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Obama's Real Syria Policy: Endless War

Clay Claiborne

October 5, 2013

In every war the combatants on both sides claim to have justice on their side. One may be right but they can't both be right. Most often both sides are wrong and neither has justice on its side. Yet it can't be said that there are no just wars. For example, colonized nations have a right to fight for their independence if it is not granted peacefully. The American Revolutionaries fought a just war against the British Empire, even though they carried the injustice of slavery within their bowels. For the British it was an unjust war of imperial conquest, as was the American war in Vietnam.

The US Civil War was also a just war in so far as it was a war to end slavery. Those on the side that ended slavery were fighting a just war. Those that fought for the "freedom and independence" to preserve and extend slavery did not have justice on their side. Still, we can recognize the courage and integrity of the Confederate soldier who gave his all for his cause, even while recognizing that his cause was one of the worst ever to take up arms in defence of.

The people of the United States paid a very high blood price in settling the question of slavery through civil war, and it was paid primarily by the ordinary people on both sides of the conflict, but because the slave holders wouldn't give up the tyranny of slavery without a fight, it was not only a just war but a necessary one as well. More than 600,000 Americans died in our civil war.

At the time, people and countries around the world were called upon to take a position on our civil war and to support one side or the other, much as is the case with Syria today. Many supported the Union and the fight against slavery. Some did so because of long-held principles even though they may have benefited from slavery. Others saw the long-term benefits of a slave-free economy. Some threw their weight behind the Confederacy because they profited from the cheap cotton and tobacco the slaves made possible, and they wanted slavery to thrive.

While both sides wanted badly for their side to win, so much so that many were willing to give their lives for that victory, both sides were united in their desire to see the bloody business resolved as quickly as possible with no more loss of life than necessary to resolve the dispute.

There was, however, a third type of player in the US civil war that wanted neither a quick victory for the Union nor the Confederacy, but wanted to see the civil war extended so that the overall strength of the United States could be depleted regardless to the loss of life and unnecessary human suffering that would entail.

I find this third stance, one that seeks not to end the war either through victory or negotiations, but instead seeks to cynically extend the war with an aim of profiting from the misery of both parties to the conflict while a rival or surrogate is weakened or destroyed, to be the most despicable stance one can take towards any war. To not believe in either side, or any side, but instead to work to extend the misery and carnage of the war with an eye towards weakening another nation is quite possibly the most depraved, most inhumane policy to take in any war and that is precisely the policy the United States has taken, under the leadership of Barack Obama, towards the Civil War in Syria, a war into its third year with more that 115,000 dead, 2 million refugees, and many millions more homeless.

While it has been generally accepted Left doctrine that US policy towards Syria was one of regime change, I have long dissented from that view, and argued that Barrack Obama favoured the survival of the Assad regime; all the more so, if it could be in a weaken state. I said that his calls for Assad to step down and his fledged "support" for the opposition was his way of playing "good cop" to Putin's "bad cop." Their cooperation on Syria may be more public now, but it is not new.

There are those in the antiwar movement who think they forced Obama to call off air strikes on Syria that he really wanted to do. They should now consider why Obama put the kibosh on the French air strikes. Did the anti-war movement force that too? Or is it just another indication that he really didn't want to see Assad hurt and the anti-war movement was just doing what its been doing for two years on Syria, giving Left cover for the real imperialist policy towards the Syrian conflict.

That policy has been to use the people's uprising in Syria to win a better negotiated settlement from the Assad Regime, but also to make sure the regime is victorious in the end. Assad's promise to give up chemical weapons is a case in point, and long a goal of Israel. As I point out in Barack Obama's Courtship with Bashar al-Assad, Obama opened those negotiations even before he became president and his chief negotiator, John Kerry was still meeting with Assad and trying to workout the terms of the deal even after the Arab Spring protests came to Syria.

US policy has always been to extend this conflict, and use the people's struggle to weaken the regime and force it to agree to terms without ever allowing it to be changed. Early on, Obama sent the CIA into Turkey to throttle the flow of weapons to the opposition, and make sure they never got enough weapons to win, or weapons that could neutralize Assad's "Death from Above" air campaign. Since Obama wants the world to think he is really opposed to Assad, the non-interventionist Left did him a favour by charging him with "funnelling" weapons to the rebels when he never supplied them a single bullet.

The longer the Syrian Revolution persists, the clearer it becomes exactly what Obama's real Syria policy is, but few declarations of it have been as clear and straight forward as the one expressed by a CIA official in describing their Syria mission in the Washington Post, Wednesday:
The CIA’s mission, officials said, has been defined by the White House’s desire to seek a political settlement, a scenario that relies on an eventual stalemate among the warring factions rather than a clear victor. As a result, officials said, limits on the agency’s authorities enable it to provide enough support to help ensure that politically moderate, U.S.-supported militias don’t lose but not enough for them to win.
One gets the feeling this policy is being so bluntly stated and blamed on Obama because even the CIA finds it sleazy.

When I put forward this thesis at the Daily Kos almost a year ago, I was banned from the site for spouting "conspiracy theories." Now we have this frank admission, from the agent's mouth, of the depraved reality of the policy of the United States towards the civil war in Syria. It is a policy that has sought to extend a conflict that has already gone on for almost 3 years and has cost 115,000 Syrian lives, not so that those seeking to overthrow the dictatorship and establish a democracy may eventually win, even if at a high cost, but so they can eventually lose. The problem for Assad, Putin and Obama is that the Syrian people just won't give up. See tomorrow's post on Ghouta as an excellent example.

This also implies a policy of "pulling the rug" out from under and other dirty tricks on the side we claim to support, and indeed, we have seen the terrible effects of this policy on the battlefield. As for example, in Aleppo were time and again the opposition has been on the verge of routing Assad's forces when suddenly their ammunition supply line dries up and they are forced to retreat. And so, the back and forth in Aleppo continues into another year, as one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world gets smashed into rubble, with the US making sure the rebels get just enough to hang on in Aleppo but not enough to end the fighting. For that matter, the same could be said about Homs, Idlib and Damascus as cities older than the Bible are sacrificed to a strategy designed to weaken Syria no matter who comes out on top.

This is the real US policy of endless war, and with it, endless bloodshed, in Syria and this is not a policy that the US anti-war movement has opposed.


See these posts for more on Obama's Syria policy:
The Courtship Continues: Obama stopped French strike on Assad
The Courtship Continues: Obama's New Gift to Assad
How Obama Helped Assad Kill with Poison Gas in Syria
Win-Win for Assad as Obama Response to CW Mass Murder Put on Hold
Obama Denied Gas Masks to Assad's Victims
Obama's Dilemma and Assad's Opportunity
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
Obama Denied Gas Masks to Assad's Victims
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad Exposed!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Chemical weapons use in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
SecState John Kerry and his "dear friend" Bashar al-Assad
How Obama's 'No MANPADS for you' policy in Syria is backfiring
More thoughts on Obama's 'No MANPADS for you!' policy
Obama: Did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria


:: Article nr. 101443 sent on 07-oct-2013 01:08 ECT


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