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25 August 2014

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Charles I

Crikey, it'd be easier, not mention a wakeup, to loudly and publicly list what governments ARE their friends.

What a cluster****. Miss you guys, back after Canadian thanksgiving.

Harper

The Independent reported over the weekend that the US is sharing intelligence with the Syrian Army, mediated through the German BND. I have spoken with government friends here in Washington who corroborate that this is the case, and they add that the US and Iran are exchanging intelligence, through "trusted" Iraqi intermediaries, on IS. This was mooted by Gen. Dempsey in his press conference last week, using some very precise language. Whatever the attitude is at the White House with the President, Rice, etal., it appears that Dempsey's public statements that you cannot defeat IS in Iraq alone, and that they must be crushed on both sides of the border in both Iraq and Syria has, for the moment, carried the day. The Dempsey/Hagel press conference, defining IS as a "strategic threat" means that the White House efforts to dodge going to Congress on the grounds that this is a purely "humanitarian" action or that there are no "boots on the ground" has fallen apart--if Congress, when it returns in a week holds the President's feet to the fire.

oofda

Colonel,
Maybe the BND or even D.G.S.E. can do the work for us- or at least be the contact point with the Government of Syria.
BTW, France is now ready to give arms to the Free Syrian Army.
http://www.france24.com/en/20130920-france-says-ready-arm-syrian-rebels-hollande-assad-fsa-islamists/#./?&_suid=140898991409304456015537993783

The beaver

Colonel

Don't know whether you've seen that quote from former Amb, Chas Freeman in this article:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/west-poised-to-join-forces-with-president-assad-in-face-of-islamic-state-9686666.html

Mr Freeman says that he doubted that “the liberal interventionists and neoconservatives who had pursued regime change in Syria were capable of reversing course. To do so would require them to admit that they bore considerable responsibility for legitimising pointless violence that has resulted in the deaths of 190,000 Syrians.”

He added that he did not think it would be possible to bring down Isis by a direct assault and that it would be better to bottle it up and wait for it to be destroyed by its own self-destructive instincts.

“I cannot see how it can be isolated without the co-operation of Syria as well as Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arabs, Iran, Russia and Turkey.”

---

turcopolier

Beaver

Are you a man? As to the likelihood of sanity setting in, I am here to ask the powerful to stop blocking my sunlight. pl

Robert44

That was generally a very good article with the exception that Washington was never serious about taking out Assad.

Washington's goal was and is to break up the Levant into small, delectable and easily digestible chunks.

Each of the new regions are intended to be weak so that should anyone betray their lords and masters in Washington regime change can come very easy.

There is nothing Empire wanted less than a Sunni government representing a Sunni majority in Damascus. It would probably default to a Muslim Brotherhood government, link up with Hamas and try and aid the repressed and oppressed Egyptian masses. It would be an existential threat to Israel Washington's little brother.

JohnH

What do you think of the story going around that McCain met with Baghdadi a year ago as part of a meeting with the "moderate" FSA? As part of the story there is a photo that purports to show McCain, al-Baghdadi and other FSA leaders in the meeting.

According to that story, the whole ISIS phenomenon is part of a strategy to balkanize Iraq and Syria into Shi'a, Kurd, and Sunni Arab mini-states with eastern Syria and its oil going to the Sunnis. Such a balkanization harkens back to the old Biden plan for Iraq, which is the same, but didn't mention eastern Syria.

US bombing allegedly only takes place, when the Sunnis overstep their previously agreed upon territorial boundaries.

Such an explanation would resolve the apparent conflict between the US arming the Sunnis on the one hand and bombing them on the other. It would also explain why the US has shown little concern about Erdogan's coddling of ISIS.

Haralambos

Colonel Lang, one reason I am here daily, "I am here to ask the powerful to stop blocking my sunlight."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_and_Alexander

Polar180

Czar Vlad Putin predicted precisely that this cluster was bound to happen:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?hp&_r=1&

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/08/22/was-putin-right-about-syria/

However, I do not agree with the Colonel who still considers Iran a regional threat as the Saudi and other Sunni Wahhabists supporters have fomented far more regional instability. Iran's policies of supporting Hezbollah and Shia Iraqi factions are merely reactions to the madness unleashed by the US invasion of Iraq, continued Israeli aggression in Palestine/Lebanon and Sunni supported terror insurgencies. In this current environment, I would not blame the Iranians for pursuing nuclear enrichment one bit.

turcopolier

polar180

"I do not agree with the Colonel who still considers Iran a regional threat" I do not consider Iran to be a threat other than to Israel. pl

robt willmann

JohnH,

Concerning "the story going around that McCain met with Baghdadi a year ago...As part of the story there is a photo...." Is there a link to it?

