All posts filed under: Middle East

Trump’s Hate-Iran Campaign

by Eric Zuesse On October 19th, the far-right Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD) held a “National Security Summit” which featured as speakers both Donald Trump’s CIA chief Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, both of them (as will be shown here by extensive excerpts from their speeches) whipping up hatred against Shia Iran and against Shia Muslims generally. They presented Shia Iran — not Sunni Saudi Arabia — as being the most dangerous source of radical Islamic terrorism. Donald Trump during his Presidential campaign had spoken frequently against ‘radical Islamic terrorism’, but everybody thought it pertained to the people who had perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and those individuals were all fundamentalist Sunnis, not any Shias, and no one from Iran. But now, nine months into his Presidency, it’s clear that he was referring instead to Shia Muslims (and to Iran most of all), which Muslim category the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia hate, and call an “existential threat” to themselves, and so they even bomb Shia parts …

Safe-Zone Judo as Syrian Forces Cross the Euphrates

by Tony Cartalucci, October 2, 2017, via Land Destroyer Report Syrian forces with the support of their Russian and Iranian allies, have crossed the Euphrates River near the city of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. The move is not only a significant step forward in restoring security nationwide and ensuring the nation’s territorial integrity, it is also a significant step toward turning the tables on the very interests who provoked and have perpetuated this conflict since 2011. US policymakers as early as 2012 openly declared their intent to partition Syria through the use of “safe zones” or “buffer zones.” From these zones – established with and protected by direct US military intervention – militant proxies would attempt to expand deeper into Syrian territory until the nation could either be toppled entirely, or sufficiently partitioned, effectively eliminating the Syrian Arab Republic as it was known before the conflict began. Understanding “Safe Zones”  A March 2012 Brookings Institute paper titled, “Middle East Memo #21: Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” (PDF), proposed the concept of “safe zones” …

Middle East, post-Daesh: Some Possible Scenarios

by Denis Churilov, October 2, 2017 ISIS/Daesh is likely to be defeated in Syria and Iraq very soon. But will it bring peace to the region?  No. There are many potential local conflicts that can break out in the nearest future. Some of them are already going on, some of them are in the dormant state, waiting to be triggered.  Other conflicts might be created spontaneously out of thin air. Let’s try to predict the upcoming conflicts in the Middle East.  The following list contains the worst case scenarios that are not mutually exclusive and can, in fact, facilitate one another in a domino effect style: A civil war in Iraq between Kurdish Erbil and Iranian-backed Baghdad government. We have already seen reports on the clashes between Peshmerga forces and the Shia militias in 2016. The recent developments with the referendum may soon exacerbate the situation, especially considering that ISIS has been seriously weakened and now can’t serve as a unifying common threat factor. Kurds in Turkey. The clashes between various Kurdish militants and Erdogan’s …

Signs Indicate Trump Continuing Obama’s Support for Al Qaeda in Syria

by Eric Zuesse, September 22, 2017 According to a report issued on September 22nd by the most accurate reporter on the current status of forces in the war against Syria — the anonymous military and geostrategic blogger who owns, and posts exclusively at, the “Moon of Alabama” blog — the effort by the previous U.S. President Barack Obama in support of Al Qaeda in Syria, is continuing under the current U.S. President Donald Trump. However, that report isn’t the only indication of Trump’s continuing Obama’s war against Syria, and of the U.S. Government’s continuing pro-Al-Qaeda policy in Syria. And, furthermore, the U.S. Government even supports ISIS in Syria when ISIS is being attacked by Syria’s secular and non-sectarian Government, which Government the U.S. Government has been trying to overthrow and replace by Saud-financed fundamentalist-Sunni Islamists, ever since 1949. Back on 14 October 2016, Patrick Cockburn appropriately headlined in Britain’s Independent, “We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding ISIS”, but any reference to the government …

Washington’s Dangerous Middle East Agenda

from New Eastern Outlook It’s clear at this point that the recent visit of US President Trump to Saudi Arabia and Israel was about setting events into motion in order to fundamentally alter the present balance of power in the entire Middle East to the greater advantage of the United States and US energy geopolitics. As with most everything that Washington tries to do to rebuild its rapidly declining global dominance, this latest move by Washington to incite the Saudi Kingdom to ignite regime change in Qatar and escalate a form of oil war disguised as a Sunni-Shi’ite power conflict already looks in serious trouble. I share with you a recent interview with an Arabic-language Middle East magazine in question and answer format. Q: What can you say about the conflict between Qatar Gulf at this moment after the Arabic-Islamic-American summit at Riyadh? WE: In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate …

