Updated: The Goal Has Always Been Regime Change in Syria

syrian-revolutionMost Americans think the current war plans are really about war on ISIS. The long game continues to be regime change in Damascus. Americans should simply pay closer attention to what the top command is saying in very plain terms.

Hagel couldn’t have been any clearer in his Senate Armed Services Committee testimony Sept. 16:

As we pursue this program, the United States will continue to press for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict resulting in the end of the Assad regime. Assad has lost all legitimacy to govern, and has created the conditions that allowed ISIL and other terrorist groups to gain ground and terrorize and slaughter the Syrian population. The United States will not coordinate or cooperate with the Assad regime. We will also continue to counter Assad through diplomatic and economic pressure.

As many other commentators have said before me, bombing ISIS inside Syria (without Syrian approval, which amounts to an attack on a sovereign state) is but a Trojan Horse backdoor attempt to accomplish the regime change Obama pushed for a year ago.

Plans for regime change in Syria were discussed very publicly in Washington going back to the 1990’s (esp. PNAC and the neo-cons), and again in the early 2000’s (immediately after Saddam was toppled).

Understand that plans for the current bloodbath in Syria were made long ago in Washington. Read the following Time Magazine article from 2006 entitled “Syria in Bush’s Crosshairs.”

Current war plans leave even the likes of academic Syria experts baffled. Joshua Landis expressed in frustration on his Twitter feed today: “HAGEL SAYS END OF ASSAD REGIME IS U.S. GOAL IN SYRIA & political solution?! How would this work? Makes no sense me.” No one should assume that the people in charge of the White House’s Syria policy actually care about people in Syria or Iraq.

Last year, the White House decided it was time to push for direct military intervention against Damascus, using as a pretext the August 21 chemical attack incident. If you still believe “Assad gassed his own people” please read this article I wrote based entirely on mainstream admissions concerning CW usage in Syria (the United Nations final report, establishment media outlets, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the major defense tech. contractor Tesla Labs).

A lot has been invested in the three year long push to oust Assad. For the Gulf states, the U.S., Turkey, Israel, Cameron’s Britain, it is inconceivable that the Syrian state overcame the plot and still endures intact.

So now plan B is in effect…

I hope that I am wrong, but here are my predictions of what we’re about to see:

1) The U.S. will bomb ISIS sites inside Syria.

2) Washington will continue to warn the Assad regime not to interfere while coalition jets fly over Syrian territory.

3) Either ISIS or a so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition group will use one of the many MANPADS now in their hands to down a U.S./Western military plane. (Both ISIS and Syrian rebels have every incentive do this! See #4)

4) Downed jet incident will be pinned on the Syrian regime, and U.S. will respond (as promised) by simply expanding the scope of its campaign to bombing Syrian government facilities.

5) U.S. will attack by air both ISIS and Syrian government sites while claiming to wage “war on terror” on two fronts

6) U.S. equipped/trained Syrian opposition rebels will attempt to move in to bombed out government facilities


UPDATE: My colleague Charles Johnson provides some excellent and insightful analysis—

Obama’s current plan is so unlikely to succeed that surely it won’t even be attempted: Apart from the grave challenges of shifting alliances between ISIS and the moderates and Syrian forces, even if a “moderate” rebel force could be trained and armed well enough to combine with air power to bring Assad down, 5 or 10 thousand are far too few to prevent ISIS from controlling large areas. It’s doomed to fail militarily and/or generate a colossal catastrophe for civilians.
It may not be obvious now, but if it does happen it will be deemed obvious or at least likely. American voters are jaded enough (thank God) by the combined ineptitude of Bush and Obama that they wouldd react with unprecedented fury if they perceive sufficient care was not not taken to avoid those outcomes.  Our politicians are astute enough to realize this.
Therefore the eventual plan will either be to figure a way to send in large numbers of American troops, or else  be content with destroying Assad’s air defenses alone, thus leaving him in power.  But the latter is intolerable to the neocons, therefore I predict the former. But it will take a lot more than a downed U.S. plane or two to move public opinion that far.
Now there are new calls for a no-fly zone in Syria.  First we invade Syria’s sovereignty by unilateral air strikes.  Now they’ll be forbidden to operate in their own airspace?  Why not just go ahead and ask Syria to turn its entire military over?
The call for a no-fly zone is clearly designed to prevent the Syrian regime from defending itself from our proxy army (the “moderate” rebels) there.  It made sense that Syria didn’t employ its air defenses against U.S. planes.  But they will surely not accept a no-fly zone.  Surely they will respond militarily, which may present the provocation the U.S. is looking for.

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