Guest Analysis by Dan Sanchez: Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize an Indictment of US Intervention in the Arab Spring

Dan Sanchez, — A quartet of peace negotiators has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in preserving the Tunisian Revolution. That 2011 event kicked off the wave of uprisings known as the Arab Spring. The Tunisian Revolution is widely seen as the one bright spot of the Arab Spring, which has otherwise brought war, tyranny, and chaos to every country it has touched.

But that should not be considered a mark against popular sovereignty itself. It was outside interference from the U.S. empire that poisoned the Arab Spring and turned it into a catastrophe.

Tunisia was the one Arab Spring country to escape this fate simply because it went first. Caught by surprise, Washington was not able to ruin things until the revolution had already run its course.

In every other country, the United States heavily intervened in one of two ways.

When the Arab Spring threatened or overthrew U.S.-backed dictators or royal despots, Washington sponsored counter-revolutions.

On the other hand, when the Arab Spring reached independent “rogue” regimes, the U.S. and its allies co-opted the uprisings. They radicalized the opposition by pouring money, training, and weapons into it and sponsoring radical jihadists who came to dominate the insurgency.

Egypt’s Arab Spring developed too early and quickly for the U.S. to be able to save then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “family friend ” General Hosni Mubarak from losing power. And so an election was held which was won by a mildly Islamist administration under Mohamed Morsi.

But this was short-lived, as a counter-revolution sanctioned by the United States and bankrolled by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia then overthrew the elected government, installing a new military dictator.

The revolution was completely reversed, with Mubarak to be released from prison and Morsi taking his place there. He and hundreds of his supporters have been sentenced to death.

John Kerry, Hillary’s successor at State, hailed the coup d’etat as “restoring democracy.”

The restored dictatorship is now back to business as usual: brutal repression and human rights violations, helping Israel keep the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip trapped and miserable, and receiving $1.5 billion a year in U.S. foreign aid.

By the time the Arab Spring reached Yemen, the United States was ready enough to engineer an election in which there was only one candidate on the ballot. And so one sock puppet dictator—Ali Abdullah Saleh—was merely replaced by another: Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Secretary Clinton praised the rigged election and inauguration as “promising steps on the path toward a new, democratic chapter in Yemen’s history.”

And after this replacement dictator of Yemen was overthrown by the local “Houthi rebel” movement, the U.S. backed a savage war by Saudi Arabia on that impoverished country that still rages today.

Adding to the vast collateral damage wrought by America’s drone war on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Saudis have been bombing the Houthis, who are AQAP’s chief enemies, resulting in ever greater conquests for the terrorist group.

Among innumerable other attacks on civilians, the Saudis bombed two weddings in ten days. And its total blockade has brought Yemen, already the poorest country in the Middle East (it imports over 90% of its food), to the brink of starvation.

As for Bahrain, as Amanda Ufheil-Somers wrote :

Back in 2011, for instance, just days after Bahraini security forces fired live ammunition at protesters in Manama—an attack that killed four and wounded many others—President Barack Obama praised King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s commitment to reform. Neither did the White House object when it was notified in advance that 1,200 troops from Saudi Arabia would enter Bahrain to clear the protests in March of 2011.”

But when the Arab Spring reached Libya, under the relatively independent Arab nationalist dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, the United States took the side of the insurgents, arming jihadists and waging an air war that overthrew the government. This has sent the country spiraling into chaos.

And when the Arab Spring reached Syria, under the Baathist regime of Bashar al-Assad, the United States again took the side of the insurgents and again sponsored jihadists, along with regional allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf monarchies.

As a released U.S. intelligence report revealed, Washington did so fully realizing that the insurgency was dominated by Islamic extremists and that supporting it would likely result in the rise of a “Salafist principality.” As it turned out, this Salafist principality was ISIS. And it is rivaled for leadership of the insurgency only by Syrian Al Qaeda. Both have ended up with a large amount of American weapons.

The American-fed Arab Spring war in Syria has claimed the lives of a quarter of a million and has displaced millions.

Tunisia has been a success — although not an unqualified or a necessarily permanent one — because it had the one Arab Spring that Washington did not get its bloody mitts on. The Nobel Peace Prize granted in its honor should also be seen as an indictment of the empire that stood in the way of millions of other Arabs from achieving the same success — and that turned their dreams of freedom into nightmares of tyranny and war.

Originally published at

This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dan Sanchez and

Former DIA Chief Flynn Again Speaks of “Accuracy” of 2012 DIA ‘Salafist Principality’ Memo to International Audience

Declassified DIA Report discussed starting at 16:10

Former Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Michael Flynn was once again asked specifically about the 2012 DIA memo which foretold the rise of ‘Islamic State’ at the end of a lengthy RT News interview.

Flynn responded that, “the assessments…I believe were very accurate,” but dodged the quick follow up question, “did America allow the rise of ISIL here?”

In July Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan grilled retired Lt. Gen. Flynn over the August 2012 report produced while he served as director of the DIA. Flynn confirmed the report’s high level importance, saying that he had personally seen it during his tenure and had used it to argue Syria policy with the White House.

More interesting about this latest RT International interview is that Flynn calls for American cooperation with Russia in the fight against ISIL. Flynn assesses that Russia’s “unstated red lines were crossed” and says that Russia’s intervention is reasonable based on real interests in combating the extremists in its own backyard (Flynn specifically mentions the large Chechen presence in ISIL’s ranks).

While this is an amazing interview for the fact that a former top U.S. defense official is essentially giving validity to Russia’s actions, the RT anchor should have done a better job pursuing questions on the DIA memo (I’m surprised to be in full agreement with Flynn on Russia’s role: listen to my Russia analysis recently given to a Vancouver based public radio show).

Brad Hoff Interviewed on University of Victoria Public Radio: U.S. Policy, Chechens in ISIS, and Russia in Syria

How Does Iran View the Syrian Conflict?


Gorilla Radio, Chris Cook — It’s been a busy week for terror in the news. In Canada, leaders of the three major parties vying for the October 19th general election “debated” foreign policy Monday, with everyone agreeing on all the safe points to be made, while in New York, the United Nations began its annual confab with international terrorism being high on the docket, though neither Canada’s ambitious men, nor the UN broached the inconvenient provenance of ISIS, the media’s most oft-cited terror group, or the terror inflicted by its paymasters in Western capitals.

Brad Hoff is an author, journalist, educator and Managing Editor of Levant The former Marine has taught ancient and modern history at the college and high school levels, and has lived and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, spending most of his time in Syria prior to the 2011 uprising. His articles also appear at and Foreign Policy Journal among other on-line sites. Brad’s latest article charts the curious career of ISIS commander, Omar “the Chechen” al-Shishani. Brad Hoff in the first half.

And; Russian historian, sociologist, and author, Boris Kagarlitsky is currently traveling Canada on a speaking tour sponsored in part by the Socialist Project, the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Politics (at York University), and by UVic’s Centre for Global Studies. He’ll be speaking here at UVic today at 3:30 in the David Turpin building. Boris is accompanied by Canadian journalist, lecturer, and contributing editor to the website, New Cold War, Roger Annis. Boris Kagarlitsky and Roger Annis in studio in the second half. And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of good goings-on going on on our city’s streets, and beyond there too, in the upcoming week.

