Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 12, 2013

Libya's Destruction - Based On "Exceptionalism", Lies And Propaganda

In an op-ed in the New York Times the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin warns the people of the United States against further interventions:
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
Putin especially mentions Libya which he describes as now "divided into tribes and clans."

Libya today is worse than that. It has moved on into lawlessness and ruin. Only yesterday, a year after a U.S. ambassador was killed in Bengazi, the foreign ministry building there was attacked with a large bomb. The biggest concern for the "west" is of course the spice from Libya, which is no longer flowing.

The Libya intervention, like those many before it, was build on lies and propaganda. A new policy brief on the Libya intervention from the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School makes three points:

The Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong. Libya's 2011 uprising was never peaceful, but instead was armed and violent from the start. Muammar al-Qaddafi did not target civilians or resort to indiscriminate force. Although inspired by humanitarian impulse, NATO's intervention did not aim mainly to protect civilians, but rather to overthrow Qaddafi's regime, even at the expense of increasing the harm to Libyans.

The Intervention Backfired. NATO's action magnified the conflict's duration about sixfold and its death toll at least sevenfold, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors. If Libya was a "model intervention," then it was a model of failure.

Three Lessons. First, beware rebel propaganda that seeks intervention by falsely crying genocide. Second, avoid intervening on humanitarian grounds in ways that reward rebels and thus endanger civilians, unless the state is already targeting noncombatants. Third, resist the tendency of humanitarian intervention to morph into regime change, which amplifies the risk to civilians.

Twelve years after 9/11 the U.S. is turning to a bit less interventionist policies. Obama's defeat over Syria in both houses of Congress and in the public opinion is a very welcome sign of that. But there is still this very American disease of exceptionalism which Putin is very right take on:
I would rather disagree with a case [President Obama] made on American exceptionalism, stating that United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
This assumed exceptionalims has very bad results. It is a costly illusion not only for the Libyan or Syrian people but, in the long run, also for the U.S. people themselves.

Posted by b on September 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Comments

Well as ariel sharon said, start with libya end with syria and iran.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 12, 2013 11:50:34 AM | 1

I love the Harvard policy brief b cites - hindsight's 20/20 doncha know, huh? - when it was well known to even the most casual, two-neuroned Web surfer that what the policy brief concludes was what was happening/gonna happen BEFORE the US intervened in Libya.

cf. Juan Cole's propaganda vis a vis Libya

Who could have known? Mistakes - sniff - were made. blah blah blah

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 12, 2013 12:01:42 PM | 2

it's refreshing to see putin's words in an american propaganda rag!

Posted by: james | Sep 12, 2013 12:17:00 PM | 3

Putin is on a role. Obama is getting the uppercuts lefr and right. Hopefully, their problems don't become too personal to a point where they start a revenge war on each other.

Obama is like the angel of death. He takes the life of anyone he is ordered to. Deep down he knows that he will need to answer for his crimes against others in the after life assuming he knows about that since he is got some muslim faith in him.

Posted by: Shoes | Sep 12, 2013 12:20:53 PM | 4

It could also be Asian fatalism mixed with Kenyan animism and a smattering of Judaeo/Christian guilt.

Posted by: dh | Sep 12, 2013 12:37:58 PM | 5

On the other hand, I have yet to meet persons from Moscow or St. Petersburg who did not think themselves exceptional, god or godless.

Posted by: biklett | Sep 12, 2013 1:21:58 PM | 6

Being someone who vocally opposed the attack on Libya and was verbally and physically attacked for doing so it is sickening to read these lies exposed in a cold academic setting without any real accountability on the part of those who disseminated and bought into the lies. The report presents the intervention "backfiring" without drawing the correct conclusion that lies and fraud are purposefully used to start wars that wantonly kill anyone who is in the way of the aims of the war. Those who dug deep into the claims of "genocide" and "slaughter" at the time knew they were fabricated, but the sheer starkness of how fabricated they were is remarkable. But will anyone be held accountable for it? Will anyone take responsibility for their crimes? No, unfortunately not. The only thing we can do now is prevent this from happening to Syria and dismantle the whole imperialist system of states.

Posted by: JoeySteel | Sep 12, 2013 1:42:43 PM | 7

Putin is probably the smartest world leader alive today. He runs circles around Obama. Bravo Russia.

Posted by: revenire | Sep 12, 2013 1:46:01 PM | 8

I still have some hope for the American people. Despite 2 years of zionist mainstream media lies about the Syrian government,they still refused to support the strikes. Apparently, the Americans no longer believe every word they hear from the lamestream zionist CNN, Fox, etc. Indeed, much has changed in the last 12 years.

Posted by: hilmi hakim | Sep 12, 2013 1:55:40 PM | 9

Part of what I wrote for a press release today:

The Citizen's Investigation into War Crimes in Libya (http://ciwclibya.org/) started its investigation into massacres and other war crimes in Libya during the Libyan civil war in 2011. From the summer of 2012 CIWCL has focused its efforts on Syria.

CIWCL conducts its investigations based on open-source material in an open and transparent process, currently using a research wiki. (http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/) In addition to the evolving on-line material CIWCL has published a number reports on the massacres. These are available for download on the CIWCL site: http://ciwclibya.org/reports.html

From the massacres investigated, a constant pattern has emerged:

1. massacres of an ever increasing scale are committed by Islamist revolutionaries,
2. gory videos of the victims are uploaded to social media like YouTube, along with accusations blaming the massacres on the governments and their leaders,
3. these claims are propagated by international human rights organizations, calling for punitive action,
4. the "international community", lead by the West imposes sanction, and ultimately – war.

This pattern was first witnessed in the al-Baida massacre on February 23, 2013 that lead to UNSC resolution 1970 sanctioning Libya three days later. This pattern was repeated in Syria in the Houla massacre in May 2012 and again in the double massacres in Baniyas / al Baida in May 2013.

The important thing is to understand the four step process. The Belfer Center is clearly starting to see the light.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 12, 2013 2:01:09 PM | 10

Yes, the American people ARE waking up. Just read how many positive messages on the NY Times message boards there are to the Op-ed piece which Putin wrote. The political chattering class is naturally up in arms over Putin's piece and denouncing it (many of them penning anti-Putin rants proving Exactly what Putin was saying about US exceptionalism by engaging in it with their condescending responses!!!), but the man in the street knows that Putin is simply telling the truth.

