Sunday, September 29, 2013

O'Bagy Shows The Road to Success: Lie for Obama, Kerry, and McCain on Syria

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper. --T.S.  Eliot

For one who has made a career as an international political analyst this is the equivalent to the end of the world.
Elizabeth O’Bagy was a Georgetown University graduate student. She wrote an article for Atlantic Monthly saying that most Syrian rebels are radical Islamists.

Of course. Everyone knows that, even the Syrian rebels.

One was for a consulting firm, the Institute for the Study of War, that would get U.S. State Department dollars from an Obama Administration which wanted to give the money to those who portrayed the Syrian rebels as moderates.

The other was an advocacy group, the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a public relations firm for the Syrian rebels which also wanted the Syrian rebels portrayed as moderates to get U.S aid.  By the way, the group is run by someone who also supports Hamas and is probably a Muslim Brotherhood front.

These were conflicts of interest.

But wait. There’s more. She then wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that said the Syrian rebels are moderates.

The Wall Street Journal knew about the conflict of interest but said nothing. Why? Because they supported the Syrian rebels.

Now O’Bagy is all over the television news. Truth isn’t important, it is simply what policy people support.
And then she is taking Senator McCain on a visit to Syrian rebels, organized by a man who supports Hamas with two al-Qaida participants attending.

Then Secretary of State John Kerry says he depends on O’Bagy’s lying and corrupt statements. Well, after all he paid for them!

But a small group of people with memories expose the lies. By the way, while O’Bagy has presented herself as a PhD, she wasn’t even accepted for the PhD program!

So because she is exposed as a liar, she is fired.

But what about the lies she told?


What about the State Department taking advice from a Hamas supporter?

What about U.S. policy being based on the lie that Syrian rebels are moderate?

What about U.S. policy being made by Kerry and McCain without confronting the lie?


What’s the new act in the saga of O’Bagy?

She is rewarded for being a serial liar and a friend of the Muslim Brotherhood by being hired in McCain’s office. The senator says she is a good researcher.

When the history of this era is written—maybe by crayon—this saga will be the perfect example to use.

And here is an advisor to the DHS–just promoted–who  is proud to have the symbol for the Islamic Revolution, R4BIA, on his twitter profile.  He’s also using his twitter profile to claim that any Christians slaughtered by Muslims probably had it coming because they must have insulted the Muslims first. Nice guy. He was personally appointed to his post at the DHS by Janet Napolitano.


Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Turn a Campus Into an Indoctrination Center

By Barry Rubin

If you want to understand how the far left controls campuses, consider this story.

There is no university more supportive of the Arab nationalist (historically), Islamist, and anti-Israel line in the United States than Georgetown's programs on Middle East studies. Every conference it holds on the Middle East is ridiculously one-sided. The university has received millions of dollars in funds from Arab states, and it houses the most important center in the United States that has advocated support for a pro-Islamist policy.

One day in 1975, not long before he died, the great Professor Carroll Quigley walked up to me when I was sitting in the Georgetown University library. Everyone was in awe of this brilliant lecturer (remind me to write him a tribute explaining why he was so great). 

[In fact the  classroom where Carroll Quigley taught his main class was Gaston Hall, where decades latest Obama demanded to cover up the cross before he spoke there! What would this pious Catholic have said!]

I thought he might have remembered me from my extended explanation of why I was late for class one day because I had rescued a sparrow and taken it to a veterinarian (true).   I vividly recall that detail, because I couldn't think otherwise why he would want to talk to such a lowly person.

“May I sit down?” he asked.

“Of course!” I said, stopping myself from adding that it was an honor. Without any small talk, he launched into a subject that clearly weighed on his conscience. “There are many who don’t like your people.”

What was he talking about? I thought, is he talking about Jews?

He explained that he had just come from a meeting where it was made clear that the university had a problem. They were getting Arab money, but on the secret condition that it was for teaching about the Middle East but none of it could be used to teach about Israel. How was this problem to be solved?

Simple. They would call the institution to be created the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. It was explicitly expressed that this was how the problem would be dealt with.  Quigley was disgusted. Ever since then, I have referred to that institution as the Center for Contemporary Arab Money.

Georgetown was the place where the university accepted tens of thousands of dollars from Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi--who was, of course, very active in promoting anti-American terrorism--to establish an endowed chair in Middle East studies. When the president of the university backed down due to bad publicity, the professor who had been named to the post responded by calling the Jesuit university president a “Jesuit Zionist.”

