“Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found”

Publicado em: 14/09/2014

“Author & Journalist Patrick Cockburn explains the different factions in Syria and why defeating ISIS should start with ending the war in Syria”

Fonte: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12373

TRNN: The Islamic State, Assad, and the Contradictions Faced by the US in Syria Investigative journalist Patrick Cockburn says the U.S. will need to work with Syria and Iran to defeat ISIS, thereby reversing its policy towards Assad

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.President Barack Obama has authorized the military to conduct surveillance flights over Syria. With U.S. airstrikes already happening in Iraq against extremist group The Islamic State, these surveillance flights are being seen as a possible prelude to attacks on the Islamic State in Syria. But where the twist comes in is that the Islamic State in Syria is fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. That has been the very same objective of the U.S. for the past two years. So now that ISIS seems to be the most imminent threat, will the U.S. coordinate with Assad to bring ISIS down? And what role has the U.S. played in creating the rise of this fanatic group to begin with?Now joining us to help answer some of these questions is our guest, Patrick Cockburn. Patrick is an investigative journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Timesand presently works for The Independent. He also has a new book out called The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising. And he joins us now from Ireland.Thanks for being with us, Patrick.PATRICK COCKBURN, JOURNALIST, THE INDEPENDENT: Thank you.DESVARIEUX: So, Patrick, there are so many contradictions in this story. Let’s try to work out some of these contradictions. First explain the U.S.’s objectives in Syria. And how did it come to be that they are now fighting the very same forces that they once supported?COCKBURN: Yes. It’s something of a diplomatic disaster. The U.S. supported the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad to weaken and replace him over the last three years. But over the last year and a half, the main opposition has been jihadis, al-Qaeda type organizations, and over the last six months it’s been the Islamic State, ISIS, which the U.S. is fighting in or were helping the Iraqi government and the Kurdish government fight in Iraq. So in one country they’re supporting the government against ISIS, in Iraq, and in Syria they’re doing exactly the opposite, they’re opposing the government, which is fighting ISIS. And I don’t think this contradiction can go on very long. I think soon they’ll have to decide whose side they’re on.DESVARIEUX: Yeah, and that’s a good question, because there are consequences depending on which side they choose, because if they look to topple Assad, that benefits ISIS. If they look to attack ISIS, that helps Assad. So it seems like quite a mess. What would you suggest they do?COCKBURN: Well, there’s no doubt in my mind that the great threat to both these countries is ISIS, which is a very horrible, in many ways fascist organization, very sectarian, kills anybody who doesn’t believe in their particular rigorous brand of Islam. They killed last week a single tribe that opposed them. They killed 700 members. Another 1,500 have disappeared. So these are big-scale massacres. So I think they should oppose ISIS. But they need to do it effectively, which means that they have a parallel policy with the Syrian government, which they’ve been trying to overthrow. I don’t think they’re going to have a U-turn in that policy, because it would be to humiliating. But covertly I think that they’re shifting their ground. They need to prevent Assad’s government falling to ISIS.DESVARIEUX: Yeah. And the drumbeats of war are really getting louder here in the United States, Patrick. I’m going to pull up an example of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He was recently asked at a press conference about whether ISIL posed a 9/11 threat. Here’s his response.~~~CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ISIL is as sophisticated and well funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready.~~~DESVARIEUX: “Get ready” you just heard Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel say. So what should we be potentially getting ready for, Patrick? What is the U.S.’s real interest in getting potentially back into Iraq and now Syria? You said something about covert operations. But is it possible that we could even see boots on the ground there?COCKBURN: You know, this means so many different things. You know, at one point it meant a few years ago in Iraq that there were 150,000 American soldiers in Iraq. That was awful lot of boots. I don’t think we’re going to see that again or anything like that. I don’t think we’ll see that in Syria. But will there be American airstrikes in Iraq [incompr.] on a more extensive basis? I think there will. Will the same things happen in Syria? It’s really quite likely, because it’s absurd to combat ISIS in Iraq but not on Syria, because ISIS can then get back over the border. It’s effectively abolished the frontier.And this is a pretty big place now that they rule. ISIS rules an area which is bigger than Britain, bigger than the state of Michigan. It has a population of 6 or 7 million people. So this isn’t something that can be easily contained, and it’s very difficult to eliminate.DESVARIEUX: And, Patrick, at the end of the day, what’s this all about? I mean, whose interest is it, really, to defeat ISIS?COCKBURN: Well, I think that this is a rather extraordinary organization. It combines extreme religious fanaticism with military efficiency. It’s won a lot of victories during the summer, and pretty extraordinary ones. There are 350,000 soldiers in the Iraqi army, or there used to be, and they were attacked by two or three thousand members of ISIS in Mosul, and they disintegrated. This caught everybody by surprise. I mean, everybody, including myself, knew the Iraqi army was pretty bad, very corrupt, but I don’t think we expected it just to disintegrate in a single day’s fighting.In Syria they’re also getting stronger and stronger. It doesn’t get reported much because it’s so dangerous, as we saw with poor James Foley, for any journalists to go there. But they’ve been advancing westwards. They’ve won three or four victories, overrun Syrian army bases in the last few weeks, without anybody paying much attention.So this is an expanding organization which could quite soon rule territory right from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean.DESVARIEUX: So is it fair to say, I mean, Iran has a vested interest too to defeat ISIS?COCKBURN: It certainly does. I mean, in Iraq, there’s a rather extraordinary combination of people who previously were confronting each other and certainly didn’t like each other, like the U.S. and Iran, various factions in Kurdistan, various politicians in Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. All these people have been brought together by a single factor, which is fear, fear of ISIS. It’s a very frightening organization. And all these countries, I think, are now rather frightened by what they see.DESVARIEUX: So, Patrick, in your book you speak of what could be done to end all of this. You write, quote,