But first, Brad Hoff and Omar al-Shishani and the Jihadis fighting under America’s umbrella. Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at: G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media

Omar the Chechen and his State Department Allies: Brad Hoff on the Scott Horton Show


View an interactive/visual version my “ISIS Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013” at

View at Here.

ISIS Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013

ISIS Commander Abu Omar al-Shishani celebrates after his joint FSA/ISIS operation at Menagh Airbase in the summer of 2013. (Photo circulated in jihadi social media)

Abu Omar al-Shishani, the red-bearded face of ISIS terror lately described in such headlines as ‘Star pupil’: Pied piper of ISIS recruits was trained by U.S. for the fact that he received American military training as part of an elite Georgian army unit in 2006 and after, did not stop playing for “team America” once he left his home country in the Caucuses. He actually enjoyed U.S. backing and American taxpayer largesse as late as 2013, soon after entering Syria with his band of Chechen jihadists.

A new book about ISIS chronicles the terror group’s earliest successes when it first made a name for itself on the Syrian battlefield by tipping the scales in favor of rebels in Northern Aleppo who had spent nearly a total of two years attempting to conquer the Syrian government’s seemingly impenetrable Menagh Airbase.

Benjamin Hall, journalist and author of Inside ISIS: The Brutal Rise of a Terrorist Army, was embedded in Northern Syria during part of the 2012-2013 siege of Menagh, even staying in FSA camps outside the base as attacks were underway.

At that time the Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo was the US/UK officially sanctioned command structure in the region headed by FSA Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi, described in international press at the time as “a main recipient” of Western aid.

Hall, who throughout his book expresses sympathy and occasional outright support for the insurgent groups within which he was embedded, describes the pathetic state of a rebel movement in disarray and lacking morale. He identifies a singular turning point which renewed both the tide of rebel military momentum and morale in Northern Syria:

That day in Minnah [or alternately Menagh], I was reminded that nothing happens on time in the Middle East. It took ten months for the rebels to finally capture that base, but it only fell when the FSA were joined by the ISIS leader Abu Omar Shishani and his brutal gang of Chechens. When we had been there, it had been under the sole control of badly funded, badly armed rebels with little knowledge of tactical warfare–but when Shishani arrived, he took control of the operation, and the base fell soon after. [1]

Hall further relates that Omar Shishani’s (or Omar “the Chechen”) presence evoked a certain level of mystique and awe among his FSA associates as he “systematically obliterated Menagh defenses by sacrificing as many men as it took” and rightly concludes that, “it is no exaggeration to say that Shishani and other battle hardened members of ISIS are the ones who brought the early military success.” [2]

The final collapse of government forces at Menagh on August 6 due to Shishani’s sustained suicide bombing raids, sending his men in makeshift armored vehicles to crash the base’s heavy fortifications, resulted in an outpouring of battle wearied emotion and celebration among all rebel groups represented.

Regional media, including Al Jazeera, was there to record the victory and congratulatory speeches that followed, and the fighters weren’t shy about giving interviews. These interviews reveal America’s true battlefield alliances at this key point in the lengthy rebel advance in Aleppo Province at a time long prior to ISIS becoming the “household terror brand” that it is today. The New York Times reported the following:

After the battle, Col. Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi, the head of the United States-backed opposition’s Aleppo military council, appeared in a video alongside Abu Jandal, a leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In camouflage, Colonel Okaidi offered thanks to “our brothers al-Muhajireen wal Ansar and others,” adding: “We’re here to kiss every hand pressed on the trigger.” He then ceded the floor to Abu Jandal and a mix of jihadist and Free Syrian Army leaders, who stood together, each praising his men, like members of a victorious basketball team.

The group singled out for praise in the video, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, was precisely Omar Shishani’s own brutal Chechen group (“Army of Emigrants and Helpers”) which turned the tide of the battle. Most significant about FSA Col. Okaidi himself, clearly the operational head of this jihadi “basketball team,” was that he had been paid a personal visit by his State Department patron, Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, just months prior to the final victory at Menagh.

A translated video montage of footage covering events at Menagh, authenticated by Middle East expert Joshua Landis, shows a clip of Robert Ford’s prior visit to Col. Okaidi inside Syria, with the two standing side by side in an image meant to seal official U.S. support for Okaidi as its top brass on the ground.

Okaidi’s subsequent victory speech at Menagh proves that Okaidi, while on the U.S. government’s Syria support payroll, fought alongside and publicly praised ISIS fighters (calling them “heroes”), and presumably exercised some degree of operational command over them. There is no mistaking the documented facts of the Menagh campaign: in the summer of 2013 the rising Islamic State of Iraq and Sham and the FSA fought as one, with a unified command structure, which happened to have direct U.S. backing.

Thanks to Abu Omar’s willingness to speak to Al Jazeera, we also have video confirmation of his emerging star status within rebel ranks and relationship of direct cooperation with the U.S backed FSA commander. Omar Shishani’s interview was archived online by Al Jazeera Arabic. While offering a simple statement about conquering all of the Syria from “the kuffar,” Abu Omar is surrounded by some of the same men, including emir Abu Jandal (identified above by the New York Times)—the same Abu Jandal that is presented as second in rank under Robert Ford’s friend Col. Okaidi in the latter’s victory huddle.

In another video where he stands proudly amidst a mix of fighters, Omar addresses the camera in Russian and recognizes the FSA’s valiant efforts in its eight months long siege of the government airbase. In a later statement given to the Russian-language pro-jihad site Beladusham, Shishani explained his pragmatic view toward working with U.S. backed FSA forces even while pledging loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “We aren’t in a position of conflict with the whole FSA right now, but just against those groups who oppose our aims of an Islamic State.”

Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has since admitted that the rebels funded by the State Department included ISIS and other Al-Qaeda fighters in their ranks. He recently told McClatchy reporter Hannah Allam that he had called Okaidi to tell him that his public cooperation with Abu Omar Shishani and associates was “extremely unhelpful, extra unhelpful”:

Ford was referring to Col. Abdel-Jabbar al Oqaidi [or alternately Okaidi], then-commander of the Aleppo branch of the Free Syrian Army. The problem was that the American-backed colonel had been filmed celebrating his men’s joint victory with al Qaida-affiliated fighters, creating a public relations nightmare for the Obama administration, which was trying to show Congress and the American public that it was boosting moderates and isolating extremists on the battlefield.

Amazingly, Okaidi’s courtship with the West didn’t end in 2013, even after such top U.S. officials confirmed that the rebel leader had been in a position of operational command over ISIS terrorists, some of which now fill out the top tiers of Islamic State’s ranks.

As recently as last July 2015, CNN gave Okaidi lengthy and virtually uninterrupted air time in a Christiane Amanpour interview to make a public appeal for a U.S. imposed no-fly “buffer zone” over Syria in support of “moderate” rebels—this on what the network bills as its “flagship global affairs program.”

