The shifting sands analogy for Mideast geopolitics is often used and often on the mark, but to that can now be added shifting winds. And by that I mean the some of the money that flows to keep America’s proxy armies and terrorists going is beginning to dry up in the killing fields of Syria.
The US policy on ISIL is a two-headed coin. I have long editorialized that these Jihadi Frankensteins could never be controlled, and I was right. Intel agencies all now see that we trained and paid large numbers of recruits who ended up with the ISIL army.
We have evidence of direct support of ISIL from well known top American military officers, Congressmen, and rogue security contractors who have been running their own parallel war against Assad, through what can be called a shadow government.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) played the role of Medusa in this tragedy with their gangster fighters taking the role of the snakes. Jane Harmon’s Daily Beast, the voice of Israel in America, puts it a bit more delicately.
“The US-approved and partially American-armed Syrian opposition seems to be a single large, if rather amorphous, organization. But in fact it’s a collection of “brigades” of varying sizes and potentially shifting loyalties that have grown up around local leaders, or, if you will, local warlords.”
Between Bandar Bush, MI-6, the French, CIA, Israelis and Gulf State pocketbooks, the consortium has been running a mini United Nations of terrorism. Turkey gets an honorable mention for staging operations and selling stolen Syrian property. The Republic of Georgia’s Panski Gorge terror training camps, which America set up during the Mikheil Saakashvili days, have been well documented at NEO with Henry Kamen’s series over the past year.
This week, I was astounded to read a weird twist on the saying, “you can keep a bad man down”. Mr. Saakashvili announced that he was “going to fight for” the position of anti-corruption minister in Ukraine. The man had the gall to list as his credentials his anti-corruption work in Georgia! You just can’t make this stuff up!
In his defense, I could say that the Bush family set an example for Saakashvili by having looted America of billions, much of it from Lee Wanta’s currency trading profits during the Cold War which were to be returned to the American people. Daddy Bush grabbed much of it after Wanta found himself doing a long prison stretch for not paying $15,000 in state taxes which he had actually paid twice. Wanta is a VT board member now — part of our infamous survivors club.
Just before our last presidential election, Veterans Today broke a story that no one else would touch… that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital had a long time office in Cuba, where the drug cartels enjoyed its efficient money laundering services.
We learned this via a niche group of retired Intel and law enforcement people who bounty hunt the huge rewards paid for locating such funds. These folks had been tracking Romney with Mexican Intel help, as the Romney family had a large Intel file there, heralding from the era when the Mormons became Mexican citizens after Mexico’s short war with the US in the late 1800s. Among the documents they provided was a photo of Mitt getting off a Mexican commuter plane in Havana with his Cuban mistress.
But foreign policy corruption seems to have become the new looting tool for the elite insiders — from the banksters to the big defense companies, military brass, Intel chiefs, and even ex-heads of state. The post government retirement opportunities far exceed their former incomes.
While America’s anti-Russian Ukrainian policy seems to be going full speed ahead, Intel analysts have a trained sixth sense for slight changes in policy have been watching Syria carefully. The clues came slowly, starting when the EU leaders, in the midst of their own boomeranging Russian sanctions, started making conciliatory remarks about how isolating Russia was not their real goal. Moscow was needed to help resolve some long running conflicts in the Mideast, which included the Palestinian issue and Syria.
We doubted that the Europeans were doing this without US coordination, but wondered if it was a feint. The US has always stiff-armed Russia out of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But to everyone’s surprise, we just saw the completion of an important first step conference of Syrian opposition groups hosted by Moscow…all those but the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who refused to come.
To that mini miracle can be added the US not trashing the conference because the FSA was not there, and hence a waste of time. So what we are seeing is some staging for letting the FSA “do themselves in” by having events pass them by. The Assad government has responded by asking the attending opposition groups for a complete list of political prisoners that they want released as a confidence building step. Mr. Lavrov did well.
We have been watching very carefully the delicate dance Assad has had to play with the US-led anti-ISIL coalition as it was bombing targets in both Iraq and Syria while publicly shunning any coordination with Damascus. Turkey showed its colors when the coalition requested to use Turkish air bases for the bombing campaign, when Erdogan tried to extort a commitment that they would be used to attack both ISIL and Assad.
Although at first blush that seemed like a totally ridiculous request, no one would be surprised at more manufactured fiascos in the Syrian story. In fairness to Turkey, with its being a major logistical supporter for ISIL, it had to put in a poison pill that it knew the US would not accept, and it didn’t.
Fortunately no threats or big mistakes were made by Damascus. Their Air Force did not challenge the coalition air space incursions, and conversely, we have not seen any coalition attacks on Syrian ground forces. Things really got quiet… like you would see in a purposeful cooling-off period. Obama dropped the next bomb when he announced that the next wave of recruit trainees would be deployed against ISIL.
Sure, the bombing campaign got off to a slow start, but in the real world, such things do not run like a computer game. The US got some fair and unfair complaints from Iraq, the former never following through on delivering the F-16s, but did go ahead with 3000 military advisers to back up the Syrian army, which was being purged of hundreds of corrupt and incompetent officers.
As Gordon Duff detailed last week, the tide has turned against ISIL, as its forces are being defeated piecemeal in Iraq, while the bombing campaign is dismembering its supply lines. This has put it on the defensive and we see no more captured Iraqi Army heavy weapons crossing over into Syria like the ones used against Kobani, and all of them destroyed there.
The noose is slowly being tightened on Mosul. ISIL people are being assassinated there on a daily basis, usually at night, where night vision goggles and silencers rule. Special operations teams from several countries are picking off isolated units and killing checkpoint posts every day. The fun days are over for ISIL.
And the fun may be over also for the Free Syrian Army. Several brigades high-tailed it over intoTurkey when pushed by ISIL. The new reports were 14,000, but it was really 3500 because many of the FSA had gone over to ISIL. The defection from the FSA to Al Nusra and then into ISIL was a steady supply of trained troops. It made fools of all those involved in the cannon fodder proxy-army business. The cannon fodder folks had turned the tables on the puppetmasters.
So that brings us to the hard evidence of America’s substantial Syrian policy change… the funding cuts to the FSA and other opposition groups, both in money and munitions, will effectively curtail their attacks on the Syrian Army. That frees it up to be the ground force against ISIL — the only effective one that we have, frankly.
Of the sixteen America-backed brigades in northern Syria, four have had their funding cut off, and all the others significant cutbacks. The Wall Street Journal reports of even bullets being rationed, so the days of shooting AKs into the air for entertainment are over.
There are even reports of salaries being reduced by 50% and running a month in arrears. It does not take a genius to see the offensive combat spigot is being turned off on the American brigades, and of course, Damascus knows this.
The timing in these shifts began after the Counter Terrorism Conference that four VT board members attended in early December, where some very frank talks were had. Not everyone was happy with our attending. Three of us were poisoned while there, an old Cold War tactic. Col. Hanke and I were treated for E.Coli for several weeks when we got back. We will bring boxed lunches next time.
Jordan just swallowed a bitter pill with its pilot being used in a stage show pyrotechnic execution, being burned alive in his cage. While I sympathize with the poor man’s family, Jordan has a lot of innocent blood on its hands for playing the US pawn in the Syrian horror. The King wants that all forgotten, but some of us have elephant memories as to who has done what to whom, and why.
We remember a mountain of dead Syrians that you did not care much about, Mr. Hussein. And one dead Jordanian pilot does not absolve you from that responsibility. You enabled Al Nusra and ISIL like the other fools did, and the wheel has now turned, as the saying goes…but to what and where, nobody knows.
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.