Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 04, 2017

How Anand Gopal Directed People To Join ISIS And Shills For "Regime Change" In Syria

Anand Gopal built his career as a writer with on the ground reporting from Afghanistan where he embedded with the Taliban. He gave some insight into their motivations.

Anand Gopal is now a shill for the U.S. "regime change" crimes in Syria. He is also attempting to justify the existence and crimes of ISIS by attributing those to a "legit" motivation. That is a convenient excuse for those who join ISIS.

People joined ISIS because of the "sheer brutality of the Assad regime" Gopal asserts. They joined ISIS in Iraq, in Libya, in Mali and Afghanistan for the "sheer brutality of the Assad regime"? They blew themselves up in Paris, London and elsewhere for the "sheer brutality of the Assad regime"? That claim is obviously not only simplistic but utter nonsense.

There is however reason to believe that people joined ISIS in Syria is because the "western" media hyped ISIS by promulgating its propaganda, found excuses for its crimes and because Anand Gopal directed them [*see update below] to advice on how to travel to Syria to join ISIS:


In his recent interview with Democracy Now Gopal makes several assertions that are completely contradicted by the public and historic record and are thus evidently lies:

ANAND GOPAL: Well, I think it’s important to understand that there’s no regime change policy from the United States toward Syria. And there never has been a regime change policy. The Obama administration said, innumerous times, Assad must go.

The U.S. demanding that a head of a foreign state "must go" is not "regime change"? Actively supporting a violent insurgency against the government of a state with the aim of changing that government is not "regime change" policy? Giving billions of dollars and tens of thousands tons of weapons to sectarian brutes who strive to overthrow a government is not a "regime change" policy?

In fact the U.S. conducted "regime change" operations in Syria in 1947, 1956, 1957, in the 1970s, 1986, 1991 and again since 2006. There are many verified, original sources and documents publicly available to attest to that.

Various major think tanks, U.S. policy papers and U.S. politicians have called the U.S. policy in Syria exactly that - "regime change".

Hillary Clinton's State Department emails explicitly named the aim of the policy: to "overthrow the regime", and the main purpose: to "help Israel deal with Iran":

UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05794498 Date: 11/30/2015 RELEASE IN FULL The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.
a successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States. Washington should start by expressing its willingness to work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to organize, train and arm Syrian rebel forces. The announcement of such a decision would, by itself, likely cause substantial defections from the Syrian military. Then, using territory in Turkey and possibly Jordan, U.S. diplomats and Pentagon officials can start strengthening the opposition. It will take time. But the rebellion is going to go on for a long time, with or without U.S. involvement.

Syrian "revolutionaries" have documented how then U.S. Ambassador Ford promised them "regime change" when he instigated the insurgency.

It was the Obama administration which followed the Bush administration in pursuing regime change in Syria. Here now is the Trump administration which does not mince its words:

Gopal is daft, or a lying piece of shit, when he claims that the U.S. did not and does not pursue "regime change" in Syria. Does Anand Gopal really believe that the bombing of Syrian Army positions and infrastructure is just ‘After-Dinner Entertainment’ at Mar-a-Lago, not an active "regime change" policy?

Further into the interview Gopal openly lies about ISIS, its origin and its fighting with the Syrian government:

[ANAND GOPAL:] The regime does not fight terrorism. It’s actually the single biggest cause of terrorism in Syria. It is the cause of ISIS in Syria. And from—if you talk to Syrians, Bashar al-Assad and the regime is the biggest terrorist in the country. The force that’s actually fighting ISIS, which I assume is what he’s referring to, is the YPG, which is backed by the United States.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Can you explain what you mean by that, that the cause of ISIS or what gave birth to ISIS in Syria is in fact the Assad regime? Because that’s not what’s commonly understood.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And is it your sense that ISIS’s power or control over Syria is weakening?

ANAND GOPAL: It’s absolutely weakening—again, not because of the Assad regime, but in spite of the Assad regime. It’s weakening because—for the most part, because of the YPG.

ISIS in Syria was not "caused" by the Syrian government. The US fueled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq.