“Given that the insurgency is not dominated by ISIS, JN, and all other al-Qaeda type groups, it is unlikely that even Washington, London, or Riyadh now want to see Assad fall. But allowing Assad to win would be seen as a defeat for the West and their Arab and Turkish allies.”

So what are your predictions here? How do you see this all being resolved?COCKBURN: I think it’s difficult to predict, because it depends on some very important decisions in Washington and elsewhere about where they stand. They are responsible for quite a lot of what has happened. In Iraq we had al-Qaeda in Iraq, which had become a force after the U.S. invasion of 2003. This had been reduced in strength by the U.S. and the Iraqi government about seven or eight years ago. But as Iraq was becoming more peaceful, uprisings started in Syria in 2011, which were backed by the U.S. and its allies. And that led to war in Syria, to the civil war in Iraq starting again. And it was in this crucible that ISIS moved from being a quite small, marginal organization to being an extremely powerful one. It was really the result of miscalculations about the long-term outcome of the war in Syria that led to ISIS’s present victories and the creation of their caliphate.DESVARIEUX: The Independent quoted Prime Minister David Cameron as saying that cooperation with Iran will be necessary to deal with ISIS. Do you agree?COCKBURN: Yes. I mean, it’s a strange situation, because the Iranians are very frightened by what’s happening, because ISIS used to be an organization they were fighting is Syria and Damascus, a long way away. Now ISIS is taking towns that are 20 miles from the Iranian border. So they want to defeat it. So they have a parallel policy with the U.S.But it’s difficult, certainly, for the U.S. to then have a U-turn and say, the Iranians that we used to demonize, that we said were our great enemy in the Middle East, now suddenly they’re our pals, they’re our friends. Similarly with Damascus. So I think it’s difficult for them to make a U-turn, though it’s necessary for them to do so and do so pretty quickly, without being humiliated. And so a lot of what they do they may try to do covertly.