This same professor--and I am not joking in saying that compared to today, he was a fine scholar and a comparatively decent man given what goes on now--was also a personal friend of Palestinian terrorist leader Nayif Hawatmeh and an outspoken Marxist.

To his credit, he told me in 1974 on a visit of mine to Lebanon, “One day we will be ashamed of all the terrorism [against Israel].” But I don’t think he ever spoke out publicly. At my Ph.D. oral exams, he said something like this as his question: “I don’t care whether you believe it or not, but give the Marxist analysis of development in the Middle East.” He did not ask me to critique it! As a Marxist, atheist though, the son of a Muslim imam, he did participate in the traditional glass of scotch after they passed me. And they did pass me, something I would never assume might happen today. These professors really did believe in scholarship and balance in the classroom.

Another professor (you can guess I was sure he was not on my board), however, was an example of the new generation of indoctrinators. One day, I was standing in the line in the campus post office shortly after I had clashed with him in class. The two girls I could overhear were talking about the disturbing incident in class. To my relief, they took my side. I guess that, too, wouldn't happen today.

This teacher’s radicalism and knee-jerk hatred of Israel was so terrible that we used to joke about it.  A right-wing Zionist in the class did an experiment. He wrote an exaggerated version of a Marxist, anti-Israel rant. It read like a satire. He got an “A” from this professor. In retrospect, however, we should have seen that the field was getting far worse.

Ironically that professor was the unjust victim recipient of his own doctrine. He was later fired on a complaint by an African student that he was a racist, which of course he wasn't.

In one graduate seminar, still another professor--an older anti-Israel guy but still a conservative and a gentleman of the old school--couldn't stop the class from laughing as it discussed the ridiculous new book, Orientalism, by Edward Said. We easily pointed out the holes in the book and Said’s claims of perpetual Western bias against Arabs. We looked at Orientalism itself as outdated but respectable, too anthropological and generalizing for our tastes. We looked at ourselves as historians and social scientists.

But the idea that Orientalists were agents of imperialism was untrue. They were great scholars, though some did do political work in which their views weren't shaped but often mistakenly implemented, just like such things happen today. Who would have believed that this ignorant and malicious book could ever take over the entire field and destroy scholarship?!

I guess we should have also known better from the fate of the professor who I had openly argued with. He was the new-style leftist referred to above, the kind who is typical today. While I disliked him, he was clearly not a racist but the very model of the new Politically Correct falsifier. He was fired after being accused by an African student of alleged racial bias due to his low grade. No kidding. This professor was obviously not racist, a victim though of his own Political Correctness.

I didn't feel this was a victory but that he had been mistreated, albeit ironically. I faced similar situations. I will never forget how my job interview at another university, the only time I ever applied for  a teaching position, was interrupted by one professor screaming at me, “How could you ever possibly represent the narrative of the Palestinian people?” To which I responded that I didn’t think I was supposed to represent its case, clearly. I merely thought I was supposed to teach about it.

Note that the professor who would have been willing to hire me was an Arab liberal. But he tried to hint to my naive younger self why I didn't have a chance.

 You should understand that at that time, in the early 1980s, I had never written about the Arab-Israeli conflict. And although this professor had me in his Arabic class, I don’t think he remembered me and certainly knew nothing about me. I think the problem was my last name. All of this reminiscing is prompted by a news story I just read.

An Arab professor at Georgetown, a place that is flush with Arab money, full of apologists for anti-American Islamism, a place where no Israeli or pro-Israel student might dare to tread, has just launched a campaign claiming that he was discriminated against and fired for anti-Israel bias! So this is how you handle things. You lie.

Take over the university or relevant departments; spend 30 years or more in biased hiring practices and dishonest, propagandist “scholarship;” and no matter how many insiders know the truth, you still claim that the university is biased against the left and the defamers of America and Israel!

And those who don’t know better may believe it. The problem for this Egyptian professor is that there was no organized campaign against him, and no one outside the university knew who he was.  The fact is that his scholarly work wasn't very good. Highly politicized, though obscure media appearances are still not sufficient to demonstrate research excellence. 

You could call this the Juan Cole principle after a radical professor whose radical pronouncements on contemporary Middle East issues were frequent--though he was a specialist on Middle Ages religious disputes--and who missed out on a good job (at Duke) because of his lack of scholarly work, then claimed bias.

