Tag Archives: ISIS

America’s Multinational Ramadan Assault

By Tony Cartalucci
July 02, 2015
New Eastern Outlook, June 30, 2015

 

rtr3wktz.siIt is not hard to fathom who on Earth possesses both the resources and the motivation to coordinate multiple, horrific militant attacks, ending scores of lives and provoking both fear and anger on a global scale such as seen during the recent Ramadan attacks that unfolded in France, Tunisia, Kuwait, and reportedly in China’s western Xinjiang region.

Only a few nations on Earth possess the operational capacity to run coordinated, multinational operations such as this. Only one axis among them has the motivation to do so.

The Attacks 

In Tunisia, nearly 30 were killed in a brazen attack targeting British tourists with assault rifles. Tunisia, which had been for years a bastion of stability in an otherwise troubled region, saw street demonstrations and violence during 2011 amid the wider US-engineered “Arab Spring” which sought to overturn regional political orders in favor of those selected by Wall Street and Washington. After briefly ousting Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power, his allies appear to have made a comeback. With their rise back to power, Al Qaeda and now the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) have conveniently stepped up operations within the country to match.

Tunisia is in close proximity to Libya, a nation destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, and one that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity, particularly in the nation’s eastern most region where the US has been literally running weapons to Al Qaeda militants both in Libya and as far as Syria via NATO-member Turkey. With US-backed terrorists flowing from Libya to as far as Syria, it is clear that this terrorist nexus possesses the necessary logistics to carry out operations in neighboring Tunisia as well.

Another 27 were killed when a Saudi national with a bomb strapped to himself detonated it at a Shia’a mosque in Kuwait. This fits a recent pattern where what little Al Qaeda/ISIS activity that exists in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf autocracies, is aimed not at the ruling regimes – all stalwart, long-standing allies of the United States and Great Britain – but against Shia’a targets in what is a clear escalation of a proxy war targeting Iran and its regional allies.

A bizarre murder unfolded in France as well, with a suspect apparently decapitating his employer and leaving the severed head at a chemical plant he attempted to crash a vehicle into. The suspect had been well known to security agencies for previous terrorist activity, but allowed, perhaps even coaxed to carry out this latest, fatal attack – a familiar pattern that fits nearly all terrorist attacks carried out in Europe and North America, including the most recent attacks proceeding this latest episode in France itself.

And finally, in China’s Xinjiang region, the US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” reported at least 18 were killed in an attack carried out by Uighur terrorists. As a side note, the US State Department added in a tasteless attempt to justify the terrorism, claiming that:

Turkic-speaking minority Uyghurs have complained about pervasive ethnic discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression by Chinese authorities.

Despite this, it is confirmed that Uighur terrorists have joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria, have received training, and are returning home to China to carry out terrorist attacks. The Lowy Institute’s Interpreter magazine in an article titled, “Tough choices for Beijing following execution of Chinese ISIS militants,” admits:

The involvement of Chinese citizens in ISIS is increasingly under scrutiny. Just two weeks ago, Malaysia’s Home Minister confirmed that 300 Chinese militants had used his country as a transit point to join ISIS. Three weeks ago, Chinese authorities arrested 10 Turkish nationals for providing false passports to alleged terrorists from Xinjiang.

And once again, US support can be found throughout the region in which these terrorists are based in western China. The US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) even goes as far as listing China’s Xinjiang region as “East Turkistan,” a fictional name for the client state the US and its terrorists hope to carve out of Chinese territory.

The Motivation 

It is clear that ISIS is not carrying out these attacks in the hopes of “winning” its war, but instead, to seemingly perpetuate it, expand it, and even push it into so-far spared regions of the planet. The attacks in France and Tunisia served only to anger and frighten European populations who will in turn, only support further foreign wars aimed at “fighting ISIS” but conveniently accomplishing all of Wall Street and Washington’s other goals along the way.

The attack in Tunisia in particular, was another stroke aimed at the ruling government. The attacks in Kuwait were aimed directly at the only viable opposition that threatens the US-backed regime in Kuwait City. Similar attacks have been made in Saudi Arabia itself, aimed not at the US-proxy regime, but at its opposition.

In China it is clear that the United States supports Uighur terrorists and their ambitions to carve off a large portion of China to create a client state the US can further strengthen its encirclement strategy versus Beijing. The US State Department openly funds the political wings of these terrorist groups and fully backs their separatist rhetoric.

It appears that only the United States and its hegemonic ambitions stood to gain from the otherwise senseless violence perpetrated this Ramadan. Its enemies have been directly attacked, and its allies given further justification for military adventures abroad. And not coincidentally, it is only the United States and its vast, criminal intelligence community that possess the operational capacity and network of proxies necessary to organize and execute such large scale and conveniently timed attacks.

The Ramadan attacks serve as a warning that modern-day imperialism is alive and well. Its methods of projecting hegemony are both direct and indirect. With terrorism so potent a weapon, it is assured that this modern empire will continue employing it for as long as it is profitable.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Carpet-Bombing History

By Nick Alexandrov
June 29, 2015
Counterpunch

 

Fakhreddin's Castle (top), is pictured in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria (Reuters / Nour Fourat)J. E. Curtis, Keeper of the British Museum’s Middle East collections, was on grim business in Iraq. Armed occupiers held an ancient city there—“tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain,” he wrote. The site was “irrevocably contaminated,” he added, suffering “permanent damage that will last forever.”

Curtis was describing Babylon in 2004, under U.S. occupation. But commentary on ISIS ignores Washington’s legacy of cultural ruin, assuming the Islamic State has some unique capacity for wrecking artifacts. The group’s “obliterators,” as historian Simon Schama termed them, “all act from the same instinct of cultural panic that the supreme works of the past will lead people astray from blind, absolute obedience.” Toppling Palmyra would reveal “Isis’s littleness,” architecture critic Rowan Moore asserted, asking “how could anyone be so threatened by ancient ruins, unless they lacked belief in their ability to create something themselves?”

“Palmyra,” Moore emphasized, “is an ancient Roman site whose significance and value is exceeded by very few others: those in Rome itself, Pompeii, possibly Petra in Jordan.” So in his view, a “littleness” rivaling Islamic State’s would motivate, say, bombing raids on Pompeii—which the U.S. and British Air Forces carried out in 1943. The first strike happened August 24, “ironically the anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius,” according to the Getty Museum’s Kenneth Lapatin. “Damage was incurred at various points throughout the archaeological site (over 160 hits were recorded), and some of its most famous monuments were struck,” with dozens “totally destroyed,” he explains.