August 27, 14

Fonte: The Real News Network

Iran and Assad have won in Syria, say top Tehran foreign policy figures

Iran and Assad have won in Syria, say top Tehran foreign policy figures

Insiders say western strategy in Syria encouraged radicals and backfired, leading to threat to European security from returning jihadis
Bashar al-Assad, Syrian president

Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. Senior Iranian officials say: ‘The Americans wanted to replace Assad, but what was the alternative? All they have done is encourage radical groups and made the borders less safe.’ Photograph: Uncredited/AP

Iran and its close ally President Bashar al-Assad have won the war inSyria, and the US-orchestrated campaign in support of the opposition’s attempt to topple the Syrian regime has failed, senior Iranian officials have told the Guardian.

In a series of interviews in Tehran, top figures who shape Iranian foreign policy said the west’s strategy in Syria had merely encouraged radicals, caused chaos and ultimately backfired, with government forces now on the front foot.

“We have won in Syria,” said Alaeddin Borujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee and an influential government insider. “The regime will stay. The Americans have lost it.”

Terrorism perpetrated by al-Qaida-linked jihadist groups and individuals armed and funded by Sunni Muslim Arab countries was now the main threat facing the Syrian people, Borujerdi said. Many foreign fighters who had travelled to Syria from Britain and other European countries could soon return. “We are worried about the future security of Europe,” he said.

Amir Mohebbian, a conservative strategist and government adviser, said: “We won the game in Syria easily. The US does not understand Syria. The Americans wanted to replace Assad, but what was the alternative? All they have done is encourage radical groups and made the borders less safe.

“We accept the need for change in Syria – but gradually. Otherwise, there is chaos.”

Shia Muslim Iran is Assad’s main regional backer and has reportedly spent billions of dollars propping up the regime since the first revolt against the president broke out in March 2011. Along with Russia, the regime’s principal arms supplier, it has consistently bolstered Assad in the teeth of attempts to force him to step down.

Western analysts say Iran is engaged in a region-wide power struggle or proxy war, extending beyond Syria, with the Sunni Arab states of the Gulf, principally Saudi Arabia.

Tehran thus has an obvious interest in claiming victory for the Alawite Syrian regime, which is fighting mostly Sunni rebels, they say. Iranian officials and regional experts deny that is their motive.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, deputy Iranian foreign minister, said the priority was to accept the rebellion had failed and to restore stability in Syria before next month’s presidential elections. “Extremism and turmoil in Syria must be tackled seriously by the international community. Those countries that are supplying extremist forces must stop helping them,” he said.”Iran has good relations with the Syrian government, though that does not mean they listen to us,” Ravanchi said. He denied Iran had supplied weapons and Revolutionary Guards combatants to help defeat the rebels, as western intelligence agencies have claimed. “Iran has a diplomatic presence there. There is no unusual presence. We have no need to arm the Syrian government,” he said.

Despite its influence with Damascus and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia fighting alongside government forces, Iran has been largely excluded from international talks to forge a peace settlement owing to US and British objections that Tehran does not accept the need for Assad to quit .

But following last week’s rebel retreat from the strategic city of Homs, the so-called capital of the revolution, some western politicians and commentators have also reached the conclusion that Assad has won.

The US and its Gulf Arab allies have supplied funding, equipment and arms to the Syrian rebels. Last year, the US president, Barack Obama, appeared on the point of launching air and missile attacks over the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons, but Obama’s last-minute decision to pull back was interpreted in Tehran and Damascus as a sign the US was having second thoughts and was not wholly committed to winning the war.

“I think the Americans made a big mistake in Syria and I think they know it, though they would never say so,” said Mohammad Marandi, a Tehran university professor. “If they had accepted the Annan plan in 2012 [which would have left Assad in place pending a ceasefire and internationally monitored elections] we could have avoided all this.”

“Iran sincerely believed it had no other option but to support the Assad government. Anything else would have resulted in the collapse of Syria and it falling into the hands of extremists,” he said.

