Obama yielding to new realities in Middle East

Webster G. Tarpley | 4 Oct 2015

President Obama’s Friday news conference, although largely couched in a language of strategic deception designed to blunt the attacks of the neocon warmonger opposition, suggests that there is some ground for cautious optimism about the administration’s ability to avoid clashes with Russia as a multi-pronged attack on the ISIS genocide cult continues. Senator McCain and his colleague Tom Cottonmouth of Arkansas have been issuing insane calls for US warplanes to interfere with the current phase of Russian bombing, which obviously aims at removing immediate threats to the Assad government and the Syrian army so as to preserve these vital assets for the coming big push against the Caliphate. Obama brusquely dismissed the demagogic calls for military action by Hillary Clinton, and several Republicans, and also offered no help whatsoever to the CIA’s useless and treacherous moderate terrorist rebel groups, who are screaming for sophisticated US weapons — which they most likely intend to sell to ISIS at the nearest arms bazaar.

Obama – Wants no proxy war with Russia.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry talk with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia after a bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York, N.Y. Sept. 28, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The current profile of US policy is summed up by the Washington Post:

‘President Obama has decided not to directly confront Russia over its new air offensive in Syria, believing that President Vladimir Putin will soon find himself in a Syrian “quagmire,” but he has approved a new escalation of U.S. efforts against the Islamic State. Obama laid out the U.S. response to Russia’s actions during a meeting with senior aides Thursday evening. Details were firmed up in a meeting Friday morning among national security principals at the White House, senior administration officials said. At the same time, the president also approved proposals, made prior to this week’s Russian actions, to strengthen the U.S. fight against the militants. Those measures were recommended by Obama’s new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. They include direct U.S. weapons shipments, overland from Iraq, to Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters who in recent months have pushed the Islamic State from a major portion of northern Syria along the Turkish border. The Kurds are now expected to begin moving south toward Raqqa, the de facto militant capital, in north-central Syria. U.S. airstrikes are also slated to increase west of the Euphrates, where U.S.-backed opposition forces have had little recent success against the Islamic State. Those strikes are being launched from Incirlik air base in Turkey, where aircraft from other coalition partners will join U.S. planes.’[i]

Obama seems to recognize that the US must keep pace, or else lose face, when it comes to bombing ISIS. During the press conference, he also explicitly ruled out any macho clashes, stating categorically: ‘“We’re not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the United States and Russia. That would be a bad strategy on our part,” Obama said.’

Obama also the suggested that Russia may find the Syrian terrorist rebels, ISIS included, quite resilient: ‘The president said this “attempt by Russia and Iran,” the regime’s other backer, “to prop up Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire. And it won’t work. And they will be there for a while if they don’t take a different course.”’ However, this language may simply represent a smokescreen to deflect neocon attacks by hinting that Obama is too astute. In reality, the closing of the ISIS supply lines coming south across the Turkish-Syrian border through a 65-mile wide corridor west of the Euphrates River would cause the Caliphate to disintegrate.

A well-informed and highly reliable Middle East source offered the following estimate of the possibilities for US-Russian cooperation: “Obama and Putin have kicked over the chessboard. They have not made public the secret documents of Feltman, Brahimi, and De Mistura, but they have agreed to establish peace in North Africa and the Middle East.[ii] It is on the basis of this agreement that Russia has intervened in Syria against the jihadist groups. If this agreement is translated into action, Russia and the United States will share responsibilities in the region, including for the security of Israel. However, the Russians do not want to commit themselves on a field of quicksand. They have therefore established as a precondition the abandonment of the system of imperialist domination in the region, and a return to system based on the general principles of international law, the United Nations charter, and the resolutions of the Security Council. The calendar now contemplates a military campaign against all the jihadi groups up through the Orthodox Christmas [January 7, 2016]; regional peace negotiations for Israel and its neighbors, including Syria (based on the restoration of the Golan Heights to Syria and the recognition of a Palestinian State); and a worldwide campaign against the materialist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States expects to be able to preserve some jihadis in Iraq. But these forces should be returned to their previous function as a paramilitary force, and not a quasi-state entity. From the point of view of the United States, the process involves the abandonment of the strategic theories of Brzezinski and of Leo Strauss, and a return to the ideas of Kissinger.”

If this relatively optimistic appraisal pans out, the world could be on its way to a US-Russian condominium, which could dictate political solutions to the most intractable problems – like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute – and thus materially improve the chances for war avoidance.