In a recent and much talked about poll conducted inside Syria by ORB International, an affiliate of WIN/Gallup International, it was revealed that “82% of Syrians Blame U.S. for ISIS.” While the increased prominence of this view has perplexed many pundits who dare not admit anything counter to the official prevailing wisdom, it could simply be that Syrians pay closer attention and are able to process what U.S. clients like Okaidi utter in plain Arabic and without apology.

[1] Hall, Benjamin. Inside ISIS: The Brutal Rise of a Terrorist Army (New York: Center Street, 2015) p. 74.

[2] Hall 76.

Nir Rosen’s Proposed Plan for Ending War in Syria is still the Best and Most Realistic

This talk, titled “How can a Regional Accord Help End the War in Syria?” was delivered in May 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. While the presentation hasn’t been widely viewed, Nir Rosen’s 55-page written findings were circulated among U.S. government policy officials. Foreign Policy Magazine featured Rosen’s proposal for a locally and regionally driven peace in an article, “Re-writing Syria’s War.”

With the refugee crisis in Europe pushing some like David Cameron to renew calls for heightened Western military intervention in Syria, and others to explore avenues of negotiation and peace, Rosen’s plan is still the most realistic for saving lives and keeping the entire region from burning and fragmenting.

But are the NATO and Gulf states really interested in peace? So long as the answer remains “no” it is clear the leaders of these countries have no concern whatsoever for a single refugee.

Guest Analysis by Steven Chovanec: The Refugee Crisis Isn’t the Real Problem

Photo: Libya; from “liberation” by NATO to “terror wonderland” to refugee crisis.

Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst and writer based in Chicago, IL.  He is a student of International Studies and Sociology at Roosevelt University and conducts independent, open-source research into geopolitics and social issues.  His writings can be found at undergroundreports.blogspot.comfind him on Twitter @stevechovanec.

by Steven Chovanec

As the gravest refugee crisis since WWII continues unabated, everyday new reports give us privileged enough not to be personally effected mere glimpses at the outright horror that is being visited upon our brothers and sisters across the world on a daily basis.

A horror that has sparked the public to advocate that “no person is illegal” in response to their governments’ shameful positions which seek to keep refugees out at all costs while avoiding the main root causes of the problem and their own complicity.(1)

Reading the Western media, heavy emphasis is put upon the criminal enterprises that are boating these refugees across the seas, editorializing the situation to justify a heavy-handed response in order to ‘prosecute the criminals.’ However, despite the moral bankruptcy of seeking to profit from such a crisis, these enterprises would have no demand had not so much death and destruction been inflicted upon refugee homelands. Moreover one could glean that refugees are less upset over the fees of those providing them an opportunity to escape than they are with Western governments who refuse them, and whom also foment instability in their countries.

Western leaders and media pundits alike are straining to blame the crisis on official enemies and Western inaction. David Cameron blames Assad in Syria along with “the butchers of ISIS and the criminal gangs that are running this terrible trade in people,” yet, as Daniel McAdams points out, “proponents of the four-year US policy of Syria destabilization and regime change are lining up to make their case that the current refugee crisis… is one hundred percent the fault of both Syrian president Assad and western non-interventionists who objected to plans in 2013 for the US and UK to begin bombing Syria.”

Other Western publications do in fact have the gall to actually criticize their own leaders’ guilt in the matter. The reasons? The West has failed because it has simply not done enough, sat lazily on the sidelines, and thus further intervention is needed.

Once again the only criticisms allowed in the ‘liberal’ western press are ones which presuppose benevolent intentions.

The sad truth however is that the alarming refugee situation was a predictable outcome of the West’s crazed militant adventurism, and the calls for the West to ‘do more’ are in actuality calls to exacerbate the crisis by increasing that which caused it, thinly veiling themselves as dissident criticisms.

The UNHCR calculates that some 366,402 Europe-bound refugees have reached Europe by sea this year alone, the majority of which (51%) are Syrians, while the next largest portions are from Afghanistan (14%), Eritrea (8%), Nigeria (4%), and Iraq (3%).(2)

A total of 12 million Syrians have been displaced, 7.6 internally and 4 million abroad. In Iraq more than 3 million have been displaced since December 2013. Poverty and destruction in Libya have also caused hundreds of thousands to flee from Africa. 137,000 refugees migrated this year while 1,800 never completed the journey and died at sea. 1.3 million are displaced inside Ukraine, nearly all of them from the southeastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. 867,000 have left the country, most going to Russia.(3)

Almost invariably, the major regions afflicted by this crisis are also areas of either direct or indirect US military aggression and intervention.

The invasion of Afghanistan was initially justified through the declared motive of compelling the Taliban to hand over people the US accused of having been involved in the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban agreed, requesting that first evidence be provided. The Bush administration refused to provide any. The reason? They didn’t have any.

The FBI and Justice Department have never formally charged bin Laden with involvement in 9/11. Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI, said that the reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama’s Most Wanted page and why the DoJ never formally indicted and charged him for the offense is because “the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”(4)

The Taliban eventually agreed to hand over bin Laden for trail in a country other than the US without asking for evidence in return for a halt in the US bombing. The White House refused this offer as well, and 3 weeks into the war announced that the bombing would continue until the people of Afghanistan overthrew the Taliban, a textbook example of international terrorism according to the US’ own definition, and this would later became the official justification for the war.

The head of the FBI, after the most intense international investigation in history, told the press that the FBI believed that the plot might have been hatched in Afghanistan, but was most likely implemented and carried out in the UAE and Germany.(5)

The Afghan invasion thus had nothing to do with finding and bringing the criminals to justice, which could have been accomplished through careful investigative and police work, but instead, as was eventually admitted officially, was about regime change and thus control over Afghanistan, wrecking the country through war and destruction while sending countless fleeing for their lives.

As well, if the US’ declared ‘mission’ of going after any state that harbored terrorists were actually implemented, it follows that both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would have been invaded as well.

According to an extensive investigation by Britain’s leading international security scholar Nafeez Ahmed, in which declassified documents, official government reports, and intelligence official’s testimony are cited, specific intelligence was available to the US that bin Laden was living in Pakistan under the protection of US allies for years before the alleged 2011 assassination raid. The US was stymied from acting due to its longstanding relations with Saudi and Pakistani intelligence.(6)

Instead the response to 9/11 did not target these 2 US allies without whom the plot never could have succeeded, but instead was aimed at countries the US sought to colonize, Iraq having no ties whatsoever to al-Qaeda and being one of the main state-deterrents to jihadi radicalism.(7)

The true intentions behind the Iraq invasion, as all official pretexts collapse instantly upon examination, were evidenced in a “Declaration of Principles” document signed by Bush and then Prime Minister Maliki in 2007. The agreement allowed for a long-term US military presence in the country, if the enormous Green Zone “embassy” wasn’t enough of an indication for the permanence of the US presence, while as well explicitly stating that Iraq’s economy (meaning its oil resources) would be open to the preferential access of US capital. One would be hard-pressed to find a more blatant pronouncement of economic imperialism.