More than 150,000 people are believed to have died in the Syrian conflict and at least 9 million have been displaced.

Fonte: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/11/syria-crisis-iran-assad-won-war-tehran

‘US desperate to isolate Russia on all fronts’

Pepe Escobar’US desperate to isolate Russia on all fronts’

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Published time: March 28, 2014 13:36
 
A G7 summit at the official residence of the Dutch prime minister in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). (AFP Photo / Jerry Lampen)

A G7 summit at the official residence of the Dutch prime minister in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). (AFP Photo / Jerry Lampen)

Here I outlined some reasons why Asia won’t isolate Russia. And here some reasons why the EU cannot afford to isolate Russia. Yet the Obama administration is relentless, and bound to keep attacking on three major fronts – the G20, Iran and Syria.

First, the G20. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop threw a balloon, speculating that Russia and President Vladimir Putin could be barred from the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.

The reaction of the other four BRICS member-nations was swift: “The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all member-states equally and no one member-state can unilaterally determine its nature and character.”

US-subservient Australia had to shut up. For now.

The BRICS, not by accident, are the key developing world alliance inside the G20, which actually discusses what matters in international relations. The G7 – which ‘expelled’ Russia from its upcoming meeting in Sochi, transferred to Brussels – is just a self-important talk shop.

Sanction to sanction

Then there’s Iran. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov made it very clear that if the US and selected European minions would slap economic sanctions over the Crimea referendum, we will take retaliatory measures as well.” And he meant it in relation to the P5+1 negotiations over the Iranian nuclear dossier.

Here’s a fairly accurate depiction of the US establishment’s view on the Russian role in the negotiations.

It’s true that the 2009 revelation of a secret, underground Iranian uranium enrichment facility did not sit well with Moscow – which in response cancelled the sale of the S-300 air defense system to Tehran.

But more crucial is the fact Moscow wants the Iranian nuclear dossier to be kept under UN Security Council umbrella – where it can exercise a veto; any solution must be multilateral, and not concocted by psychotic neo-cons.

Conflicting political factions in Iran may harbor doubts about Moscow’s commitment to a just solution – considering Moscow has not done much to alleviate the harsh sanctions package. And yes, both Russia and Iran are in competition as energy exporters – and sanctions do punish Iran and reward Russia (50 percent less Iranian oil exports since 2011, and not even qualifying as a major exporter of natural gas).

But if the American sanction obsession engulfs Russia as well, expect fireworks; as in Moscow accelerating a swap of up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude in exchange for Russia building another nuclear power plant; extra Russian moves busting the Western sanctions wall; and even Moscow deciding to sell not only the S-300 but the S-400 or the ultra-sophisticated, upcoming S-500 air defense system to Tehran.

It’s false flag time

Finally there’s Syria. Once again, the BRICS are at the forefront. Russian Ambassador-at-Large Vadim Lukov nailed it when he stressedFrankly speaking, without the BRICS position, Syria would have long ago turned into Libya.”

The BRICS learned their lesson for Syria when they let their abstentions at a UN vote open the way for NATO’s humanitarian bombing of Libya into a failed state. Subsequently, Russian diplomacy intervened to save the Obama administration from bombing Syria over a senseless, self-inflicted ‘red line’ – with potentially cataclysmic consequences.

Now the plot is thickening again. UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has spun that the resumption of the Geneva II peace talks is “out of the question” for the moment. In a briefing to the UN Security Council in early March, he blamed the Syrian government for this.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (C) opens the so-called Geneva II peace talks next to UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) on January 22, 2014 in Montreux. (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (C) opens the so-called Geneva II peace talks next to UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) on January 22, 2014 in Montreux. (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

That’s absurd. The myriad, bickering, opportunistic opposition factions never wanted a negotiation in the first place; only regime change. Not to mention the jihadi nebulae – whic until recently has been imposing facts on the ground fully weaponized by Gulf petrodollar funds.