Issues at Stake in Syria’s Peace Talks

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Syria’s peace-talks are about settling a horrific six-year-long war, but this is more of an international war that’s being waged on the battlefields of Syria, than it is a civil war within Syria itself. This fact is often ignored by the press, but the peace-talks are really more between the foreign powers than between their proxies who are killing each other (and Syria’s civilians) within Syria. These peace-talks are international because the principals in this war are international. And, because the principals are international, the principles that are being fought over are, too — they are so basic that the end-result from these talks will be not only some sort of new peace, but some sort of new Constitution for Syria: really a new nation of Syria. The main issues which are being negotiated at the Syrian Peace Talks that resumed on February 23rd in Geneva, are constitutional in nature: whether Syria is to be governed under Sharia (or Quran-based) law, or whether instead it is to be a …

So, did Obama & Clinton really “found ISIS”?

by Jim Jatras No one paying attention with even one eye and half an ear can be ignorant of the fact that when it comes to this year’s election the MSM are lying shills for Hillary. But now it seems they’re all suffering from amnesia too. The latest “OMG, Trump said that!” moment is The Donald’s claim that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are, correspondingly, the “founder” and “cofounder” of ISIS. True to form, the media reaction has been to shriek in outrage that he would cast aspersions on such august personages. As of this writing, not one American media source of which this writer is aware has brought up in relation to Trump’s claims the August 2012 report (declassified and released in 2015 under a FOIA request from Judicial Watch) from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) stating that there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime. The “supporting …

America’s Recent Achievements in the Middle East

by Eric Zuesse Here are before-and-after pictures of what the U.S. government has achieved, in the Middle East: What’s especially interesting there, is that in all of these missions, except for Iraq, the U.S. was doing it with the key participation of the Saud family, the royals who own Saudi Arabia, and who are the world’s largest buyers of American weaponry. Since Barack Obama came into the White House, the operations — Libya, Yemen, and Syria — have been, to a large extent, joint operations with the Sauds. ‘We’ are now working more closely with ‘our’ ‘friends’, even than ‘we’ were under George W. Bush. As President Obama instructed his military, on 28 May 2014: When issues of global concern do not pose a direct threat to the United States, when such issues are at stake — when crises arise that stir our conscience or push the world in a more dangerous direction but do not directly threaten us — then the threshold for military action must be higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action. …

Assad the tyrant?

by Philip Roddis, May 23, 2016 I know men and women of intelligence, courage, independence and good intent who are sure that Bashar al-Assad – the mild mannered bloke who looks like a French gendarme and, given his druthers, would be the eye surgeon he wanted and trained to be had history not harboured other plans for him – is a monster. Some say he’s every bit as bad as the head choppers bent on turning a diverse and once prosperous nation into a one dimensional horror show; the fanatics’ idea of Allah’s Will on Earth. Me, I’m inclined to cut the guy some slack, and on these three grounds: ONE, info on Assad Jnr’s alleged tyranny and universal unpopularity, and on the Daara incidents widely touted in corporate and social media as having sparked a Syrian “revolution”, is of murky origin. Sources include briefings by Washington, Whitehall, and NATO politicians whose track record on the region would in any sane and halfway alert world be met with disdain. They also include Al-Jazeera – owned by the …

Lebanon Being Forced to Collapse

by Andre Vltchek Lebanon cannot stand on its feet anymore.  It is overwhelmed, frightened and broke. It stands on the frontline, facing ISIS in the east and north, a hostile Israel in the south and the deep blue sea to the west.  One and a half (1.5) million (mostly Syrian) refugees are dispersed all over its tiny territory.  Its economy is collapsing and infrastructure crumbling.   ISIS is right at the border with Syria, literally next door, or even with one foot inside Lebanon, periodically invading, and setting up countless “dormant cells” in all Lebanese cities and all over its countryside.  Hezbollah is fighting ISIS, but the West and Saudi Arabia apparently consider Hezbollah, not  ISIS, to be the major menace to their geopolitical interests.  The Lebanese army is relatively well-trained but badly armed, and like the entire country, it is notoriously cash-strapped. These days, on the streets of Beirut, one can often hear: “Just a little bit more; one more push, and the entire country will collapse, go up in smoke.” Beirut now Is this …