Babak Makkinejad

And I thought we was BAD...

FB Ali

Another quote from Freeman in a recent speech:

"Our military and our spies are professionals. But, for the most part, our foreign policy is crafted, led, and executed by ambitious amateurs – ideologues, the paladins of special interests, securocrats playing games of musical sinecures, political spin doctors, and the occasional academic".

Lord Curzon

Colonel,

Iranian tanks appear to be engaging ISIS in support of the Peshmerga. Apparently, the town of Jalawla, twenty miles from the Iranian border has swapped hands a couple of times, with the latest counterattack by the Pesh reinforced by elements of the Iranian 81st Armoured Division, entering via Khaneghein, north of Jalawla.

Babak,

If the Iranians are willing to get stuck in to ISIS in the north, I doubt they'd have any difficulty deploying armour to guard Najaf and Karbala...

VietnamVet

Colonel

With UAE and Egypt bombing Libya and the USA proclaiming it knows nothing about it; things have really fallen apart.

To turn the world around and end the chaos and secure the peace, the following is required:

Jail financial law breakers and war profiteers. Fire Neocons from their government jobs. Close the revolving door.

Existing States have to cooperate to secure their borders. Quarantine the badlands. End the drone bombing. Seduce fallen leaders with the earthly pleasures of civilization. Convince the true believers to preach and have sons. Stop pushing Holy Wars for profit.

curtis

Google "John McCain" FSA photo.

Plenty of photos but no idea who all those folks are.

JohnH

I was hoping that information might float to the surface without resort to attacking the messenger, who is quite controversial. However, a lot of the points he makes are intriguing, some appear to be valid, even if perhaps not stitched together correctly. Comments?
http://www.voltairenet.org/article185085.html

JohnH

Since 1993 McCain has been chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), which receives the majority of funds allocated by USAID to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Robert Parry describes NED as "a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund that generally supports a neocon agenda often at cross-purposes with the Obama administration’s foreign policy."
http://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/27/a-shadow-us-foreign-policy/

Essentially McCain can run his own covert foreign policy using IRI funds. Is this what he is doing with ISIS in cooperation with Gulf Arabs?

swerv21

Link to purported picture.

http://m.liveleak.com/view?i=ab6_1407931713

Couple of notes:

I have watched portions of the baghdadi sermon. I'm not an expert on facial recognition, but it's difficult for me to see how you would know that this is the same guy. Maybe some others have a comment on this?

So John McCain in typical fashion runs off half cocked to meet with the 'moderate Syrian Opposition'. But that is evidence of what?

confusedponderer

If the Iranians deployed to Najaf and Karbala, the Saudis and Kuwaitis would shake in their boots in terror from Iran as much as from ISIS. In that light such a mnove would probably be unwise, and the Iraniajh are unlikely to do something like that unless they feel they absolutely have to, and to do so they'd need US political support.

Because if they did the Gulfies would feel torn between their habitual impulse to support folks like ISIS to stick it to the Shia and calling on Washington for protection from Iran by the US, and then finance jihadis some more to stick it to the Shia and win Jihadi favour (not going to happen, probably).

In that sense, ISIS is, just like the Ukrainian crisis, a godsent for the US.

Nothing revives vassalship as much as a(n) (in)credible external threat. People who were just annoyed by you and disinterested yesterday, start to listen to you again!

It is IMO possible that this - restoring US relevance in NATO and ASEAN i.e. reasserting US leadership - is an implicit reason on part of the neo-cons and Brezinskiites in their drive for the US to contain Russia and China.

While I think that provoking Russia and China is this fully deliberate, the spread of ISIS is merely an opportunity the US have now chosen to seize.

I fully expect the US, when they intervene in Syria, to screw things up by trying to have it both ways - fight ISIS AND have regime change. This must be irresistible.

I wouldn't be surprised if this crisis isn't seen in DC another opportunity to regain US leadership at a time when it is apparently waning.

