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NATO vs. Syria

Americans should be concerned about what is happening in Syria, if only because it threatens to become another undeclared war like Libya but much, much worse. Calls for regime change have come from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who several weeks ago predicted a civil war. That is indeed likely if the largely secular and nationalist regime of Bashar al-Assad falls, pitting Sunni against Shia against Alawite. Indigenous Christians will be caught in the meat grinder. Ironically, many of the Christians in Damascus are Iraqis who experienced the last round of liberation in their own country and had to flee for their lives.

NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.

Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.

[1]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 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.

In the United States, many friends of Israel are on the Assad regime-change bandwagon, believing that a weakened Syria, divided by civil war, will present no threat to Tel Aviv. But they should think again, as these developments have a way of turning on their head. The best organized and funded opposition political movement in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

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35 Comments To "NATO vs. Syria"

#1 Comment By tbraton On December 19, 2011 @ 11:50 am

“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 Agency has refused to sign off on the claims.”

PG, it’s amazing that we have the ability to make body counts with great exactitude before we invade a country and then magically lose that ability once we have begun involvement in hostitlities against that country. The lead article in Sunday’s NY Times illustrates this ridiculous contradiction in the case of Libya. [2] (“By NATO’s telling during the war, and in statements since sorties ended on Oct. 31, the alliance-led operation was nearly flawless — a model air war that used high technology, meticulous planning and restraint to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi’s troops, which was the alliance’s mandate.
“We have carried out this operation very carefully, without confirmed civilian casualties,” the secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said in November.” The article then goes on to document a large number of Libyan civilian casualties.)

The other disturbing thing I heard on Sunday was on the Chris Mathews Show when he was doing a rundown on the year’s greatest events. In the category of foreign accomplishments, the usually sane and rational Chuck Todd, who is a pretty damn good political reporter imo, cited Obama’s decision to wage war on Libya. He made the preposterous claim that the U.S. was merely fulfilling its obligations under NATO to its “allies” Britain and France by backing their decision to wage war against Libya. He apparently is ignorant of the fact that the NATO treaty only obligates the U.S. to go to the aid of any NATO member which is attacked, that Libya had not attacked either of the old colonial powers Britain or France or any other NATO member, and that Obama entered the war against Libya without seeking Congressional athorization as specified in the Constitution. What a stunning display of ignorance by one of the top political reporters in Washington. No wonder the American public generally operates in a fog when it comes to foreign affairs.

#2 Comment By Rossbach On December 19, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

It is not the proper concern of the US government how many civilians the Assad regime kills, wounds, imprisons, or tortures. The US has no business whatever interfering in the internal affairs of Syria (or any other country, for that matter). The US congress should act now to restrict funding for the invasion plan and to insist that constitutional procedures for the initiation of war be strictly followed.

This imperial juggernaut needs to be stopped now before it bankrupts our nation, shreds what is left of constitutional rule in our country, and completes the destabilization of the Middle East. It appears that our national “leaders” have learned absolutely nothing from the debacles in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Our current foreign policy is nothing less than madness.

#3 Comment By tbraton On December 19, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

“Our current foreign policy is nothing less than madness.”

I have to disagree with you there. We went beyond madness to insanity long ago.

#4 Comment By jsmith On December 19, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

Gee, I wonder if our “Prince of Peace” and Nobel Peace price winner puppet President will have another excuse to raise his popularity with the voters. Heaven’s to Betsy, I’m beginning to think that maybe we’re not the good guys after all!

#5 Comment By tbraton On December 19, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

“Gee, I wonder if our “Prince of Peace” and Nobel Peace price winner puppet President will have another excuse to raise his popularity with the voters.”

jsmith, more than a year ago, Pat Buchanan raised the specter of a desperate Obama, facing electoral defeat, playing his trump card of launching attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilties before the November 2012 election. Now it looks like we may have a sideshow on the way to Teheran. I think the Republican candidates (with the exceptions of Mchelle Bachmann and Ron Paul) made a big mistake last spring by not uniformly denouncing Obama’s unconstitutional and unjustified war against Libya. By failing to do so, they, in effect, gave a green light to Obama to launch a similar war against Syria and Iran. I’m sure that, if he does, the Nobel Peace Prize committee members in Norway will applaud these brave actions by their Nobel Peace Prize winner, just as they did after we entered the war against Libya.

#6 Comment By JoaoAlfaiate On December 19, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

Assad has lost all credibility and should go. The Alawites came to dominate the military in Syria as a result of the French practice in Mandatory times of empowering minorities in order to counter balance the Sunni intellectual, social and financial supremacy in the four great towns: Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Damascus.