Posted by: RC | Sep 12, 2013 2:21:55 PM | 11

Well, after reading the comments in the nyt I don't have hope for zamericans. Although it was to be expected that some zamericans in that strange mixture of blunt stupidity and disturbed self-perception that is so typical with zamericans, I was shocked to see how many, Pardon me, zamerican creatures that, even with lots of good will can hardly be counted as specimen of homo sapiens, sh*t right out of their feeding hole.

I'm disgusted. Not like in "yuck they lack culture" but rather as in "most animals are preferable to that zamerican scum". Now to be fair, very very few zamericans ever had a chance to become a fine human being; after all, the zusa had been populated by the lowest of european society. But I remember occasions when I met zamericans like 15 years ago and felt that they were quite simple (as my grand parents used to politely say when talking about people bare of any culture and intellect) but friendly folks.

I'm wondering what makes it worthwhile to Putin to address those creatures. Obviously it can't be the assumption that they would understand him and learn from it. Probably some kind of political tactics. Strange anyway that such a brilliant man wastes words to that scum.


Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 12, 2013 2:33:58 PM | 12

The Mass Media is not giving up....It is still trying to shape the "minds" with negative images about Russia and Putin. Senator Menendez's comment that he almost puked after reading the op-ed in the NYT also speaks of the mindset in COngress...Kerry's cry about this is not a game directed at Lavrov is a bit laughable!!!...

Posted by: georgeg | Sep 12, 2013 2:41:26 PM | 13

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?pagewanted=all

regarding comments to the nyt, i note the one at the top of the recommend list is fairly succinct and on the money..

Posted by: james | Sep 12, 2013 2:43:36 PM | 14

Any chance we could get the NYTimes to replace Tom Friedman's regular column with one by Vlad?

Posted by: DC Exile | Sep 12, 2013 2:56:10 PM | 15

13

Senator Menedez is a despicable aipac-shill. Just google Menedez + aipac.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 12, 2013 3:09:35 PM | 16

Just wondering about the odds that Syria ends up just like Libya.

Posted by: ben | Sep 12, 2013 4:16:30 PM | 17

American exceptionalism is such an absurd doctrine -- a (white) people chosen to commit genocide and gobble up territory --that the only way to respond to Putin's well-word opinion piece is to feign outrage and lie through your teeth as Jay Carney did when he said, "Unlike Russia, the United States stands up for democratic values and human rights in our own country and around the world."

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 12, 2013 4:20:34 PM | 18

Putin should check-mate Obama. He almost had him with Kerry's blunder, but Obama squirmed just aside by adding new requirements. The real check-mate would be for Russia to put boots on the ground to 'assist' Syria with inventorying and securing the chemical weapons. The US could not stop that because they asked for it to happen. And with Russians crawling all over the chemical weapons sites there would be no way the US could launch missiles.

Posted by: Cynthia | Sep 12, 2013 4:43:42 PM | 19

It would be a mistake, Mr Pragma, to take the comments under the Putin article very seriously. As Gregory Erlich's article in Counterpunch, http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/12/political-firestorm-in-south-korea/
shows, it has become part of every western intelligence agency's routine to drown out sensible public debate with right wing nonsense emanating from wholly fictional personas.

One has to assume that, like newspaper articles in the bourgeois media, many of the "opinions" published are part of highly choreographed propaganda campaigns.

Which takes us back to the matter at hand. There never was any doubt that the attack on Libya was accompanied by a massive and notably crude campaign of hate propaganda and lies. These lies were sanctioned at the highest levels in government, Obama and Hillary Clinton repeated them regularly, the Rice-Power axis of racist misanthropy (and hysterical calamity howling) were front and centre warning of the planned genocide on Benghazi 'another Ruanda or Srebrenica planned', and of, the holder of the current world record for Southern Fried Mendacity, 'viagra crazed black african mercenaries raping their way through the population."

The people broadcasting these and other lies, with the clear purpose of justifying attacks which led to the deaths of (uncounted by US orders) many thousands not only still function publicly, Samantha Power was greeted cordially by normal decent people recently in Ireland, for example, but go from strength to strength, their careers thriving as the magnitude of their misdemeanours increases.

Had these people been treated with the contempt that the falsity of their Libyan prophecies deserved, much of the Syrian crisis might have been avoided. What is really sad about the mad dog comments from spooks under articles is that their authors are allowed to get away with malicious lies. Society in the United States ought to insist on the dismissal from sensitive public employment of all those guilty of lying to the public, Congress or the media. This would solve the unemployment problem overnight.

John McArthur's Providence Journal article
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/12-8
points out the new depths now being plumbed by Obama's propaganda apparatus.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 12, 2013 5:01:54 PM | 20

@ 19

This is what Putin is doing, isn't it? I don't think Syria will want anyone other than Russia to guard the CW... Obama has been checkmated, he knows it too (someone explained it to him, I'm sure)

Putin will allow Obama to strut on the world stage, perhaps even stamp his feet a little... the end result is a given...

Posted by: Crone | Sep 12, 2013 5:05:34 PM | 21

It's a sign of American narcissism that the lessons of Benghazi are lost on Americans...

To the Obamaniacs, it's a tragic nothing that signifies nothing of note about failures of US foreign policy, other than Republicans wanting to score political points.

To the Republicans, it is precisely the opportunity to play gotcha on Obama.

The truth is that, if US politicians actually cared about the US, or even were just serious people about world affairs in general, and not about scoring points, it should be a dire warning of bad tidings (the US ambassador being blown (figuratively or literally, as was the case with the ambassador to Pakistan in 1990 or so) should be a big deal that signifies how bad things are in the country in question, or so one would think. But all they can think is how they look to the American domestic audiences....

Posted by: a different anon | Sep 12, 2013 5:41:18 PM | 22

'I would rather disagree with a case [President Obama] made on American exceptionalism, stating that United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal'

jews have this disease in a big way with the CHOSEN PEOPLE tag

Posted by: brian | Sep 12, 2013 5:45:26 PM | 23

American Delusionalism

Posted by: brian | Sep 12, 2013 5:47:22 PM | 24

from the Great Communicator:


"I have no interest in any open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable," President Barack Obama said in a PBS interview earlier this week.
http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/08/treaty-obligations-war-crimes-accountability-american-hypocrisy.html

when will US war machine be held accountable?