The Allies bombed the Cathedral of Benevento that same month. “For 1,100 years this medieval church stood as a small but precious religious monument,” LIFE reported, though after the attack only “the bell tower, parts of the façade and one side wall” remained. “Fire that swept the cathedral burned rare Sixth Century Langobardic manuscripts,” though perhaps “the loss of the cathedral’s famous 12th Century bronze doors” was worse.

Six months later, in February 1944, Allied bombers demolished the Abbey of Monte Cassino, where “the only people killed,” David Hapgood and David Richardson clarify, “were among the civilians.” Dating from the 6th century, the Abbey was “the site where St. Benedict himself had founded the world-famed Benedictine Order,” John S. D. Eisenhower noted. He pointed out that Nazi officials ordered Monte Cassino’s Abbot, Gregorio Diamare—who “could not bring himself to believe that the Allies would destroy such a venerated edifice as the Abbey”—to send its art and archives to a safe location.

Allied bombers brutalized German historic sites for the rest of the war. “The center of Trier, for instance, was subjected to twenty raids between 14 August and 24 December 1944, causing severe damage to the fourth-century AD basilica and the Liebfrauenkirche, one of the oldest Gothic churches in Germany,” Nicola Lambourne writes. After the January 1945 raid on Nuremberg, much “of the historic center was destroyed, including the Albrecht Dürer house and the nineteenth-century building housing the German National Museum.” Sönke Neitzel explains that the February 1945 attack on Dresden badly damaged nineteen of the city’s thirty most significant cultural structures, leveling the other eleven.

And the U.S. Army Air Forces, while firebombing Japan, leveled Kobe’s 700-year-old Yakusenji Temple, Nagoya’s 17th-century Castle, and Tokyo’s Taitokuin mausoleum—“a spectacular complex,” historian William H. Coaldrake affirms—built in 1632. Mark Michael Rowe writesthat “Isshinji, an extremely popular Jōdo temple in Osaka, began collecting anonymous remains in 1887. The ashes were ground up, combined with concrete and molded into life-sized, seated Bone Buddha statues.” When U.S. incendiaries razed it, “the remains of nearly one million people, abandoned and otherwise, had been entrusted to the temple.” Washington’s campaign to ignite these cities also “accounted either directly or indirectly for the destruction of 50 percent of the total book resources in Japanese libraries,” Rebecca Knuth writes.

The destruction was equally broad in North Korea, years later. “Pyongyang is usually presented as an ancient city,” Andrei Lankov observes. “The area has been the site of a major settlement for nearly two millennia,” he acknowledges, but adds that “the present Pyongyang was built almost from scratch in the mid-1950s”—mainly because “a major US bombing campaign that reached its height in 1952” wiped out “some 90 percent of the city,” erasing much of its history. Justin Corfield, in his Historical Dictionary of Pyongyang, lists what was lost. The Kwangbop Buddhist Temple dated to 392; Potong Gate “was one of the ancient city gates of the walled city of Pyongyang, built in the mid-sixth century;” Sungryong Hall, a temple, “was built in 1429,” and like the other structures “destroyed during the Korean War,” Corfield concludes.

Or consider Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary. The Global Heritage Fund explains it “is one of Vietnam’s only archaeological sites to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and was inhabited from the 4th– through the 15thcenturies AD,” when the Champa Kingdom blossomed. But “a large majority of Mỹ Sơn’s exquisite architecture was destroyed by aerial bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War.” A team of scholars, involved in the “ongoing conservation effort” there, admit their work “cannot change one sad truth: one of the towers that the [B-52] bombing crew saw that day [in August 1969], the temple once described as the ‘most perfect expression of Cham architecture,’ is gone forever.’”

Anthropologist Christina Schwenkel uncovered “another buried history of US aerial bombing in Vietnam: that of the demolished city of Vinh, provincial capital of Nghệ An.” From 1964-1973, “the city was subjected to more than 4,700 air strikes,” during which its “historical and cultural patrimony”—including the 18th-century Diệc Pagoda and 19th-century imperial citadel—was finished off. Mervyn Brown, in his memoir recounting years spent in Laos, describes a similar U.S. bombing. “The destruction of Xieng Khouang, a former royal capital with many beautiful temples and other buildings of historical and artistic interest, was a particular act of cultural vandalism.” The ruin was so complete “that it was not feasible to rebuild the town,” he laments.

There were, in other words, precedents for what the British Museum’s Curtis saw in U.S.-occupied Babylon. And that city’s damage stemmed from Washington’s antiquities policy. “During preparations for the 2003 war on Iraq,” writes journalist Robert Bevan, “US military planners identified 150 important archaeological sites to be avoided. US archaeologists responded with a list of 4,000 vital locations—a degree of ‘duty of protection’ that the Pentagon rejected despite international law demanding it.” Familiar results followed. Vandals torched the National Library and Archives and the Ministry of Religious Endowment’s Koranic Library. Looters hit the Museum of Archaeology. “The US forces did not seek to prevent the destruction here and elsewhere,” Bevan argues, “despite being implored to do so.”

“Why does the nihilistic effort to wipe out an ancient civilization echo so strongly?” Thanassis Cambanis asked in the Boston Globe. He was writing about ISIS, with justifiable outrage. But we should ask another question: Why doesn’t Washington’s global bombing of cultural sites—accompanying mass slaughter—echo at all?

Nick Alexandrov lives in Washington, DC.  He can be reached at: nicholas.alexandrov@gmail.com

US To Begin the Invasion of Syria. Washington Policymakers Call for the Division, Destruction and Military Occupation of Syria

By Tony Cartalucci
June 29, 2015
New Eastern Outlook, June 26, 2015

 

34324234Unbeknownst to the general public, their elected politicians do not create the policy that binds their national destiny domestically or within the arena of geopolitics. Instead, corporate-financier funded think tanks do – teams of unelected policymakers which transcend elections, and which produce papers that then become the foundation of legislation rubber stamped by “legislators,” as well as the enumerated talking points repeated ad naseum by the corporate-media.

Such a policy paper has been recently written by the notorious US policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, titled, “Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country.” The signed and dated open-conspiracy to divide, destroy, then incrementally occupy a sovereign nation thousands of miles from America’s shores serves as a sobering example of how dangerous and enduring modern imperialism is, even in the 21st century.