It was sufficient in a notorious case at Columbia University for a crackpot extremist to get a promotion but not at Duke University. At any rate, we now see that crying bias is the first refuge of scoundrels. The real victims never get far enough along in the process for them to build a case and can never muster support from a biased media either.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Syrian Rebels Say: We Demand Radical Islamism; U. S. Says: We Can't Hear You!

Can it be more obvious? Thirteen Syrian rebel groups--including the most important in Aleppo and Damascus--demand an Islamist state in Syria and say they don’t care what the official rebel, U.S.-backed politicians say.

By the way, only one of these groups is an al-Qaida group, Jabhat al-Nusra. There is also the large Salafi Islamist group, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiya. The others include the powerful Liwa al-Tawhid (Aleppo) and Liwa al-Islam. Both groups operated as part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) umbrella.

What about the U.S-backed Free Syrian Army? As the GLORIA Center’s Syria expert Dr. Jonathan Spyer put it: “This is much of the Free Syrian Army.”

The Syrian rebel statement, distancing these militias from the FSA’s leadership said, “These forces call on all military and civilian groups to unite in a clear Islamic context that... is based on sharia (Islamic) law, making it the sole source of legislation". “The [Syrian] National Coalition and the proposed government under Ahmad Tomeh [the Obama Administration- supported “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood puppet who wields little power] does not represent us, nor do we recognize it,” said 13 of Syria's most powerful Islamist rebel groups.

In other words the rebels themselves deny they are “moderates”. Note that when the United States tried to get the Syrian rebels to denounce al-Qaida over a year ago they all refused. They would rather alienate America than al-Qaida.

A question that comes up is would not the people of Syria suffer? The tragic truth is that they will suffer either way. Of course, there will be ethnic massacres. First, the Sunni Muslims will be slain; then the Christians, Druze, Kurds, Shi’ites, and Alawites will be massacred. How many hundreds of refugees will Arab and Western countries absorb?

The current civil war will not be the last war.  There will be a civil war between the victorious partners, at least the Brotherhood-types and al-Qaida, and perhaps the Salafists. Then there will be a war between the Sunni Islamists (al Qaida and Brotherhood-types) and the Kurds. There has already been fighting between al-Qaida style organizations and other Sunni Islamist rebels against the Kurds. Intra-Sunni Islamist rebel infighting is increasingly occurring. Al-Qaida groups have also fought one another and other rebel groups.

War without end, amen. Syria will be turned into a smoking ruin for a generation, perhaps 20 percent of the population will flee. This is no war of liberation but a tragedy.

Will America give hundreds of millions to the Syrian economy? Will it train and reform the Syrian Islamist army? Will it advise the Brotherhood against al-Qaida while ignoring ethnic massacres?

But yes the greater strategic danger by an edge is Iran. Yet why would America be expected to handle this danger, an America that is taking the wrong side in Egypt? Better to keep Washington away from being a rent-an-army for the Arab League in direct engagement in Syria.

There is, however, another factor. There are now boots on the ground of Iranian troops in Syria. You think Russia will take care of that as well? Actually, the regime is in long-range trouble. It is running out of reliable soldiers to fight for it. Iranians and their Shi’ite Islamist proxies will predictably make up for these numbers.

That doesn't mean we should want the regime to win. It is certainly in U.S strategic interests for the rebels to prevail.  But have no doubt that when they do defeat the regime, the rebels will blame the United States and Israel--though they opposed the regime and helped the rebel side--as well as Iran, Russia, and Hizballah for their problems. They will fight against peace, be willing to stage anti-American terrorism, and be against U.S interests. This could be justified by the defeat for Iran but don't be over-enthusiastic.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New York Times Endorses Genocide

Oh no! Chuckle. The New York Times now favors the extinction of the Jewish state. Shudder. Let’s see. Sulzburger fought in the Confederate army; then the newspaper virtually ignored the Ukrainian famine and the Holocaust, then reported that Fidel Castro was a moderate, then reported Islamist terrorists are moderates.

That’s a pretty accurate record right?

The headline of this article is accurate

Look, I know the author of the one-state solution article and I can tell you he’s been pushing this drivel for at least 35 years. People in Israel don’t want to be turned into a repressive Sharia state from a flourishing country a model of prosperity and one of the highest world ratings of happiness.

