Obama’s real plan is regime change in Syria

Developing Just Leadership

Tahir Mustafa

Dhu al-Hijjah 06, 1435 2014-10-01

Main Stories

by Tahir Mustafa (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 8, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1435)

The US, its European allies and puppet Arabian regimes have not given up on overthrowing Bashar al Asad’s government in Syria. The ‘fight’ against takfiris is merely a pretext.

Few observers of the Muslim East scene are convinced that President Barack Obama’s chest thumping is about confronting the takfiris in Iraq and Syria (he insists on calling the group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), more on this later). It is essentially meant to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad of Syria.

In his televised address on September 10, he insisted the US would go after the terrorists whether in Iraq or Syria. “I will not hesitate to take action against [ISIL] in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Obama thundered.

In his televised address on September 10, he insisted the US would go after the terrorists whether in Iraq or Syria. “I will not hesitate to take action against [ISIL] in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Obama thundered.

He framed the alleged threat from ISIL in such a way as to scare the American people into believing that the takfiris are coming after them. The corporate media has been a willing accomplice forcing the American people by deliberate lies to believe that there are takfiri sleeper cells in America! The media is doing what it is supposed to do: work on behalf of the warlords and the military-industrial-bankers complex to advance its nefarious agenda.

At the beginning of August, only 9% of Americans were in favour of military action against the takfiris, seeing them as the bad guys but out there, far away from the US. Since the airing of the gruesome beheading videos, 76% of Americans now approve of military action.

The cabal of US warmongers led by the neocons as well as the Zionist-dominated Congress welcomed Obama’s declaration of war. On September 17, the House of Representatives approved by 273 to 156 a bill authorizing $500 million that Obama sought to train “moderate [Syrian] rebels” to overthrow al-Asad’s government in Syria. From being branded a “wimp” because he refused to launch a war even after the chemical gas attack in Ghouta in August 2013 that was later traced to Saudi-backed rebels, Obama has won praise from some of the warlords.

Others are still unhappy. They want Obama not only to start bombing right away but also send the troops. John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN is one of the leading crusaders of the cabal. In an op-ed piece in the New York Post on September 16, he wrote, “They [the takfiris] are not deterred by President Obama’s rhetoric or threats of future action against them.” What did he propose Obama should do? “It’s time to confront the unambiguous reality that destroying ISIS — which even Obama says is (ultimately) his goal — urgently requires American combat troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria. And the time is right now, not years from now. No amount of wishful thinking or political cowardice can change the fact we are at war, a one-syllable word even the White House now uses.”

The warlord sporting a thick moustache was outdone by the hawkish Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. On September 16, he grilled Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey about what they would do if Syrian Air Defence batteries attacked US aircraft over Syrian territory. Neither wanted to be drawn into that hypothetical debate but Dempsey said if the air strikes failed to achieve the result Obama had proposed — “degrade and destroy” — he would recommend the use of ground troops. This is what most people feel is the actual plan but is to be implemented in stages in order not to cause alarm among Americans. It is like boiling the frog slowly!

The next day, Obama contradicted his military chief during a visit to MacDill Air Force base in Florida. He said there was no plan to use ground forces. He is aware of the fact that after the US experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American people do not want any more wars, especially ones that might involve deploying US troops and would result in casualties. This of course is not what the military-industrial-bankers cartel wants; they are addicted to perpetual war.

To drum up support from countries in the region in order to give it local flavour, Secretary of State of John Kerry met ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC — comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE), Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon in Jeddah on September 11. Syria, which is to be subjected to America’s aerial assault, was not invited. It was not deemed necessary to seek its consent to carry out strikes on its territory.

Before Obama’s September 10 address, he spoke to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who gave his blessings to the plan. The following day, Kerry extracted a promise from Abdullah at the Jeddah meeting that the Kingdom would provide bases for the US to train “moderate rebels” to overthrow al-Asad’s government. Those familiar with ground realities did not miss the irony: the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been the principal supporters of the takfiris at the behest of the US. Riyadh and Doha have provided funding and arms (American manufactured Humvees and Ukrainian weapons purchased by the Saudis are being used by the takfiris) while Turkey has acted as a conduit for the transfer of mercenaries from Central Asia, Afghanistan, North Africa and beyond.

A statement at the conclusion of the Jeddah meeting said that “the participating states agreed to do their share in the comprehensive fight” against ISIL. Only Turkey and Egypt expressed reservations. Turkey said it would not allow its military bases to be used for US air strikes citing the safety of 46 Turkish diplomats that were kidnapped by the takfiris when they stormed Mosul on June 11 (they were released on September 20 under circumstances that have remained unexplained so far). Egypt called for a UN Security Council resolution — this is also Russia’s position — before resorting to the use of force but more importantly, Cairo’s military rulers want the fight to be broadened to include militants fighting their regime.

The US, currently serving as rotating president of the UN Security Council, presented a draft resolution on September 19. Under this, it sought international approval for attacking ISIL/ISIS. Even Russia and China may go along with this in what Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said would be a repeat of the mistake made in approving Security Council resolution no. 1973 against Libya. While called a “no-fly” resolution, it ended up being a wholesale bombing and destruction of Libya ultimately resulting in the overthrow and public lynching of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

The Syrian government and media accurately read the situation. Even before Obama’s speech, Syrian media on September 9 accused Arabian regimes of giving Washington prior agreement for military action in Syria. Following the Jeddah meeting, Syria’s National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said that US air strikes on Syrian territory without permission from Damascus would be an act of “aggression” on his country. “Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government is an aggression against Syria,” Haidar told reporters in Damascus. He said the Syrian government was willing to cooperate in this effort but must be consulted.