Pretext ISIS: US Poured Billions Into “Moderates” Who Don’t Exist

The document openly admits that the US has provided billions in arming and training militants fed into the devastating and increasingly regional conflict. It admits that the US maintains – and should expand – operations in Jordan and NATO-member Turkey to provide even more weapons, cash, and fighters to the already catastrophic conflict.

It then recounts the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), but fails to account from where its money, cash, and weapons came. It should be obvious to readers that if the United States has committed billions in cash, weapons, and training on multiple fronts to alleged “moderates” who for all intents and purposes do not exist on the battlefield, a state-sponsor of greater magnitude would be required to create and sustain ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front who Brookings admits dominates the “opposition” uncontested.

In reality, ISIS’ supply lines lead right into US operational zones in Turkey and Jordan, because it was ISIS and Al Qaeda all along that the West planned to use before the 2011 conflict began, and has based its strategy on ever since – including this most recent leg of the campaign.

The US Invasion of  Syria

3077964822 (1)After arming and funding a literal region-wide army of Al Qaeda terrorists, the United States now plans to use the resulting chaos to justify what it has sought since the beginning of the conflict when it became clear the Syrian government was not to capitulate or collapse – the establishment of buffer zones now called “safe zones” by Brookings.

These zones once created, will include US armed forces on the ground, literally occupying seized Syrian territory cleared by proxies including Kurdish groups and bands of Al Qaeda fighters in the north, and foreign terrorist militias operating along the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. Brookings even admits that many of these zones would be created by extremists, but that “ideological purity” wound “no longer be quite as high of a bar.

The US assumes that once this territory is seized and US troops stationed there, the Syrian Arab Army will not dare attack in fear of provoking a direct US military response against Damascus. The Brookings paper states (emphasis added):

The  idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would actin support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the  presence  of  special  forces  as  well. The  approach would  benefit  from  Syria’s open desert  terrain  which  could  allow  creation  of  buffer  zones  that could  be  monitored  for possible  signs  of  enemy  attack  through  a  combination  of  technologies, patrols,  and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.

Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal  of  the  outside  special  forces,  he  would  be  likely  to  lose  his  air power  in ensuing  retaliatory  strikes  by  outside  forces,  depriving  his  military  of  one  of its  few advantages over ISIL.Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.

In a single statement, Brookings admits that the government of Syria is not engaged in a war against its own people, but against “ISIL” (ISIS). It is clear that Brookings, politicians, and other strategists across the West are using the threat of ISIS in combination with the threat of direct military intervention as a means of leverage for finally overrunning and seizing Syria entirely.

The Invasion Could Succeed, But Not for US Proxies

The entire plan is predicated on America’s ability to first take and hold these “zones” and subsequently mesh them into functioning autonomous regions. Similar attempts at US “nation building” are currently on display in the ravaged failed state that used to be North Africa’s nation of Libya, Syria’s neighbor to the southeast, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the list goes on extensively.

The folly of this plan both in attempts to use non-existent credibility and military will to actually implement it, as well as in terms of those foolish enough to place their trust in a nation that has left a swath of global destruction and failed states in its wake stretching from South Vietnam to Libya and back again, can be described only as monumental.

This strategy can almost certainly be used to finally destroy Syria. It cannot however, be used to do any of the things the US will promise in order to get the various players necessary for it to succeed, to cooperate.

Almost certainly there are measures Syria, its allies Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Russia, China, and all other nations facing the threats of Western hegemony can take to ensure that US forces will not be able to take and hold Syrian territory or ultimately succeed in what is essentially an invasion in slow motion. Already the US has used their own ISIS hordes as a pretext to operate militarily within Syrian territory, which as predicted, has led to this next stage in incremental invasion.

An increase in non-NATO peacekeeping forces in Syria could ultimately unhinge Western plans altogether. The presence of Iranian, Lebanese, Yemeni, Afghan, and other forces across Syria, particularly bordering “zone” the US attempts to create, may offer the US the prospect of a multinational confrontation it has neither the political will, nor the resources to undertake.

The ability of Syria and its allies to create a sufficient deterrence against US aggression in Syria, while cutting off the logistical lines the US is using to supply ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq will ultimately determine Syria’s survival.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/26/us-to-begin-invasion-of-syria/

Canada: Alleged ISIS supporter released on bail after lengthy, illegal detention without charge

By Roger Jordan
June 20, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Twenty-three-year-old  was quietly released on bail late last week by a Manitoba court, after being detained since his arrest by police on June 4.

Despite holding Driver for eight days, police are yet to charge him with any crime. Police allege he supports the Islamic State (ISIS) and defended last October’s fatal attacks on Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, pointing to postings he made on a Twitter account under the alias Harun Abdurahman. However, the court has imposed a ban on reporting evidence in the case, so it is not yet known if prosecutors have any evidence linking Driver to an actual crime under Canadian law.

The length of Driver’s detention without charge has been described by legal observers as unprecedented and a clear violation of his constitutional rights. For days, the authorities offered no public justification for their detention of Driver without charge past the 48 hours currently legally permitted. Now they are attempting to do so by citing Section 810 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which provides for the imposition of a peace bond or recognizance on an individual where there exists “reasonable grounds” to believe he or she will commit an act causing injury to someone or damage to property.

Under Section 810, someone who has not been charged, let alone convicted of a crime, can be jailed for up to a year if they refuse to sign a peace bond or fail to comply with its terms after it has been signed.

Originally introduced into the Criminal Code in 1985 as a means of dealing with cases of family breakdown and abuse of children, the government is increasingly using section 810 to restrict the movements and place onerous conditions on the activities of alleged terrorist suspects against whom the state has insufficient evidence to lay criminal charges.

Evidence suggests that Canada’s national security apparatus is now routinely intimidating people with threats of criminal charges and incarceration without bail so as to get them to “voluntarily” agree to sign a peace bond.

Driver’s case, however, appears to have set a chilling new precedent in that police continued to detain him beyond the legal limit of 48 hours, because he refused to agree to the peace bond process.

The police are now asking the courts to impose a peace bond on Driver, with a hearing scheduled for July 9.

Pending that hearing, Driver has been released from bail but under harsh and illegal conditions. Among other things, Driver must wear a GPS tracker at all times, engage in “religious counselling” and forward the counsellor’s name to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), follow a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, give up his passport, give up any computer of any kind, submit his telephone number to the police, give police the password to access his phone, avoid social media websites, and refrain from communicating with any ISIS or Al Qaida member. This latter condition appears deliberately aimed at presenting Driver to the public as a hardened terrorist, given that not a shred of evidence has thus far been presented to suggest that he has had any contact with these or any other terrorist group.