I might mention that Israel won every war and has a far stronger army. It is even the great Arab hope for bashing Iran and an ally of Egypt and Jordan!

So what is this nonsense?

I remember an evening when I was invited to a couple that were well-known anti-Israel activists.

We had pleasant enough conversation until late in the evening when I thought we had agreed on a West Bank- Gaza state living alongside Israel. Then the guy said, “But of course Israel will not be allowed to remain as a state.”
You can tell what your opponents really think if you listen to them. If you doubt that you should listen some time to what Palestinians say. I’ve been doing that for decades.

But of course this is nonsense. And in fact it is an endorsement of de facto genocide—make no mistake about it.
What is true, though, is a changing atmosphere. The Democratic Convention rejected by a majority vote that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel (It also voted by a majority against G-d).

Now a lot of administration officials, including Vice-President   Joe Biden, are speaking at J Street. You should understand that this not a liberal, pro-peace group but an organization created by a former Arab lobbyist to destroy Israel, or at least support for it. among the American people and especially Jewish community and Congress.
I will just quote what Jesse Jackson said several years ago. I don’t mean this to be taken literally, but it a sign of h the transformation Obama’s anti-Israel views are, except of course to the majority of American Jews.

Like this one. Can you imagine a foreign policy team more hostile to Israel? Jackson, of course,was not a part of that team, but can see the obvious.

The New York Post just quoted him as having said in a French speech in October 2008 that "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" will lose much of their clout when Obama enters the White House.

Speaking at the World Policy Forum event in Evian, France--the place where Jewish refugees were doomed at a 1938 conference when European counties refused to save them--Jackson promised 70 years later--""a"fundamental change.” Jackson "criticized the Bush administration's diplomacy and said Barack would change that," because, as long as the Palestinians hadn't seen justice, the Middle East would "remain a source of danger to us all." Of course, Palestinians have been given billions of dollars and offered a state but still staged thousands of terrorist attacks since then and still denied Israel's right to a state.

It's called argument through blackmail. Can you imagine what massacres there would be? How about a one-state army commanded by Palestinian Arab generals? Jews who most of the Arabs hate and revile being reduced to the status of minority Christians in the Middle East. Can this be advocated by anyone serious? Nobody but a fool or liar (probably the latter) could advocate such a thing,

And Israel has had nothing to do with the Afghan Taliban, the Iran-Iraq war, al-Qaida,'the Egyptian revolution, the Tunisian revolution, and the Syrian civil war.

The Obama Administration denied Jackson’s words at the time but since then has proven them. Even an Egyptian government makes no difference if it wants to fight terrorism and preserve the peace treaty rather than the opposite policy.

But then why has the Obama Adminstration kept enthusiastic support from AIPAC? Because of the strategic situation. The prince is the prince and Israel hopes that one day--it hopes in vain--that Obama will act against Iran.
But just for three more years.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Solution: How to Deal with Obama Middle East Policy

By Barry Rubin

To see an alternative policy for the Middle East--presented four years ago and still  timely, see:

It is likely that the efforts of the Obama Administration during its second term will fail, not only because of its lack of understanding of the region and its ideology but also due to the specific agenda.


And to clarify this further:


But as I noted above, this U.S. policy of Obama’s second term will fail. For example, the main goals of the second term are four big issues:

--Israel-Palestinian peace

--Egypt government coalition with Muslim Brotherhood

--Syrian civil war resolution with rebel victory

--U.S.-Iran rapprochement resolving nuclear issue.

Yet because of irreconcilable differences, these may well be unresolvable. Due to such failures and hardline radical positions (Palestinians, Muslim Brotherhood, Syrian Islamists and regime, Iranian regime), the next administration would probably be forced back on recognition of extremism, support of allies, and U.S. interests.

Thus, regarding the “peace process,” we may well see the typical pattern in which the Palestinians wreck the peace process by rejecting or demanding even more concessions. Once again, it will only be necessary to wait until American negotiators learn better why their goals are impossible. Radicals will just raise their demands and demonstrate their anti-Americanism, and necessary priorities will shift.

The difference this time would be that the policymakers would not learn until the next president. Yet there are other reasons for hope, too, and these must be integrated into the strategies of would-be allies of the United States.