Saudi Arabia’s Dictator Demands Regime-Change in Syria — Otherwise WW III

by Eric Zuesse As has been recently reported, many experts on international relations are saying that the danger of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia is greater now than it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 — in other words: greater than ever before in history. But it has just ratcheted a bit higher still: The owner of Saudi Arabia, King Salman al-Saud, speaking through his spokesperson and chosen Foreign Minister, in an interview that was published on February 19th in Germany’s magazine Spiegel, says that he demands the resignation or else the overthrow of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with both Iran and Russia. Polls of the Syrian public, by Western polling firms, consistently show Assad to be overwhelmingly approved by the Syrian people to be the leader of Syria, and show that Syrians blame the United States for causing ISIS, which is disapproved by 76% of Syrians. The other named jihadist groups, such as al-Nusra which is Al Qaeda in Syria, received similarly low approval-ratings from the Syrian public. In stark contrast, a …

The Caesar Photos and Impunity in Syria

by Steven Chovanec Western media are reporting headline claims that “new evidence supports claims about Syrian state detention deaths”, saying that “a leading rights group has released new evidence that up to 7,000 Syrians who died in state detention centres were tortured, mistreated, or executed”, noting that this information is a moral wakeup call and demanding that officials being held to account should be “central to peace efforts.” However, as is usually so, not everything is quite as it seems.  So let’s take a look at the facts. First the timing. As has been commonplace the timing of the reports like these have almost always coincided with important diplomatic meetings or just after important UN resolutions are passed. For example, beginning in mid-March claims began to pour in that Assad had been using chlorine bombs against his opponents.  Media reports would cite the fact that only 2 months later the government had already been accused of using chlorine 35 times.  What they failed to mention however was that no claims were made for an entire …

U.S. Ends Its Opposition to Democracy in Syria

by Eric Zuesse For the first time today (December 15th), the United States has publicly and officially accepted the position that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon have consistently held on the Syrian situation: that only a free and fair internationally monitored and accepted election of Syria’s President by the people of Syria can legitimately determine whom the President of Syria ought to be, and that no Syrian citizen, not even the current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he decides to be a candidate, can be blocked by any foreign power from being a candidate in that election. The way America’s AP (Associated Press) put this in their news-report on Tuesday December 15th, was: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accepted Russia’s long-standing demand that President Bashar Assad’s future be determined by his own people.” The way that Ban ki-Moon, or Mr. Ban, had expressed this “demand” is: “I believe that the future of Syria, or the future of the peace talks, … should not be held up by an issue of the future of one man. I believe …

US-Russia Talks on Syria; Shanghai Cooperation Organization Meets in Zhengzhou

Eric Draitser of Stop Imperialism appears on CPR News (Dec. 15, 2015) to discuss the latest talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin.  Draitser explains that there is some overlap in terms of interests, but that sharp divides persist, especially on the issue of Assad’s status and the nature of the opposition to be included in the political process.  He also discusses the latest SCO summit and what the development of the SCO means for the development of China and the Eurasian landmass generally.  

Saudi Royal Family Announces Its New Global Sunni Military Empire

by Eric Zuesse An official announcement from the world’s leading, and most fundamentalistic, Sunni Islamic nation, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday December 15th, has introduced a Sunni-Islamic counterpart to NATO, and it includes one NATO member, Turkey, which is already at war against NATO’s enemy Russia, and against Russia’s ally the non-sectarian, secular Shiite, Bashar al-Assad, who runs Syria. The Sauds’ “Joint Statement on Formation of Islamic Military Alliance” has been signed by 34 Sunni-led nations, with “more than ten other Islamic countries” that “have expressed their support for this … alliance and will take the necessary measures” to join, “including Indonesia” (the highest-population Islamic-majority nation). All of those “Islamic countries” are specifically Sunni-led, not  Shiite-led. The two top importers of U.S. weapons are #1 Saudi Arabia, and #2 Turkey. Both are Sunni, and no Shiite nation is even on the list. The new, 34-nation-plus military alliance could cause U.S. military producers to soar. And the figures shown there for Saudi Arabia grossly understate the reality. For example, on 13 September 2010, Britain’s Telegraph  bannered “US …

