what should be their policy.

    But surely your brainwashed, orientalist and supremacist little intellect find such statement quite shoking.

  72. nico says:

    fyi says:

    “Yet the reporting in Wall Street Journal is still reliable”

    What is reliable or not is not a matter to be pride of.
    What is important is the agenda, the drumbeat and what is left unsaid.
    Anyone can provide reliable information.
    What is important is to provide the RELEVANT Information.

    That is the first rule of propaganda: flood the news with irrelevant but agenda driven reliable information in order to brainwash the gullible fools and artificially create a “public opinion”.
    That is otherwise called politically correctness

    MSM is crap even if it is a reliable crap.

    And it sesms you respect it.

    Good for you.

  73. James Canning says:

    Deborah Haynes had a very interesing piece in The Times (London) March 26th: “Broken Libya is now a ‘crucible of terror'”.

  74. James Canning says:


    Why would The Times of London publish an interview with a former prime minister of Libya, in which he says al-Qaeda and the Muslim Broitherhood are trying to create sustained chaos in Libya? What “propaganda” line does this serve?

  75. James Canning says:


    You tell me what you would like to see, in terms of a resolution of the Isrel/Palestine problem?

    Saddam Hussein very foolishly let Iraq get a target painted on its back, by letting neocon warmongers convince GW Bush that overthrowing Saddam was necessary if peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis were to be achieved.

  76. James Canning says:


    The US, Britain, France, Germany and other countries, should make clear to Russia Ukraine will remain neutral and not become a member of Nato in foreseeable future.

  77. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    They evidently won’t; fasten your seat belt as Axis Powers start applying sanctions to Russia a la Iran.

  78. James Canning says:

    Daniel Larison at the American Conservative today has interesting comments on the fact Americans most eager for confrontation with Russia over Crimea are the least likely to know where Ukraine is to be found on a map. Those knowing where Ukraine is to be found on a map tend to be least eager for confrontation with Russia.

  79. James Canning says:


    I expect mixed messages to Russia: quiet reassurances Ukraine will not join Nato, but public calls for sanctions etc. Lavrov was quite right to point out how Russia has subsidised Ukraine for years, economically.

  80. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    April 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    “Saddam Hussein very foolishly let Iraq get a target painted on its back, by letting neocon warmongers convince GW Bush that overthrowing Saddam was necessary if peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis were to be achieved.”

    I commend your ability to write in English.

  81. BiBiJon says:

    There’s a real strategic geopolitical axis in the house — Moscow-Beijing-Tehran

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    April 7, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Please remind Prof. Abbasi there are people on planet earth who do not see things his way. Iran has come into this negotiation from a position of strength. He is correct to give credit to Ahmadinejad’s admin for amassing that strength. But, he is wrong to think one should never go to market and see if there ain’t any bargains to be had.

  82. Fiorangela says:

    Arms Control Law posted a brief article concerning Seymour Hersh’s London Review article, “Red Line and Rat Line,” in which Hersh alleges that Turkey supplied rebels in Syria with chemical weapons.

    One of the comments to Dan Joyner’s article offered several links, one in Turkish, but with pictures that make me wish I could read it. Another link offers Amy Goodman interviewing Hersh. Goodman refers to an argument advanced by none other than Scott Lucas, who says that Hersh “fail[s] to ask questions about whether anyone, apart from the regime, would have the ability to carry out such an extensive operation.”

    Hersh takes Mr. Miyagi’s chopsticks to Lucas’s annoying fly. pffft.

    It is amusing to note that Lucas is still seeking relevance. Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.

  83. Don Bacon says:

    James Canning says:
    April 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Saddam Hussein very foolishly let Iraq get a target painted on its back, by letting neocon warmongers convince GW Bush that overthrowing Saddam was necessary …

    Regarding Iraq, overthrowing its government was a bipartisan (not merely neocon) strategy, dating at least back to President Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Democrats Gore, Clinton, Kerry and Biden were fully on board with it.

  84. kooshy says:

    In other words Mr. Hersh is sterilizing in capability of Mr. Obama for an unjustified, illogical, unsupported ultimatum to another recognized head of UN member state. So a US president who is elected by less than 50% vote of American eligible voters feels it’s his job and mandate to tell another head of a UN member state that he can no longer rule his country, and once he can’t remove him by all his illegal and inhuman tools at his disposal, he covers his clients criminal action, and when his incapability becomes a predicament of US presidential formative Mr. Hersh claims the reason he didn’t attack was because he found out that the chemical attack was not from Syrian government otherwise he would have had attacked. BS if this AH carded so much on who was innocent on use of chemical weapons , he wouldn’t mobilize every one of his goons and clients killing 150K innocent Syrians, for how long do we have to believe the American PR spinner reporters.