As long as Assad was the bleeding edge of Arab nationalism the regime had a modicum of legitamcy. But after the attack on the so called reactor and other unanswered provocations from the zionist enterprise it is clear that the Assad regime is a broken reed. A new Syrian state finding its strength in Sunni Islam would constitute a much stronger resistance to usurpers and occupiers than the regime Assad leads.

#7 Comment By liberal On December 20, 2011 @ 5:57 am

JoaoAlfaiate wrote, “Assad has lost all credibility and should go.”

That’s for the Syrian people to decide. And if they decide in the affirmative, that’s for them to bring about. Not us, not Turkey, not Israel, …

#8 Comment By Carlist On December 20, 2011 @ 7:13 am

One thing is certain, i.e. the need for a “game
change” in policies both at home and abroad!

#9 Comment By Claus Hamle On December 20, 2011 @ 11:02 am

The NATO-GS Anders Fogh Rasmussen (himself a war criminal because of the invasion of Iraq) and Secretary Clinton claim that the missiles in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland are to defend us from Iran. However, the Russian NATO-Ambassador went to Washington and asked: “If people from Mars were to disarm Iran completely, would you still deploy the missiles in the three countries ?” And they answered: “Yes, that will be made as decided.” Der Spiegel, No. 49.
For more than 40 years the Pentagon has been aiming to achieve a disarming and unanswerable first strike capability. Of course, it leads to Launch On Warning and possibly suicide by mistake.

#10 Comment By peter james On December 20, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

What will it be like?
You can know exactly what it will be like by carefully studying the horrific
pictures of the Tsunami in Japan, the various wars all over the world,
in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia,
and of course Libya.
Transfer those images to exactly where you live, nowhere else.
Transfer the images of the Depleted Uranium babies,
those devastated by Agent Orange, White Phosphorous,
and fragmentation bombs, the toxic vaccines, and the many other horrors,
to you, your family, and your neighbourhood.
Hell is not only a place for the future.
We have caused many people to live in hell.
Do not believe the lying media.
The days of military victories for the Biblical Israelite countries,
(U.S.A., U.K., France, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, Talmudic Israel, etc
Hell is going to visit us, right where we live.
Document/Video/Audio: A Declaration Of War By The Eternal God

#11 Comment By Mark Dankof On December 20, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

The subversion of Syria with sanctions, covert black operations, and utilization of Turkey and Libya as surrogates, is clearly part of Israel’s anti Shiite Crescent strategy with an attack on Iran the endgame. Sanctions, black operations, media demonization, eventual establishment of a no fly zone—are all a prelude to an act of overt outside military aggression. Beware, Iran.

#12 Pingback By The American Conservative » New at TAC On December 20, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

[…] updates will continue through the holidays. Be sure to check out Phil Giraldi’s warning about the war NATO is already fighting in Syria, Nick Turse’s take on the life and death of an American drone, and Daniel Larison’s […]

#13 Comment By Jim Dooley On December 20, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

It is a point of curiosity, to say the least, that the objective of our wars seems to have devolved in the 21st c. to removing the other sides ‘head man’ and our side wins. The best anyone can say of our debacle in Iraq is “well anyway, the world is a better place without Saddam.” Of course, leaving aside the fact that Iraq itself is a dismal mess and not at all a better place, I am unaware of any criteria that can be brought to bear to establish the world is indeed a better place without Saddam except that we are no longer having his mug inflicted on us for a nightly hate by FOX news. Similarly, our war against/in/on/around Afghanistan appeared to reach its apogee with the execution of Osama in his pj’s in front of his wife as, half the world away, our head man watched by TV hookup from the White House. The war in Libya is of course a charade that speaks for itself. – the bad bedouin pulled from a culvert, sodomized, and dispatched by pearl handled pistol; and our Secretary of State wipes her hands on her pantsuit and gloats. What next? Ah! On not to Syria so much as on to Assad and then on to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and then who will be the next in line.
Now I ask you, is this why we have a Defense Establishment or is this some kind of sick joke America is playing on itself and the rest of the world?

#14 Comment By Jo Jo Ray On December 20, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

Another scam by out of control, non-accountable elected officials.

#15 Comment By tbraton On December 20, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

I guess 3500 Syrian deaths didn’t sound large enough. Tonight on NBC’s Nightly News, Brian Williams upped the total to 4000. News you can count on.

#16 Comment By Kencooper On December 20, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

It seems that the powers in the West and the powers of the East are going to use the conflict of Syria as a war for their own purposes. The Syrian people will be put through a meatgrinder who’s main purpose seems to me to position the Western Nato countries militaries for an attack on Iran for oil dominance. The Eastern and powers are predictably expanding their borders by this proxy war to make sure that they have the resources that they need. The poor Syrian people, such a lot of misery, for being part of the game of bigger powers.

