Trump Has Been Continuing Obama’s Syria-Policy

by Eric Zuesse

U.S. President Donald Trump, who during the election-campaign ferociously condemned Barack Obama’s foreign policies, while asserting nothing concrete of his own, has, as the U.S. President, committed himself quite clearly to continuing Obama’s publicly stated policy on Syria, which policy was to place, as the first priority, the elimination of ISIS, and as the policy to follow that, the elimination and replacement of Syria’s government. I have previously indicated that on June 19th “Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria — War Against U.S. There”, and that the early indications are that Trump has changed his Syria-policy to accommodate Russia’s demands there; but, prior to June 19th, Trump was actually following Obama’s publicly stated Syria-policy.
As also will be shown here, Obama’s publicly stated policy — to destroy ISIS and then to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad — was actually less extreme than his real policy, which was to overthrow Assad and to use the jihadist forces in Syria (especially Al Qaeda in Syria) to achieve that objective. Trump, at least until 19 June 2017, has been adhering to Obama’s publicly stated policy. Russia’s warning was for him not to adopt and continue Obama’s actual policy (to overthrow Assad).
Here is the part, of the by-now-famous 12 August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysis of the intelligence regarding Iraq and in Syria, that the press (despite its extensive reporting about the document) has not yet reported from the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures (which had included that document and many others), but which part of it shows even more than the part that has been reported from the document, Obama’s having made an informed choice actually to protect Al Qaeda in Syria, so as to bring down and replace the Syrian government — Obama’s actual prioritization (contrary to his publicly stated one) of overthrowing Assad, even above defeating the jihadists in Syria; and this was clearly also a warning by the DIA to the Commander-in-Chief, that he can have either an overthrow of Assad, or else a non-jihadist-controlled Syria, but not both, and that any attempt to bring down Assad by means of using the jihadists as a proxy army against him, would ultimately fail:

page 69 of 100:
D. AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], through spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) Abu Muhammed Al Adnani, declared the Syrian regime as the spearhead of what he is naming Jibha Al Ruwafdh (forefront of the Shiites) because of its (the Syrian regime) declaration of war on the Sunnis. Additionally, he is calling on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions (between Iraq and Syria), to wage war against the Syrian regime, regarding Syria as an infidel regime for its support to the infidel party Hezbollah, and other regimes he considers dissenters like Iran and Iraq.
E. AQI considers the Sunni issue in Iraq to be fatefully connected to the Sunni Arabs and Muslims.
page 70:
A. The [Syrian] regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.
page 71:
B. Development of the current events into a proxy war: with support from Russia, China, and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these [jihadist] efforts…

And here is from the part that the press did report:

Ayssar Midani, May 23, 2015 · Paris, France:
“C: If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”
The “supporting powers” are: western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey The DIA warns that the creation of such an Salafist principality would have “dire consequences” for Iraq and would possibly lead to the creation of an Islamic State and: create the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.
These DIA folks really earned their salary.
The Obama administration, together with other supporter of the Syrian “opposition”, knew that AQ was a large part of that “opposition” from the very beginning. The U.S. and others wanted a Salafist [i.e., fundamentalist Sunni] principality in east Syria to cut Syria and Lebanon off from a land route to Iran. It was warned that such a principality would create havoc in Iraq and to the return of AQ in Iraq (today the Islamic State) to Mosul and Ramadi.

I quoted from that part in December 2016, which was the time when the two Presidents, Obama and Turkey’s Erdogan, began their joint effort to relocate ISIS from Mosul Iraq, into Der Zor Syria, in order to culminate their (and the Sauds’) joint plan to use ISIS so as to bring down Assad. Then, I headlined, on 30 April 2017, that they had actually completed this task of moving Iraq’s ISIS into Syria, “How Obama & Erdogan Moved ISIS from Iraq to Syria, to Weaken Assad”. That’s why the Syrian government is now fighting to take Der Zor back from ISIS control.
Other portions of the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures which received little or no press-coverage (and that little being only on far-right blogs — not mainstream ‘news’ sites) add still further to the evidence that Obama was using Al Qaeda and its friends, as a proxy army of jihadists to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and replace him by a jihadist regime that would be loyal to America’s fundamentalist-Sunni ‘allies’, the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and the Thanis who own Qatar. (Of course, now, the Sauds are trying to destroy the Thanis, too.)
These unpublished or little-published portions from the Judical Watch disclosures, also add to the ample published evidence that the Obama regime was transporting (as these documents acknowledged on page 4) “weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya” which “were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria,” for use by Obama’s ‘moderate rebels’ (a.k.a.: jihadists) in Syria. Specifically:

page 4:
18 Sep 2012
2. 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 amounts 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.
3. The weapons shipped from Libya to Syria during late-August 2012 [i.e., the period immediately prior to this memo] were sniper rifles, RPGs, 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.