Posted by: brian | Sep 12, 2013 5:53:01 PM | 25

excellent article that shosw the jihadis are lured to syria by shadowy alqaeda linked groups...but why syria which is on USrael agenda? it shows that behind thes alqaeda groups is USrael
NOTE :role of media in facilitating recruitment of jihadis

'“I saw my Sunni Syrian brothers suffering here. I saw on Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and other channels that kids are also suffering. I took up arms, and I was ready to use them. But when I came here – I didn’t see the enemy.” '

Raouchan Gazakov brought his family to Syria, taught his 5-year-old son to make bombs and bade farewell to his relative, a suicide bomber. RT’s Maria Finoshina talked to him in a Damascus prison and asked him why he came to fight for Al-Qaeda.

“A group called Murad approached me a year ago and convinced me that Muslims in Syria are being oppressed and killed, and that I should go and take up arms against Assad for world jihad,” Raouchan said in the spartan prison, where some 200 inmates are held – most of them jihadist fighters for Al-Qaeda or affiliated groups. The prisoners’ fate is unknown, although it looks grim.

Raouchan says he sneaked into Syria last January through Turkey. In Istanbul, two men claiming to be from Al-Qaeda met Raouchan and accompanied him to Syria. There, he joined a large terrorist group run by an Egyptian jihadist.
http://rt.com/news/syria-foreign-fighters-mercenaries-706/

Posted by: brian | Sep 12, 2013 6:03:29 PM | 26

@23 I'm pretty sure that extrapolated inference was not unintentional

Posted by: DM | Sep 12, 2013 6:26:05 PM | 27

well, Mr. Pragma, if I had any cultural depth I would try to respond to you, but your insightful analysis is simply too air-tight for a sub-human to grok.

Posted by: lizard | Sep 12, 2013 7:09:34 PM | 28

Very nice Mr. Pragma. That's the kind of thinking that took the jews from holocaust survivors to holocaust makers in the blink of an eye.

If this long fight of which we just watched a great victory is only to bring some new class of exceptional high breeds to rule then it will all be a waste and we'll be here again in another century. Same tune different players.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 12, 2013 7:50:33 PM | 29

Bonehead... err, sorry, Boehner.... is saying that he is "offended" by Putin's Op-Ed.

Not sure if he is offended by the notion that the USA should drop idea that it is "expectional", or whether he is offended by the notion that it isn't actually a good idea to go around the planet smiting countries on a whim.

Not that it really matters, of course, since it is the former that justifies the latter.

Which was pretty much the gist of Putin's article, when it really comes down to it....

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 12, 2013 9:02:45 PM | 30

@19 and @21 Indeed true. Obama can "insist" upon whatever outrageous and impossible demands he wants. Go ahead. Insist all you want.

But the problem for Obama is that he has no way to leverage himself back in, short of threatening to launch the tomahawks.

Or, put another way: Syria signing the Chemical Weapons Convention automatically sets in train a series of steps that ultimately lead up to the destruction of Syria's CW stockpile under OPCW oversight. That mechanism is built into the treaty itself.

So if Obama proposes a UNSC Resolution that says *this* and Russia vetoes it (which Putin will) then the end result will be the same as if Obama never proposed *this* in the first place.

And if Obama threatens *that* and Syria/Russia/OPCW ignore his threat then.... the process continues on regardless, as if that threat was never uttered in the first place.

Or if the USA insists of a deadline of *now* then that insistence means Jack Shit, because if the parties ignore that American demand (and they will) then the process of negotiating a deadline *as* *stipulated* *by* *the* *CWC* continues on regardless of all those interjections from the sidelines.

Because that's the real issue for Obama: he has been deftly sidelines, and he has no avenue to elbow his way back into the game UNLESS Russia and Syria agree to deal him in. And they have no reason to agree to that.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 12, 2013 9:12:29 PM | 31

@30 Let these increasingly lonely clowns cry all they want.

The people can see the truth here.

The crying of these scumbags when forced to read a few paragraphs of the truth only proves how delusional they are.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 12, 2013 9:14:01 PM | 32

@20 bevin

Many of the responses in the NYT have to be psyops. But I also believe many are just ordinary people parroting the stupid stuff that the authorities say.

America cant be both democratic and an empire. For the first time I am encouraged that democracy may win out out over the demands/requirements of empire.

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 12, 2013 9:45:12 PM | 33

@33 ess emm.
You are right, of course. I just wanted to shoe horn in the link to Erlich's piece.
It's well established that underestimating the intelligence of the "American People" is a fairly forgiving art, but the same might be said about overestimating the crass deviousness of the Intelligence services.

I do think that we have seen a qualitative change in recent weeks, exemplified by the way that many on the right have broken away from the bi-partisan consensus for the Military Industrial Complex right or wrong. I'm expecting the official false flag story to become definitively discredited in the coming period. If it does then the establishment will have massive amounts of egg on its faces.
Someone should tell the newspaper industry that sacrificing all credibility is not a shrewd move when sales are plunging and ad revenues drying up. People won't pay to have their intelligence insulted.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 12, 2013 10:46:10 PM | 34

I am wondering if any one else has read this

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
Precedence: IMMEDIATE
We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically,
that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows
that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and
injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know
this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully
informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is
commonly known as “plausible denial.”
We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we
addressed our first VIPS memorandumimmediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003
U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking
Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he
was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised.
The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon
we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond ... the circle of
those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from
which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer
you the same advice today.
Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and
injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident
was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical
weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers
working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a
pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps
even you.
We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our
former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for
those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that
goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who
has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA
eavesdropping on Americans.
Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?
That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in
Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-
page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some
unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”
This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government
Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political,
not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting
essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high
confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”
Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23,
2002, on Iraq, The minutes record the Richard Dearlove, then head of British
intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that
President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that
would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the
word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on
July 20.
The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence,
prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around
the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the
“intelligence” on Syria.
The Intelligence
There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East —
mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong
circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation
by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to
have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.
According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a
suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate
vicinity died; others were injured.
We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of
carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable
physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian
military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.
In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition
forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial
meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S.
intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya,
Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian
Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.
Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional
commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing
development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.
At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and
U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the
Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were
ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into
Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government
The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders
that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they
were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition
camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by
Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.
Cui bono?
That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have
ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is
clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel
has equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another
war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who
lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.
Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New
York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article,
titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued,
quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for
the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:
“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective,
seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers
or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.
“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t
want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul
general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic
thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”
We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that
deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to
ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and
Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel
calculates that it is.
That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role
in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military
impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.
Iran’s Role
Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation,
real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most
damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience
suggests to us that such is supremely possible.
Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or
damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our
mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find
yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and
perhaps beyond, against Iran.
Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident,
and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the
Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has
claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United
States].”
Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of
entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word
to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.
Inevitable Retaliation
We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a
matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example,
terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what
happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-
up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an
article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering
the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan
Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)
Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq
Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