These reasons were further underscored a year later when President Bush issued a signing statement declaring that any congressional legislation which barred military spending from being used to establish permanent US military installations in Iraq or from allowing the US to exercise control over its oil resources would be rejected.(8)

The jihadism now plaguing Iraq was a direct result of this decision to use the military to hit the country with a sledgehammer.

Former CIA officer Graham Fuller explains that although the US did not plan the formation of ISIS, it was the destructive US interventions in the Middle East and the war in Iraq which were the basic causes of its creation.(9)

Tactics used by the occupiers exacerbated the violence and sectarianism, pitting peaceful resistance movements in violent conflict with radical jihadists, fostering intra-insurgent violence despite civilians being caught within the crossfire, and supporting both Sunni, al-Qaeda linked factions as well as government-run “Salvadorian option” Shia death-squads, all part of a ‘divide and rule’ strategy that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires. All of this transformed a society in which Shia and Sunni coexisted much like Protestant and Catholics do in the West into a raging sectarian bloodbath, now one of the most dangerous places in the world to live, forcing countless people to flee their homes.(10)

After Iraq came Libya.

Before 2011 Libya was a main transport hub for the Trans-Saharan migration routes that extended into southern Europe. According to 2006 estimates, between 65,000 and 120,000 entered the Maghreb region yearly, of which 70 to 80% are believed to migrate through Libya. As well, Libya was a final destination for many and housed those which failed to reach Europe, taking in around 1 to 1.5 million while helping to mitigate European immigration concerns. Going one step further, Gaddafi also made deals with European states to forcibly shut down the Libyan coast in exchange for large sums of money, dropping illegal immigration through Libya down by 75% in 2009.(11)

All of this changed in 2011.

Gaddafi expressed willingness to abdicate shortly after the beginning of the 2011 revolt, but the US ignored his calls for a truce and continued with their regime-change policy, according to an extensive study compiled by the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top level military officers, CIA officers, and academic think-tankers.

The report details how this policy included the arming of terrorists to overthrow the Libyan state, “the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion. The jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy. The rebels made no secret of their al-Qa’eda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports. And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qa’eda.”(12)

According to a 2007 report by the West Point Combating Terrorism Center, the city of Benghazi was one of al-Qaeda’s main headquarters. Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011 under the pretext that it was an al-Qaeda hotbed, however NATO warplanes prevented him from doing so, protecting the city and the al-Qaeda factions stationed there that the US had allied with. Afterwards, the black flag of al-Qaeda was hoisted off government buildings in Benghazi.(13)

Following Gaddafi’s fall Libya transcended into what Senator Rand Paul calls “a jihadist wonderland.” The Obama administration also then, with the support of British intelligence and in collusion with allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, created a ‘rat line’ into Syria.

Authorized in 2012, it was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya through southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh notes that “Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.”(14)

Obama then continued along the Libyan model by once again supporting al-Qaeda, this time to overthrow the Syrian president.

At least as far back as 2005 the US has been financing and training anti-government opposition groups in Syria with a view toward regime-change.(15)

Come 2011 United States Air Force (USAF) officers at the Lieutenant Colonel level would confirm in leaked WikiLeaks email exchanges that US Special Operations Forces were “already on the ground” in Syria prior to December of that year, whose mission it was to “commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces” and “elicit collapse from within.”(16)

A secret US-NATO base was established in Turkey in order to organize and expand the dissident base in the country, smuggle in weapons, conduct psychological operations and information warfare, and to funnel intelligence and military operators across the border.(17)

US-led operation rooms were set up in Turkey and Qatar where the CIA and MI6, along with Jordanian, Saudi, Turkish, and Qatari intelligence commanded and coordinated support to the rebel opposition to the tune of 1 billion dollars per year from the CIA alone. The US oversaw the operation, providing intelligence and deciding on which rebels would receive the weapons shipments, which were mainly supplied by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. According to classified assessments from US intelligence, most of these shipments were going to “hard-line Islamists.”(18)

Training camps were also set up in Qatar and Jordan.

According to high-level Jordanian officials, rebels trained at the base in Jordan would later go on to join ISIS.(19) Despite this, the training continued.

At the base in Qatar, rebel commanders describe how they were trained specifically to break the Geneva Conventions and “finish off” wounded and surrendered soldiers after an ambush.(20)

Former CIA officer Phil Giraldi would note that “CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The [Central Intelligence] Agency has refused to sign off on the claims. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.”(21)

And while US allies openly supported al-Qaeda and ISIS under US supervision, the US armed supposedly “moderate” factions who were working alongside the terrorists, committing the same kinds of atrocities while funneling US-supplied weapons to them.(22)

US intelligence as well foresaw the rise of an “Islamic State” given all of this support for an extremist dominated opposition, yet saw the development as strategically beneficial and therefore increased its level of assistant in the following years.(23)

All of this culminating in a sectarian opposition dominated by al-Qaeda and ISIS.(24)

Currently Turkey and Saudi Arabia are openly supporting al-Qaeda and various other jihadi entities, while Qatar maintains good relations with al-Nusra and Turkey as well supports the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia too shows no convincing evidence that it has stopped supporting ISIS, while the CIA still supports up to 10,000 rebels under a program which has mainly gone to aid “hard-line Islamists.” In addition, the US has been instrumental in facilitating Pentagon-supported rebels to fight alongside jihadi extremists.(25)

The anti-ISIS coalition, made up of the main states which were instrumental in supporting ISIS’ rise, has predictably been a complete failure. Turkey, although officially taking part in the coalition, continues to support ISIS, while the jihadi group has only increased in strength as a result of the illegal US bombings which have massacred hundreds of civilians.(26)

Like Libya, where US intervention created chaos and proliferated extremism, Syria is now a magnet for aspiring terrorists, a land overrun by violent extremists and foreign-manufactured war and therefore contributes the most significant number of refugees out of any country to a global displacement crisis the likes of which has never been seen since the Second World War.

Yet it doesn’t end with Syria. As NATO and its ally’s attack the Syrian state by proxy, Russia has drawn a red-line and bolstered its Middle Eastern ally, effectively preventing a repeat of what occurred in Libya.

Given this, another front was opened up by the US against Russia in Ukraine, in what Stratfor chief George Friedman calls “the most blatant coup in history.”

Partly the culmination of inertia from decades of regime-change efforts and EU/NATO expansion, and partly utilized as a way to punish Russia for defying the US policy in Syria, the violent seizure of power in Ukraine was the result of an externalization by foreign powers of internal Ukrainian political divisions.

