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Alexander Mercouris

The Politicians Are Scaring You Again

Fear Twisted

They are doing it again. “They” are the war-party politicians, Democrats and Republicans. “It” is scaring you into supporting another war in the Middle East.

When will the American people learn? If in a republic the people are the ultimate check on government power, a gullible, easily frightened public is a disaster waiting to happen. Where is the derisive skepticism Americans are reputed to feel toward politicians? A high-ranking official and, say, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour need only say “Boogeyman!” and Americans line up for orders.

“Americans are increasingly concerned that ISIS represents a direct terror threat, fearful that ISIS agents are living in the United States, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll. Most now support military action against the terrorist group,” CNN reported in September. “Seven in 10 Americans believe ISIS has the resources to launch an attack against the United States.”

Administration officials leave the impression that the Islamic State (ISIS), which holds territory in Iraq and Syria, directly threatens Americans at home, although when pressed, these officials won’t say this outright. In interviews President Obama says there is no “immediate intelligence” concerning a threat, but he insists the U.S. military must strike ISIS now or else…
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Seven Worst-Case Scenarios in the Battle With the Islamic State

You know the joke? You describe something obviously heading for disaster -- a friend crossing Worst CaseDeath Valley with next to no gas in his car -- and then add, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Such is the Middle East today. The U.S. is again at war there, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria, advising here, droning there, coalition-building in the region to loop in a little more firepower from a collection of recalcitrant allies, and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground.

Here, then, are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer. After all, with all that military power being brought to bear on the planet’s most volatile region, what could possibly go wrong?
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From Pol Pot to ISIS: 'Anything That Flies on Everything That Moves'

Pol Pot Bodies

In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”.

As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.

As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of “fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders”. Once Nixon’s and Kissinger’s B52 bombers had gone to work as part of “Operation Menu”, the west’s ultimate demon could not believe his luck.
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Urgent: Right-Left Alliance Needed to Stop This War!

Last year, public pressure played a big role in stopping US missile strikes on Syria. The biggest difference between then and now was that televisions weren't telling people that ISIS might be coming to their neighborhood to behead them. There were other, smaller differences as well: Britain's opposition, Russia's opposition, and the difficulty of explaining to Americans that it now made sense to join a war on the same side as al Qaeda.

But there's another big difference between last year and this year. Last year was not a Congressional election year. With elections coming this November, Congress declared an early vacation in September and fled town in order to avoid voting a new war up or down. It did this while fully aware that the President would proceed with the war illegally. Most Congress members, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Leader Harry Reid, believe that by allowing a war to happen without explicitly voting for or against it they can best win our votes for re-election without offending their funders.
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The Siege Of Kobani: Obama’s Syrian Fiasco In Motion

Kobani 1

Another humanitarian catastrophe may be just hours away at Kobani. The latter is the Syrian Kurdish town on the border with Turkey that is now surrounded by ISIS tanks and is being pounded day after day by ISIS heavy artillery. Already this lethal phalanx, which fuses 21st century American technology and equipment with 12th century religious fanaticism, has rolled through dozens of Kurdish villages and towns in the region around Kobani, sending 180,000 refugees fleeing for their lives across the border.

Self-evidently the lightly armed Kurdish militias desperately holding out in Kobani are fighting the right enemy — that is, the Islamic State. So why has Obama’s grand coalition not been able to relieve the siege?  Why haven’t American bombers and cruise missiles, for instance, been able to destroy the American tanks and artillery which a terrifying band of butchers has brought to bear on several hundred thousand innocent Syrian Kurds who have made this enclave their home for more than a century? Why has not NATO ally Turkey, with a 600,000 man military, 3,500 tanks and 1,000 modern aircraft and helicopters, done anything meaningful to help the imperiled Kurds?

Let’s see. The US is making perfunctory air strikes. Yet with no boots on the ground in the context of close urban combat in a city of 50,000 — a major air onslaught would result in massive civilian casualties. Although Obama already has much blood on his hands, he is apparently not ready for a Gaza-on-the-Euphrates.
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America’s Never-Ending War in the Middle East

Saudi King Obama

While President Obama continues—at least for now—to resist redeploying large numbers of U.S. soldiers to fight the Islamic State on the ground, the military components of the anti-Islamic State strategy he has laid out effectively recommit the United States to its post-9/11 template for never-ending war in the Middle East. In the end, such an approach can only compound the damage that has already been done to America’s severely weakened strategic position in the Middle East by its previous post-9/11 military misadventures. 

Thirteen years after the fact, most of America’s political and policy elites have yet to grasp the strategic logic that motivated the 9/11 attacks against the United States. Certainly, al-Qa’ida was not averse to damaging America’s economy and punishing its people. But Osama bin Laden knew that effects of this sort would be finite, and thus of limited strategic value; he had no illusions about destroying “the American way of life.”