Obama’s attack on the chicken hawks and armchair strategists who have been calling for a wider US role in the Syrian conflict is broad enough to include not just the usual Republican suspects, but also Hillary Clinton, who is busy proving once again that her attempts to compensate for her own perceived weakness make her one of the most dangerous candidates for the future of our country, especially when it comes to her penchant for foreign military intervention. Hillary had broken with Obama on the key questions of a no-fly zone and safe havens for terrorists in northern Syria: “”I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air,” Clinton said in an interview with WHDH-TV in Boston.”

Hillary- Launches crackpot demand for no-fly zone and safe haven for Syrian terrorist rebels.

File: Secretary Clinton kowtows to Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal

In his press conference, Obama stressed his contempt for ill considered comments like Clinton’s: “President Barack Obama accused White House hopefuls of concocting “half-baked” ideas for solving the crisis in Syria, appearing to even dismiss his former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s call for a no-fly zone before later clarifying his view of the Democratic front-runner. … Obama, who opposes such a move, said Friday he’d like critics of his Syria policies to be asked, “Specifically, precisely, what exactly would you do?” He told a White House news conference, “Typically, what you get is a bunch of mumbo jumbo….We all want to try to relieve the suffering of Syria,” Obama said. “But it’s my job to make sure that whatever we do we are doing in a way that serves the national security interest of the American people, that doesn’t lead to us getting into things that we can’t get out of or that we cannot do effectively.”’[iii] Bernie Sanders rushed to side with Obama, but largely as a way to dodge the atrocities carried out by his Saudi friends in Yemen.

In the meantime, the Russian diplomatic position became significantly stronger as the Egyptian Government of President Sisi endorsed Putin’s strategy. Sisi is looking more and more like his predecessor President Nasser, especially in imitating Nasser’s ability to play Russia against America and vice versa to secure a better deal for Egypt. Egypt narrowly escaped chaos under the regime of the US-backed Moslem Brotherhood fanatic Morsi, so there is every reason to believe that their condemnation of ISIS is sincere. Saudi Arabia, which has financed Egypt over recent months, is now finding that Cairo’s sovereignty is not for sale. The Egyptian endorsement goes as follows:

‘Russia’s intervention in Syria will curtail the spread of terrorism and help deal a fatal blow to Islamic State in the war-torn country, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday. “Russia’s entrance, given its potential and capabilities, is something we see is going to have an effect on limiting terrorism in Syria and eradicating it,” Shoukry said in a televised interview on Saturday.”’’[iv]

The world is beginning to notice the success of Putin’s initiative, and also the growing realism of Obama. The Italian geopolitical website Limes argues that “above and beyond the official propaganda, the White House regards Putin’s Syrian initiative as positive. For the American president, the Middle East is a briar patch of secondary strategic importance in which rivals may get bogged down.”[v]

The New York Times a few days ago offered the following analysis of the strategic thinking in the White House: “For the White House, this has meant accepting a Russian role in the region but hoping that Moscow will appreciate the risk of becoming bogged down. That, they hope, will raise the costs of backing Mr. Assad and force Russia to work sincerely on a political transition that will lead to the Syrian leader’s departure. ‘Knock yourselves out,’ one Obama administration official said, mocking Mr. Putin’s bravado about forming a grand coalition in Syria. For the Kremlin, it means restoring enough stability to Syria to win acceptance of an expanded role for Russia in the Middle East — not to speak of its expanded military presence. Such a development, in the Kremlin’s view, would also validate Mr. Putin’s contention that toppling authoritarian governments in the Middle East has led only to chaos and sanctuaries for terrorists.”[vi]

The quagmire slogan is a convenient cover story when bigger things are in the works. The Tax Wall Street Party recommends that political observers pay more attention to Obama’s deeds than to his words.


[i] “U.S. will not directly confront Russia in Syria, Obama says,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2015/10/02/44c1f7fc-6932-11e5-9223-70cb36460919_story.html

[ii] http://www.voltairenet.org/article188577.html

[iii] Obama challenges Clinton, other 2016 candidates on Syria,” http://news.yahoo.com/obama-challenges-clinton-other-2016-candidates-syria-041535856.html;_ylt=A0LEV03cYRBW_S4AI7hXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyN2M3cGJhBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjAxMjNfMQRzZWMDc2M-

[iv] “Egypt says Russia’s intervention in Syria will counter terrorism,” http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-says-russias-intervention-syria-counter-terrorism-222034415.html

[v]. “Perché Obama apprezza la Russia in Siria,” http://www.limesonline.com/perche-obama-apprezza-la-russia-in-siria/87006

[vi] “Obama and Putin Play Diplomatic Poker Over Syria,” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/world/middleeast/obama-and-putin-clash…

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