Ukraine is divided between east and west by two contrasting visions of Ukrainian statehood. The western regions predominantly adhere to what Professor Richard Sakwa titles a “monist nationalist” vision, a form of nationalism which prioritizes the need to create an officially monolingual, unitary, and culturally specific “Ukrainian” state distinct from its neighbors, mainly Russia. This model seeks to restore an idealized vision of statehood, not to reflect the existing, pluralistic realities of the current Ukrainian society, and seeks greater relations with the EU and the West. At the extreme ends of this model are the militant ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi groups. The contrasting vision of statehood predominantly held by those in the south and east is that pluralism, which appeals to the principle of national inclusivity for all of the country’s disparate peoples, while still upholding a shared Ukrainian identity. This model thus opposes the nationalizing strain of the monists and favors strong and cooperative relations with Russia.(27)

The West’s decision to use the EU Association Agreement as a means to leverage Ukraine out of Russia’s and into its own orbit of influence, giving Yanukovych an ultimatum while ruling out calls by him and Russia for a negotiated settlement(28), saw the West ally itself with one half of the country against the other along a zero-sum, us-or-them mentality, exacerbating the internal tensions and eventually culminating in a violent seizure of power.

The US and EU provided financial, material, and political support to the opposition, whose militancy, propagandistically protected and enabled by the US, was led by far-right ultranationalist extremist the EU itself had denounced just years prior.(29)

The violent takeover of the state was endorsed by the US, although it was unconstitutional, broke an EU-brokered settlement agreed upon the day before, and saw unpopular ultra-nationalist leaders gain influential posts within the new government.(30)

A client administration was installed which immediately set out to silence any opposition to its rule. Given that the parties and politicians most supported in the east were driven out and purged as a result of the coup, the US-supported Kiev regime represented only the western regions and sought to instill its rule over a counter-coup revolt in the east that was rising up against it.(31)

Despite mirroring the exact same tactics used by the Maidan months before, Kiev and the West rejected the legitimacy of the eastern uprising and blamed it all solely on Russia, completely voiding out the humanity and legitimate grievances of the eastern Ukrainians, reducing them to nothing more than ‘terrorists’ and ‘Russian agents’ despite their shared desire for a unified Ukraine, albeit a differently envisioned unified Ukraine.(32)
Given a choice of negotiating with the differing views of the east or forcibly consolidating its rule by violently suppressing the dissent, Kiev launched a military campaign against its own citizens and their Russian backers at the behest of the United States.(33)

On its first launch, Kiev’s military was met by unarmed Ukrainian citizens. Mothers, grandmothers, and local inhabitants halted the tanks and soldiers, asking who they had come to fight, their own families and citizens?(34)

The convoy was forced to retreat, yet days after at again the behest of the US, the war machine was once again launched(35), this time succeeding in devastating and massacring the civilian populations in the east.

As the conflict has raged on, the unspoken of fact is that the Ukrainian military is targeting residential towns, villages, and buildings, causing countless civilian deaths while decimating the local infrastructure.(36)

It was because of this fateful decision of choosing to externalize all the blame on Russia for Ukraine’s internal political divisions while also launching a military operation to suppress the dissent against Kiev’s own violent seizure of power that so many families are being forced to flee from their homes.

Under the backdrop of Kiev shelling its own citizen population in the east was the Ukrainian addition to the refugee crisis born…

Much more can be said about all of this, and about many more interventions the US has embarked upon, yet the incontrovertible takeaway is the massive humanitarian toll and suffering that has been the result of all of this adventurism.

Many though are lining up to blame the West’s enemies for the humanitarian scourge of displacement that is occurring, however the common denominator in all these areas are not the presence of US enemies but of US aggression and meddling.

The same leaders and supporters of Western aggression who are attempting to use this crisis as a means to further their ignorant and militant narratives are most to blame for creating it with their prior displays of imperial aggression along the same narratives.

Any who profess concern over this inhumanity without calling for an end to the destructive interventions which are its causes are therefore only adding to the horrors they claim to seek to stop.

The imperial, exceptionalist mindset of the West which claims ownership for itself over the entirety of the world no matter how much death and destruction it causes is the true humanitarian catastrophe we now face in our times, of which this refugee crisis is unfortunately just one, inevitable symptom.


For another perspective, Afraa Dagher, an architect and political activist living in Syria, lends an insightful look at this crisis from the eyes of someone living in the country most affected by it:

“Hundreds of thousands of refugees are continuing to flee from countries of conflict, in the Middle East and Africa.

The sad point is that many of those refugees are Syrians. Syria, the country which used to welcome refugees from the war zone countries, such as Palestine, Armenia, Somalia, Iraq and Libya. Syria, the country which was one of the safer countries in the world just years ago before this global plot and global proxy war on Syria.

Syrians cross in illegal ways from Syria to Turkey, then to Greece, Macedonia and Europe.

Most of them drown in the sea because of no safer automotive is affordable to transfer them, though they pay huge amounts of money to warmonger merchants who manage to provide the transfer facilities to them.

Those merchants most of them based in Turkey, also most of those refugees are fleeing from their camps in Turkey to Europe, the question is why do they leave Turkey now?

On the other side the west handles this crisis in a bad way, forces on the border, more borders controlled, more fences. So there is no real solution, the west is really far from a solution.

At the same time the west blames Syria all the time for Palestinian refugees, accuses Syria of besiege them, which is not true at all, Palestinians in Syria have same Syrians rights, however they are also under terrorists attack as well as Syrians.

While Germany eases the rules of migration for those refugees and welcomes migrants, sets up camps, and calls for a conference to find a solution to deal better with those refugees.

Camps like these in Turkey and Jordan are not a solution, maybe Saudi and Qatar the two countries who funded the war against Syrians will send money to Europe as a help for those refugees expenses!, however these Arab gulfs countries didn’t welcome them, and didn’t help them in Jordan camps.

 Did Mrs. Merkel think of lifting sanctions on Syrian people, or to stop supporting the so-called moderate rebels?

Or the west see it is better to use this crisis against the Syrians’ homeland, to help Syrians to live in peace, as they used to do before the west intervention in Syria, is a better solution if the west was really interested in helping them. Destroying Syrians’ homeland and giving them the name: refugee, is another catastrophe for Arabs, it is enough to have one catastrophe, the Palestinian one.

Actually the reason behind this crisis which is considered the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two, is the western policy towards the Middle East, the interventions in these countries, bombing countries like Libya by NATO, nurturing the radical terrorist opposition organizations like in Syria under the name of freedom seekers, creating the chaos as in Iraq.

Also destroying the economy in these countries as in Syria, when Europe and USA imposed sanction on Syrians, which increased the poverty, simultaneously when bombing the infrastructures of Syria by the so-called moderate rebels, who are backed by the west.

Some wrote the refugee crisis is promoted by civil war! while it is promoted by the west’s intervention in these countries, it is a global crisis and a global responsibility.

There is some agenda of evacuating the original people of countries like Syria, by committed massacres against them by the terrorist organizations, and to escalate the war in their countries, so they leave their countries which turned into war zone countries, and they seek human asylum.

And it will not be weird if the west used this card against our governments, to bomb Syria is a dream of some west leaders, they always want to do it under any pretext, regardless if many refugees are from Africa and countries like Libya, regardless of the Palestinian refugees since 1948, regardless of what is going on now against Yemeni people.”


