Result was murderous mayhem in the M.E.! OBAMA & HILLARY’S OBSESSION WAS ‘REGIME CHANGE’ . . .
Posted on February 21st, 2016

by Selvam Canagaratna Courtesy The Island


“Boys and girls, / And women, that would groan to see a child / Pull off an insect’s leg, all read of war, / The best amusement for our morning meal.”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Fears in Solitude, 1798.

Pulitzer-prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh keeps doing it at regular intervals, each time revealing an altogether new – and starkly real – story-behind-the-story that had first caught the headlines.

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This time, in a recent issue of the London Review of Books, he relates a stunning tale of how the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton duo’s aggressive pursuit of regime change in Syria [during his first term, with Hillary as his Secretary of State] sparked criticism and pushback from no less than, yes, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) itself!

[If nothing else, Hersh’s account simply reinforces what Diana Johnstone has to say in Queen of Chaos, Diana’s riveting account of Hillary Clinton’s misadventures as Secretary of State under Obama. Wrote Diana: “Something new is needed. How about a Woman War President? Hillary Rodham Clinton has painstakingly groomed herself for the role. Her record as Secretary of State shows that she is fully qualified to be the first woman to be known as ‘the mother of all drones’ or even to launch World War III.”]

Hersh’s focus in the LRB article is Obama’s determination to unseat Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Obama’s false claim that ‘moderate’ rebels were in place to do the job disturbed key military thinkers who understood that moderates were weakly represented among Syria’s rebel movement and that the President’s obsession with removing Assad served jihadist forces leading the Syrian resistance.

Wrote Hersh: “Barack Obama’s insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff . . .

Hersh was told that the JSC appraisal was an ‘all-source’ one, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria.

The new intelligence, Hersh noted, singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. What was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey. In short, the US was arming extremists.

“The military’s resistance dated back to 2013, when a highly classified assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya.

The Obama administration refused to heed the DIA and JSC’s prescient warnings, rooted in solid intelligence, and massive CIA arms shipments to the jihadist rebels fighting Assad continued, helping fuel the rise of the IS. “The arms travelled from Libya to Syria through the leading IS sponsor and US ally, Turkey, in the wake of the killing of former Libyan head of state Muammar Gadaffi by Islamist extremists.

The operation to oust Assad, Hersh noted, was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence. On 11 September 2012 the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an anti-American demonstration that led to the burning down of the US consulate in Benghazi; reporters for the Washington Post found copies of the Ambassador’s schedule in the building’s ruins which showed that on 10 September Stevens had met with the chief of the CIA’s annex operation. The next day, shortly before he died, he met a representative from Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services, a Tripoli-based company which, [a JCS official told Hersh], was known by the Joint Staff to be handling the weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels.

Hersh reports matter-of-factly that Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi to oversee the CIA’s technically illegal arms smuggling operation there. “The US consulate in Benghazi, attacked by jihadist extremists who roamed the city’s streets, was part of the US effort to bring down Assad. The White House concocted a story claiming that the Benghazi attack had emerged from a ‘spontaneous demonstration’ sparked by an Internet video that had mocked Prophet Mohammed. Obama instructed Secretary Clinton to play along with that fairy tale and she complied, Hersh notes.

“On September 11, 2012, Hillary released a statement connecting the attack to ‘inflammatory material posted on the Internet’ and ‘deplor[ing] any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.’ The message said that America’s “commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.” [Hersh’s comment: “Thus was an incident that emerged from criminal and blood-soaked US imperialism wrapped in the flag of America’s supposed noble commitment to tolerance and diversity in its liberal struggle with religious fanatics.”]

The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’, wrote Hersh. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.

It was through Germany, Israel and Russia that US intelligence was shared. Each had its reasons for co-operating with Assad: Germany feared what might happen among its own population of six million Muslims if Islamic State expanded; Israel was concerned with border security; Russia had an alliance of very long standing with Syria, and was worried by the threat to its only naval base on the Mediterranean, at Tartus.

It was clear that Assad needed better tactical intelligence and operational advice. The JCS concluded that if those needs were met, the overall fight against Islamist terrorism would be enhanced. Obama didn’t know, but Obama doesn’t know what the JCS does in every circumstance and that’s true of all US Presidents.’

There was no direct contact between the US and the Syrian military; instead, the adviser said, ‘we provided the information – including long-range analyses on Syria’s future put together by contractors or one of our war colleges – and these countries could do with it what they chose, including sharing it with Assad. We were saying: “Here’s some information that’s pretty interesting and our interest is mutual. End of conversation.” It was a military-to-military thing, and not some sort of a sinister Joint Chiefs’ plot to go around Obama and support Assad. It was a lot cleverer than that. If Assad remains in power, it will not be because we did it. It’s because he was smart enough to use the intelligence and sound tactical advice we provided to others.’

Hersh concludes: “The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington’s leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey’s support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?”

3 Responses to “Result was murderous mayhem in the M.E.! OBAMA & HILLARY’S OBSESSION WAS ‘REGIME CHANGE’ . . .”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    IF Russia is serious it should get Turkey to surrender.

    Removing Turkey from a position of power is a MUST for peace in the middle east. Turkey is a damned NATO member and that means only one thing – WAR.

  2. nilwala Says:

    Thank you Selvam Canagaratnam for your refreshing analysis!

    Hillary Clinton introduced the ‘REGIME CHANGE” IDEA into the US Foreign Policy practices, and the NGO community has been the vehicle through which this policy was implemented.
    It is only ONE SINGLE voice of reason –that of Senator Bernie Sanders that has brought this policy into question and EXPRESSED HIS REJECTION OF IT. We applaud him for his courage, his candor and his sincerity.

    VOTE FOR THE ONLY HOPE FOR THE WORLD & FOR SRI lANKA — BERNIE SANDERS FOR U.S. PRESIDENT !!

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    Nilwala,

    NO! Democ-RATS were never friends of SL. Republicans were friends of SL. Regan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr. were good friends of SL than NOBAMA and Hilarious.

    Burn-ie has NO CHANCE to get democratic nominations. MOST democratic delegates support Hilarious. Burn-ie winning primaries makes NO DIFFERENCE. People’s choice will be OVERRULED by democratic delegates. Hilarious will be the democratic nominee unfortunately.

    The hype for Burn-ie will actually help Hilarious win the election.

    We should totally reject democ-rats until she is OUT.

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