Posted by: Rodger | Sep 12, 2013 11:47:40 PM | 35

@35

yes, I have seen it many places online... no mention in MSM of course.

Posted by: crone | Sep 12, 2013 11:49:37 PM | 36

Why on earth this sarin production should be linked to a former Saddam aide in Iraq, I do not know, except that Maloof was a member of Rumsfeld’s Office of Special Plans (Perle, Feith, Libby, Wurmser, Shulsky, Luti etc) and his job in 2001/2 was precisely to ‘prove’ that Saddam had WMD. So we need to know whether the Russian report really makes this claim, which I doubt. The whole point about “kitchen sarin” is that anybody can make it in their kitchen. You don’t have to be a Baathist Brigadier-General to have a kitchen – RB

US military confirms rebels had sarin (excerpts)
Michael Maloof, WorldNetDaily, Sep 12 2013

The 100-page report on an investigation turned over to the UN by Russia concluded the Syrian rebels, not the Syrian government, had used sarin in the March attack in Aleppo. While the contents of the report have yet to be released, sources tell WND the documentation indicates that the sarin was manufactured in a Sunni-controlled region of Iraq and then transported to Turkey for use by the AQ-affiliated Syrian opposition. The documentation that the UN received from the Russians indicated specifically that the sarin was supplied to Sunni foreign fighters by a Saddam-era general working under the outlawed Iraqi Baath party leader, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, formerly a top aide to Saddam Hussein. The sarin used in the Allepo attack, sources say, had been prepared by former Iraqi Military Industries Brig-Gen Adnan al-Dulaimi. It then was supplied to Baath-affiliated members of al-Nusra in Aleppo, with Turkey’s cooperation, through the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province. The source who brought out the documentation now in the hands of the UN is said to have been an aide to al-Douri. Al-Dulaimi was a major player in Saddam’s chemical weapons production projects, the former aide said. Moreover, al-Dulaimi has been working in the Sunni-controlled region of northwestern Iraq where the outlawed Baath party now is located and produces the sarin....

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 12, 2013 11:57:48 PM | 37

@36

I think that they are telling the truth.
We know that the CIA has been training foreign fighters
in Jordan and sending them across the border into Syria
since 2011, we also know that McCain has been meeting
with terrorist groupe in Benghazi (2011-1012) and also
with Al Nursa (2013) and promising them aid and weapons
from the US,
It amazes me that we will put in prison a Soldier Bradley
Manning for leaking info that shows our illegal actions
taken by our Military, but we still allow McCain to hold
office as a Senator with not a peep about his violation
of supporting terrorist.
It seems that we reward bad and prosecute good.

Posted by: Rodger | Sep 13, 2013 12:10:42 AM | 38

Ok great so vlad has check-mated omama a coupl'a times. so what? the real devil we gotta deal with is al-aqaida aka the saudi-salafi nexus. any thoughts about that dear vlad?

Posted by: RT this | Sep 13, 2013 12:21:51 AM | 39

hey b you really got to put a 'like' button in the comments section. we've really gotten used to that in social media :)

Posted by: RT this | Sep 13, 2013 12:23:37 AM | 40

There's nothing exceptional about being an American today. Americans are disillusioned with their Democracy and the American Dream that their leaders have neglected, to dedicate their efforts instead to the futile pursuit of enemies in all directions destroying countries successively sowing destruction and chaos wherever they enter and interfere and leaving graveyards filled with innocent civilians and too often on behalf of a foreign country, Israel, that wants to neutralize its surrounding neighbors so it can freely carry on indefinite occupation, oppression and land theft that has all morphed into Apartheid.

So now the U.S. finds itself embroiled in Syria and instead of trying to discourage foreign interlopers from stoking this fire, it throws gasoline on it by arming the rebel side that has committed brutal crimes and is aligned with the most intolerant radicals and terrorists on the planet. How can the U.S. supply arms that will end up in the hands of Al-Qaeda? Assad has stated he will allow U.N. inspectors to secure chemical weapons sites and eventually destroy such weapons. How can the U.S. then in bad faith turn around and arm the rebel thugs through the CIA when they're already being supplied by Saudi Arabia and Turkey with Mossad support from Israel and expect this deal with Assad to go well?

Americans are lost in one war after another, fighting different factions in Lebanon, Sunnis and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, fighting Shia Halawites in Syria while they tacitly support Al Qaeda that they're supposed to be fighting...and back and forth the enemy switching from one side to the other without rhyme or reason and FOR WHAT??? For oil, for Israel and regional control? Are all the deaths and trillions worth this never-ending destruction on behalf of a foreign country?

America lost its moral high-ground some time ago, especially since it's been in the business of regime change and nation building through endless war and started neglecting its own.

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 13, 2013 12:29:59 AM | 41

38) That is the real issue against the US/Russia confrontation - the US is working - again - with Al Qaida to destabilize the Russian sphere of influence.

In the meantime all is not well in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's Road to Implosion

The turmoil unleashed in the Arab world in 2011 narrows the window of opportunity in which the House of Saud can find a way to hold onto power.