It is the U.S. that created ISIS with its invasion in Iraq:

The Islamic State – also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh – emerged from the remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a local offshoot of al Qaeda founded by Abu Musab al Zarqawi in 2004. It faded into obscurity for several years after the surge of U.S. troops to Iraq in 2007. But it began to reemerge in 2011. Over the next few years, it took advantage of growing instability in Iraq and Syria to carry out attacks and bolster its ranks.

To create a "Salafist principality", an Islamic State, in eastern Syria was, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency:


It is the U.S. that enabled ISIS to grow in Iraq and to then go to and grow in Syria. Obama himself explained that he let ISIS grow in Iraq to "regime change" the Maliki government in Iraq:

The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.

Secretary of State Kerry himself explained that the Obama administration let ISIS grow in Syria to "regime change" the Assad government in Syria:

“And we know that this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage, that Assad would then negotiate.

The U.S. supported Free Syrian Army allied with ISIS (and al-Qaeda) and publicly lauded it (vid). The CIA, which finances the FSA, surely knew this.

The mass of ISIS fighters in Syria were not Syrian people who joined because of the "sheer brutality of the Assad regime" but foreigners lured to join ISIS by people like Anand Gopal:

Run by Iraqi jihadist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has up to 6,000 fighters in Iraq and 3,000-5,000 in Syria, including some 3,000 foreigners. The Economist reported that Isis is formed by a thousand jihadist from Chechnya and "perhaps 500 or more from France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe".

Gopal claims that the YPG/SDF, not the Syrian government, is the main group fighting ISIS in Syria. "Bullshit" says IHS Markit (formerly Janes), one of the premiere private military news services of this planet. ISIS in Syria mostly fought with, and was defeated by, the Syrian government. The YPG/SDF played a minor role:

Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017, 43 percent of all Islamic State fighting in Syria was directed against President Assad’s forces, 17 against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the remaining 40 percent involved fighting rival Sunni opposition groups -- in particular, those who formed part of the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield coalition.
“We have seen Islamic State territorial losses accelerate significantly in 2017,” Strack said. “Their losses were largely driven by a greater commitment from the US to back the Syrian Democratic Forces, but also by major Syrian government advances east of Aleppo and around Palmyra.”

Not one of Anad Gopal's main claims in the Democracy Now interview is supported by the historic record. All are contradicted by original sources and serious analysis.

"Regime change" in Syria has been and is the declared policy of the U.S. government since 2006 and it continues to be the aim, even when it is, at times, not always openly promoted as such.

Gopal claims it was the Syrian government that caused people to join the Islamic State. Gopal's own (criminal) promotion of how to join ISIS contradicts his assertion.

h/t Syricide

Update [10:20am]: Anand Gopal has now deleted his March 21 2015 tweet. I made the screenshots above early this morning but the link to the tweet in question is now dead and a search no longer finds it.

Posted by b on May 4, 2017 at 02:01 AM | Permalink

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Piotr Berman says:

I am not sure if qualms count as honor

well, unless one is being ironic, i'd say they most certainly do not, if you catch my drift.

unfortunately, ToivoS was not being ironic, but just the all-too-common prostrate, servile, sniveling, spineless idiot.

Posted by: john | May 6, 2017 5:49:51 AM | 101

qualms are just feelings, a dime a dozen...

since GWOT was spawned after the twin towers of mammon were dustified on September 11, 2001, since Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have been mostly obliterated, since many millions of their innocents have been either blotted out or displaced, i can recall only TWO brave souls from the State apparatus who have quit as conscientious objectors. Matthew Hoh from the State Department and Ehren Watada from the US military.

in 16 years(and counting) of continuous bloodsoaked criminality, only TWO have taken the moral high ground.

it's a remarkable, and worrisome, statistic.

Posted by: john | May 6, 2017 7:10:08 AM | 102

"You've concocted a world inside your head where the Assad government is the embodiment of utter evil, and the predominately foreign backed 'civil war' is a workers uprising against a neo-liberal government."