These include several points:

--Since U .S. policies do not take into proper account the legitimate interests of allies, a greater element of defiance will be necessary. With the Saudis, for example, they had to rescue the client regime in Bahrain, because the Obama Administration refused, step in and subsidize the coup regime in Egypt and subsidize the Lebanese opposition. 

Countries must be ready for a higher level of potential friction with the Obama Administration, which will not damage future foreign policy when the time comes that the current president will be replaced by a different Democratic or Republican one.

 --When required to make a tactical retreat due to lack of U.S. support, it should be stretched out, because the clock is ticking on January 2017.

--Of course the clock is ticking too on wasted time. Iran will be closer to having nuclear weapons, for instance, but that just indicates the actual harm done by the Obama Administration policies. Islamists will also be stronger than would have been true otherwise. This was, however, not true in Egypt, where there was local resistance backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

--The creation of parallel alliances and what might be called objective alliances, which can include countries that are nominal enemies. These include building bonds with Asia, including China and India, as powers. In other words, if America will not play a leading or supportive role, others must be found to do so.

But the most important single factor is the genie offer. In this scenario, a genie appears and offers the beneficiary three wishes, but with each one, the genie gives his enemy twice that amount.

Okay, says the clever man, I want to go half bankrupt. (This would make his rival fully bankrupt.)
This is not a joke. The instability, bad economic policies, adventurous actions, and other temptations that American weakness and error lured one into are counterproductive and self-damaging. The best examples are the Muslim Brotherhood's management of politics and the Palestinians’ overplaying of their hand to lose a real chance to get an independent state. And Syria wrecking itself with Islamists and radical nationalists killing each other.

You could call this the “Home Alone strategy,” which is going to be needed by would-be U.S. allies--at least until responsible adults show up to direct U.S. foreign policy. And that will take at least another 3 years and 4 months.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Startling Parallels: Obama Appeasement Policy and British Intelligence Files on Hitler

Last week, President Barack Obama proposed a policy of allying with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafists, and al-Qaeda against Syria.

What is amazing about Islamism parallels the debate on appeasing--rather than opposing--Hitler based on newly released British intelligence documents.

One of the themes then, as now, was to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, no matter what a violent and threatening past he had. Ideology is ignored.
The day after Hitler took power, on January 30, 1933, the Times of London (a newspaper like the New York Times) editorialized:

“That Herr Hitler who leads the strongest party in the Reichstag and obtained almost one third of the votes at the last election should be given the chance at showing that he is something more than an orator and an agitator was always desirable.”

About the same day, Guy Liddell of British intelligence, responsible for Germany, wrote in a secret report that while he knew about antisemitic persecution in the new Germany, there had indeed been too much Jewish political power there. Liddell was strongly anti-Nazi and not personally antisemitic, but he was a supporter of the appeasement bloc in the British government.

As opposed to the British international intelligence (MI-6, the equivalent of the CIA), British counterintelligence (MI-5, the equivalent of the FBI), wanted a strong stand against Germany:

“No reliance can be placed on any treaty which has been signed, or may be signed, by Germany or Italy….”  It took what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf seriously. He intended to conquer Europe.

One reason MI-6 knew this, was that it listened to anti-Nazi German agents. The main hero was Wolfgang zu Putlitz, a diplomat at the German embassy in Britain and later Holland. Along with John “Klop” Ustinov (father of the actor Peter Ustinov), the two men had no illusions about the Nazis.  In fact, they nagged British intelligence all the time about the need to get tough.

So did the second main agent, General Baron von Schweppenburg, the German military attaché in London. In the summer of 1938, he told Putlitz, “We simply must convince the British to stand firm, if they give in to Hitler now there will be no holding him.”

But although the British government was repeatedly warned, the prime minister and government knew better. There were two factions--which is more than the U.S. government has now regarding radical Islamism.

One of the factors in British policy was a hope that if the Germans were flattered and treated properly, they would not be aggressive. Another reason was that the British felt guilty that they had formerly treated Germany so badly after World War One (Germanophobia?).

An MI-6 document of the time said:

“There have been times that he [Putlitz] has said that the English are hopeless and it is no use trying to help them to withstand the Nazi methods which they so obviously fail to understand…”

It was these factors that convinced Hitler, in the words of a contemporary MI-6 report, that Britain was “decadent” and lacked “the will and power to defend” itself.