“There must be cooperation with Syria and coordination with Syria and there must be a Syrian approval of any action whether it is military or not,” Haidar added. He also referred to international law saying that any action must be with the consent of the Syrian government. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem had issued a similar warning on August 24. This occurred against the backdrop of a Saudi-convened meeting in Jeddah attended by ministers from Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Qatar on August 24. The following day, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdullahian visited Saudi Arabia for discussions with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. After their meeting, the two said they would like to open a new chapter in bilateral relations that have been soured as a result of Saudi hostility toward the Islamic Republic.

Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have expressed grave concern over the escalating war rhetoric and American unilateralism. China also called for respect of Syria’s sovereignty. Russia said a Security Council resolution was necessary if the US was going to take military action while Tehran described the US moves as being shrouded in “ambiguity.” Will Moscow now acquiesce in the US-sponsored Security Council resolution?

The ground work for the planned attack on Iraq and Syria was laid at the Newport (Wales) NATO meeting on September 5–6. Ten NATO countries plus officials from Ukraine met to discuss the situation in Ukraine, and Iraq and Syria. Countries such as Canada and Australia pledged various levels of support. On September 15, there was a meeting of regional as well as NATO member countries (30 in all) in Paris aimed at shoring up additional support for the war that is to be waged primarily against Syria under the cover of fighting the threat from takfiris that have indulged in gruesome killings by beheading captives. There are reports that they hold at least 20 Western hostages.

Not everyone in Paris was in agreement with what the Americans proposed. The Iraqi President Fouad Masoum said Iran should have been invited to the conference. Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Basil, mindful of the political realities in his country, said that Lebanon would not join any axis and that his government has not given the Americans any mandate to carry out strikes against ISIS in Lebanon.

The Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei had already ruled out any cooperation when the Americans asked for it.

Basil is aware that the Islamic resistance movement Hizbullah is a major political force in the country. Without its consent, no Lebanese government can undertake major policy decisions and while the US may be targeting the takfiris who are the enemies of Hizbullah, the resistance movement does not wish to join the US crusade. Both Hizbullah and Iran clearly see that the choice is not between fighting the takfiris or having foreign troops in the region. The Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei had already ruled out any cooperation when the Americans asked for it. Kerry then offered a new proposal on September 17: the US would be willing to open a “back channel” communication with Iran!

Obama has given in to neocon pressure and his smooth talking has got him only so far. He has used the beheading of the two American journalists — James Foley and Steven Sotloff — to justify war. Only a few weeks earlier, he had dismissed the talk of war saying the takfiris (ISIS) were not a major threat and that war was not an option. Besides, he admitted, he had no clear plans for dealing with them.

Videos uploaded on the internet have been used to shock the American people into supporting the war. While some reports have questioned the authenticity of such videos — that is, the actual beheadings on camera (see the British daily, The Telegraph, August 25) — there is no doubt that these people were killed. The takfiris have used such gruesome tactics to instil fear. Other commentators have suggested that the takfiris are working for the US and carry out acts that would advance America’s war agenda.

The French journalist Thierry Meyssan in a blog on Voltairenet (September 1) revealed that the head of the takfiri group ISIL/ISIS is in fact an American agent. In support of his claim, Meyssan published a photograph from May 2013 in which the leader of the takfiris, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (real name Ali Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarai) met Senator McCain when the latter sneaked illegally from Turkey into Syria. Present at the meeting was also Salim Idriss, then head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that has since disintegrated under the takfiri onslaught.

The question of why Obama referred to the takfiri group by the acronym ISIL that stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, must also be addressed. By referring to the Levant, Obama seems to leave open the possibility that the Americans will be involved in wars in the broader region than simply Iraq and Syria. Further, despite its name, the group has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam; they are a bunch of murderous thugs that indulge in gruesome acts of beheadings to terrorize people.

What is worthy of note is that while they have murdered hundreds if not thousands of innocent people in Syria and Iraq...

What is worthy of note is that while they have murdered hundreds if not thousands of innocent people in Syria and Iraq, including beheadings, these have evoked little concern from the US, the West in general and their sponsors in the Muslim East, primarily Saudi Arabia. But when the terrorists uploaded videos about the beheadings of American journalists and a British aid worker, almost instantly the entire world was mobilized against them. This has led some commentators to speculate that the airing of such videos in fact served America’s purpose. They helped convince the American people that war against this group was a necessity.

The American prescription for dealing with the takfiris borders on the bizarre. The US is to train “moderate rebels” on bases in Saudi Arabia. But this is precisely what the archaic kingdom has been doing all along: it has financed and armed these murderous thugs and then unleashed them on Syria. Even the Americans have been doing precisely this in Jordan where more than 200 Special Forces have been training these mass murderers since 2012.

The London (UK)-based research organization, Conflict Armament Research (CAR) revealed in a report on September 8 that the takfiri terrorists appear to be using weapons that were supplied by the US to Saudi Arabia. How did they come into possession of such weapons? The Saudis insist they had given them to the “moderate rebels” in Syria. The “moderate rebels” have turned out to be not so moderate at all or, are they working to a script that is being hidden from the general public?

The US-Saudi position borders on the scandalous. On September 20, it was reported that the takfiris were fleeing their base in Mosul fearing US air strikes. It seems they are being pushed back into Syria for the fight against the government there. The US plan is after all about overthrowing the government in Syria. The takfiris are merely pawns in this vile game.

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