For more from Afraa, follow her @syrianasoldier on Twitter, “Afraa Dagher” on Facebook, and her blog at


  1. Rick Lyman, “Treatment of Migrants Evokes Memories of Europe’s Darkest Hour.” The New York Times, 4 September 2015.; Only 0.25 million of Syria’s total 20 million refugees (less than 2% of the total) have made it to Europe. Syrian refugees are not allowed to apply for asylum in embassies of EU countries in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan where they mostly are accumulated, so they must travel illegally to EU countries in order to exercise their right of applying for asylum. The discussed EU quota plan to allow application before entering the EU only includes 20,000, or 0.2% of the Syrian refugees. So the EU essentially does everything it can to stop more than 99% of the Syrian refugees from applying for the asylum they are legally entitled to. “Where Are the Syrian Refugees?” Gapminder Foundation, 9 June 2015.; However, Germany’s “open door” policy is helping as 8,000 refugees recently entered the country. Yet still, in 2014 only around 45% of asylum applications made to European governments were accepted, at least half were turned away. Katrin Bennhold, et al., “Germans Welcome Migrants After Long Journey Through Hungary and Austria.” The New York Times, 5 September 2015.
  2. “Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response – Mediterranean.” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) The UN Refugee Agency. Accessed on 9/5/15.
  3. Patrick Boehler & Sergio Peçanha, “The Global Refugee Crisis, Region by Region.” The New York Times, 26 August 2015.
  4. Ed Haas, “FBI says, ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.’” Muckraker Report, 6 June 2006.
  5. Rory McCarthy, “New offer on Bin Laden.” The Guardian, 17 October 2001.; “Noam Chomsky: US-led Afghan War, Criminal.” Press TV, 3 November 2010.
  6. Nafeez Ahmed, “The bin Laden death mythology.” Medium, 3 July 2015.
  7. “The first moves from Washington made it clear that the anti-terror war would be waged without any confrontation with Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, two close US allies, despite the fact that without the involvement of these two countries 9/11 was unlikely to have happened.” “The ‘war on terror’ has failed because it did not target the jihadi movement as a whole and, above all, was not aimed at Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the two countries that fostered jihadism as a creed and a movement.” Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (New York and London: Verso, 2015), pp. 4, 58.
  8. The ‘Declaration of Principles’ document stipulated extensive US military influence (i.e. control) over Iraq’s security policy, never mentioning a US military withdrawal. In terms of the ‘economic sphere’ the two parties agreed upon the principle of “Facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments…” Text of the “Declaration of Principles” between Iraq and the United States, issued by the White House on Nov. 26, 2007.; Bill Van Auken, “Bush rejects congressional ban on permanent bases in Iraq.” World Socialist Web Site, 1 February 2008.; Noam Chomsky, “It’s the Oil, Stupid!” info, 23 May 2015.
  9. Ezgi Basaran, “Former CIA officer says US policies helped create IS.” Al-Monitor, 2 September 2014.
  10. A 2008 US Army-commissioned RAND report outlines a ‘Divide and Rule’ strategy for US engagement in the region, noting that the strategy “focuses on exploiting fault lines between various SJ (Salafi-jihadi) groups to turn them against each other…” The report calls for the US to “capitalize on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes… and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world” while as well maintaining “a strong strategic relationship with the Iraqi Shiite government.” The report confirms that the ‘Divide and Rule’ strategy was already being deployed in Iraq “to create divisions in the jihadist camp. Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used at the tactical level,” by forming “temporary alliances” with al-Qaeda affiliated “nationalist insurgent groups.” Although they have directly fought against the US for four years and “cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces,” these groups are now being supported to exploit “the common threat that al-Qaeda now poses to both parties.” Christopher G. Pernin et al., “Unfolding the Future of the Long War.” RAND Corporation, 2008.; Nafeez Ahmed, “Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS.” Insurge Intelligence, 22 May 2015.; Early on during the invasion the US covertly supplied arms to al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents while propping up a Shia-dominated government. Pakistani defense sources confirmed to Asia Times that ‘former Ba’ath party’ loyalists were being supplied Pakistani-manufactured weapons by the US. These ‘former Ba’ath party’ loyalists were being recruited and trained by al-Qaeda in Iraq under the leadership of Abu Musab Zarqawi. The arms “could not be destined for the Iraqi security forces because US arms would be given to them”, a source told Asia Times’ Pakistan bureau chief Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was “known for his exposes of the Pakistani military” according to the New Yorker, and was murdered in 2011. Syed Saleem Shahzad, “US fights back against ‘rule by clerics.’” Asia Times, 15 February, 2005.; Nafeez Ahmed, “Caught red-handed.” The Raw Story, 23 September, 2005.; Nafeez Ahmed, “How the west created the Islamic State.” Insurge Intelligence, 11 September 2014.; According to a report for the US Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) and Strategic Studies Department titled “Dividing Our Enemies”, post-invasion Iraq strategy relied upon pursuing public legitimacy through social welfare programs while simultaneously delegitimizing local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, even though this would harm civilians. The report notes that Iraq post-invasion was “an interesting case study of fanning discontent among enemies, leading to ‘red-against-red’ [enemy-against-enemy] firefights,” this strategy however “involves no effort to win over those caught in the crossfire of insurgent and counterinsurgent warfare, whether by bullet or broadcast. On the contrary, this underside of the counterinsurgency coin is calculated to exploit or create divisions among adversaries for the purpose of fomenting enemy-on-enemy deadly encounters.” The ‘enemies’ included jihadis, Ba’athists, as well as peaceful Sufis. “Evidence of factional fighting between the residents came to light with nightly gun battles not involving coalition forces. These firefights between insurgent factions represented the impact of U.S. psychological operations (PSYOP), which took advantage of and deepened the intra-insurgent forces. The PSYOP contingent cleverly crafted programs to exploit Zarqawi’s murderous activities and to broadcast them countrywide, thereby diminishing his folk-hero image among Iraqis. Although the jihadis and Baathists shared hostility to the U.S. military forces surrounding Fallujah, their mutual antipathy to each other presented an opportunity to turn them against each other.” Thomas H. Henriksen, “Dividing Our Enemies.” Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), November 2005.; Nafeez Ahmed, “How the west created the Islamic State.” Insurge Intelligence, 11 September 2014.; US employs the “Salvadorian Option” for Iraq utilizing Shi’ite paramilitaries to lethally quell Sunni uprisings. Michael Hirsh and John Barry, “The Salvador Option.” Newsweek, 9 January 2005.; Mona Mahmood et al., “Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres.” The Guardian, 6 March 2013.; Mona Mahmood, et al., “From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington’s man behind brutal police squads.” The Guardian, 6 March 2013.; According to the UK based monitoring group Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) Iraq topped the worlds ‘most dangerous’ places list in June of 2015. “Iraq tops ‘most dangerous’ place in world list.” RT, 22 June 2015.
  11. Hein de Haas, “Trans-Saharan Migration to North Africa and the EU: Historical Roots and Current Trends.” Migration Policy Institute, 1 November 2006.; Dan Murphy, “How the fall of Qaddafi gave rise to Europe’s migrant crisis.” Christian Science Monitor, 21 April 2015.
  12. “How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror: An Interim Report by the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi.” Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, 22 April 2014.; “Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.” Praveen Swami, et al., “Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links.” The Telegraph, 25 March 2011.