Driver’s restrictive bail terms were sharply criticized by the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties (MARL), the group that first drew attention to the Driver case. “This is a person, a Canadian citizen, who has not been charged with a crime and yet he’s going to be subject to 24/7 GPS monitoring,” said MARL President Corey Shefman. He added, “He could go to jail for failing to undertake religious activity. That doesn’t sound like Canada to me. That sounds like a theocracy.”

Driver’s treatment marks a further step in the direction of police state measures. While he was behind bars, Canada’s Senate gave final approval to the Conservative government’s new Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-51). It vastly expands the powers of the national security apparatus, including giving the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the power to break the law in disrupting reputed threats to Canada’s economic and national security. (See: “Canada’s police-state bill passes final parliamentary hurdle”)

The new law will also enable the authorities to obtain peace bonds much more easily. The wording in the criminal code is to be replaced, so that it reads “may” commit an offence rather than “will,” thereby significantly lowering the threshold of proof required to impose a peace bond. In addition, the maximum period of detention without charge will be extended to seven days for terrorist suspects.

As the Winnipeg Free Press wrote in an editorial criticizing the treatment of Driver, “If we’re upset with how he’s being treated now, be aware that Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act is going to make this type of treatment easier.”

In another recent case, a Prince Edward Island student who police claim was planning to make bombs was forced to sign a 12-month peace bond which restricts his movements and requires him to report to a probation officer once a week. He has been neither charged nor convicted of any offence. A Montreal man who signed a peace bond earlier this year is currently being criminally prosecuted for breaching its terms and could face a prison term.

It is becoming increasingly clear that this little-known provision is being transformed into an instrument to be used to target anyone the government likes, even if there is no evidence of criminal activity having been committed. The catch-all definitions of terrorism and national security threats now written into law provide the basis for peace bonds to be used in the future against working-class and left-wing opponents of the government.

Unsurprisingly, there have been no statements from any of the mainstream political parties raising concerns about the Driver case. In a statement released shortly after Driver’s detention, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Stephen Blainey merely noted that the government had to keep fighting terrorism.

With its draconian assault on basic democratic rights and legal principles, Canada’s Conservative government is pursuing the twin aims of establishing mechanisms to suppress all public opposition to its reactionary policies, as well as seeking to whip up a climate of fear and hysteria to justify its military aggression abroad.

To this latter end, government representatives portray the entire Muslim population as a menace to society. In a recent interview, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander effectively accused any Muslim woman wearing the burka or niqab of being a terrorist suspect. Commenting on the federal Conservative government’s plans to outlaw Muslim women wearing these face-covering garments from taking an oath of citizenship and the Quebec Liberal government’s bill preventing them from receiving health care and other public services, Alexander said, “We’ve done a lot in the past year to strengthen the value of Canadian citizenship. People take pride in that. They don’t want their co-citizens to be terrorists. They don’t want people to become citizens who haven’t respected the rules.”

Such fear-mongering aims to legitimize the vast authoritarian state apparatus which will be turned against the working class at the first sign of the emergence of opposition to the ruling elite.

Iraq War Propaganda Redux: U.S. Claims Syrian Government Supporting ISIS

By WashingtonsBlog
June 4, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

isil-usal-media-realityWest Busted Supporting ISIS … Tries Instead to Point Finger At Syrian Government

America’s closest allies have been busted supporting ISIS in order to topple Syria’s government.  Mainstream U.S. writers are calling for open support of ISIS and Al Qaeda to enact regime change in Syria.

And a newly-declassified government document hints that the West supported the creation of ISIS.

This may sound far-fectched and wild-eyed  … But the following former high-level US and UK intelligence officials and whistleblowers confirm that the document implicates the West in the birth of ISIS:

  • Military analyst – and famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower – Daniel Ellsberg
  • High-level NSA official Thomas Drake
  • Well-known FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley
  • Senior MI6 officer Alastair Crooke
  • MI5 counter-terrorism officer Annie Machon
  • British counter-terrorism officer Charles Shoebridge

In any event, whether or not you believe the West created ISIS, the U.S. is now trying to blame the single most unlikely entity imaginable for ISIS … the Syrian government.

Specifically,  the U.S. Embassy in Syria just accused the Syrian government of supporting ISIS:

This is all kinds of silly … and is Iraq War propaganda redux.

Specifically, the Syrian government and ISIS are mortal enemies.

The Syrian government – which is allied with Shia Muslims – has been battling Sunni jihadis for many years. ISIS are Sunnis … the arch-enemy of Shias and the Syrian government.  The Syrian government is ruled by a sect of Shias called Alawites.

In other words, ISIS and the Syrian government are on opposite sides of the war, and have been ever since ISIS was formed.

Similarly, in the run up to the Iraq War, Bush and the gang said that Saddam was in bed with Al Qaeda.   Only one little problem: Saddam and Al Qaeda hated each other’s guts.

Flashback:  A Bogus Iraq-Qaeda “Connection”

Because the accusations that the Syrian government is supporting ISIS mirror so closely what happened in the run up to the Iraq war, let’s recap

5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”. He also said “Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.

Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.

And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.

And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Moreover, President Bush’s March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks.

Indeed, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reports that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this.

Suskind also revealed that “Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official ‘that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.’ ”

Cheney made the false linkage between Iraq and 9/11 on many occasions.

For example, according to Raw Story, Cheney was still alleging a connection between Iraq and the alleged lead 9/11 hijacker in September 2003 – a year after it had been widely debunked. When NBC’s Tim Russert asked him about a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, Cheney replied:

It’s not surprising that people make that connection.

And even after the 9/11 Commission debunked any connection, Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime , that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties.

Again, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks. See this, this, this.

On December 16, 2005, Bush admitted “There was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the attack of 9/11″ (and see this video).  However, Bush and Cheney continued to frequently invoke 9/11 as justification for the Iraq war.  And see this. (Cheney finally admitted in 2009 that there was no link.)

A bipartisan Senate Report from 2006 found that Bush misled the press on Iraq link to Al-Qaeda.

The administration’s false claims about Saddam and 9/11 helped convince a large portion of the American public to support the invasion of Iraq. While the focus now may be on false WMD claims, it is important to remember that, at the time, the alleged link between Iraq and 9/11 was at least as important in many people’s mind as a reason to invade Iraq.

Top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions in an attempt to create such a false linkage.

McClatchy reported in 2009:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

***

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.

The Washington Post reported the same year:

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.

So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.

***

Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.