Those who depend on Saudi Arabia’s oil hold an enormous stake in what happens. The Saudis as a whole remain too passive to rise up in revolt. Even if they gathered the energy and commitment to forcibly overthrow the House of Saud, they possess no ideology or institution capable of creating an alternative system of governance. Nor is there any foundation on which to build for the common good, because there is no concept among the Saudis of benefits for anyone beyond the family. That means that either the House of Saud remains too ineffective to preside over the deteriorating social fabric, which encompasses the military, or the country implodes. The kingdom’s regions—the Hejaz, the Hasa, and the Nejd—spin off from each other followed by Asir, Jizan, and the northern frontier. The Shia of the Eastern Province, who essentially run ARAMCO, throw off the yoke of the Wahhabis. Family and tribe look after their own. And greedy outsiders with powerful militaries gather to compete for the oil resources of the collapsed kingdom. With turmoil and spiraling oil prices, everyone loses—the House of Saud, the Saudis, and the world economy.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 12:32:23 AM | 42

This sums it up

They were told in late 1992 that the U.S. incursion into Somalia was for the benign purpose of merely feeding starving people. A year later that adventure ended in a disaster for America and a major embarrassment for President Bill Clinton, who had expanded the Somalia mission. The American people were told they had to invade Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction and serious ties to Al Qaeda. Neither was true. They were told that the Iraqi people would embrace some form of Western-style democracy once Saddam Hussein was out of the way. Didn’t happen. They were told that Hosni Mubarak’s departure in Egypt would lead to the emergence of democratic institutions there. They got, first, an Islamist government through election, then another military coup of the kind that has characterized that country and region for decades. They were told the Libyan people would be better off without Muammar el-Qaddafi, and the result was societal chaos, with Qaddafi’s weapons streaming into the hands of Islamist radicals (and being used against U.S. diplomatic personnel). They were told to embrace "globalization," and it led to the worst economic dislocation since the Great Depression.

In other words, the country’s elites—of both political parties and across the political spectrum—have been wrong on just about everything they have done since the end of the Cold War. And the voters, as a collective, aren’t stupid. They know that these fiascos have been the products of particular philosophical concepts that have emerged since the beginning of America’s "unipolar moment" around 1990.

They may not understand these philosophical concepts in all their complexities and nuances, but they know the Republican neoconservatives and the Democratic humanitarians have been driving the agenda.

Thus, you can look now for the American people to take back the agenda. When this sort of voter clawback occurs in American politics, as it has from time to time, you see it first in the polls, then in defensive congressional actions, and then in voter punishment directed at those who can’t seem to get the message. It’s going to be an interesting time in the politics of American foreign policy over the next few years.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 12:51:28 AM | 43

From RT news and Sarah Sloan:

http://rt.com/op-edge/us-installing-puppet-regime-syria-690/

Posted by: ben | Sep 13, 2013 1:01:37 AM | 44

Here's a video, same interview:

http://www.pslweb.org/liberationnews/news/video-sarah-sloan-responds-obama-syria.html

Posted by: ben | Sep 13, 2013 1:08:18 AM | 45

http://friendsofsyria.co/2013/09/12/undeniable-proof-obama-backed-terrorists-did-chemical-weapon-attack/

Proof you cannot ignore! Al-Farouk Brigade, led by a members of the Syrian National Council, namely Fahed Awad are behind the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

You judge for your self

Posted by: Rodger | Sep 13, 2013 1:08:39 AM | 46

Excellent post.

Posted by: MRW | Sep 13, 2013 1:23:33 AM | 48

I hope that there are some people here that are from
Arizona so that you can see what you keep voting into
Office. Well worth the read if you don't already know.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/senator-john-mccain-foreign-relations-adviser-to-al-qaeda-death-squads-in-syria/5348383

Senator John McCain, Foreign Relations “Adviser” to Al Qaeda Death Squads in Syria

The United States Code is unequivocal: “providing material support to terrorists” is a crime:

18 USC § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists

(a) Offense.— Whoever provides material support or resources or conceals or disguises the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources, knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, a violation of [numerous sections of this and other titles], or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life […]

Posted by: Rodger | Sep 13, 2013 1:27:06 AM | 49

Employees of the week HAVE to use this line once at least with their customers. Look at Blair:
"The British are special. The world knows it. In our innermost thoughts, we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7156529.stm
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070903042516AAxhG8Z

It's the "you can be a chosen people" syndrom.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 13, 2013 1:33:18 AM | 50

Could this be the start of American efforts to derail the CW solution in Syria?

4 hrs ago - Updated: 09/12/2013 9:12 pm EDT GENEVA -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is rejecting Syrian President Bashar Assad's suggestion Thursday that he begin submitting data on his chemical weapons arsenal one month after signing an international chemical weapons agreement.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014593510

Posted by: ben | Sep 13, 2013 2:35:05 AM | 51

lizard (28) and guest77 (29)

Funny, how easily one can be grossly misunderstood. Maybe reading & perceiving is more of an active nature than we'd like to think.

Simple thing: I wasn't preaching anything like an "Ubermensch" model. In particular, my view was in no way race based.

But there is culture, intelligence (and the application thereof), and basic human decency. True, studies suggest more or less slight differences (< 20%), for instance in black people (which may well be balanced out by slightly better capabilities in some other area), but those differences do, in my minds eye, *not* justify sorting humans (of any kind, not necessarily homo sapiens sapiens) based on race.

What I was (and am) addressing is if, how, and to what degreee those abilities are used and applied. I've seen very simple (some would say "stupid") people who not only were of average or above average intelligence within their environment, although not endowed with good education, but who has a high level of culture, social abilities and human decency.

The zamerican problem is, of course, not simply one that the average zamerican can be accused of being guilty. zamericans like everyone act within a system and a society - both of which are completely rotten. This is true not only for the streets but for virtually every component, including in particular, their education system up to the highest levels.
Yes, there are some excellent ivy league universities, but even those are completely rotten (e.g. by money) and basically rich familiy institutes, taking along some very gifted (to put them to goog use later on) and some very talented in sports to use them for entertainment.

Let's look at the outcome: ca. 85% of the "soldiers" they sent to Iraq were not capable to point to that country or at least to the region on a globe. No surprise there, as about 1/3rd of them failed to locate their own country.
Applying any not insignificant level of criteria regarding basic human attributes like some basic education, human decency and social capabilities these "soldiers" are not human but some kind of roughly humanoid looking creatures.
At the same time those creatures, possibly while bulldozing some ancient site of very high cultural value to make room for a football field, consider well educated Iraqis with a significant level of culture and human decency as "ragheads" and feel themselves to be much superior to the Iraqis.