#17 Comment By Neil Kitson On December 20, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

NATO is, like, history. Who cares? There was a whole thing about some guy from the Financial Times opining about Egypt, but who, in fact, cares? The obvious thing is that NATO is irrelevant in the current world, and should have been deep-sixed in Placentia Bay this past summer.

#18 Comment By Hiker On December 21, 2011 @ 12:10 am

As jsmith said, we have the spectacle of a Nobel Peace prize winner escalating his country’s involvement in conflicts worldwide and staining his hands with the blood of innocent people. We are living in “1984”: Perpetual War, War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

#19 Comment By scott On December 21, 2011 @ 4:14 am

Neocon madness as usual. Obama is nothing more than a puppet of a preplanned agenda. How strange that at one time our government was using Assad’s Syria for rendition (torture) of captured terrorist and our man for the job. What happened? Assad’s government and his followers are all secular and westernized, look how they dress especially the women. If he falls he will be replaced by the muslim brotherhood and we’ll have another hornets nest. Israel will be for the worst, not to mention the Christians in Syria. This Arab spring “thing” is some kind of western naive delusion that will end up a complete nightmare, mark my word.

#20 Comment By tom dee On December 21, 2011 @ 8:54 am

I wish people would use correct terms. NATO is really the old colonial powers attempting to return to the good old days when England ruled the seas and attacked everyone with France and other european nations attacking those not worthy of being in the British empire.
The present disaster in the middle east can be traced at least to 1872 when Lord Rothchild provided 4 million pounds to buy the Suez Canal. Property that just before the government broke for recess declared no interest in the canal. The prime minister being a loyal follow of Lord Rothchild just made the deal. 20 years later the British had ground troops in Egypt march towards to Ottoman Empire which was the goal from the start.
How has 100 plus years of old colonial power proved to solving the problems of the middle east. It actually has made things worse. The present games of name calling is all just a matter of putting lipstick on the pig so they can attack to she her. They are really after the good old days and more nations in their imagine likd ofd south africa.

NATO does not exist. It is an excuse to go to war because the UN has too many road blocks.

NATO would have been useless if the Russians had attack just as they are useless in the middle east today.

#21 Comment By Antonio Cordeiro On December 21, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

I think how funny is all this. The russians has said a number of times
that will not allow any military intervention on Syria. And they are not
alone in this issue. The chinese are deploying troops on the Pakistan
border. The game here is very serious and countries like Turkey and
Israel aren’t seriously aware of the risks. In a direct confrontation with
Nato chinese can deploy 5 millions soldiers on the Middle East and
permanently invade Israel. Quickly. Then, whom they think would have de military capacity for moving them out of there? No one. The
russian, by the way, can quickly invade the arabian peninsula with
other million troops and take Saudi Arabia, Kwait, UAE, etc. And
whom will push them out of there? No one. That’s all.

#22 Comment By Kill Bill On December 21, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

“Our current foreign policy is nothing less than madness”

….And one day we might well look like Greece.

#23 Comment By Kill Bill On December 21, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

“The Chinese are deploying troops on the Pakistan
border” ~Antonio

In that part of the world all bordering countries put troops, it seems, on the border. Ennyhoo, I suppose the question is – Is China about to wage war with Pakistan?

I doubt it. Im thinking saber rattling is still saber rattling.

#24 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On December 21, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

There is something peculiar going on here. As Phil points put, all the footage of atrocities are attributable to the resistance. All the footage I’ve seen have featured a body or two, the sound of small arms fire and people running down the street. Does the resistance have no one who knows how To use a camera in aid of his own cause?

This struggle has been going on for months and the media all claim that they can’t do any coverage because they are prohibited from doing so by the Syrian authorities. So we’re meant to believe that the BBC, CNN etc, can’t smuggle a single undercover Arab journalist with a covert mini-cam into the biggest story of the moment. I believe the technical term for this is bullshit.

Assuming that the figure really is between 3-4000 casualties, doesn’t this figure seem a bit low? We are told that the regime is ruthless and fighting for it’s life. Yet they only kill a relatively small number of people each week. Of course, civilians gunned down in the street can’t help but gain our sympathy, and rightly so. But the numbers so not reflect the gravity of the narrative.

After Assad has been driven from power, the murder of the Syria’s Christians will get little or no coverage by our concerned and humanitarian press. And they will definitely not be televised on FOX or MSNBC.