    The way I have come to understand Mr. Hersh investigative reporting, is similar to that of WP’s Mr. Ignacio with the difference that Mr. Ignacio is used and is specialized in sending trial balloons, but Mr. Hersh specialty is image repair like what we call in graphics design photo shopping and fixing an image. Like in this case, Mr. Hersh is transferring (hiding) Mr. Obama’s incapability to carry on his ultimatum to Mr. Assad with dishonesty of one Mr. Obama’s own goon clients. This might be true might not, who knows, but there is no reason not to mention Mr. Obama did not have “any form of support” to carry on his ultimatum, so what Mr. Hersh wrote justifying Obama’s in capability, inaction. This is like NIE 2007, anew don’t hold me back please, let me get him. Shishaki

  85. kooshy says:

    Anyone who believes any American news / investigative journalist or news media “needs to have his head examined”

  86. Nasser says:

    Dr. Mearsheimer “Can China Rise Peacefully?”

    It is a long read but certainly a worthwhile one. I disagree with his fundamental thesis but there is a lot of good and interesting analysis and commentary on international relations in there. He is more honest about nuclear weapons and the Cold War than most Americans are for example.

    He concludes “The picture I have painted of what is likely to happen if China continues to rise is not a pretty one. Indeed, it is downright depressing. I wish I could tell a more hopeful story about the prospects for peace in Asia.”

  87. Nasser says:

    An old debate between Dr. Mearsheimer and Dr. Brzezinski on this issue

  88. Karl.. says:

    Rightwing radical politicians attack left-wing politicians in Ukraine.

  89. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    April 8, 2014 at 3:51 am

    China is now on the threshold of the income level that enables her leaders, should they chose to do so, to outspend the United States on military expenditures.

    In a few more years – a decade or so – she could comfortably do so; as a matter of fact.

  90. Rd. says:

    Iranian aid among Syrian refuge and the opposition groups.

  91. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Yes, there was considerable sympathy in the US for an overthrow of Saddam Hussein..
    However, in the wake of “9/11”, Saddam was an idiot to make it easier for his enemies to put together their conspiracy to set up an illegal invasion of Iraq on knowingly false pretenses.

    “The road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad”, was the favorite refrain of the neocons.

    The core conspirators were neocons, and other ardent “supporters” of Israel.

  92. James Canning says:


    Was Saddam Hussein a fool, in your opinion? No? You don’t care?

  93. Nasser says:

    fyi says: April 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I doubt this generation of Chinese leaders have any appetite for confrontation with the US or major war with any of her neighbors. I believe them when they state their purpose to be development of her economy and society.

    I was just wondering if US leaders are paranoid and in fact stupid enough to move towards confrontation towards China as they have done with Russia. Professor Mearsheimer states an opinion shared by many; that China will only get stronger with time and so if we are going to confront them let us do so now when we are in a strong position rather than later when China becomes too powerful.

  94. James Canning says:


    You make good points. I too think Chinese leaders want to focus on developing their country. And they have huge challenges ahead, in trying to enable a drop in the population while maintaining social stability etc.

  95. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    April 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I read books, articles, even by repenting supporters of attacking Iraq, nowhere have I come across anyone making your assertions, and many saying the complete opposite. You wish to blame Saddam, who by the time he was attacked, UNSCOM was destroying missiles which had a range greater than the permissible 100 miles by a mere 5 miles, and he was genuflecting in every way including even allowing his palaces to be inspected as ludicrous as it had been to assume anyone would hide CW in his own basement.

    I think you, James, are a part of GCHQ latest robot commenter, not completely autonomous which would give the game away, but nevertheless, programmed to pick out random words and entrap other participants by insulting their intelligence.

    All I can say, I repeat, is that you ‘output’ in English, without spelling or grammatical errors.

  96. Nasser says:

    “For the last 20-odd years, every Russian leader — from Gorbachev and Yeltsin, to Medvedev and Putin — kept sending strong signals to Washington and Brussels about their desire to become an important part of the Western security and economic architecture, only to be obnoxiously rebuffed by American and EU leaders. The West, in its victor’s arrogance, looked down on Russia like a high and mighty lord does on a poor relation. Oddly enough, Ukrainians — who, when all is said and done, are not all that different from their Russian cousins — were warmly welcomed at every imaginable Western agency as bona fide Europeans, not at all like those barbarians in Moscow.”

    A very good article written by Edward Lozansky appearing on Foreign Policy. And of course I fully expect such sensible proposals to be completely ignored by the western leadership.

  97. James Canning says:


    Russia is an important part of the “economic architecture” of the EU. And some European and American leaders have been receptive to Russian proposals regarding better coordination of common security interests, etc etc. In the US, the neocons tend to be the opponents of good relations with Russia.

  98. James Canning says:


    Simple fact: Saddam Hussein destroyed most of Iraq’s WMD in 1991. How could it be possible, that by the time of the idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2003, most Americans were not aware of that fact?

    The invasion was illegal and idiotic. But gross incompetence on the part of Saddam himself, was an essential element for success of the conspiracy.