Foreign Policy Thugs Hit the Wall – Syria May Survive

By Michael Collins

“Our sense is right now he’s very much in charge,” of their military operations, one U.S. official said. Another noted, “He (Assad) might survive this.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information. Matthew Schofield, McClatchy DC Bureau Feb 9

Violating the basic tenets of international law by attacking nations that pose no imminent threat and the use of excessive force are the signatures of United States foreign policy since the presidency of George H.W. Bush. (Image)

Bush I mounted a devastating attack on Iraq for invading Kuwait after his ambassador gave Saddam Hussein a virtual green light to launch the invasion. Bush then initiated across the board sanctions and began bombing Iraq on a daily basis.

President Bill Clinton took on the role as thug in chief by ratcheting up the sanctions and continuing the bombing declaring Saddam Hussein a threat to the region. The results were devastating. For example, nearly 225,000 children under five died as a result of the sanctions.

George W. Bush literally laid the nation into war by hiding the findings of the National Intelligence Estimate of Iraq’s threat to the U.S. He and his cabinet lied about the threat of WMD. One million Iraqi civilians are dead as a result of that invasion.

President Barack Obama began a leisurely withdrawal of sorts from Iraq but upped the ante in Afghanistan. His big move in Afghanistan came after so after stellar advice to the contrary from his ambassador, the former military commander that country, General Karl Eikenberry. The general told his president, a corrupt government (i.e., Karzai) can never produce a positive outcome.

Obama couldn’t resist picking up the baton of thug like behavior. His strategy of attacking a nation without provocation was realized in Libya by NATO along with Qatar. The results are still under cover but ethnic cleansing, torture, and violence seem to be a common occurrence.

Chief executives who use their power and abuse the military in this way are nothing but thugs.

But things may come to a screeching halt based on the tactical leak by the not-for-attribution source in the government: “He (Assad) might survive this.”

Later in the McClatchy article, we see this:

“The Syrian conflict is seen as a struggle of Assad’s Alawite Shiite minority against the majority Sunni population. But the officials said that while the military’s leadership ranks are largely Alawite, the bulk of the soldiers carrying out orders are Sunni conscripts. Yet the military remains cohesive, they said.

“One official noted that other minority Syrian populations ”” Christians, Kurds and Druze ”” ‘have not abandoned the regime yet.'” Matthew Schofield, McClatchy DC Bureau Feb 9

The minority populations are probably well informed on the outcome of the not so glorious Libyan revolution which resulted with Al Qaeda sympathizers running key components of the military and torture and retributions commonplace.

But what about those “Sunni conscripts” who form “bulk of the soldiers carrying out orders?” We hear that there are some defections from the army to the rebels. But the vast majority of conscripts are still in place fighting for the Syrian government.

Could it be that there’s a massive distortion of events in Syria by the corporate media?

If the current government in Syria survives, it will be the first time in decades that a high profile hit operation against an undesired foreign leader has failed. It will be the exception that calls into question the current doctrine of presidential rub outs that violate the norms of international law, civility, and involve lots of bombing, maiming and killing.

Who do these presidents think they are making up their own rules and engaging in massive violence, death, and destruction? What gives them the right to ignore the rules and do as they desire? Are they above any expectations for moral reasoning and civilized behavior?

Were we to read about the machinations and violent crimes in our communities similar to those committed by these presidents, there would be a label for it – gang violence.

Bring the troop’s home, all of them. Abandon the 700 or so bases around the world. Make the rule breaking presidents behave. Most importantly, pay attention to the needs of the citizens of the United States for a change.


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Michael Collins

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  • Exclusive: secret Assad emails lift lid on life of Syrian leader’s inner circle

    The Guardian, By Robert Booth, Mona Mahmood & Luke Harding, March 14

    • Messages show Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran
    • Leader made light of promised reforms
    • Wife spent thousands on jewellery and furniture

    Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, according to a cache of what appear to be several thousand emails received and sent by the Syrian leader and his wife.

    The Syrian leader was also briefed in detail about the presence of western journalists in the Baba Amr district of Homs and urged to “tighten the security grip” on the opposition-held city in November.

    The revelations are contained in more than 3,000 documents that activists say are emails downloaded from private accounts belonging to Assad and his wife, Asma.

    The messages, which have been obtained by the Guardian, are said to have been intercepted by members of the opposition Supreme Council of the Revolution group between June and early February.

    The documents, which emerge on the first anniversary of the rebellion that has seen more than 8,000 Syrians killed, paint a portrait of a first family remarkably insulated from the mounting crisis and continuing to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.