Colin Powell’s former chief of staff (Colonel Larry Wilkerson) also wrote in 2009 that the Bush administration’s “principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qaeda.”

Here We Go Again …

Of course, truth is the first casualty of war, and so the fact that the Syrian government and ISIS are mortal enemies or that Saddam and Al Qaeda hated each other makes no difference in the middle of a tidal wave of propaganda.

The U.S. has decided on regime change (again!) in Syria, just like it committed to regime change (again!) in Iraq.

And America will say and do anything to get its war on.

Turkey says US agrees to provide air cover for anti-Assad “rebels” in Syria

By Niles Williamson
May 26, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that the US had agreed to provide air support for so-called “moderate rebels” being trained in Turkey, once they cross the border into Syria.

Cavusoglu told the Daily Sabah that there was “a principle agreement” between the two governments for Washington to provide air cover for the proxy forces being trained in a US-funded program aimed at toppling the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Asked if there would be cooperation with the US in providing air support for the “train-and-equip army,” the foreign minister replied, “Of course. They have to be supported via air. If you do not protect them or provide air support, what is the point?”

Cavusoglu refused to give any details when asked if the air support would include armed American drones flown from Incirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish city of Adana. “These are technical details,” he stated. “There is a principle agreement on providing air support. How it is going to be provided is in the responsibility of the army.”

As of Monday evening, the US government had not officially responded to Cavusoglu’s statement, neither affirming nor denying its accuracy. Such an agreement would, however, mark a major escalation in the four-year-long US-instigated civil war that has devastated Syria, killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions more into refugees.

The Turkish claim comes at a point of mounting military successes against Syrian government forces by US-backed “rebels” in league with the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front and by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The provision of air cover by the US for its proxy forces on the ground in Syria would follow the pattern of the 2011 US-NATO air war in Libya, which ended with the torture and assassination of deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi and led in turn to the collapse of the country into bloody civil war between rival Islamist militias.

The US has been flying a fleet of four unarmed Predator surveillance drones over Syria and Iraq from Incirlik since 2011. Three additional Predator drones were deployed to the Turkish base in April.

While the drones reportedly remain unarmed, Turkish military officials agreed in principle last month to the deployment of armed drones at the air base, which is located approximately 360 miles north of the Syrian capital of Damascus and 250 miles northwest of the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, well within the flight range of the Predator drones.

The US and Turkish governments are undertaking the military training operation as part of a $500 million program approved by Congress in September 2014 that also involves the training of Syrian “rebels” at camps in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, approximately 123 US soldiers arrived in Turkey at the end of April to initiate the training and equipping program. Forty of these soldiers were deployed to the Hirfanli army base in central Turkey to train supposedly moderate anti-Assad forces. The remaining 83 were deployed to Incirlik to oversee the transfer of weapons to Syrian insurgent groups. Turkey has provided an equal number of soldiers to work alongside the US advisers.

According to Hurriyet, the fighters trained at Hirfanli will be transferred to Hatay province, where they will be armed with rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons before being sent back across the border into Syria.

The US has already initiated a similar program in Jordan, where some 400 soldiers from the US and 100 others from countries allied to the US have been training an initial group of approximately 100 Syrian fighters. Washington and its allies are planning to train 15,000 anti-regime Syrian fighters over the next three years.

While launched under the pretense of developing an effective force to fight ISIS, which has taken control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq, the training programs are aimed ultimately at the overthrow of Assad.

Cavusoglu made this clear in response to a question about his expectations for the operation, stating, “The opposition forces are fighting on both fronts. While the fight against ISIS is prioritized, the regime must be also stopped.”

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told the New York Times earlier this month that Washington would be obligated to assist the “rebels” they trained if they came into conflict with the Syrian military. “If they are contested by regime forces, we would have some responsibility to help them,” he stated, adding, “We have not yet decided in detail how we would exercise that responsibility.”

Since last summer, when ISIS moved across the border from Syria to Iraq, seizing control of large portions of that country, the US has been gradually building up direct military operations against the extremist group inside Syria.

ISIS developed out of the civil war stoked up by the US and its imperialist allies as part of its effort to overthrow Assad, a key ally of Iran and Russia. The CIA and the US military have funneled massive quantities of weapons and ammunition as well as thousands of foreign fighters into Syria since 2011.

On September 10, 2014, US President Barack Obama announced the beginning of a consistent campaign of air strikes against ISIS targets throughout Syria. Since then, the US and its allies have carried out several thousand air strikes against targets in Iraq and Syria at a cost of more than $2.4 billion, or roughly $8.9 million per day.

US Special Forces carried out a raid in eastern Syria on May 17, killing 32 reputed members of ISIS, including a reportedly high-level ISIS officer. American Special Forces carried out their first attack inside Syria last summer in an unsuccessful raid against an ISIS complex in Raqqa, ostensibly to rescue US hostages who were later killed.

The US-led military operation in Iraq and Syria continued on Sunday and into Monday with 10 air strikes in Syria and 25 in Iraq. US strikes in Iraq hit ISIS targets near Fallujah, Baiji, Bahghdadi and Ramadi.

Shiite militias are preparing for a counter-offensive to retake Ramadi, which fell to ISIS forces last week after the Iraqi military was routed. On Monday, Shiite militia forces fighting alongside local Sunni tribal fighters took over part of Al Tash, a rural village 12 miles south of Ramadi.

Sunni fighters loyal to the Iraqi government were reported to be laying landmines on Monday to reinforce the defense of Baghdadi, which was retaken from ISIS forces in March. The city, 63 miles northwest of Ramadi, is the site of the Al Asad air base, where several hundred US military advisers are currently stationed.

Since June 2014, more than 3,000 US soldiers have been deployed throughout Iraq as part of anti-ISIS military operations.

US-Supported Islamic State Terrorists Seize Palmyra

By Stephen Lendman
May 25, 2015
Global Research

 

unescoThe ancient Syrian city is a UNESCO World Heritage site – one of the Middle East’s most treasured ones.

UNESCO calls it one of “outstanding universal value, (an) oasis in the Syria desert” northeast of Damascus.

From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.”

According to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, its ancient ruins “already suffered four years of conflict. It suffered from looting and represents an irreplaceable treasure for the Syrian people an for the world.”

She appealed to “all parties” to prevent its destruction. Short of immediate military intervention if Security Council authorized, ancient treasures appear lost.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich expressed grave concern saying

“(w)e’d consider (the) destruction (of Palmyra’s architectural treasures) an unpardonable act of vandalism, encroachment on general human values, and an insult to civilization.”

