By Brandon Martinez
Source: Global research
U.S. officials said the CIA has trained and equipped nearly 10,000 fighters sent into Syria over the past several years — meaning that the agency is spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel…
The United States has been running a particularly reckless and transparent bluff on the world.
‘We must defeat ISIS’ has been the repetitive mantra bellowed from pulpits and podiums by deceitful US officials. But this bit of shameless Orwellian newspeak is coming from the very same rogue policy makers who have been the primary source of arms and largesse to that group and its sordid affiliates across Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.
Republican Senator Rand Paul called his own party’s bluff in a summer 2014 interview with CNN, telling the incompetent host that “we [the US government] are allied with ISIS in Syria.”
“[ISIS] would not be empowered in Iraq if we hadn’t been providing them a safe haven in Syria by arming their allies,” the Senator said, adding that “we are where we are because we armed the Syrian rebels,” the preponderance of whom are Wahhabi-Salafist extremists.
Paul recently doubled down on that line of reasoning, informing another interviewer in May 2015 that “hawks in my party” are responsible for the rise of ISIS because of their purposefully intransigent policy of “distributing arms indiscriminately” to Syrian and Libyan militants in their fanatical drive to depose Gaddafi and Assad.
Paul’s words were confirmed by a recently unearthed US Defense Intelligence Agency report that, in true Machiavellian style,welcomed an ISIS-controlled “Salafist principality in eastern Syria” to serve as a buffer to “isolate the Syrian regime” and roll back Iran. The US defense analysts, writing at the outset of the rebel insurgency in Syria in 2012, acknowledged that the anti-Assad coalition of militants that Washington was enthusiastically supporting were dominated by Salafist extremist elements linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda.
A June 2015 Washington Post report revealed the extent of the CIA’s covert campaign to train, arm and deploy mercenaries against Assad in Syria, pegging it as one of the Agency’s “largest covert operations, with a budget approaching $1 billion a year.” The article’s authors Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung write:
“At $1 billion, Syria-related operations account for about $1 of every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget, judging by spending levels revealed in documents The Washington Post obtained from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
“U.S. officials said the CIA has trained and equipped nearly 10,000 fighters sent into Syria over the past several years — meaning that the agency is spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program.
The CIA declined to comment on the program or its budget. But U.S. officials defended the scale of the expenditures, saying the money goes toward much more than salaries and weapons and is part of a broader, multibillion-dollar effort involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to bolster a coalition of militias known as the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army.
“Much of the CIA’s money goes toward running secret training camps in Jordan, gathering intelligence to help guide the operations of agency-backed militias and managing a sprawling logistics network used to move fighters, ammunition and weapons into the country.”
After weeding through all the phony anti-ISIS bluster emanating from the White House, it becomes clear that Washington’s overarching strategy is to play all Muslim groups and factions in the Middle East off against each other in what amounts to a sinister divide and conquer gambit that ultimately serves the interests of Israel. In 2007, years before the present crisis in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah identified this genocidal US/Israeli-led scheme against the region in an interview with American journalist Seymour Hersh. He told the award-winning reporter that the Bush administration was working in tandem with Israel to instigate a cataclysmic civil war – something akin to the Thirty Years’ War in Europe – in the Muslim world. Nasrallah said that this fitna, an Arabic term which means “insurrection and fragmentation within Islam,” was being deliberately fomented by US and Israeli intelligence agencies to significantly weaken the region and allow the Zionist-American imperialists to achieve full-spectrum dominance.
According to Hersh’s excellent March 2007 reportage published in the New Yorker under the title “The Redirection,”the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia began laying the groundwork for a rebel invasion of Syria that same year. The US and Israel planned to enlist radical Wahhabi-Salafist elements backed by Saudi Arabian largesse as proxy mercenaries against Damascus in a wider effort to undermine Assad and precipitate the demise of Iran.Hersh outlined the criminal plan in these terms:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Citing officials close to the Bush administration, Hersh explained that the CIA sought to employ radical anti-Syrian militants clandestinely “by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process.”
Hersh’s sources told him that “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.” Using the Saudis as a conduit would, in turn, give Washington plausible deniability. “The Israelis,” Hersh wrote,“believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations.”
In an article titled “The Pentagon plan to ‘divide and rule’ the Muslim world,” security scholar Nafeez Ahmed highlighted the contents of a 2008 RAND Corporation report which openly elucidated this belligerent strategy of tension. The Pentagon-backed study group advocated playing all sides and every side in the Muslim world against one another in order to fracture and disorient opposition to Western and Israeli imperialism in the region. The Orwellian strategists identified essentially all Arabs and Muslims – Salafists, Shiites, Sunnis, secular Arab nationalists, communists, Baathists, etc. – as adversaries to be pitted against each other. Already-existing rivalries and fissures would be stoked up and exploited to their maximum potential.