  • CNN, March 15

    The six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council will close their Syrian embassies, the council said Thursday, calling on the international community “to stop what is going on in Syria.”

    The action, the council said, “confirms its position rejecting the Syrian regime’s persistence in killing unarmed Syrian people and ignoring all efforts to resolve the current tragic situation in Syria.”

    Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the council’s secretary-general, “also called on the international community to take urgent and firm actions to stop what is going on in Syria including killing, torturing and flagrant violations of the human rights of the Syrian people.”

    Council members include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

    Nations including the United States and France previously have closed their embassies in Damascus, while Italy, Britain and Spain are among countries that have suspended embassy activities.

  • Arab Gulf states to shut embassies in Syria
    Posted: 16 March 2012 0704 hrs

    RIYADH: All six Arab Gulf states will close their embassies in Syria in protest against the year-long crackdown in the country, said Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) head Abdullatif al-Zayani early Friday.

    Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait took the step, he said, citing the regime’s “massacring its people, choosing the military option and rejecting all initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the crisis.”

    Zayani asked the international community to “act urgently and decisively to stop the killings and massacres in Syria as well as the gross violations of the dignity and legitimate rights of the Syrians.”

    Before this collective decision, two GCC countries — Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — had announced the closure of their missions in Damascus.

    Saudi Arabia took the step Wednesday and announced the return of its diplomats from Syria, followed the next day by Bahrain.

    Saudi Arabia, the Arab world heavyweight, has been highly critical of the Syrian regime. Last August, it withdrew its ambassador from Damascus and expelled the Syrian ambassador.

    Its five partners in the council have done the same to denounce the “mass slaughter” committed by the regime.

    Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart. ~ Phil Jackson

  • IPS, By David Elkins, March 16

    Washington – As Western governments reexamine their options for ending the ongoing violence in Syria, Kofi Annan, U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, briefed diplomats Friday at the U.N. Security Council, who remain divided over whether a negotiated ceasefire or direct intervention will be necessary, or even feasible.

    Annan’s assessment comes amid renewed pro-government protests in Damascus and escalated fighting in Idlib, a city in northwest Syria, where 45 people were reportedly killed on Thursday as the Syrian military continues its latest offensive to quell opposition groups.

    The U.N. estimates that over 7,500 people have been killed since uprisings began last year, while the World Food Programme announced recently that 1.4 million Syrians are now “food insecure”. On Thursday, U.S. State Department officials said that Syria will receive 12 million dollars in humanitarian aid from the U.S.

  • BBC, March 16

    The UN and Arab League envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan, says he is sending a team to Damascus to discuss setting up a new international monitoring mission.

    After briefing the Security Council about his peace efforts, Mr Annan renewed calls for an end to fighting and for unimpeded humanitarian aid.

    Syria said it was ready to co-operate with Mr Annan, but also reaffirmed its determination to combat “terrorists”.

    Meanwhile the Turkish government has urged its nationals to leave Syria.

    The foreign ministry in Ankara said developments in Syria have led to “serious security risks”.

  • With up to 1,000 refugees streaming across the border daily, Turkey has to rethink its policy towards the former ally.

    Al Jazeera, March 18

    It has been more than a year since the uprising in Syria began – and the violence continues. On Saturday, two explosions in Damascus, the country’s capital, killed at least 27 people and injured nearly 100 others, leading to fears that groups are trying to take advantage of a growing power vacuum in the country. Neighbouring Turkey also appears to have growing security concerns.

    They were once the most trusted of allies, but as the year-long crackdown on protesters intensifies, Turkey’s relations with Syria have soured.

    And with up to 1,000 refugees streaming across the border every day, Turkey is now being forced to rethink its policy towards its former friend.

    Citing Syria’s security risks, the Turkish government urged all its nationals to leave Syria. And Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, has for the first time publically talked about the possibility of setting up a ‘buffer zone’ across the border.

    The creation of a ‘safe zone’ or ‘humanitarian corridor’ would protect civilians but it is a move that would undoubtedly antagonise Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, who was once Ankara’s trusted ally.

    It might also lead to a confrontation with the Syrian army, which could have unknown consequences in a region that is already on the edge.

  • The fight comes a day after a car bomb near residential area in city of Aleppo left at least three people dead.

    Al Jazeera, March 19

    A heavy firefight has broken out between Free Syrian Army rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in a main district of the capital Damascus, Reuters news agency reported.

    The sound of heavy machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades on Monday echoed throughout the night from the western neighbourhood of al-Mezze, one of the most heavily guarded areas of the capital and home to several security installations, residents told the agency by telephone.

    The latest fighting came a day after a car bomb in Syria’s second biggest city of Aleppo killed at least three people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

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