JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CAN TRUMP REMAIN FIRM IN HIS SYRIA DECISION? – APART FROM FORCES AGAINST HIM WE DO HAVE EVEN SOME POSSIBILITY OF A HOAX – TWO POWERFUL WASHINGTON FORCES AT WORK HERE AND TRUMP IS NO ENEMY OF EITHER – DESPITE TRUMP’S CLAIM AMERICA WAS NEVER THE MIDEAST’S “POLICEMAN” – POLICE ENFORCE LAWS BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT AMERICA DOES – AMERICA AND PROXY WARS – ISRAEL AND TURKEY AND THE KURDS   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK BUCHANAN IN ANTIWAR

 

“Will Trump Hold Firm on Syrian Pullout?”

 

Well, it is hard to see Trump being “firm” on anything, except in statements admiring himself.

He is a fickle man.

And he has amply demonstrated cowardice. We’ve seen that quality over and over, and especially in his bullying.

Apart from Trump’s fickleness and the powerful opposition already hard at work against this decision – you can tell from various leaks, such as the one intended to embarrass him that the decision was taken without any consultation with advisors and cabinet and allies – this whole affair may prove a kind of elaborate hoax.

There were reports yesterday that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are sending troops and weapons to Kurdish areas American forces now occupy.

We also shouldn’t forget that France has forces in the area, and they’re not leaving as far as we can tell.

Could it be that we are just seeing substitutions for the departing American forces?

That’s an entirely different matter than a clean break with the illegal and murderous activity America has been engaged in.

It would amount only to a “technical” fulfillment of Trump’s campaign words.

One fact that tends to work against this idea is the sudden resignation of Mattis, but even that could fit. He may have opposed such an effort at substitution. He is not known as an especially imaginative man.

I have been pretty sceptical about the whole matter because it so clearly opposes two very active and powerful forces at work in Washington.

One is the American establishment’s new drive for global power with all that stuff about “full-spectrum dominance” from the Pentagon.

And the other is the Israel lobby, which carries a great deal of weight in Congress, at the Pentagon, and with Trump. He has come to be viewed as a great benefactor to Israel. It is difficult to see Trump having the backbone to deal with them as opponents, and they are very much opposed to this decision.

Netanyahu has relished the war in Syria, grinding away at people he hates, Assad and his Iranian allies, always wanting to make the Syrian territory occupied since 1967 on the Golan Heights an integral part of Israel, and at one point he was even eager to grab another slice of land next to the Golan.

But having largely lost the proxy war to the Syrian Army and Russia and Iran, I’m pretty sure he was counting on a back-up plan of de facto separation of the Kurdish region in the northeast which would significantly weaken Syria for the future, given that region’s oil wealth. Independent Kurds there would also be natural allies on another Syrian border.

That’s I think the main reason why the American troops were put there. Of course, this plan comes into direct conflict with Turkey, which has no tolerance for a Kurdish state anywhere near its borders. Turkey’s Erdogan accuses Kurds fighting in Syria of just being a branch of the Kurdish separatist movement inside Turkey, a movement he has brutally suppressed.

Trump said that the United States would no longer be the “policeman of the Middle East,” but it has never served the role of policeman, except in its own imagination.

Its role has been as praetorian guard to regimes it favors and as open threat to those it does not favor. Police enforce laws, but the only “laws” that the United States enforces in the region are its own political biases.

Every regime America defends is at least as lawless and brutal as any it opposes, and I certainly count Israel in that category because the rule of law does not exist on the territory it occupies and is ignored in all of Israel’s efforts to bolster its position in the region, from several thousand assassinations to illegal bombing sorties by the hundreds in neighboring countries.

Law is in great part about stability and legitimacy, and Israel’s efforts have done little beyond promoting instability for others. That indeed has been a goal for much of Israel’s activity, to render others unstable or even chaotic while it sits in a heavily-armed crusader fortress. And where instability hasn’t been a goal, it has supported the relative comfort of absolutism in its neighbors, as in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

The long war in Syria and several other ugly matters in the Middle East are largely Israeli projects, carried out in covert cooperation with Saudi Arabia and America and Britain and France. Syria’s War is not a true civil war.

Of course, there were originally elements of legitimate opposition, but their relatively small numbers were drowned out by mercenaries and foreign intervention by bombing, missiles, and special operations. Assad has always been supported by all the powerful segments of Syrian society and by a majority of people. He is a unifying and stabilizing force. Just look at the army’s long, grueling loyalty through all of this. And minorities, such as Christians, tend to see Assad as their protector.

Ever since Afghanistan, America has regularly adopted a strategy of using proxies. The Northern Alliance – the pre-existing local political opposition to the Taleban, one, mind you, containing much of the same brutality and backwardness as the Taleban – did most of the fighting on the ground in Afghanistan while the United States did what it does best, bomb people. Variations on the theme have been used in Libya and Syria.

The events at Benghazi, Libya, so embarrassing to Hillary Clinton, also were related to this concept of proxy war. The American Ambassador was involved in recruiting cutthroats and shipping weapons from war-torn Libya to promote more hell in Syria. Some of the cutthroats saw the Ambassador himself as a good target for whatever reason. That is the real reason the attack has never been scrutinized for the public.

In Syria, we have several phony jihadi groups, who are in fact paid mercenaries. Any genuine Islamic radicals would have had as their first targets Israel and the corrupt rulers of Saudi Arabia, but we never see that. We see these groups – ISIS, al-Nusra, others – attacking only people Israel hates.

We also see weapons caches of stuff from Israel and the United States discovered, time and again, by the Syrian Army as it advances. We’ve even seen Israeli and American helicopters move some of the leaders of these thugs at critical moments. Some of the wounded have been treated at hospitals in northern Israel.

And we have the phony White Helmets, aligned with al-Nusra and effectively in the business of promoting increased American and British bombing through propaganda films and provocative acts, all done while carrying on with a much-publicized image of brave rescuers. This dirty outfit was formed by France and is financed by Britain, two governments pretty much as heavily influenced by the Israel lobby as the government of the United States.

It would be wonderful if the withdrawal proves honest, but powerful groups in Washington don’t just fold their tents and ride off because a proven erratic President makes a sudden decision against their interests.

 

AFTERNOTE:

I notice in news the next day a story on Trump’s having spoken of “the slow and highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area” as reported of a telephone conversation with Turkey’s Erdogan. That’s a rather worrying, courtroom-lawyer kind of phrase. We’ll see.

ADDITIONAL AFTERNOTE:

On the day after Christmas, Trump, making a visit to troops in Iraq said:  “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria,”  The United States has several bases in Iraq and is said to have about 5,000 troops.

The number being withdrawn from Syria is about 2,000. Whether they also will go to Iraq is not known, but NATO fairly recently called for a larger effort at stabilization in Iraq.

ADDITIONAL FOOTNOTE:

It has been reported that the American military recently built two new bases in Iraq along the Syrian border.

So, it does appear that Trump’s controversial decision about leaving Syria has a lot less to it than meets the eye.

But that would be in keeping with the noise and lack of substance of virtually everything the man does.

Posted December 22, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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