  13. “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records.” Combating Terrorism center at West Point, 2007.; Rob Crilly, “Libya: Benghazi about to fall… then came the planes.” The Telegraph, 20 March 2011.…-then-came-the-planes.html; Sam Greenhill, “Flying proudly over the birthplace of Libya’s revolution, the flag of Al Qaeda.” The Daily Mail, 2 November 2011.
  14. Seymour Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line.” London Review of Books, 17 April 2014.; A declassified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document dated October of 2012 confirms the existence, as well as the Obama administration awareness of, the ‘rat line,’ “Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.” Judicial Watch, 18 May 2015.
  15. Craig Whitlock, “U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show.” Washington Post, 17 April 2011.; “US trains activists to evade security forces.” AFP, 8 April 2011.; Ron Nixon, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings.” The New York Times, 14 April 2011.
  16. The Global Intelligence Files, “INSIGHT – military intervention in Syria, post withdrawal status of forces.” WikiLeaks, 6 March 2012.
  17. Sibel Edmonds breaks the story on the existence of a secret US-NATO base in Turkey, and further explains its operations to organize and expand the dissident base, smuggle in weapons, conduct psychological operations and information warfare, and to funnel intelligence and military operators across the border.   Sibel Edmonds, “BFP Exclusive: Syria- Secret US-NATO Training & Support Camp to Oust Current Syrian President.” BoilingFrogsPost, 21 November 2011.; James Corbett interviews former Syrian journalist Nizar Nayouf, previously imprisoned for 10 years for speaking out against the Syrian government, who accounts how hundreds of foreign soldiers were seen moving back and forth near the Jordanian-Syrian border. James Corbett, “BREAKING: US Troops Deploying on Jordan-Syria Border.” CorbettReport, 11 December 2011.
  18. Greg Miller et al., “Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut.” Washington Post, 12 June 2015.; David E. Sanger, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria.” The New York Times, 14 October 2012.
  19. Aaron Klein, “Blowback! U.S. Trained Islamists Who Joined ISIS.” WND, 17 August 2014.
  20. “They trained us to ambush regime or enemy vehicles and cut off the road. They also trained us on how to attack a vehicle, raid it, retrieve information or weapons and munitions, and how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.” “Syria: Arming the Rebels.” Frontline, 27 May 2014.; The Conventions offer protections to wounded combatants, and prisoners of war must be humanely treated at all times. “Reference Guide to the Geneva Conventions.” Society of Professional Journalists.
  21. Philip Giraldi, “NAO vs. Syria.” The American Conservative, 19 December 2011.
  22. Josh Rogin, “America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS.” The Daily Beast, 14 June 2014.; “Biden: Turks, Saudis, UAE funded and armed Al Nusra and Al Qaeda.” Mideast Shuffle, 4 October 2014.; “General Dempsey acknowledges U.S. Arab allies funding ISIS.” C-SPAN, 20 September 2014.; All of this was coordinated out of US-led operation rooms in Turkey and Jordan, Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition.” The New York Times, 21 June 2012.; Mark Hosenball, “Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels.” Reuters, 1 August 2012.; Adam Entous, et al., “A Veteran Saudi Power Player Works To Build Support to Topple Assad.” The Wall Street Journal, 25 August 2013.; FSA commander: “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front”, Elise Knutsen, “Frustration drives Arsal’s FSA into ISIS ranks.” The Daily Star, September 8, 2014.; US-backed SRF commander: “If the people who support us tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them. They [Jabhat al-Nusra] asked us a month ago to send weapons to Yabroud so we sent a lot of weapons there. When they asked us to do this, we do it.” Isabel Hunter, “’I am not fighting against al-Qa’ida… it’s not our problem’, says West’s last hope in Syria.” The Independent, April 2nd, 2015.; US-backed commander Okaidi: “My relationship with the brothers in ISIL is good… I communicate almost daily with brothers in ISIL… the relationship is good, even brotherly… They [al-Nusra] did not exhibit any abnormal behavior, which is different from that of the FSA.” Joshua Landis, “US Key Man in Syria Worked Closely with ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra.”; Then US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford admits US-backed rebels collaborated with ISIS and al-Qaeda, Brad Hoff. Levant Report, May 25th, 2015.
  23. Nafeez Ahmed, “Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS: Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion.’” Insurge Intelligence, 22 May 2015.; Nafeez Ahmed, “Ex-intel officials: Pentagon report proves US complicity in ISIS.” Insurge Intelligence, 2 June 2015.
  24. “…the Syrian military opposition is dominated by ISIS and by Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda representative, in addition to other extreme jihadi groups. In reality, there is no dividing wall between them and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies.” Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (New York and London: Verso, 2015), pp. 3.
  25. Desmond Butler, “Turkey Officials Confirm Pact With Saudi Arabia to Help Rebels Fighting Syria’s Assad.” Huffington Post, 7 May; Kim Sengupta, “Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria.” The Independent, 12 May 2015.; “Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group…” Mariam Karouny, “Syria’s Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity.” Reuters, 4 March 2015.; Former Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) officer blows the whistle on MIT organizing and coordinating “all incursions of jihadi murderers from Turkey to Syrian territory.” Heba, “Part 2: Stunning revelations from former Turkish Intelligence Agency officer.” The Arab Source, 1 March 2015.; Humeyra Pamuk et al., “Exclusive – Turkish intelligence helped ship arms to Syrian Islamist rebel areas.” Reuters, 21 May 2015.; Despite some signs of retrenchment in their ISIS-supporting policy, like crackdowns on Saudi fighters heading for Syria and the removal of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia shows no convincing evidence apart from verbal denials that it isn’t continuing to facilitate ISIS funding. The official narrative is that it is private Saudi donors that fund ISIS while the state is unable to stop them. This strains belief as the state is ruled by an iron fist. If any change has occurred it is likely to be that the Saudi state has taken steps to distance its involvement while it continues to use wealthy donors, who presumably provided the funds that were then transferred by the state all along, as its proxies; The CIA rebel train-and-equip program, separate from the Pentagons program, has aupported “nearly 10,000 fighters” over the past several years, Greg Miller et al., “Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut.” Washington Post, 12 June 2015.; According to US intelligence, this CIA program has from the beginning largely gone to aid “hard-line Islamists”, David E. Sanger, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria.” The New York Times, 14 October 2012.; Rebel commanders confirm that US-led operation rooms “specifically encouraged a closer cooperation with Islamists commanding frontline operations.” The US-led operations rooms were “instrumental in facilitating their [Islamists] involvement in the [Idlib] operation from early April onwards.” Charles Lister, “Why Assad Is Losing.” 5 May 2015.
  26. Nafeez Ahmed, “Why the war on ISIS will fail.” Middle East Eye, 16 December 2014.; Kadri Gursel, “Turkish daily exposes transfer of weapons to IS.” Al-Monitor, 1 September 2015.; Jim Michaels, “Islamic State recruiting offsets 15,000 killed by airstrikes in past year.” USA Today, 29 July 2015.; “The ‘Islamic State’ is stronger than it was when it was first proclaimed on 29 June last year…” Patrick Cockburn, “Isis, a year of the caliphate: Have US tactics only helped to make Islamists more powerful?” The Independent, 26 June 2015.; Alice Ross, “Hundreds of civilians killed in US-led air strikes on Isis targets – report.” The Guardian, 3 August 2015.
