• Obama continues policies of Republican predecessors with even more zealousness.
By Richard Walker —
While George W. Bush and Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney used the pretext of 9-11 to launch their crusade that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, the deaths of thousands of American military personnel and the wounding of many thousands more in addition to well over a million Iraqis and Afghans, Obama has exploited the murders of two American journalists to justify his latest war declaration against ISIS, the terrorist army he helped create, and the Syrian government.
Bush and Cheney did not complete their neocon dream of reshaping the region to suit Israel and its Arab allies in countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar. Instead, Bush, Cheney, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz passed their neocon crown to Obama. In all likelihood, Obama’s hi-tech war of bombing from above with warplanes, jets, drones and cruise missiles could fulfill Cheney’s dream of destroying Syria as it is presently constituted and carving up Iraq into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite states.
Israel, which thrives on promoting conflict among its neighbors, has for decades been quietly persuading the Kurds in northern Iraq to declare independence, knowing it would lead to the breakup of the nation and provide Israel with a convenient ally since the Kurds have aided Israel in its covert attacks against Iran. More recently, Israel has sent special forces into Kurdistan to help the Kurds fight ISIS and maintain control of territory they hope to use to build a new independent state.
Obama’s war plan will see the coming to fruition of the long-held neocon objective of depriving the majority Shiites of Iraq of a unified Iraqi nation. Neocons expect it to leave Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon vulnerable to a future Israeli onslaught.
One of the stated objectives of Obama’s imperial war is to use Sunnis in Iraq, the ones who in the past fought the U.S. in places like Anbar province, to take the fight to ISIS on the ground because Obama is reluctant to put boots on the ground, fearing a backlash from the American public. None of his partners is offering to undertake that role.
Like the Kurds, those Sunnis will want more than money and weapons from Washington in return for their help. They will demand their own piece of Iraq as payment once ISIS is defeated (if it ever really can be). That will mean Iraq will be split into three, leaving the Shiite majority having to accept a much smaller country to rule.
In the meantime, to placate Sunni Arab rulers like the Saudis, Obama announced he will not only defeat ISIS but will remove President Bashar al-Assad’s government from power in Syria. By attacking Syria, he will not only violate the UN charter governing Syria’s sovereignty but will also be guilty of a war crime by bombing a foreign country and financing a civil war within it.
The coalition that Obama has bragged about creating to fight ISIS and Syria looks more like a “Coalition of the Unwilling” since most of the 16 nations promising support will not be putting planes in the air, troops on the ground or providing hard cash. According to The Fiscal Times, it has already cost America $560 million and will likely cost $7.5 million per day, resulting in an outlay of more than $15 billion a year.
The Syrian element of his new war is vital to keep Turkey, Jordan and Israel on board. For several years, they have been the major facilitators arming and training the militias trying to overthrow Syria’s democratically-elected president.
Obama is promising to destroy ISIS from the air in Syria while training and arming other militias in Syria to continue the killing on the ground in that country. Obama has never appreciated the inter-connectivity of Islamic militias, which makes this goal impossible.
After all, to date, Obama has singularly failed to separate friend from foe in Syria, resulting in the fact that many of the militias he backed in the past three years morphed into ISIS, the group he now claims he wants to destroy.
Standing in the way of all of Obama’s war plans is Russia, Syria’s ally. An East European diplomat who has spoken to this newspaper before about Moscow’s view of events in the Middle East had this to say about the new American war:
“Obama’s decision to openly declare war on Syria will further draw a line in the sand with Moscow. Obama is like a nutty professor who blows up his own laboratory because he does not understand how volatile the compounds are that he is handling. Moscow suspects he will use the pretext of bombing ISIS targets in Syria to hit Syrian military installations at the same time. One thing is certain: Vladimir Putin will not stand idly by and let him do this or remove Syria from the map.”
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.
The War President
• Obama ready and willing to light fuse of any powder keg
By Victor Thorn
On December 10, 2009, Barack Hussein Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, and he’s long since touted himself as a president who ends wars, not starts them. Yet Obama’s rhetoric hasn’t matched his actions in terms of decreasing United States military interventions and weapons trafficking across all parts of the world.
Only weeks after Obama’s inauguration, the White House sent an additional 50,000 troops into Afghanistan. In the years since, he has waged hundreds of drone strikes across Pakistan and Eurasia. He has also called for numerous air strikes targeting parts of Yemen and Somalia.
Less than a year after taking office, the Obama administration engineered a vast gun-running operation to Mexican drug cartels known as Fast and Furious. One of these firearms was used to kill U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
In 2011, the Obama administration’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led forces invaded Libya, leaving that country in ruins to this day. Worse, out of a consulate in Benghazi, Libya, high-level armaments were surreptitiously funneled to rebels in Syria trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Obama may not have bombed Iran, but considering how he’s now trying to pick a fight with Russian President Vladimir Putin, countries on multiple continents from Central America, Asia and Africa are in his crosshairs.
But that’s only the beginning.
As this newspaper has pointed out, ISIS was largely formed in the aftermath of the Obama administration’s funding of Syrian rebels. On September 8, Agence France-Presse reported that ISIS jihadists were toting M-16 assault rifles and antitank rockets originally supplied to Syrian rebels by the U.S. military via Saudi Arabia.
This administration’s warmongering has also extended into Iraq, where in the last few weeks the U.S. military has orchestrated over 150 bombings. Today, nearly 1,500 U.S. ground troops—conveniently called “advisors”—have been dispatched to Iraq. These men will be joining approximately 66,000 private mercenaries that the Pentagon admits are still working in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If these numbers seem alarming, consider that the Obama administration has spent a staggering $560 million in Iraq in July and August alone. During his highly publicized September 10 prime-time news conference, Obama implored Congress to approve $500 million more to arm and train Syrian rebels at U.S.-run Saudi military bases. He also sought more funds to reconstitute the Iraqi army. Both of these moves mean more boots on the ground in a continuation of the Bush regime’s Mideast conflict—and more taxpayer dollars.
What’s taking place here is a none-too-subtle form of “mission creep” that mirrors U.S. involvement in Vietnam 50 years ago.
On September 10, former Obama Pentagon advisor Rosa Brooks voiced her displeasure with this latest Mideast escalation: “How did this group that came in determined to remedy the Bush administration’s overreach . . . end up embroiled in a far more open-ended conflict that has just as far-reaching consequences?”
Ms. Brooks is not the only one who’s frustrated. On September 10, this reporter interviewed Bryan Welton, development and membership coordinator for the War Resisters League.
Referencing Obama’s tacit approval of covert gunrunning, Welton stated: “The U.S. military produces a surplus of weapons that goes beyond arming our soldiers. So, the Obama administration sells them off to foreign governments or creates situations for U.S. intervention.”
Likewise, on September 12, Rita Herzog from the Center for Nonviolent Communication told this reporter, “I breathe a deep sigh of sadness and grief when I see what’s happening with Obama. I really believe the situation with him keeps getting worse. Violence begets more violence, and Obama must be held accountable for his behavior.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.