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Syria's Ultimate Deciders

by Berry Friesen (February 18, 2015)

(February 20, 10:50 AM  Update
"U.S. Ignores Own UNSC Resolution--Tells Russia 'Stop Bombing Al-Qaeda'")

Is the world on the brink of nuclear war?  That depends on a decision President Obama has made (or is making), according to Joe Laurie in “Obama’s Momentous Decision,” an article published by

(See also "Risking Nuclear War for Al-Qaeda?" by Robert Parry at

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are pressing for an escalation of the war through an expanded invasion of Syria by the US-led coalition.  Germany has called for the imposition of a “no-fly zone” over Syria, as have many American neo-cons.  US officials and the Western media have ramped up the propaganda against Russia and the Syrian government.

“Obama could simply cut U.S. losses in its disastrous Syrian ‘regime change’ policy and accept a Russian and Iranian-backed Syrian government victory,” writes Laurie, “but he would come intense criticism from Washington’s influential neoconservatives as well as Republicans. Does he have another choice if he wants to avoid war with Russia?”

Meanwhile, events on the ground are complex and grow ever more confusing, driven by the scheming of nations eager to manufacture reasons to legitimate expanded war.

The leaders of Turkey have been caught red-handed before planning false-flag attacks in Syria to justify an invasion.   Thus, we have reason to doubt the official account of the bombing yesterday, which blamed Syrian Kurdish forces for the murder of 28 Turkish soldiers.

But if not the Syrian Kurds, then whom?  The Turkish secret service?  Da’esh or al-Qaeda?  One of the NATO members?  Israel?  So many have invested so much in taking Syria apart; now that those investments are slipping away, desperation is setting in.

Former Indian diplomat M. K. Bhadrakumar offers a different theory.  Referring to the terror attacks inside Turkey (a second occurred today), Bhadrakumar speculates that “someone is setting [Turkish President Erdogan’s] house on fire” in an effort to dissuade him from an invasion of Syria.

Bhadrakumar also see significance in the fact that US officials have refused to join Erdogan in stigmatizing Syrian Kurds as “terrorists;” it suggests the US is not supporting Erdogan’s ambitions.

Yet as Tony Cartalucci points out, even while the US is distancing itself from Turkey’s calls for an expanded invasion, it remains “committed to a campaign of disinformation attempting to frame ongoing [Syrian] security operations moving ever closer toward Turkey's border as ‘targeting civilians’ and attacking ‘moderate rebels’ at the expense of fighting ISIS. This is to lend Turkey and Saudi Arabia rhetorical cover, however tenuous, ahead of any actual intervention.”

William Engdahl describes US policy as “Machiavellian.”

“Washington policy–the policy of the USA military-industrial complex and their Wall Street bankers– has in no way changed. That’s clear. I find no convincing evidence to the contrary. They plan to destroy Syria as a functioning nation, to finish the destruction of Iraq begun in 1991, and to spread that destruction now to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Turkey, and across the entire oil and gas-rich Middle East. They are simply using other means to that end given the 'game-changing' presence of Russia since September 30 [when Russia entered the war].”

Engdahl sees the US approach as the old schoolyard game of “let’s you and him fight.”  It consists of “steering heated-up and hated-up Turkey and Saudi Arabia to trigger Washington’s surrogate war, a war where Turkey, a NATO member, Saudi and the Gulf Arab oil states, find themselves in a direct military confrontation with Russia.”

While all of this seems far beyond the competence of common folks like us to sort out, we remain the ultimate audience of the nations’ machinations.  In the end, they crave moral legitimacy for their actions, which only we can give.

And what is the moral view about Syria?  That its government is defending itself against foreign aggressors, the leader of which is the United States of America.  It’s really as simple as that.