  27. “Thus the monist model is one of integrated nationalism, in which the state is a nationalising one, drawing on the tradition of Ukrainism to fill the existing borders with a content sharply distinguished from Russia. It would be officially monolingual, unitary and culturally specific.” “The core of the problem is an ideological one. At the heart of the monist model… the aim is not to reflect existing realities, above all the different histories of the territories making up contemporary Ukraine, but to restore some idealised vision of that statehood.” “This brings us to the second paradigm of Ukrainian state development, which I call the pluralist to denote its appeal to broad principles of national inclusiveness. At root, this model proposes that the post-Communist Ukrainian state is home to many disparate peoples, reflecting its long history of fragmented statehood and the way that its contemporary borders include territories with very different histories, but that they all share an orientation to a civic Ukrainian identity.” “The pluralist model argues that all the peoples making up contemporary Ukraine have an equal stake in the development of the country, and thus opposes the nationalising strain…” “The monist view is obviously stronger in the western part of the country, while the pluralist approach is stronger in the east and the south.” Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 15, 21, 23, 24.
  28. The EU gives Yanukovych an ultimatum to either sign with them or sign with Russia, but rejects a joint deal amidst calls from Yanukovych and Russia for tripartite discussions to resolve the differences. “Ukraine ‘still wants to sign EU deal.’” Al Jazeera, 29 November 2013.; “The idea that Russia opposed Ukraine’s association with the EU needs to be modified by an understanding that the struggle prior to the planned signing of the Association Agreement sought to align Ukraine with the EEU [the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union], but not necessarily to force Ukraine to join it. In part, the campaign was an attempt to get the EU to engage in a genuine dialogue about the conditions on which Ukraine would sign up to association with the EU, including security issues. This campaign was conducted in a typically heavy-handed and alienating manner, with bans, boycotts and the like accompanied by some ferocious rhetoric from Sergei Glazyev and others, but some genuine issues were raised. Above all, Russia repeatedly warned that it would take measures to stop poor-quality Ukrainian and relabeled EU goods flooding into the Russian market once better-quality EU goods had free access to Ukraine. The compatibility of two free-trade areas is a matter that should, and could, have been sorted out calmly by technocrats on both sides but instead became politicized.” Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 206; For more on this, see my “The Mistaken Analysis on Ukraine.” Reports from Underground, 6 September 2014.
  29. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland confirms that the US has invested $5 billion in Ukraine since 1991 to “support the Ukrainians.” “Regime Change in Kiev.” Information Clearing House, 9 February 2014.; However, in terms of these ‘democracy promotion’ programs, International Relations scholar John J. Mearsheimer notes that “and when you talk about promoting democracy, what you’re really talking about is putting in power leaders who are pro-Western and anti-Russian… promoting democracy, which was all about putting in power pro-Western leaders.” Mearsheimer quoted in Labor Beat YouTube recording, 26 January 2015.; “it is clear that Washington backed the coup. Nuland and Republican Senator John McCain participated in antigovernment demonstrations, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, proclaimed after Yanukovych’s toppling that it was “a day for the history books.” As a leaked telephone recording revealed, Nuland had advocated regime change and wanted the Ukrainian politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk to become prime minister in the new government, which he did.” John J. Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault.” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2014.; The militancy of the EuroMaidan was led by ultranationalist groups Svoboda and Right Sector. The violence was protected by Obama in his repeated public references to the protests as being wholly “nonviolent”, giving them the green light to continue the violence without fears of reprisals from the West; In 2012 the EU condemned the Svoboda party, whose members gained top ministerial positions and seats on the parliament following the February coup. “European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the situation in Ukraine,” Section 8.
  30. Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 93, 94, 95.
  31. Richard Sakwa, Chapter 6 “When History Comes Calling”, “Purging the State”, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 135-140; “Only two ministers from the entire south and east, covering half the country, joined the 21-person cabinet [of the government following the February coup]… No posts were given to PoR [Party of Regions, the party the south and east most predominantly supported]…” Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 95; “…but in fact the objective has been to put down and humiliate Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population. The radical nationalists of western Ukraine, for whom the rejection of Russia and its culture is an article of faith, intend to force the rest of the country to fit their narrow vision.” Vladimir Golstein, “Why everything you’ve read about Ukraine is wrong.” Forbes, 19 May 2014.
  32. “The storming of government offices in the west of the country in the final months of Yanukovych’s rule was considered something entirely different – part of the revolutionary surge in support of monist nationalism – whereas now the ‘anti-Maidan’ insurgency using the same tactics in support of pluralism was called a terrorist movement.” “The fundamental inability of Kiev and its Western allies to understand that this was not simply an ‘invasion’ but a genuine revolt against a particular type of statehood that had long been unpopular in the south-east, and that the Ukrainian revolution only intensified, meant that they could not recognize the political subjectivity of the rebellion as a force with which there should be dialogue. Instead, labelling the insurgents ‘terrorists’ meant not only that their political identity was negated but also that their very humanity was dismissed, allowing untold cruelties to be inflicted upon the region.” Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 151, 181.
  33. Just hours after CIA Director John Brennan ‘secretly’ travelled to Ukraine and held consultation with the new Kiev authorities, Kiev announced the first launch of its military crackdown of the protests in the east. Daria Chernyshova, RIA Novosti, 18 April 2014.
  34. “Dozens of Ukrainian troops surrender APCs in Slavyansk, refuse to ‘shoot at own people.’” RT, 16 April 2014.
  35. Again only hours after a high-level US official travels to consult with the Kiev authorities, this time by Vice President Joe Biden, Kiev re-launches its ‘Anti-Terror Operation’ against rebels in the east. “Ukraine relaunches anti-rebel operation after Biden departure.” Agence France-Presse, 23 April 2014.
  36. Vladimir Ruban, retired Colonel-General of the officer corps of Ukraine, admits in an interview on Hromadske TV that the Ukrainian military has been shelling civilians: “I want to offer the Ukrainian artillerists medals, to those who shell the city [Donetsk], the houses and the civilian population… For they have deserved it. Both because of the accuracy and inaccuracy… The shelling there is done as intimidation. It has a different purpose: not just object destruction, but intimidation. The civilian population is intimidated by a chaotic bombardment of different objects. There are many shells that plug directly into the streets or vegetable gardens.” YouTube.; Also, journalists from the Russian RenTV news agency have allegedly recovered documents left after battle by Ukrainian soldiers which show residential areas and civilian buildings being specifically targeted. YouTube.; “Ukrainian soldiers confess to murder of mother and daughter: prosecutor.” Reuters, 17 June 2015.; “Ukraine: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians.” Human Rights Watch, 24 July 2014.

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