In other words: If one had killed in Iraq every lowly creature without said basic qualities which make a creature a true human, it would be around 95% of the zamericans that would be dead while 85% of dead Iraqis would still be alive.

As for the zamerican delusional self perception pretty every shrink will happily explain the relation between very serious personal deficiencies and very seriously disturbed self perception. Unfortunately (for zusa) the few of their "soldiers" who achieved any meaningful level of reality based perception just suicide.


Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 13, 2013 3:08:44 AM | 52

With due respect b, I think you're being unnecessarily gloomy. This current round of inanely dishonest bluster was started because the cheap trick perpetrated by the 1%'s slaves and servants upon Syria was going so badly that they panicked and came right out in the open - hoping no-one would notice the criminality. But enough Americans seem to have noticed just how "independent" the USG has become from them. It must be dawning on some of them that they're probably on the same list as Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians. I wouldn't bet a lot of money on Syria collapsing or regime-changing before the US of A.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 13, 2013 4:12:44 AM | 53

Putin knows … all of us should know by now as well …


Force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

Yes … why does 'Barack Obama' want to repeat recent mistakes ? Because the knuckle-draggers who sit on the boards of the US-based TNCs can only see their dominance continuing by a return to ‘normal’ … what they view as normal are the conditions that obtained after WWs I & II, with the rest of the world flat on their backs … their adversaries at any rate … and themselves lords of capital and creation.

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 13, 2013 4:55:35 AM | 54

A little light relief

The incredible story of how Putin used secret KGB chess tactics to outwit the US

Many commentators have pointed that Putin’s quick thinking has offered a convenient solution for all involved, but few have recognised the role that chess played in this incident.

Keen enthusiast of the game will recognise that Putin’s proposal was a variation on the classic ‘Jabowntski sacrifice’, in which a functionally-degraded chess piece is sacrificed to create space for manoeuvre elsewhere.

But that is only half the story. 

Few people will know of the role chess played in Soviet strategic thinking and the various programmes that the USSR established to train its military and intelligence elites in the art of Zevsebia, or chess-think. Chess-think was for the USSR what game theory was for the US during the Cold War, but the Soviets went further than the Americans in making chess-think second nature to their cadres. 

According to Soviet documents that were declassified in 2004, the first Zevsebia programme was initiated in 1932 when Stalin, an obsessive chess player, put the man who would later head the NKVD Beria in charge of running the programme. Beria recruited Russian chess grandmaster Kavlov, also a keen amateur boxer who won a bronze medal in the 1924 Olympics, and charged him with developing the outline of the programme.

Kavlov’s template was to survive almost unchanged until 1986, when Gorbachev, who had an aversion to chess, cancelled the programme after decades of successful operation during which it trained hundreds of the top Soviet cadres. Kavlov’s combination of intellectual and physical rigorous training provided a winning formula for the programme, and Stalin often joked that graduates were ‘our own Supermen’. 

The programme was only offered however to a small number of top operatives that had the appropriate levels of mental and physical fitness to pass the rigorous training.

In the KGB for example, only agents promoted to the prestigious X2, nicknamed the steel professors, were allowed to receive aZevsebia training. The X2, as you might have expected, was Vladimir Putin’s old unit in the KGB. An even more interesting fact is that the six remaining Zevsebia graduates are all associated with Putin’s inner policy circles, as former Kremlin insider Yuri Nodov revealed in his critical but obscure 2008 book ‘The Circle’.


Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 7:26:07 AM | 55

55, Yep, some people are yearning for the times of the cold war.

Saudi Lobby Watch - a week ago I could find hardly any news on Saudi Arabia on the web, now suddenly there is lots of stuff - including this anonymous Economist article

Events in Syria may have also begun, in Saudi eyes, to unfold their way. Saudi-supplied arms, which began to flow in earnest only earlier this year, are grinding down Mr Assad’s war machine, encouraging rebels on the southern front to push closer to Damascus. The chemical attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on August 21st may have helped the Saudi cause still more. After months of quiet Saudi lobbying in Washington for a tougher American line, Mr Obama is being prodded—albeit hobbled by his foes in Congress and the UN Security Council—into taking drastic action. The Saudis still hope that Mr Assad’s forces will be clobbered by American cruise missiles before too long.

The turnaround has been particularly satisfying for Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who served for two decades as ambassador to America but now runs Saudi intelligence. Back in the old days, he played a quiet but crucial role in America’s covert cold-war forays, providing funds, when the CIA could not, to Afghan mujahideen, Nicaraguan Contras and the Iraqi army then fighting Iran. Especially if Mr Obama gets his way and gives Mr Assad’s regime a drubbing, the Saudis will be hoping that the good times will roll again.

Has the fight of Saudi princes for the throne now started in earnest?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 7:42:57 AM | 56

Are there any news about Great Manmade River? Have the effects of NATO bombing been assessed?

Posted by: Michał | Sep 13, 2013 7:55:08 AM | 57

"the fight of Saudi princes for the throne "

This is a 'thing' right now?

A real live thing, and not something you just invented so you could get in a good "concern Troll" before the weekend starts?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 8:23:16 AM | 58

58) you can have the NYT if you want, they managed to write that without mentioning Prince Bandar - actually I think that Economist article is British spooks but who knows? For an intelligence person Prince Bandar had much too much publicity lately. It is very unprofessional.

The developments point to the delicate balance that the United States is trying to maintain. On the one hand, it is exploring a proposed deal that could create common ground with President Bashar al-Assad’s main supporters, Russia and Iran, and might eventually lead to a political settlement of the Syrian civil war. On the other hand, it is keeping up military pressure on Mr. Assad and trying to avoid alienating Saudi Arabia and other gulf allies that the United States has relied on to work with the rebels.

“My sense,” Mr. Hassan said, “is that the Americans are reassuring them behind the scenes.”

The situation points to the many competing interests the United States is trying to balance in the Syria crisis. The Americans’ stated goal in Syria is a political settlement, but that outcome is all but impossible to achieve without talking to Syria’s allies. And the close association among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and rebel groups has been a source of mistrust for government supporters inside Syria and others outside the country who fear the Islamic militants who have risen to prominence on the battlefield on the strength of financing from private donors in the gulf.