RAND’s divide and conquer objectives are eerily similar to the vile prescriptions of Oded Yinon, an Israeli strategist who authored a geopolitical screed entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,” published in 1982, which called for the break-up of all Arab states surrounding Israel into fragmented polities along ethnic and religious lines. “Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run,” Yinon expounded in his Machiavellian manifesto, “and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon.”
The Israeli militarist gleefully cited the Iran-Iraq war as a prime example of the type of internecine conflict Israel hopes to ignite, exacerbate and capitalize on to achieve its Zionist imperium. In a June 2014 television interview, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a dedicated Jewish imperialist, explicated his Yinonite ideology, emphasizing Tel Aviv’s desire to have Sunni and Shiite Muslims fight each other and thereby cancel each other out while Israel reaps the spoils.
It’s impossible to ignore the primacy of Israel in all of this unscrupulous intrigue. Netanyahu’s Likud Party is not only committed to eliminating what’s left of Palestine, but they also harbor expansionistic aspirations that go beyond Israel’s current borders – what some have called “Greater Israel.” Netanyahu’s seminal role in conceiving the rancid doctrines of the ‘war on terror’ itself, alongside the inescapable reality that the neocons who dominate the US foreign policy establishment are first and foremost loyal to Israel, is paramount in understanding the ‘method to the madness.’
While Western-backed ISIS militants behead their way to Damascus, US foreign policy hawks are now plotting the literal dismemberment of Syria as a whole in accordance with the Zionist neocons’ balkanization plan.
In its latest diabolical screed, the Brookings Institution, an influential pro-Israel, pro-US Empire think tank,has audaciously called for the break-up of Syria, advancing an incremental strategy to facilitate a stealth US invasion and takeover of the Arab country in the service of Israel.
In the June 2015 report titled “Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country,”neocon ideologue Michael O’Hanlon outlines his hopes for a weakened “confederal” Syria “made up of autonomous zones rather than being ruled by a strong central government.” (Pg. 3)Such “safe zones” are to be controlled by US Special Forces and their trained foot-soldiers of the “Syrian opposition.” Specifically, O’Hanlon calls for the US and its regional proxies,“to help defend local safe areas using American air power as well as special forces support once circumstances are conducive, the Syrian opposition fighters would then establish safe zones in Syria that they would seek to expand and solidify. The safe zones would also be used to accelerate recruiting and training of additional opposition fighters who could live in, and help protect, their communities while going through basic training.” (Pg.3)
O’Hanlon admits that the US has spent upwards of a billion dollars in “arms flows and other assistance to [Syrian militants]” and later suggests that the so-called ‘moderates’ are ineffective fighters, “a collection of groups with no unity, common vision, or survivability on the battlefield.”
O’Hanlon proposes that moderation would not be a prerequisite for US support, something that has never been an issue for Washington anyway which has been covertly sponsoring some of the most unsavory characters imaginable.
Later in the document O’Hanlon identifies the anti-Assad orientation of the strategy, envisioning the “safe zones” as buffers to launch operations against Assad and to eventually push the Syrian president out of power. He writes:
The plan would be directed in part against Assad. But it would not have the explicit military goal of overthrowing him, at least not in the first instance or the near term. Rather, it would seek to constrict the territory that he governs. And if he delayed too long in accepting a deal for exile, he could inevitably face direct dangers to his rule and even his person. The plan would still seek his removal, but over a gradual time period that allowed for a negotiated exit if he were smart enough to avail himself of the opportunity.”
O’Hanlon ponders the “outright partition of the country.” (Pg. 11) This partition scheme is evidently aimed at pressuring Assad and perhaps provoking him to strike at one of the US-controlled “safe zones” which would, O’Hanlon contends, give Washington an excuse to attack Damascus directly.“If Assad sought to attack the enclaves,” writes O’Hanlon,“where moderate forces were being aided by American and other outside powers … the United States would need to be ready to escalate quickly and powerfully—even disproportionately.” (Pg. 13)
This Brookings plan typifies an advanced phase of the destruction of Syria, something in the works since at least 2007. Washington’s anti-Syrian, anti-Iranian and broader anti-Muslim agenda clearly transcended both the Bush and Obama administrations, underscoring the existence of a permanent ‘shadow government’ – the neocon-dominated Military-Industrial Complex – that stays in place behind the curtain no matter who is elected. Obama’s ascendance to the White House was merely a public relations face lift, serving to make the American-Zionist Empire’s bloodthirsty aims more palatable to a war-weary public.