“The activity of the so-called anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States has failed to produce results…and has not affected the ability of the Islamic State to expand.”

Obama bears full responsibility. Washington recruits, trains, funds, arms and directs IS/ISIS/ISIL Daish terrorists and likeminded ones – using them as proxy foot soldiers against independent governments like Syria it wants toppled.

Last week, the UN said a third of Palmyra’s population of 200,000 fled. US-supported Takfiri terrorists control large parts of Syria’s north and east.

Syrian state TV said government forces withdrew from the city. On Wednesday, its director of antiquities, Maamoun Abdulkarim, said:

Hundreds and hundreds of statues we were worried would be smashed and sold are all now in safe places.”

“The fear is for the museum and the large monuments that cannot be moved. This is the entire world’s battle.”

IS control of Palmyra is “an international catastrophe. It will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery (seen) in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul,” Iraq.

UNESCO calls this type wanton destruction a “war crime.” IS terrorism is well-known. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the following:

“Reliable local sources inside the city…said ISIS terrorists slaughtered and mutilated at least 400 civilians, including children, women and elderly people.”

Individuals targeted were alleged government loyalists or employees as well as others apparently unwilling to accept IS rule.

Palmyra’s National Hospital nursing department head was murdered along with her family members.

Thousands of city residents are trapped. They’re prevented from leaving. IS confiscated their property. According to SANA:

“These and other ISIS atrocities are being perpetrated amid shameful international silence, with the Security Council only expressing ‘concern’ without taking any practical deterrent measures on the ground.”

In mid-May, US special forces entered Syria covertly. White House national security council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Obama authorized the operation to kill or capture “ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm.”

She’s in US military custody in Iraq, said Meehan. Abu Sayyaf was killed, she added. SANA reported the raid. Was it a Syrian operation, not a US one?

Why would Washington want one of its IS commanders killed? SANA reported Syrian forces killed IS “oil minister” Abu Taym Saudi on the same day. Was he Abu Sayyaf? Arabic names are often interchangeable.

Meehan claims the operation was conducted “with the full consent of Iraqi authorities…consistent with domestic and international law,” she added.

Syria is Obama’s war – naked aggression by any standard using IS and other takfiri terrorists as US proxy foot soldiers. 

Reports indicate IS terrorists seized the Syrian/Iraqi Al-Tanaf border crossing, the last one Damascus controlled. It’s 150 miles from Palmyra.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi blamed Washington, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel, and other countries backing its war for atrocities committed in Palmyra.

He called on responsible international leaders and human rights organizations to denounce their support for terrorism. 

Obama’s war is in its fifth year. Syria is being systematically raped – ravaged and destroyed in plain sight.

Ramadi and America’s Fracturing of Iraq

By Eric Draitser
May 24, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

e5d7475a299a4d079b9f695cafac21cd_isil_isis_ramadiThe Western media has been consumed in recent days with the news that Islamic State militants have captured the strategically critical city of Ramadi in Iraq. The narrative is one of incompetence on the part of Iraqi military forces who, the corporate media tells us, are simply either ineffectual or hopelessly corrupt. Some analysts and pundits, especially those on the right who oppose Obama for various reasons, have used the fall of Ramadi to legitimize their claims that Obama’s “weakness” on the ISIS issue brought events to this point.

While there is truth to the assertion that Iraqi military forces are riddled with severe problems, from sectarianism in the command hierarchy, to poor training and, at times, organizational disarray, none of these issues is singularly responsible for the loss of Ramadi. Nor is it entirely accurate to say that Obama’s alleged weakness is really the cause.

Rather the primary reason, the one which the media carefully avoids including in their reportage, is the political and military sabotage of Iraq perpetrated by the United States in pursuit of its long-term agenda.

Indeed, while Washington waxes poetic about the need to more forcefully confront ISIS and destroy its military and terrorist infrastructure, the actual policies it has pursued are designed to achieve just the opposite. Instead of promoting unity of command and execution within the Iraqi armed forces, the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House have done everything to fracture Iraq’s political and military structures, fomenting rather than mollifying sectarian conflicts. Then the Washington Post can publish editorials blasting Iraqi fecklessness, and calling for a more robust US military presence. In this way, the US policy of promoting division and weakness within Iraq has directly led to the dire situation in Ramadi and throughout the country.

How Washington is Destroying Iraq…Again!

The fall of Ramadi has provided ammunition to opponents of Obama whose central argument – if such insanity can be believed – remains that the US should wage further war in Iraq. Leading warmongers, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both claim that the failure is due to Obama’s “big mistake” in not leaving behind troops in 2011. Graham described US policy as “a failure of Obama’s military strategy,” while McCain referred to it as “one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history… [The] policy…is not enough of anything,” Aside from the obvious absurdity of their claims, McCain and Graham, and the media narrative surrounding the entire issue, are a perfect illustration of the utterly backwards narrative presented by the corporate media to the American public.

In reality, the US, with Congress very much playing a central role, has studiously worked to undermine any chances for national resistance and military victory inside Iraq by Iraqi security forces. Perhaps Graham and McCain forgot that the US has worked diligently to create divisions between Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish elements within the Iraqi military architecture.

As recently as late April 2015, Congressional Republicans were pushing for a defense authorization bill that would directly arm and fund Sunni and Kurdish militias inside Iraq, treating them as “independent countries.” An obvious means of fomenting further sectarian conflicts and fracturing the fragile and precarious unity of the government in Baghdad and its military forces, this bill is indicative of a broader policy, one aimed at de facto partition of Iraq along ethno-religious lines. Moreover, those who follow US politics and military adventurism should understand that legislation follows rather than precedes the policy. The US has likely been arming Sunni and Kurdish factions for a long time already, thereby further degrading the continuity of the military.

But aside from the political attempts to fragment the country, US military actions belie the real agenda which, rather than combating ISIS, is geared towards degradation of military capability of all sides, which is, in effect, support for ISIS.

Since the US campaign against the group in Iraq began, there have been countless media reports of US weapons and supplies falling directly into the clutches of ISIS, succoring it at precisely the time that it has suffered heavy losses at the hands of Shiite militias in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah across the border in Syria. As Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for one of the main groups fighting ISIS in Tikrit told the NY Times, “We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS… In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake.