If you are not as indispensable as you perceive yourself to be, make yourself indispensable. Have or grasp a splendid little crisis to show everybody how much they need you. No? Behold! Even the Iraqis are slowly considering to allow the US back in after unceremoniously kicking them out!

And when I look at the Gulfie creeps I can understand Saddam Husssein's contempt for them. So in the 1980s the Gulfies were in panic because of Iran. As far as he was concerned, the Gulfies had Iraq fight and do the dying and while he bled Iran white. All the while the Gulfies indulged in their wealth and enjoyed the fruits of his labour - and then screwed Iraq over without as much as a blink when Iraq dared demand relief for debt accumulated over the war.

The only reason to preserve these people is that folks like ISIS would take their place and they would be worse by a magnitude. They'd simply have 'solved' for instance the Bahraini uprising with mass executions of Shia. End of story.

It'd be fun to watch them wreck Dubai though, but then, the people who live there are only as loyal as their capital is mobile. They'd do fine in New York, Hong Kong, Switzerland, London, Paris, Monaco or Singapore. They and their money would be gone within half a week.

Patrick Bahzad

To quote a famous observer of what was then called "The Levant" (I'm talking about Gen. Charles de Gaulle): "to the complicated Orient, I came with simple ideas" ... that was 80 years ago, but could serve as a reminder of the kind of hornets' nest we're dealing with here.
First of all, none of this ISIS thing would be going on if it wasn't for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under false pretenses. Needs to be said, even though not helping right now.
But the fact is, the West in general and the US in particular have committed blunder after blunder in the region and in the war against terror in general. We're now reaching a point where the West's attitude can only be described as schizophrenic: we've been fighting these people in some areas, while secretly supporting and indirectly arming them in others, through allies that are actually the sponsors of these terrorists. No wonder the lines between good and evil are blurred and people don't know anymore who to support or what to think.
But be that as it may, you still have to stress that even though Bashar El-Assad seems the lesser evil now (i.e., he's dangerous "only" for his own people), he nonetheless also bears responsibility for the rise if ISIS. When the unrest started in Syria, sturred up or not by western intelligence is another question, Assad deliberately chose to release some djihadis from the prisons he kept them in. He and his intelligence services know this would prove a good tool to split up the opposition into various moderate or extreme factions and he was preparing for a civil war that he knew was coming. Basically he was pouring petrol over a looming fire, so that he could be seen sooner or later as the fireman trying to put it out ... Has proven a very dangerous tactic (it's a basically a win or lose move), but it seems now, he might be able to pull it off.
The other side of the ISIS coin is the situation in Iraq, where the responsibility of the previous US administration weighs in very heavily. They broke down Iraq into three entities basically and the Petraeus surge even pushed the Sunnis further out of Baghdad, with the Maliki government antagonizing them for good. What we're now witnessing is basically an attempt of some Sunni factions to get back what they think it rightly theirs, with the help of the most repulsive terrorist group around at the moment.
Another case of what goes around comes around, in other terms "blowback" and we haven't seen the end of it.

Ryan

"The US government adopted the regime change policy in the euphoria of the Arab Spring..."

It actually goes back earlier than 2011, sir.

Seymour Hersh wrote about what was named the "redirection" in the New Yorker back in 2007:

"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."

...

"The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)

The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations."

The termites have been busy.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

"-Let us admit our bad judgment and abandon the regime change policy."

In my view ideological fanaticism has the upper hand over common sense. It's funny to watch "our leaders" and the military "analysts" hired by cable tv stumble over what to do about Syria and Assad. These fools and mercenaries are still talking about arming the "moderates" in the Fake Syrian Army and avoid any dealings with Assad.

Assad's foreign minister not only has a sense of humor; he also has a memory in stating the US needs their permission to bomb in Syria. He remembers the only thing that came out of the intelligence assistance they gave following 9/11 were Israel/neocon inspired sanctions.

turcopolier

ryan

I tell people what they ought to do even though I often know they won't. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Saddam Hussein did not attack Iran for "Gulfies" - he wanted tho capture the oil-rich Southwestern Iran.

Iran was not a threat to Iraq - militarily, even under the Shah, she was not as well armed for a land-war as Iraq was.

Iran was in the middle of a revolution and too disorganized to pose any direct threat to any one.

Patrick Bahzad

Hadn't seen your reply, which put a smile on my face ... You might pass for a modern Diogenes, but unfortunately there's no Alexander among today's powerful ;-)

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