Hitler himself was directly quoted as saying:

“It is astounding how easy the democracies make it for us to reach our goal.”

He was also directly quoted as calling Chamberlain an "arsehole." ( I wonder what Putin said about Obama.)

The prime minister’s own press aide, George Steward, told the German press attaché in 1939--no kidding--that Britain “would give everything Germany asked for the next year.”
Reminds me of Obama hinting that in his off-microphone remark.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, according to a senior British diplomat, “was completely bewitched by his German friends and reported myopically that ‘the German compass was pointed toward peace.’”

With Obama’s friends telling him that the Islamists’ compass was pointed toward peace, guess that proves the price of having an incompetent leader.

As late as February 19, 1940, Chamberlain wrote, "All the information I seem to get points to peace."
In fact, we know this is not true. Even his former allies were jumping ship, horrified by what they had done and knowing war had become inevitable.

Robert Vansitart, a foreign policymaker who was one of the leaders of the tough position, along with Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, wrote:

“Nothing seems any good. It seems as if nobody will listen to or believe me.”

I’ve had days like that myself. But then the United States has never allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafists, or in Syria, al-Qaida.

Oh, and at least a lot of courageous people in the establishment denounced the policy and even risked their careers to do it.

All quotes from Christopher Andrew, The Defense of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, (London: Penguin Books, 2010).

Putlitz and Ustinov were given safe haven in Britain; General Baron von Schweppenburg fought in the war for Germany and later helped rebuild the West German army.

To quote another expert dictator and predecessor of Putin: "Don’t scare anyone. But once you gain ground then move ahead. You must utilize as many people as possible who may be of use to us." –Joseph Stalin to future Communist dictator of Hungary Rakosi, December 5, 1944.  Quoted in Victor Sebestyen, Twelve Days: Revolution (1956), p. 24.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Russia-Iran Axis Gets Access

By Barry Rubin

The original supposed intent of this whole Syria exercise--punishing Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons--achieved zero. In fact,  it backfired.

Was this a pay-off for the Putin-Syria deal to get Iran to agree? Is it an advantage the Kremlin grabbed to show Russia can do anything it wants now? If so it was a heavy one indeed. Pay close attention.

Russian media reported Moscow is selling Iran five batteries of S-300 missiles for $700 million. The sale was frozen three years ago when the UN put on sanctions. Russia will probably claim the weapons are for defense.

And of course it is for defense, presuming Iran needs to defend a nuclear reactor or missile bases from Israel.
This step tightens the Iran-Russia alliance, presumably a way to make Iran feel more secure as it backs Syria. Russia may also have made an agreement to build a second nuclear reactor in Bushehr.

"Russian credibility is not in question,"  my colleague Dr. Jonathan Spyer pointed out, American credibility is in question.

"The Russian weapons lifeline to the dictator is buzzing with increased activity," Spyer continues, The arms ships that make their way from the Ukrainian port of Oktabyrsk have increased in number in recent weeks, shipping analysts say. They are bringing the vital spare parts for Assad’s planes and tanks."

But there's more.

In other words Russia-Iran alliance is stronger; America is weaker; Syria is more secure though it is still a very long way to win the civil war. But Iran—where the Obama Administration is cutting the sanctions—is more powerful and further away from any effective containment.

Here is Ammar Abdulhamid who is an honorable and  sincere Syrian supporter of moderate rebels but knows he isn't finding any:

""So the Russians have put on the table a plan whose implementation requires thousands of peacekeepers and experts working together over a period of several years to dismantle Assad's chemical supplies and production capabilities. In practice, this requires cessation of all hostilities by all parties, in other words, an end to the civil war. 

"End the civil war and the Russian plan can work. But how do we end the civil war? Well, how about a limited strike against Assad's military and security establishment to convince him to cease hostilities? There you go, we're back where we started: in order to make Russia's plan work we need to strike Assad, and in order to strike Assad, we need an American President who is willing to do it and does not go into convulsions each time we get to this point."

I unforunately don't agree with Abdulhamid but I would if he had got the moderate opposition he wanted.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth O'Bagy who became famous overnight by being quoted as the rationale for saying Syrian rebels are moderates by Kerry, McCain and Washington Post and Wall Street Journal was fired by her pro-rebel lobbying group for faking her PhD

Turns out she DID lie about her PhD  BUT they had to get rid of her without pointing to the real scandal that the Syrian rebels are not moderate.