This fact is critical to understanding the true motivation of Washington in this campaign, namely inflicting maximum damage on both ISIS and Shiite militias fighting it. In effect, this ‘controlled chaos’ strategy promotes and extends, rather than concludes the war. Additionally, the allegation of US-ISIS collusion is further supported by dozens of accounts of airdropped US weapons being seized by ISIS. As Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui noted in January, “The information that has reached us in the security and defense committee indicates that an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin… This incident is continuously happening and has also occurred in some other regions.

Looking at a map, one begins to see then that ISIS has received US support in each of the strategically significant areas where it has made important gains. When reports of US airdrops going to ISIS in the province of Salahuddin first emerged, it coincided with the group’s military success in Tikrit. Now we see Ramadi in the easternmost part of Anbar province has fallen within weeks of more reports emerging of US-supplied arms being destined for ISIS in the al-Baqdadi region of Anbar.

Taken in total then, it seems that US strategy has been to overtly attack ISIS while covertly supporting it. Similarly, the US has claimed to be supporting, or at least collaborating indirectly, with Shiite militias connected to Iran. At the very same time, those militias have repeatedly claimed that US has bombed them deliberately. Such seemingly contradictory military objectives lead to the inescapable conclusion that US policy has been, and continues to be, chaos and fomenting war. So for Washington to now claim that the fall of Ramadi is somehow a major tragedy, that it represents a failure of strategy, is utter disinformation. In effect, the fall of Ramadi is an orchestrated outgrowth of the “managed chaos” strategy.

The History and Politics of America’s Chaos Theory in Iraq

From a purely geopolitical perspective, the aim of the US is to foment sectarian conflict and prolong the war in Iraq as a means of checking Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the region. The US is mostly incapable of achieving such an objective in Syria due to the continued success and cohesion of the Syrian Arab Army; in Iraq this is very much achievable. But this fragmentation and de facto partition of the country has been a long-standing policy, one that the US has pursued in myriad ways for more than a decade.

Keen political observers will recall that even before, and during the early stages, of the Iraq War in 2003, there was serious talk of dividing Iraq into religiously and ethnically homogenous territories. As influential neocon and President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb wrote in an op-ed in the NY Times in November 2003, “The only viable strategy…may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” While this policy was not enacted immediately, the United States has always pursued this long-term strategy to varying degrees.

The major stumbling block has been the stubborn desire of various members of Iraq’s political elite to be independent and sovereign actors, not US puppets. The primary offender from Washington’s perspective was former Prime Minister, and current Vice President, Nouri al-Maliki, who refused to bow to the diktats of Washington, and was instead portrayed as a corrupt, autocratic Iranian stooge. But what were Maliki’s real transgressions from Washington’s perspective?

First and foremost were Maliki’s attitudes and policies towards the US occupation and the presence of military and non-military personnel. In fact, it was Maliki’s refusal to grant the US request to maintain military bases in the country after the withdrawal – against Obama’s wishes – which prompted the first round of attacks on him and his government. And it was then that the image of Maliki as Iranian puppet truly became popularized, at least in Western media. Indeed, as The Guardian noted at the time, “The Pentagon had wanted the bases to help counter growing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Just a few years ago, the US had plans for leaving behind four large bases but, in the face of Iraqi resistance, this plan had to be scaled down this year to a force of 10,000. But even this proved too much for the Iraqis.

Maliki also took the absolutely monumental step of closing down Camp Ashraf and killing or expelling its inhabitants. Far from being a camp for “Iranian political exiles” as Western media have attempted to portray, Ashraf was the base of the Iranian terrorist organization Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), an organization supported wholeheartedly by neocons (as well as most “liberals”) in its continued terror war against Iran. Of course, because Maliki dared to cleanse Iraq of these US-sponsored terrorist thugs, he was immediately convicted in the court of US public opinion which described the operation as an assault on Iranian “freedom fighters.” We know all too well what the US means when it describes terrorists as freedom fighters.

And so, by refusing basing rights, refusing to extend immunity and legal protections to US contractors operating in Iraq, and wiping out Camp Ashraf and MEK members, Maliki became a villain. More to the point, it was his refusal to allow Iraq to be used by the US and its allies as a military and political bulwark against Iran that earned him the West’s ire. Far from wanting a “sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq” as Obama eloquently proclaimed, Washington needed the country to remain a client state to be used as a weapon of US foreign policy in the region. By rejecting this, Maliki, almost overnight, became “a dictator.”

By ousting Maliki, the US once again pursued a policy of fragmentation, deliberately installing current Prime Minister Abadi who they knew would be weak, incapable of maintaining the unity of Iraq, and most importantly, amenable to US demands. As the NY Times wrote in the wake of the fall of Ramadi last week:

At the urging of American officials who sought to sideline the [Shiite] militias, Mr. Abadi… gambled that the combination of United States airstrikes and local Sunni tribal fighters would be able to drive Islamic State fighters out of [Ramadi]…But as the setback brought the Shiite militias, and their Iranian backers, back into the picture in Anbar, intensified Shiite infighting appeared to leave the prime minister more vulnerable than ever… He became prime minister last year with strong backing from the United States on the belief that he would be a more inclusive leader than his predecessor, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and would reach out to the country’s minority Sunni Arabs and Kurds. Mr. Abadi has done so, by pushing for the arming of local Sunni tribesmen and reaching a deal with the Kurds to share oil revenue.

As the Times correctly notes, Abadi has, quite predictably, followed orders from Washington and pursued a strategy which, from the western perspective is “inclusive,” but is in reality very much sectarian. This is the inverted reality that the US and the Western media portrays; the arming and support for Sunni and Kurdish factions is “inclusive” rather than divisive, which is what it is in the real world. By forcing the Shiites, the dominant group demographically and politically in Iraq, into a secondary role, the US once again foments, rather than bridges sectarian divides. What is this called if not “divide and conquer”?

It should not be lost on anyone that this policy which, as noted above, dates back more than a decade, is all designed to curb Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. By forcing Shiites into the back seat politically, economically, and militarily, the US has hoped to stifle Iran’s development from isolated nation into a regional power. By doing so, the US once again acts in its own interests, as well as those, of course, of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Perhaps that grouping of countries rings a bell for people following the development of the war on Syria these past four years? Indeed, it is the same actors.

Seen in this way then, the US agenda and strategy in Iraq is precisely the same as that for the entire region: block Iran (and, on a grander scale, Russia and China) with regime change when and where possible. When regime change is impossible or undesirable, inflict chaos and foment conflict.