I guess I was persuaded by this:

After Bashar al-Asad succeeded his father in 2000, the architects of Syria’s economic policy sought to reverse the downturn by liberalizing the economy further, for instance by reducing state subsidies. Private banks were permitted for the first time in nearly 40 years and a stock market was on the drawing board. After 2005, the state-business bonds were strengthened by the announcement of the Social Market Economy, a mixture of state and market approaches that ultimately privileged the market, but a market without robust institutions or accountability. Again, the regime had consolidated its alliance with big business at the expense of smaller businesses as well as the Syrian majority who depended on the state for services, subsidies and welfare. It had perpetuated cronyism, but dressed it in new garb. Families associated with the regime in one way or another came to dominate the private sector, in addition to exercising considerable control over public economic assets. These clans include the Asads and Makhloufs, but also the Shalish, al-Hassan, Najib, Hamsho, Hambouba, Shawkat and al-As‘ad families, to name a few. The reconstituted business community, which now included regime officials, close supporters and a thick sliver of the traditional bourgeoisie, effected a deeper (and, for the regime, more dangerous) polarization of Syrian society along lines of income and region.

Successive years of scant rainfall and drought after 2003 produced massive rural in-migration to the cities -- more than 1 million people had moved by 2009 -- widening the social and regional gaps still further. Major cities, such as Damascus and Aleppo, absorbed that migration more easily than smaller ones, which were increasingly starved of infrastructural investment. Provincial cities like Dir‘a, Idlib, Homs and Hama, along with their hinterlands, are now the main battlegrounds of the rebellion. Those living in rural areas have seen their livelihoods gutted by reduction of subsidies, disinvestment and the effects of urbanization, as well as decades of corrupt authoritarian rule. The Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings motivated them to express their discontent openly and together.


Posted by: Louis Proyect | May 6, 2017 9:52:55 AM | 103

all anyone needs to know about @103

Copyright © Middle East Research and Information Project. All Rights reserved.

Middle East Research and Information Project
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Washington, DC 20009

Posted by: james | May 6, 2017 10:38:53 AM | 104

@ Posted by: Louis Proyect | May 6, 2017 9:52:55 AM | 103

So one amoral, lazy, mendacious lowlife was persuaded by and quotes from another arch propagandist, Bassam Haddad, now regularly spewing forth his vomit on DN. How unsurprising you just dropped that dog turd on the bar floor ...

Vanessa Beeley (serious credibility) rips your darling Bassam a 'new one'.

Democracy Now! Criminal Cheerleaders for US-NATO-GCC’s Perpetual Conflict and Bloodshed in Syria

“Nothing Short of a Slaughter“: 1 Million Syrians in Aleppo Under Siege with No Hospital, Food”

This is the already misleading headline of the Democracy Now! report. Interviewer, Nermeen Shaikh interviews guests, Bassam Haddad, director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies program at George Mason University, and Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society.

The following are the ten main points put forward by these two guests, points that are questionable, and yet go unchallenged by Shaikh:

1: East Aleppo contains 300,000 people, of which 100,000 are children

2: These people are under siege, starving & without medicine for the last four and half months, due to the Syrian “regime” and allies.

3: Every 17 hours right now in Aleppo, “health care facilities” are being targeted. In the last 144 days, there were 143 attacks on health care facilities across Syria. One third of these attacks were in the “city of Aleppo”, so 48 attacks in last four and a half months.

4: The daily massacre and maiming of Syrian civilians in West Aleppo by the militant factions in East Aleppo pales into “insignificance” when compared to the “brutal bombardment of eastern Aleppo and the almost total destruction of life”

5: The Syrian “regime” is “focused” upon re-conquering the whole of Syria in its entirety.

6: Al Nusra are not in East Aleppo except maybe a “few fighters”

7: The population of East Aleppo was 1.5 million before the crisis. Now it is 300,000 so majority have fled to Turkey, Europe or elsewhere inside Syria. Any other place in Syria is dangerous. If they go to government controlled areas they risk being “tortured or detained”. So, the civilians in East Aleppo cannot leave because there is nowhere safe for them.

8: The Syrian “regime” is conducting an ethnic cleansing operation by evacuating “rebels” from liberated areas such as East Aleppo, Homs, Daraya.