Now rumors abound of the Obama administration getting ready to ‘isolate’ Russia – and by extension the BRICS – on Syria.

The Obama administration, via proverbial unnamed ‘officials’, has been positioning disinformation‘reports’ about jihadists attacking Western interests, based out of north and northeast Syria. That could be the prelude for a perfect false flag, then used to justify a Western intervention – obviously bypassing the UN. Those warmongering dreamers of a no-fly zone over Syria have never stopped dreaming.

This scenario also neatly dovetails with the current Erdogan administration scandal in Turkey – as what was unveiled on YouTube is exactly a national security conversation on how a NATO member, Turkey, could set up a false flag and blame Syria.

The bottom line is that NATO has far from given up on regime change in Syria. There are enticing symmetries at play. A putsch in Ukraine. A false flag in Syria. A NATO push in Syria? A Russian push in eastern Ukraine. It may not sound as far-fetched as it seems. And then, all bets are off.

The whole New Great Game in Eurasia is getting so warped that now we have constitutional law expert Obama legitimizing the invasion and occupation of Iraq (“America sought to work within the international system, we did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory”) and wacko warmongers in Think Tankland preaching an oil embargo against Russia, Iran-style, with Washington using their minions Saudi Arabia to make up for the shortfall.

After lecturing Europeans in The Hague and Brussels over ‘evil’ Russian designs, and parading in Rome like a New Caesar, Obama finishes his triumphal tour exactly at his Saudi satrapy. We should all get ready for a nasty box of chocolates ahead.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Pepe Escobar: Obama’s military solution is desperate Hail Mary pass

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Publicado em 24/02/2014
More than a thousand protesters in London chanted Hands off Syria – that was before Obama left no doubt that the country will be target. There were similar.

Daily All News Plz Subscrib for Latest English Arabic World News Today Daily All News Plz Subscrib for Latest English Arabic World News Today More than a tho.

More than a thousand protesters in London chanted Hands off Syria – that was before Obama left no doubt that the country will be target. There were similar.

Thx.. To Pepe Escobar for his tireless investigating. This man knows what is really going on !

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Syrian News-CrossTalk Israel vs Syria ft. Pepe Escobar)

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This video is [FAIR USE] under COPYRIGHT LAW it is: 1 noncommercial 2 trans-formative in nature 3 not competitive with the original work 4 not effecting its market negatively FAIR USE NOTICE: This video contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.syrian news,syria.syria war,The US Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged 123m in new non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. Kerrys announcement comes after meeting with opposition leaders at a Friends of Syria in Turkey on Saturday. The Syrian National Coalition has been calling for weapons and a no-fly zone to help defeat president Bashar al-Assads forces. But Kerry insists that a political solution is the primary focus. Al Jazeeras Dominic Kane reports.no description availableUN human rights investigators have spoken to the victims of Syrias civil war and gathered medical testimonies which point to the fact that Syrian rebels have used sarin nerve gas, while any allegations of its use by the government remain unsubstantiated.

Syrian News-CrossTalk Israel vs Syria ft. Pepe Escobar)

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This video is [FAIR USE] under COPYRIGHT LAW it is: 1 noncommercial 2 trans-formative in nature 3 not competitive with the original work 4 not effecting its market negatively FAIR USE NOTICE: This video contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.syrian news,syria.syria war,The US Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged 123m in new non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. Kerrys announcement comes after meeting with opposition leaders at a Friends of Syria in Turkey on Saturday. The Syrian National Coalition has been calling for weapons and a no-fly zone to help defeat president Bashar al-Assads forces. But Kerry insists that a political solution is the primary focus. Al Jazeeras Dominic Kane reports.no description availableUN human rights investigators have spoken to the victims of Syrias civil war and gathered medical testimonies which point to the fact that Syrian rebels have used sarin nerve gas, while any allegations of its use by the government remain unsubstantiated.