It’s now clear that Trump (at least until June 19th) has been continuing Obama’s stated policy of killing ISIS and then overthrowing Assad. But of course no one can yet know whether or not he would be continuing it in precisely the way that Hillary Clinton made clear that she would do, which is to announce a no-fly zone in Syria and thus grab control over some portion of the sovereign nation of Syria. That way would result, now after 19 June 2017 (Russia’s warning to shoot down U.S. aircraft that attack Syrian government-allied forces), either in U.S. retreat or else shooting down Russian planes in Syria, and war between U.S. and Russia, ending in nuclear war.
When I presented, in my December 2016 report, what I referred to above as “the part of the 12 August 2012 DIA analysis of the intelligence regarding Iraq and in Syria that the press has not yet reported from the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures,” I didn’t mention then that one news-medium did report a part of that section, and it was a rabidly pro-Republican site, Glenn Beck and his “The Blaze,” which headlined about this matter, very appropriately, “‘It Is Damn Near Criminal’: Glenn Beck Says the U.S. Is Using Islamic State as a ‘Pawn’,” which point, Beck presented rather well in the video accompanying it. Unfortunately, however, closed-minded ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ paid no attention to this and to the other evils perpetrated by Obama (such as these). Regardless of how untrustworthy Beck is, his statements about that particular matter were actually spot-on.
Obama was using ISIS in this way, but after Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, Obama joined in so as not to make obvious to the world that he had been protecting and even arming ISIS until that date, and that prior to Russia’s bombing ISIS, the U.S. had actually ignored ISIS.
Now that ISIS in Syria seems to be on its last legs there, only Kurds and Al Qaeda in Syria (and their backers especially the U.S. and Sauds) remain as big threats to Syria’s sovereignty, and the evidence at least till June 19th, has been that Trump definitely backs the Kurds there, and might also be backing Al Qaeda there as well. If he continues backing the Kurds and Al Qaeda there, after Russia’s warning on June 19th (which the neoconservative Washington Post called only “bluffing” and the neoconservative CNBC called “bluster”), then the U.S. will be at war not only against Russia, but also against Turkey, and also against Iran, and it would be World War III because it would be U.S.-v.-Russia. Turkey is already at war against the Kurds; and, if America is fighting for the Kurds, to break up Syria, then Turkey — a member of the NATO anti-Russia alliance — will paralyze NATO; and the U.S. will then be waging its war without NATO’s support.
Trump would need to be very stupid to do such a thing. It would be an intelligence test which, if Trump fails, the world will end, in nuclear winter — with or without support from the rest of NATO. But, nonetheless, some in the American ‘elite’ and its employees, say that it would merely be a recognition of Russia’s “bluffing” and “bluster.” One wonders what objective this ‘elite’ believes to be worthy of taking the risk that they’re wrong. What do they actually hope to ‘win’, fighting on the side of the Sauds (and their Israeli agents), in order to conquer Syria? Why are they so desperate, to do that?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.


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Jun 28, 2017 6:25 PM

“Trump Has Been Continuing Obama’s Syria-Policy”
We should probably stop supporting this Semantic Hypnosis and say what we all know: it is not “Obama’s policy” just as it wasn’t GWB’s or either of the Clintons’ (although this analysis stops, possibly, with CIA chieftain Bush Senior)… these figureheads are merely corrupt spokes(wo)men who are put into place to popularize the visible aspects of long-term programs they have no control over. Obama’s “policy” was/is to play along, amass a considerable fortune in speaking engagement fees and go down in the phony history books as a “Great Leader” (right next to that racist “Honest Abe” and the rapist Willie-Jeff). He’s one of the gargoyles on the roof; certainly not an architect of the cathedral.

Jun 27, 2017 5:34 PM

An administration that believes manifest destiny applies to the globe, a thoroughly corrupted constitution headed by a mobster, what else could occur? A worthy successor to the extremes of the British Empire.

Jun 27, 2017 8:57 AM

Trump even copies Obama’s warmongering Syria policy of “Red Line” by the vehicle of the endlessly repeated lie of poison gas allegedly used by the Syrian government (always called “Assad”).
Yesterday Trump did it again: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/us/politics/syria-will-pay-a-heavy-price-for-another-chemical-attack-trump-says.html
But Seymour Hersh found out that Pentagon and the intelligence community was shocked that Trump refuses to take notice of THEIR information, that a chemical attack by Syrian forces NEVER HAPPENED before. See: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/06/u-s-military-officials-there-was-no-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria-trump-bombed-syrian-base-despite-advice-from-military-and-intelligence-chiefs.html

Jun 27, 2017 8:03 AM

“Then, I headlined, on 30 April 2017, that they had actually completed this task of moving Iraq’s ISIS into Syria,”
That would explain why the Iraqis have taken 10 months to liberate Mosul from ISIS, slowly reducing ISIS’ hold to smaller and smaller areas, currently a part of the old city.