While Saudi Arabia has a strong interest in capitalizing on the Syrian crisis to weaken Iran and sever its alliance with Syria, the Saudis also fear the growing power of the many jihadists among the Syrian rebels. So far, analysts and rebels say, it has heeded American requests not to deliver antiaircraft missiles that could fall into the hands of Islamic militants who might use the missiles against other governments, not just Mr. Assad’s.

For months, Saudi Arabia has been quietly funneling arms, including antitank missiles, to Free Syrian Army groups through Jordan, working covertly with American and British intelligence and Arab governments that do not want their support publicly known, according to rebel groups operating in southern Syria.

The NYT makes me wonder what reassuring behind the scenes means, however. I suppose lots of people remember what happened the last time the US retreated.

By the time of Richard Nixon’s arrival in office in January 1969, Iran was already America’s single-largest arms purchaser. Whilst this is notable in and of itself, it is vastly overshadowed by what followed. By late 1972 Nixon leveraged U.S. Middle Eastern regional policy primarily around the focal point of a militarily strong, pro-American Iran. Concurrently, the Shah was encouraged, and empowered, to begin an unprecedented and virtually unmoderated military spending spree in what is now known as the “blank check.”

Nixon did this for two reasons. Firstly, the British decided to withdraw their military forces from the Gulf, leaving behind a vacuum of sorts. Secondly, the Vietnam quagmire stressed the limits of the direct application of U.S. power in peripheral areas. Iran seemed the obvious candidate to turn to. There was a legacy of U.S. investment going back to the 1953 coup that the CIA engineered with the British to restore the Shah’s autocracy after a left-leaning nationalist government had marginalised him. Other possible pro-U.S. candidates were eliminated from consideration: Saudi Arabia had languished in military redundancy beset by political instability, and moving any closer to Israel would risk pushing the Arab states further toward the Soviets.

Within the space of a few short months in 1972, the Shah purchased over $3 billion dollars of arms from the United States—a twentyfold increase on the prior year. For the remainder of the 1970s, the Shah continued to buy arms in the multibillions per annum, dwarfing all other U.S. allies such as Israel and the NATO nations. In the Shah, Washington had an ally who was willing to accept a position as a regional policeman and rich enough to afford to do so (due to his ever-rising oil income). In return, Iran secured a high-level alliance with its preferred side in the Cold War, a buffer against potential Soviet incursions from its northern border. It was a win-win scenario for both nations. Yet the “pros” in the arrangement overshadowed a series of significant “cons.”

...

When Nixon was forced to resign to avoid impeachment over the Watergate affair, the successor Gerald R. Ford administration found itself the steward for an Iran-arms policy that was under threat from within the administration and from Congress. Executive power had peaked in the Nixon years in what has been widely referred to as a period of imperial presidency. Yet by 1974 Congress had begun to recover lost ground. Congress continually battled with Ford for influence over military sales, with Iran at the forefront of concerns due to its extraordinarily large volume of purchases. The truth was, Congress was in the dark. It, and the public by extension, had no idea what was going on with U.S.-Iranian relations. Nixon had kept the arrangement secret. The majority of the mid-1970s was spent with Congress attempting to secure access and understanding over why the United States was arming Iran to such an extent—which the administration skillfully navigated in such a way as to stall and restrict progress.

Schlesinger was sacked by Ford and replaced with Donald Rumsfeld, who together with Henry Kissinger ensured that any trends in Washington to upset the path of U.S.-Iranian arms policy were muted.
...
While Schlesinger’s concerns were legitimate, the security relationship was too important to suffer second guessing in the short term. Ultimately, Ford’s full approval for the military and strategic relationship that Nixon initiated with Iran ensured that the events of the early 1970s became the norm, rather than an irregularity. It was the act that sealed the fate of the United States in its relationship with the Shah.

Jimmy Carter triumphed in the Presidential election of 1976, partially on a popular platform of increased arms control and the introduction of human-rights considerations into U.S. foreign policy. Despite the Shah’s authoritarian nature and Iran being a prime example of an extreme arms policy, the post–1972 relationship with Iran largely endured. In 1977, Carter actually sold more arms to Iran than the United States had during any year prior.

Carter did introduce some nuance into the relationship by ending the blank-check culture that had characterized the Nixon/Ford years. Instead of approving all arms requests by default, he sought to moderate the Shah’s ambitions. In reality this had little effect on the overall relationship due to the Shah’s power of persuasion and the leverage he wielded as a pivotal ally in a sensitive region. The Shah continued to prepare arms-sale requests in the multibillions as late as mid-1978, safe in the knowledge that he had the backing of the new president, who had toasted the Shah as “a rock of stability” during a visit to Tehran over the New Year period of 1977-1978.

By maintaining the arms relationship with the Shah, Carter’s experience exemplifies the lack of alternatives that existed for U.S. regional policy by the late 1970s. After thirty years of investment and political winnowing, America’s regional options had become heavily leveraged on the Shah’s Iran ...

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 8:59:33 AM | 59


Someone mentioned, the other day, a possible connection between the number and/or length of your excerpts and the likelihood that you are then engaged in either obfuscation or laying the ground-work for some future deception. Very unprofessional.

Anyway, I expect there'll be a new Michael Moore soonish.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 9:11:56 AM | 60

A simple google search for

"israeli chemical weapons" a paltry 25,100 results

and for

"Saudi Arabia" AND "financing" AND "Syria" - 6,410,000 results

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 9:39:42 AM | 62

62) you do not need the AND, Google assumes it anyway.

Just tried "saudi arabia stable" - I recommend it - a lot of very recent results.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 9:47:15 AM | 63

I do note that none of the silly excerpts you posted seem at all related to the "new thing" you invented a couple of posts ago -

That newly-minted, fully-synthetic, "Fight of Saudi princes for the throne now start[ing] in earnest" thing, remember?

Fresh from the mind-factories of the Duchy of Palookaville, Tel Aviv.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 9:52:46 AM | 64

:-)) think being governed by a 90 year old absolute monarch (ok. 89) inspires confidence in stability? No I was intrigued by the anonymous Economist piece which is basically PR of some kind, though I am not sure which way it is meant.