One might call such a policy cynicism of the highest order. While true, there are still other words that perhaps better reflect the true insidiousness of it all: colonialism and imperialism.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Massive military escalation looms as ISIS advances in Iraq

By Niles Williamson
May 22, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The Pentagon announced Thursday that it will rush 2,000 AT-4 anti-tank rockets to the Iraqi military following the capture of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s western Anbar province, by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS fighters have seized control of tanks, artillery and large caches ammunition abandoned by the Iraqi military as they fled. More than 40,000 civilians have been forced from their homes by the ISIS advance.

US president Barack Obama, in an interview with the Atlantic published Thursday, described the loss of Ramadi as a “tactical setback,” but said that he did not think that the US was losing the fight against ISIS. “There’s no doubt that in the Sunni areas, we’re going to have to ramp up not just training, but also commitment, and we better get Sunni tribes more activated than they currently have been,” Obama stated.

The fall of Ramadi last weekend, just 70 miles west of Baghdad, is a major defeat in the campaign against ISIS, with approximately 7,000 Iraqi soldiers completely routed. ISIS deployed at least 30 car bombs in the successful offensive, 10 of which were reportedly equivalent in size to the truck bomb used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, annihilating whole city blocks.

Military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that the rockets were to be used by the Iraqi military to destroy possible car bombs from a much further distance than was possible with automatic weapons. “This is a good counter to that [type of bombing],” Warren stated.

Warren denied reports that the United States was considering training Iraqi soldiers to call in American airstrikes against ISIS targets. “If the JTAC [Joint Terminal Attack Controller] says, ‘Put a bomb there,’ no questions are asked,” he stated. “That is not something we are going to delegate to anyone other than Americans. Period.” Instead, Warren said, the US will train the Iraqi forces in better ways to call in air support by formatting their radio calls and identifying their positions to avoid being hit by American bombs.

The announcement of the expedited rocket deliveries came as ISIS continued to make advances towards Habbaniyah, 24 miles east of Ramadi. Iraqi Police major Khalid al-Fahdawi told Reuters on Thursday that ISIS forces had breached defensive positions in the city of Husaibah, six miles outside of Ramadi.

Far from activating the Sunni tribes, as suggested by Obama, the Iraqi government with US support is deploying approximately 4,000 Shiite militiamen to a military base outside Habbaniyah in preparation for an eventual counterattack against ISIS.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the Iraqi military in Anbar, Iraqi prime minister Haidar Al-Abadi has dispatched the Iranian-backed Shiite militias to spearhead the effort to retake the Sunni-dominated province. The militias have been ordered to coordinate with whatever remains of the Iraq military units that were routed and at least 2,000 police officers.

The deployment of the Shiite militias to retake Ramadi, a largely Sunni-populated city, will only serve to stoke sectarian tensions. American-supported Shiite militias and Iraqi Special Forces deployed in previous offensives against ISIS in Sunni areas have operated as death squads torturing and executing Sunni prisoners.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Shiite militias went on a rampage of retribution, looting and burning at least 3,200 buildings, including civilian homes, after pushing ISIS out of the city of Amerli in September 2014. Photos and videos have emerged showing men in the uniforms of Iraqi Special Forces posing with severed heads and dragging corpses behind their Humvees (see: “America’s ‘dirty brigades’ in Iraq”).

The logical outcome of the developments on the ground in Iraq is the reintroduction of thousands of American combat troops and an escalation of the air campaign. President Obama has already deployed approximately 3,000 troops to Iraq to serve as trainers and advisers for the Iraqi military.

Republican senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Senate Committee, criticized the White House on Monday and said that more US troops would be necessary as a result of the latest debacle in Iraq. “We will have to have more people on the ground and this is really serious, the fall of Ramadi,” McCain stated in an interview on MSNBC.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Thursday, Frederick Kagan, one of the architects of the 2007 “surge” in Iraq, called for the deployment of as many as 20,000 American troops to assist the Iraqi military in any eventual effort to retake Ramadi.

Kagan reported that the fall of Ramadi had “complete derailed” plans announced at the beginning of the year to retake from ISIS the northern city of Mosul. “I think the fight for Ramadi will be hard enough,” Kagan said. “I think that these operations in and around Ramadi demonstrate that the Iraqi security forces are current levels of U.S. support are not capable of defending even their territory against determined ISIS attack, let alone clearing a major ISIS safe haven.”

Marine general Gregory Newbold, who retired in 2002 in opposition to plans for war with Iraq and advised Obama’s campaign for president in 2008, told NPR on Thursday that he disapproved of the White House’s strategy against ISIS in Iraq.

He called for an escalation of the air campaign and an overwhelming use of force by US ground troops. “What we need to do is become the single most effective and welcome option for those local governments,” Newbold said. “And when we do that, our engagement can’t be timid. It has to be so decisive in employment and so overwhelming an effect that ISIS as an idea, as well as a force, is humiliated.”

As the United States and the Iraqi government prepared a counterattack, ISIS made a second strategic advance on Thursday, seizing control of the Syrian city of Palmyra, some 400 miles northwest of Ramadi. ISIS has made significant advances in Syria at the same time that the United States has initiated a new program to train and equip so-called moderate rebels.

While framed in the context of fighting against ISIS, which developed as an outcome of the US policy of fomenting civil war in Syria, the operations undertaken by the CIA and US client states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are aimed ultimately at the overthrow of President Bashar al Assad, a key ally of both Iran and Russia. Despite continuous airstrikes by the US and allied forces since June of last year, ISIS now controls at least 50 percent of the territory in Syria and a third of the territory in Iraq.

Even as it drops bombs on Islamic State targets and launches Special Forces raids against ISIS members in Syria, the United States is in a de facto alliance with Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate against Assad. The Islamist fighters have proven to be much more effective in advancing America’s goal of ousting Assad than the so-called moderates. Weapons funneled into Syria by the United States, including anti-tank missiles, have often ended up in the hands of Al Nusra and ISIS fighters.

Benghazi Scandal: Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show

Administration knew three months before the November 2012 presidential election of ISIS plans to establish a caliphate in Iraq

By Judicial Watch
Global Research, May 19, 2015
Judicial Watch, May 18, 2015

 

benghazi-obama-clinton-funeralJudicial Watch announced on 18 May 2015 that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.  The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria.  The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

Spelling and punctuation is duplicated in this release without corrections.

Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.”  The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council.  The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).”  The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.”  The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons.  Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock.  They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”

(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)

The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The DIA document further details:

The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created the morning after the Benghazi attack by Hillary Clinton’s offices, and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat that was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant).  At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:

Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….

The State Department has yet to turn over any documents from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials.

“These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.  If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists,” stated Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president.  “These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”