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
Jun 27, 2017 3:58 AM

Moon of Alabama commneted yesterday on the US and its allies defeat (so far) in S.E. Syria. At an MSM ignored DoD press conference the US military admitted as much. From MoA’s article: Q: […] [W]hat potential threat do you believe these Iranian backed militias and regime forces continue to pose to your forces and your partner forces in the At Tanf — Abu Kamal area? COL. DILLON: Well if the Syrian regime — and it looks like they are making a concerted effort to move into ISIS held areas. And if they show that they can do that, that is not a bad sign. We are here to fight ISIS as a coalition, but if others want to fight ISIS and defeat them, then we absolutely have no problem with that. And as they move eastward toward Abu Kamal and to Deir Ezzour, if we — as long as… Read more »

Jun 26, 2017 7:44 PM

This is a culture at the end of its tether: it simply cannot put up with dissent or contradiction, so brittle is it. It is all part of a refusal to face ugly reality, symptomatic of which is the relegation-to Die Welt’s Sunday edition- of Seymour Hersh’s latest investigation of US state mendacity its irresponsibility in the matter if the recent “Sarin” attack blamed on Assad. Ray McGovern has a piece at Counterpunch today in which he reveals that “Even the London Review of Books, which published Hersh’s earlier debunking of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas incident, wouldn’t go out onto the limb this time despite having paid for his investigation. “According to Hersh, the LRB did not want to be “vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russia governments when it came to the April 4 bombing in Khan Sheikhoun.” So much for… Read more »

captain Swing
captain Swing
Jun 27, 2017 12:40 AM
Reply to  bevin

Very interesting article from Counterpunch. Thanks.

Jerry Alatalo
Jerry Alatalo
Jun 27, 2017 1:18 AM
Reply to  bevin

bevin, The facts Seymour Hersh’s article lays out pushes one in the direction that Trump – totally ignoring his intelligence and military experts telling him their was no certainty Assad was responsible – had knowledge the event was a false flag. Trump couldn’t be so stupid as to not understand what his experts were telling him. After launching the 50 Tomahawk missiles, he lied through his teeth to the world, saying “we know… we have the evidence..”, then UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (like Colin Powell, before the illegal Iraq War) blasted Assad falsely, held up pictures at the Security Council of dead children which were quickly plastered on the front pages of newspapers globally,, and literally warned Syria’s Bashar al-Jaafari of impending war. Hersh’s article shows Trump, Haley and the U.S. administration, UK/France and other United Nations representatives were lying about “we have the evidence”, and owe their citizens and… Read more »

Michael Leigh
Michael Leigh
Jun 27, 2017 11:48 AM
Reply to  Jerry Alatalo

The current media campaign in support of ” the USA- Washington evidence-less claims, that the Syrian Government plans to lethally chemical attack it’s own population “?
And, President D Trump;s additional aggressive response to militarily threaten the sovereign Nation State of Syria in the event of such falsely contrived eventuality, is forced upon him because he still does not have the evidence, and thus the option to reform his own Government appointees!
Which can only further demonstrate that ‘ the deep state in the USA ‘ is setting American policies, contrary to and in opposition to Mr Trump’s electoral and political remit – which should demonstrate to every sane American, as well as the rest of the Global observers of North America, that a violent and forthcoming revolution is now highly predictable?

Jun 27, 2017 2:55 PM
Reply to  bevin

Re: Hersh report – facts? I read the original report and I am bemused. How did 24 TLAMs (Tomahawk missiles) with at least 5 guidance systems – including satellite data linkage; GPS; terrain mapping; linkage to the Ross or Porter control ship and to other missiles if necessary – get lost in a bit of smoke? Weren’t they designed to operate in battlefield conditions where thick smoke is probably going to be encountered? A lot. Can ISIS protect themselves by burning tyres???
The addendum dialogue – surely Hersh is just taking the piss – “I guess it really didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.” Does this alleged conversation not seem… made up???
You guys can call it factual: I’m calling it a limited hangout to whitewash the CIA/Pentagon – Hersh’s real employers. Those missiles didn’t get lost in smoke; no matter how thick.

Jun 26, 2017 7:37 PM

If the US were to persist in this dangerous dance with the devil, I could imaging NATO being split by Turkey, refusing to get involved any further and even separately protecting Europe from Russian retaliation by entering into a defense treaty with Russia. The US then would be shouldering the whole foolish confrontation by itself and perhaps having to deal with China and North Korea at the same time. Now that would be an interesting scenario.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
Jun 26, 2017 4:53 PM

fyi the share feature doesn’t work and neither does cut-and-paste from the url …

Michael Leigh
Michael Leigh
Jun 26, 2017 2:46 PM

I think the worthy Historian, Eric Zuesse has not considered the possibility that a new midlle East regional grouping, offers the best chance of allowing the USA to gracefully avoid the ultimate failure of its Middle East policy by conceding to the combined alliance, of the major traditional Nations and their forces of the Middle East; being Egypt, Iran and Turkey. Currently divided by a false religious and secular division, posed by primarily Great Britain and the USA, it was the British who over 100 years ago financed and invented the Sunni Wahhabi division which sunni division represents the most murderous of the current Islamic terrorist outrages financed also by the USA and Saudi Arabia throughout the region and globe. Similarly, the Anglo-Franco financed and hosting of the Muslim Brotherhood to further frustrate and end Turkey’s leadership of the declining Otterman Empire, formally lead by Turkey. The most important factor… Read more »