#25 Pingback By Philip Giraldi « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton On December 21, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

[…] CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses his article “NATO vs. Syria;” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the CIA working overtly and covertly to undermine […]

#26 Comment By Dimitry Aleksandrovich On December 22, 2011 @ 2:35 am

Does anyone else find it odd that in Libya and now in Syria the United States, Israel and their other European allies are using Saudi funded Wahhabist/Salafists to do their dirtywork? Yes the sme kind of Wahhabist/Salafists who we are told attacked us on 9/11 we are now using to overthrow Arab regimes that we cannot control.

#27 Comment By liberal On December 27, 2011 @ 5:38 am

For the people that say that the people of Syria should bring about the fall of Assad. When it comes to a bullet and a hand who wins? How can people compete with tanks? You are saying this because war is not on your ground. Otherwise you too would be asking for help. There is a humanitarian principle called “responsibility to protect”. And i agree its not properly applied in every case. And also in this case it has not been properly applied. Its already too late , many lives have been lost. But there are still others there that can be protected.

#28 Comment By tbraton On December 28, 2011 @ 3:18 am

“There is a humanitarian principle called “responsibility to protect”. And i agree its not properly applied in every case. And also in this case it has not been properly applied. Its already too late , many lives have been lost. But there are still others there that can be protected.”

I have read that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Since I don’t believe in Hell, I really don’t know, but have you given any thought to what happened next door in Iraq over the last 8 years? Our unjustified invasion of Iraq has resulted in the loss of Iraqi lives estimated anywhere from the low hundreds of thousands to upward of a million and the decimation of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world that traced its roots back nearly 2000 years. I would venture to say that the death toll in Iraq far exceeded the death toll under Saddam Hussen over the prior 12 years. No matter how brutal and abhorent the dictatorship of Assad in Syria, he is at least a secular leader and many religious sects, including Christians, are affforded a degree of peace and tranquility under his rule. That level of protection would be seriously eroded if Assad were to be overthrown if Iraq is any guide. Ironically, many of the victims would be Iraqi Christians who fled Iraq and were afforded asylum by Assad’s Syria. Of course, if that were to happen, you would simply turn away in search of another monster to destroy and wash your hands of any responsibility for the harm caused by the poliicies you advance.

#29 Comment By Robert Byers On December 28, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

There is not a responsibility to protect.
There is a moral law against unjustified killing.
if there is fighting in another nation then its their fight.
Otherwise one is picking sides and really striving to bring victory for that side.

No way around it. Helping kill people makes one morally responsible and makes the merits of the fight what really matters.
Under this protection jazz they are picking a side while pretending its just a neutral human defence reaction.
Its all about overthrowing Syrian leaders on behalf of Israel and claims of Syria helping terrorists etc.
The middle east is largely a passion about Israel’s position.
Otherwise it would be ignored, even with some concern, like the endless wars in Africa in the last few decades.
Motivation is king here.
America’s moral, intellectual, practical capital is being used for these obscure third world “countries” for reasons never truly admitted to by the establishment and political institutions.
Its the big thing for patriots to aim at.

#30 Comment By AndyS On January 19, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

Why is nobody talking about the presence of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov at their naval base at Tartus…..If NATO/USA/Israel overplay their hand in this matter we will surely be looking at WWIII.

#31 Comment By SamK On January 20, 2012 @ 1:12 am

It seems as though there are many smart people leaving opinions on this article and I am grateful to read those opinions. I am a Syrian born Christian American living in America, with family in Syria. This whole mess is being intentionally propagated by the controlled media. The vast majority of Syrians love Pres. Assad. He has provided peace and stability from the radicals in that country, and that is why Jews, Christians, Muslims etc are all safe in Syria – treated equally….. as long as Assad stays in power. I have found that the only republican candidate that knows whats going on is Ron Paul, and I pray he is our next President.

#32 Comment By Bob Jackson On January 21, 2012 @ 4:45 am

“There is a humanitarian principle called ‘responsibility to protect'”, says liberal.

Which was devised by Gareth Evans, the former Australian Labor foreign minister, who conspired with Indonesia to launch the genocidal invasion of East Timor, so Australia could grab its oil. Well, he is consistent, isn’t he?

#33 Comment By RyanH On January 23, 2012 @ 11:05 am

I just had hoped Obama meant what he said when he won the Nobel peace prize. Unfortunately, he did not. Now Syria is another victim of US’ foreign policy, where killing of thousands of innocents (by the very same people the US fought in Afghanistan) is being backed by the US itself. Name it what you want; it’s Hippocracy. What an unfair world we live in.

#34 Comment By Ed On March 21, 2012 @ 7:04 am

It appears that Russia has been justified in its concerns about NATO over the years.
Sense NATO’s creation and the placement of weapons aimed at them in the name of defense.

#35 Comment By Johny On January 18, 2016 @ 12:01 am

Reading this article 4 years after it was written in 2016. It reads like a prophecy.