9: There is a rift between the US think tanks who support the Syrian “revolution” in order to ensure Israel’s security in the region and the true “revolution” supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of all Syrians. “A rift that should have existed from the very beginning for the sake of building a healthier, independent and democratic uprising in Syria against a dictatorial regime.” ~ Bassam Haddad

10: President Elect, Donald Trump’s stated support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, is the “final nail in the coffin “of the aspiration of the Syrian people, the young people of Syria, who rose up in the beginning of this five years ago for freedoms and liberties that we enjoy and we all support.” ~ Dr Zaher Sahloul

Amazing to behold your dripping contempt for anyone that doesn't fall for your drivel and links/references bereft of credibility or accuracy. Why are you spamming MOA ? You normally just drop an occasional stinking one liner and run ?

Posted by: Outraged | May 6, 2017 11:05:23 AM | 105

Proyect's pseudo-economic explanations
Sounds that you've never set a foot in Syria, uh?
Go and read the travelogues of the thousands of Westerners who've visited Syria after 2000. I am sure there are some blogs around.
Your theory does not fit with the reality on the ground, starting with the thousands family shops in Aleppo and Damascus, be they craftmen small businesses or selling all type of goods. Until the war in 2011 Syria was among the cheapest countries IN THE WORLD. That includes the prices of fruits, vegetables, meat and cereals. From 2008 on however, because of the well known speculation on first commodity matters at the Chicago stock exchange (from what i gathered, i m no specialist and ihope some will add info) imported goods started to raise. When liberalism was applied the first collateral damage was rather the housing market with Syrian expats starting to buy properties for business or rentals. This led to some understandable anger of the poor.

Posted by: Mina | May 6, 2017 11:31:22 AM | 106

b’s top post: The Economist reported that Isis is formed by a thousand jihadist from Chechnya and "perhaps 500 or more from France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe.”

500 for Europe is a staggering underestimate. Europe only logs (and then even reluctanctly or inaccurately?) youngish ppl going to ‘djihad’ who are denounced by parents/other, or tracked by XYZ services, or sent back, live, etc. as then some official trace exists.

See, over 18’s who fall off the radar (+ under 18s who are just ‘missing’) and the shame of reporting, specially re. girls. Also, afaik, there is no concerted effort to stop them going or blocking them at a frontier. (As there was, in olden times, for the Yougoslav wars.)

Absolutely certain that the nos for Switz. (link, serious summary) which shows 77 gone 2001 - 16 is BS. At least triple, if not *very* much more, in the thousands. CH is small, no huge nos. of missing ppl, friends and family talk (and they are not covering up suicides..), still the no. whether official or real are compared to other countries low, because CH has never had colonies and hasn’t got a large ‘muslim’ pop. and is generally ‘neutral.'

F MSM articles are obfuscations, word + number salads that mix up everything.. ex:.

By contrast, those who go to fight for the DPR/LPR are NEVER mentioned, tallied. In person they often mention the Spanish Civil War, taboo in the MSM.

UN SC report, threat of ISIL/Daesh, 2016. (Int’l reports sway between cover-ups and non-mention, and giving out OK data that others ignore.)

bbc take-up

Posted by: Noir22 | May 6, 2017 11:43:00 AM | 107

@106 mina... no matter how one justifies things, there is no justification for the wests empire building or destroying of other countries.. iraq and libya are two immediate examples of this.. all the justification add up to a heap of steaming bs... people like lp are quite happy to support the murder of many innocent people with the military industrial complex in tow... it says more about them then about any of the dynamics in these same countries that have neither visited or have any respect or appreciation for... ignorance is bliss and in this case murderous for those same strangers in faraway lands they have no empathy whatsoever for..

Posted by: james | May 6, 2017 12:43:54 PM | 108

Looks like the guy who owns this website deleted my comment about "globalist" not being part of my political vocabulary. I suppose that it is time for me to say goodbye then. It's been fun.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | May 6, 2017 12:43:55 PM | 109


"Censorship for thee, but not for me!"

Posted by: Merasmus | May 6, 2017 1:07:53 PM | 110

Looks like the guy who owns this website deleted my comment about "globalist" not being part of my political vocabulary. I suppose that it is time for me to say goodbye then. It's been fun.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | May 6, 2017 12:43:55 PM | 108

He was actually doing you a favour by removing such a stupidly glib comment, cos he made you look less of a dick.