‘The race to save Peter Kassig’

by Dr Richard Marsden, of businessofemotions.org On Thursday, December 18, 2014, The Guardian published ‘The race to save Peter Kassig‘ by Ali Younes, Shiv Malik, Spencer Ackerman and Mustafa Khalili. To refresh memories here is the preface to the story: The American aid worker was killed by his Isis captors on 16 November. Here, for the first time, is the story of an extraordinary effort to secure his release, which involved a radical New York lawyer, the US government, and the world’s most revered jihadi scholar. Listen to The Guardian team tell of the daring and extraordinary effort to secure Kassig’s release. The radical New York lawyer in question is Stanley Cohen, ‘one of America’s most controversial lawyers’. In January he begins an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to a charge from the US Internal Revenue Service. The Guardian article tells a gripping tale of how Cohen put together a team of Islamic scholars and al-Qaeda fellow-travellers to negotiate the release of Peter Kassig from Islamic State’s captivity—only to be thwarted at the last …

U.S. May Be Salvaging Victory for Jihadists in Syria: How & Why

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org According to Britain’s Telegraph, in a recent report, the U.S. Tow antitank missiles that U.S. President Barack Obama sent in October to the Islamic Sunni fighters in Syria to use against the forces of the non-sectarian Shiite ruler there, Bashar al-Assad, have been so effective against Russia’s forces that Assad had invited in, that Russia — defending (upon Syria’s legal request) President Assad’s forces, and attacking the jihadists imported into Syria by the Saudis and the rest of the West — is now being forced to send into the battle Russia’s costly T-90 tanks, which are less vulnerable to America’s missiles. “The deployment of the T-90s appears to reflect Moscow’s frustration at this failure [‘getting sucked into a costly and possibly lengthy fight’], as well as concern over the damage inflicted by the rebels’ anti-tank missiles, themselves supplied by the regime’s arch-rivals in the Gulf states [specifically Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait] and Turkey.” All of those invading nations (other than the United States) are controlled by Sunni aristocrats, supporters and enforcers of Sharia …

The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells

by Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Why hasn’t the U.S. bombed the oil wells that ISIS controls into oblivion by now? Would you believe that it is because the Obama administration “didn’t want to do environmental damage”? Former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell has publicly admitted that we have purposely avoided damaging the main source of income for ISIS, and his explanation for why we were doing this is utterly bizarre. But at this point what could the Obama administration say that would actually make sense? Everyone now knows that ISIS has been making hundreds of millions of dollars selling oil in Turkey, and that this has been done with the full knowledge and complicity of the Obama White House. This is potentially the biggest scandal of the entire Obama presidency, and yet so far the Republicans have not jumped on it. If you or I even gave five bucks to ISIS, we would be arrested and hauled off to Guantanamo Bay. And yet Barack Obama is allowing ISIS to funnel massive …

Turkey Tries to Lure NATO Into War Against Russia

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org When Turkey shot down a Russian bomber in Syria on November 24th, Turkish officials did so with the confidence that America’s anti-Russian military alliance, NATO, would protect Turkey against any possible military retaliation by Russia. And, so, Russia restricted its retaliation to merely economic measures. Sunni Turkey is the increasingly fundamentalist and anti-Shiite NATO member-nation; and, as such, it’s doing what it can to draw the rest of America’s anti-Russian alliance, NATO, into a war by all of them to defeat Russia, because Russia is allied with the Shiite-led nations of Iran and Syria — nations that the Sunni aristocracies (especially the Sauds of Saudi Arabia, and the Thanis of Qatar) want to control, so as to have complete dominance over the Islamic world. Once they achieve that, they can then overtly and publicly support their jihadists to take over Western nations, as well, so as to establish the intended global “Caliphate.” Turkey’s government is doing all it can to bring down the non-sectarian Shiite leader of its …