The real objective of the 9/11 attacks was to prompt American overreaction: to goad Washington into launching prolonged military campaigns against Muslim lands. These campaigns would galvanise popular sentiment across the Muslim world against the United States, mobilise Middle Eastern publics against regional governments (like the one in bin Laden’s native Saudi Arabia) that cooperate politically and militarily with it, and rally them in favor of jihadi fighters who resist American domination. Looking ahead, the al-Qa’ida leader anticipated that local backlash against U.S. overreaction to a terrorist provocation would ultimately undermine the regional foundations of America’s ability to project massive amounts of military force into the Middle East, compelling it to disengage from the region and go home.
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Obama Invented Fake 'Threat' to Launch War on Syria

Cbs Article Display Khorasan

It has become abundantly clear, thanks especially to excellent reporting and analysis by Glenn Greenwald and Justin Raimondo, that the "Khorasan Group" threat used as the pretext for the US bombing of Syria was totally fabricated by the US government. The purpose was an attempt to legitimize what would otherwise be an illegal US attack.

In the immediate run-up to the US bombing of Syria, unnamed sources in the US government began leaking to the obedient US press corps ever-more fantastic tales about a new group of terrorists that were far more terrifying than ISIS (which we had just been told was far more terrifying than al-Qaeda). This new group, dubbed the "Khorasan Group" by the US government, was said by US officials to post a "direct and imminent threat to the United States."

The US strikes on Syria thwarted an "imminent attack" on the US homeland by the Khorasan Group, the US administration claimed, as reported by CNN. 

For the moment, as the US attacked Syria, we heard almost nothing about ISIS, the originally stated reason for the US strikes in the first place. The US administration had to hit ISIS immediately, "before we all get killed here at home," as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it at the time.
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Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan: As Bad As a Crime, a Blunder

Susan Rice Samantha Power 1

Having nearly provoked war over Ukraine with nuclear-armed Russia, the Obama administration has now launched a full-scale crusade in Iraq and Syria against the evil Saracens of ISIS.

America’s aerial might, including B-1 heavy bombers, is plastering ISIS miscreants. Washington’s Arab allies and rightwing governments in Canada and Australia have joined the fray. The British will be next.

ISIS reserved particular venom for the French, referring to them as “dirty, spiteful” French (the Brits will love this one) whose warplanes joined the bombing crusade.

The new plan seems to be: “Kill’em all and let God sort them out,” a Vietnam-era slogan echoing the original from the Middle Ages.

The real problem is that the White House’s strategy looks like it’s being run by two angry women, Susan Rice and UN ambassador Samantha Power. Neither they nor President Barack Obama seems to have any grasp of military or geopolitical strategy. It’s amateur hour driven by a frenzy of alarmist hysteria from politicians and the media.
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Gateway Policies: ISIS, Obama and US Financial Boots-on-the-Ground

Halliburton

President Obama’s neo-Cold War is not about ideology or respect for borders. It is about money and global power. The current battle over control of gateway nations - strategic locations in which private firms can establish the equivalent of financial boots-on-the-ground - is being waged in the Middle East and Ukraine under the auspices of freedom and western capitalism (er, “democracy”). In these global gateways, private banks can infiltrate resource-rich locales fortified by political will, public aid and military support to garner lucrative market advantages. ISIS poses a threat to global gateway control that transcends any human casualties. That’s why Congress decided to authorize funds to fight ISIS despite the risk.

The common thread of today’s global gateway nations appears to be oil. But even more valuable are the multitude of financing deals that would accompany building new pipelines, arming allies, and reconstructing civil-war-torn countries. Indeed, hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake in America’s wars of  “principle.”

Middle-East Gateways: ISIS and Money

Obama’s recent public address on fighting ISIS  had a dash of economy sprinkled in. For him, US economic policy is foreign policy. It is also a product of an American political-financial expansionary land-and-resource grab that has been going on for decades. Obama’s execution may be far less authoritative than President Eisenhower’s. But his neo-financial Cold War has similar elements to those initiated by Eisenhower and the American banking elite in the 1950s when they collaborated to project American power into more countries, using the military and a combination of public and private capital, as tools.
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The Airwaves Are Still Heaving With Spin Two Days After US Airstrikes Against Syria

Kerry Arab Saudi

Undoubtedly the attacks were timed to occur on the eve of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, so “Coalition” partners could cluster behind the decision to bomb a sovereign state, uninvited.

The irony, of course, is that they are doing so at the UN – the global political body that pledges to uphold international law, peace and stability, and the sanctity of the nation-state unit.

The goal this week will be to keep the “momentum” on a “narrative” until it sinks in.

On day one, heads of state from Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, the UK and France were paraded onto the podium to drum in the urgency of American strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra and other militant groups inside Syria.

Every American official – past and present - in the White House rolodex was hooked up to a microphone to deliver canned sound bites and drive home those “messages.” In between, video-game-quality footage of US strikes hitting their targets was aired on the hour; clips of sleek fighter jets refueling midair and the lone Arab female fighter pilot were dropped calculatingly into social media networks.

The global crew of journalists that descends annually on the UN for this star-studded political event, enthused over US President Barak Obama”s ability to forge a coalition that included five Arab Sunni states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE.
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