To be back on b.'s topic, Libyan oil has miraculously been stopped

This here is the BBC

Armed groups in Libya are currently blocking key oilfields and ports - hijacking the government of its main source of revenue and leading to some fuel shortages and blackouts.

Billions of dollars have been lost over the last few months as oil production has plummeted, costing about $130m (£82m) a day.

Earlier this year, Libya was producing at least 1.5 million barrels of oil per day; last week a little more than 100,000 were pumped a day - a figure which officials say has gone up to 263,000 this week.

Leading the blockade are armed groups made up of current and former employees of border security and units of the Petroleum Facilities Guard - set up to secure the oilfields.

Their main complaint is about industry corruption which they say has not improved since long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power in 2011, but there is no one single issue or demand.

So do you think business will let anyone spread more chaos in the Middle East?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 10:03:12 AM | 65

Google needed investorsand support when it started upand still has financial stakeholders-> ergo -> not too much negative about israel.

The same dirty game over and over again. Even when the whole world knows that pretty everyhing written about israel is a big fat payed for or enforced lie.


Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 13, 2013 10:03:36 AM | 66

Libyan oil has miraculously been stopped

The Majors will be happy

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 10:12:27 AM | 67

Al-Zawahiri - bleed America dry. "Small attacks could be done by only a few or even just one person, while at the same time "we must watch and wait to seize any opportunity to direct a large strike on (America), even if that takes years of patience to do it," he said."

The United States and its allies have said they want to build up moderate rebel factions to reduce jihadi influence. Uh-huh.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/ayman-al-zawahri-911_n_3919719.html

Posted by: TikTok | Sep 13, 2013 10:16:28 AM | 68

68) don't you think it is strange this kind of stuff gets published?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 10:24:38 AM | 69

67) Does not seem to be the case.

Guardian

The blockade comes a fortnight before London hosts the biggest Libyan investment conference held since the end of the 2011 Arab spring.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 10:27:44 AM | 70

to decide if the majors are happy or not with the Libyan oil blokade, one should know how much of it gets smuggled, and by whom

Posted by: claudio | Sep 13, 2013 11:53:50 AM | 71

71) Companies are run by executives on quarter results not so much long term strategies - they do not like business opportunities go waste. Especially as Libya's oil is cheap to extract.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 12:14:07 PM | 72

@somebody
KSA is the next one,but it has to be prepared...US has to find some kind of agreement with Iran...
at the end the massive AL SAUD weapon stockpile has to be marginalized somehow and my gess/hope is KSA will get the same mess they created in syria but with the involvment of Somalia,Yemen,Eritrea,Djibuti.

Posted by: some1 | Sep 13, 2013 12:53:38 PM | 73

Djibouti

Posted by: some1 | Sep 13, 2013 12:55:22 PM | 74

@ 70

. . . . . . AND?

@72

You really haven't got even the remotest clue as to how the Oil Industry actually operates.

What you imagine, in your head, doesn't count.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 1:53:20 PM | 75

@70

. . . . . AND?

(These stupid non sequitur one-liners of yours just make you look even more clueless than you normally do)

@72

You really don't have the slightest clue how the Oil Industry operates.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 1:57:15 PM | 76

"71) Companies are run by executives on quarter results not so much long term strategies "

could you stop posting the utter stupidities for a while, please.

It's just painful to see someone that knows nothing, pontificating about whether or not the Majors engage in long-term strategising.

Long Term Strategy is what Major Oil Co's DO, you moron

It is how they survive, anyone claiming otherwise is frankly a clueless gimp

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 2:00:56 PM | 77

@ hmm

your constant resort to argumentum ad hominem is distracting to say the least...

it is also insulting to the rest of us who have the ability on our own to determine whether something is 'stupid' or not...

I'm surprised b has not warned you yet... perhaps he's busy...

Posted by: Crone | Sep 13, 2013 2:23:38 PM | 78

76) It is simple logic. No businessperson prefers to let money they can make today and further invest rot under the sand. As long as there is enough demand to make profit, they will make that profit. Exchanges, dealers, work differently but not the producer. The resource owners - as in countries - have an interest to stretch their resources to keep the price high and save something for the grandchildren. However I cannot see any long-term, ie. strategic advantage for them either to save the resources of their competition for tomorrow. Their best bet is to form a cartel like OPEC. As is Saudi Arabia has picked up Libya's share to keep world markets going - which gets them more money which they do not really need.

Libya was definitively not intended the way it went by the oil industry. Western business people hardly dare to travel there.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2013 2:36:38 PM | 79

I'll repeat it one more time

Oil Co's, Majors especially, simply could not survive if they were not led by Long Term strategy - you can post as many completely ridiculous replies as you like which dispute that point, but it won't change a thing - tomorrow when you wake up, all the Majors Oil will still be operating on long Term Strategies - obviously not exclusively - has to be some adaptability built-in - but anyone claiming that Oil Co's do not operate on Long Term strategy is either completely mistaken or else just lying

Posted by: hmm | Sep 13, 2013 2:48:37 PM | 80

I guess this Gazprom Libya project is still on - Gazprom is state owned.


The development strategy of Gazprom as a global energy company is aimed at creating the entire chain from hydrocarbons recovery to their sales in new markets on the basis of production facilities located beyond Russia.

In pursuance of the strategy, the Company is developing hydrocarbon resources in Venezuela, Vietnam, Bolivia, Algeria, Libya and the Caspian Sea.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14, 2013 7:40:18 AM | 81

Left Business Observer Radio Show on the Libyan Debacle: http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Radio.html#S130905

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 15, 2013 11:49:50 AM | 82

"@ hmm

your constant resort to argumentum ad hominem is distracting to say the least..."

God forbid that I should argue ad hominemmm but hmm obviously has a special place in his heart for fossil fuels. Recent posts denouncing those purporting to be concerned about global warming indicated the depth of his passion, which is, of course, highly laudable in a young man and most unlikely to be related to personal advantage.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 15, 2013 7:00:56 PM | 83

80) Well, they should - that is why the vast majority of the world's oil companies are state backed/nationalized - see this graph from the Economist

Public owned companies concentrate on return of investment only. Long term energy planning in "the West" has to be done by government policy.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15, 2013 7:30:28 PM | 84

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