Being a dick, you naturally had to come back and prove him wrong ;-)

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 6, 2017 4:59:10 PM | 111

Actually, not so "circuitous", actually the pipe under the waters of the Persian Gulf is the shortest route for Qatar. However, the most problematic would be crossing southern Iraq, where the pipeline could turn to be self-combustible.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 6, 2017 2:41:38 AM | 100


You're actually proving my point - that there is currently no real viable route for this mythical Qatari pipeline we keep hearing so much about.

It is something which so many people like to allege, without any basis in fact whatsoever, is a major cause of the war in Syria.

The Porter article ( states quite clearly that there has been no co-operation on this pipeline from the Saudis, and you yourself pointed out why the alternative route is more or less a complete non-starter.

Yet people here, even the host, deliberatley and repeatedly ignoring all evidence to the contrary, keep disingenuously insisting that this mythical Qatari pipeline provides an explanation for Saudi and Qatari actions.

Given the complete lack of Saudi co-operation regarding Qatari-pipeline plans, clearly it does not explain Saudi-Quartari co-operation in thew war on Syrian.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 6, 2017 5:10:43 PM | 112

Good riddance!

James, i did not mean to justify as you probably know. Just pointing to the actually angry segments of the population. Same is true in France where ppl simply cant't afford a rent almost everywhere now apart frol the very low percentage who has a regular -and sufficient- income

Posted by: Mina | May 6, 2017 7:01:21 PM | 113

@112 mina - i know! of course not! cheers... this economic slavery being imposed around the globe sucks! apparently is the better of 2 choices - economic slavery and servitude, or anarchy and deep chaos... i pick the later.. people get pissed off with me for saying it.. i guess it is the irish in me, lol...

Posted by: james | May 6, 2017 7:08:24 PM | 114

from top post. The Economist reported that Isis is formed by a thousand jihadist from Chechnya and "perhaps 500 or more from France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe”.

500 from Europe is a wild underestimate. Imho Europe only logs, and then even reluctanctly or inaccurately? youngish ppl joining ‘djihad’ who are denounced by parents/other, or tracked by S services, or sent back, etc. as then some official trace exists.

Over 18’s who fall off the radar (+ under 18s who are just ‘missing’) and the shame of reporting, specially re. girls. Also, imho, there is no concerted effort to stop them going or catching them at a frontier. (As there was for the Yougoslav ‘wars’)

I am certain that the nos for Switz. (link, summary) which shows 77 gone 2001 - 16, is BS. It is at least triple, if not much more. CH is small, no huge nos. of missing ppl, friends and family talk (and they are not covering up suicides..), still the ‘official’ - ‘real’ no. is ‘low’ because CH has never had colonies and hasn’t got a large ‘muslim’ pop. and is generally ‘neutral’…France and GB are another story.

Joining djihad is not only > Syria, but to Pak, Afgh, Irak, Somalia.

F MSM articles are obfuscations, word ’n number salads.

Those who go to fight for the DPR/LPR in Ukraine are not mentioned, tallied. The Spanish Civil War is now taboo in the MSM.

UN report, threat of ISIL/Daesh, 2016. (Int’l reports sway between cover-ups and non-mention, and giving out OK data that others ignore.)

bbc take-up: more than 25K foreign fighters have joined ‘ISIS’ and affiliated.

Posted by: Noir22 | May 7, 2017 9:59:06 AM | 115

Saudi-Qatari conflict: the feud that won't go away

Sunday, May 07, 2017

    The Qatari regime media are increasingly expressing criticisms and mockery at things Saudi and even UAE. In his last interview, Muhammad bin Salman blamed Ikhwanji (a pejorative reference to Ikhwan) media for the problems in Saudi-Egyptian relations.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 7, 2017 1:46:11 PM | 116

wow, is the tweet for real, im genuinely afraid to click on that link.

Posted by: pB | May 7, 2017 8:09:51 PM | 117

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall THEY EAT OF THE FRUIT OF THEIR OWN WAY, AND BE FILLED WITH THEIR OWN DEVISES. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”
[Prov 1:24-32]

Posted by: Roger Hammack | May 9, 2017 10:35:23 AM | 118

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