Did anyone learn anything? Again, they really fired her for embarrassment because it showed that State Department just bought intelligence it wanted-- saying Syrian rebels are moderate--by Kerry, McCain, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.  A few months earlier she said the opposite.

The real issue--they are lying and faking intelligence--became disguised as a technical issue.

Published on PJMedia

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Syrian Diplomacy?

By Barry Rubin

The idea of a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis is ideal for the Obama Administration, but that doesn't mean it would be for U.S. interests.

So far Syria, Russia, and the United States have endorsed an idea that the Russians would take control of Syrian chemical weapons. The Iranians would probably  agree.  Obama would, of course, claim victory. The mass media would joyfully celebrate how he avoided war. Of course the Syrians, Russians, and Iranians could better claim victory.  (I'm starting to wonder whether Russia won the Cold War both ideologically and strategically, but never mind for now.)

But aside from this, there are serious implementation and strategic issues that would have to be worked out. Let’s start with the former.

An international committee would have to be established, which might take months to get a deal worked out with. Syria--and perhaps Russia and Iran--would stall for time. No real deal might ever be reached.
In other words, the seeming end of a deal would only be the beginning of a deal. Check this out.  And no final agreement might ever be reached or enforced.

Then, there are actual enforcement issues that would have to be hammered out, even if a deal were reached. For example, would chemical weapons inspectors be allowed sufficient access to ensure that Syria was complying? Would implementation depend on Putin’s personal word?

And what is the substance of the deal:

Russia promises that Syria will not use chemical weapons again. America says: OK. This one time, we’ll let you get away with it.

And what happens the next time? It starts all over again.

Next, there are the strategic issues. In this incredibly wordy debate over the Syrian crisis--which has revealed so little of substance--few have asked what Iran wants. Does Iran want a total victory in which Syria would become a virtual Iranian satellite? The survival of the current Syrian regime in all of the country? Or would it settle for the regime’s survival in part of the country?

If Iran wants total victory of this type then the U.S. cannot make a deal with Syria. It is a strategic threat.
If Iran and Russia want to win the civil war, no compromise is possible. The deal would just help Syria while bailing Obama out of a tough situation. The deadlocked war would go on, still at 40 percent regime, 40 percent rebels, 20 percent Kurds with no real change likely in the near future.

Another neglected question is what the Obama Administration wants in Syria: regime change, continuity, or a deal? In other words, for the war to go on as long as possible, a Muslim Brotherhood government, or a de facto partition deal?

Remember this. Two other administration policies that were aiming at regime change have been forgotten here:  arms to the Syrian rebels and training. Clearly the Obama goal of expanded arms supplies to the rebels had to be abandoned because of bad publicity like radicalism and cannibalism.

Yet there are hints that this administration wants regime change and is using the attention of the Syrian crisis to further it. The constant cry of Kerry and others is “no boots on the ground.” But what about boots on the ground in Turkey and Libya--for weaponry--and Jordan--for training?

In addition, nobody has asked what groups are being trained. Of course it is not al-Qaida, but it may be Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and non-Arab Turkey also support this long-term U.S. goal because of opposition to Iran and the Turkish government's Islamist ambitions. Regime change, not two days of bombing in Syria, is the only important question.

But to return to a second possible deal, only if Iran and America favor de facto partition--because they secretly think the war is unwinnable--might they agree to the 40-40-20 division. Perhaps Bashar al-Assad knows that is the best he can get.

That might be interesting to explore. I don't know though if anyone is interested.

Finally, there is the third potential deal. A de facto partition of Syria could establish the serious foundation for a compromise on the Iranian nuclear weapons issue. I want to make it clear that I do not think this is really going to happen. But President Obama might.

President Obama and his administration think that Iran now has a relatively moderate government. This means that Iran can stall a long time to fool the West on negotiations, perhaps even to the end of Obama’s second term. Watch for this thinly concealed game. The West wants to be fooled.

As for Obama’s immediate strategy, however, it seems to be--in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry-- a very short, narrowly focused, minimal bombing. Remember, though, that this is not important.

The question of whether the United States hits Syria one time is unimportant (it probably won't).

What is important is the shape of the civil war if the U.S. attack takes place. It now seems an attack is unlikely. But as Hilary Clinton once said, "What difference does that make?"

Published on PJMedia.