Butcher of Damascus. Gasser of children. Baby Killer of Syria. Tool of Moscow. Cruel despot. Monster. These are all names the western media and politicians routinely heap on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. He has now become the top Mideast villain, the man we love to hate. As a veteran Mideast watcher, I find all this... Read More
Behind President Donald Trump’s bluster and threats over Syria, powerful forces are pushing the US towards war with Russia and Syria: the neocons and the military industrial complex. For a candidate who once proposed a normal relationship with Russia, just peace in the Mideast, and an end to America’s foreign wars Donald Trump is now... Read More
Last summer, I was positioned just across the border from the Syrian town of Afrin around which Turkish and Kurdish and, possibly, American forces, are now poised for a head-on clash. It seems crazy to me that anyone would want to fight over this one-donkey farm town. We were there on a mission to rescue... Read More
The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers. I’ve been saying this for the last four years. I asserted, as a former soldier and war correspondent, that IS would collapse like a wet paper bag if proper western ground forces attacked their strongholds in Syria and Iraq. This week,... Read More
AMMAN JORDAN – I haven’t seen many miracles in my decades of travel around the globe, particularly not in the strife-torn Mideast. But last week I participated in a real miracle in Jordan as the splendid Four Paws International group staged a daring rescue of 13 wild animals trapped in the wartime hellhole of Aleppo,... Read More
Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled. So far, they have been disappointed. But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel. President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and... Read More
Maybe the president believes he’s won a great victory over the wicked Syrians by lobbing cruise missiles at one of their underused air bases. Maybe Trump believes that he’s scared the evil Russians and the too big for their sampans Chinese into obedience. His 22,000 lb MOAB terror bomb on Afghanistan should keep those pesky... Read More
It seems that every new US president has to prove his machismo…or make his bones, as wiseguys say…by bombing the usual Arabs. By now, it’s almost a rite of passage. The American public loves it. So we just saw the US launch 59 or 60 $1.5million apiece cruise missiles at a western Syrian airfield to... Read More
President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep. Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria... Read More
Russia’s dispatch of a ten-ship flotilla to the Syrian Coast has raised some outrage and sneers aplenty in the West. Particularly when one of its embarked MiG-29K fighters crashed on takeoff from Russia’s sole carrier, the obsolescent Admiral Kuznetsov which lacks catapults. Joining Kuznetsov are believed to be two ‘Akula’ class nuclear-powered attack submarines that... Read More
As a former soldier and war correspondent who has covered 14 conflicts, I look at all the media hoopla over tightening siege of Mosul, Iraq and shake my head. This western-organized “liberation” of Mosul is one of the bigger pieces of political-military theater that I’ve seen. Islamic State(IS), the defender of Mosul, is a paper... Read More
OK you Russians! No more gentle American diplomacy! No more Mr. Nice Guy! So thundered US Secretary of State John Kerry last week. Right on cue, the usually overwrought US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, blasted the Russians as ‘barbaric’ for their bombing campaign in Syria. She made no mention of the US using... Read More
What a mess! In the crazy Syrian war, US-backed and armed groups are fighting other US-backed rebel groups. How can this be? It is so because the Obama White House had stirred up the war in Syria but then lost control of the process. When the US has a strong president, he can usually keep... Read More
During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee. Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho... Read More
The great, long-awaited counterattack against ISIS has finally begun. The offensive that spans Syria and western Iraq is targeting the ISIS-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. For a variety of reasons, the much ballyhooed “final offensive” against ISIS is moving with all the speed of a medieval army of drunken foot... Read More
Turn to page 214 in the book “War-making for Dummies.” You will find: “plan air operations right on your neighbor’s border, zig in and zag out, make rude gestures at enemy pilots, and shoot them down if you can.” On Tuesday this week, the inevitable air clash occurred on the Syrian-Turkish border west of Aleppo.... Read More
Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash. What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development. Today, both are up in smoke as this week’s bloody bombing in Ankara that killed 99 people... Read More
Frankfurt, Germany –Could anyone in the Obama administration have been so slow-witted to imagine that Russia wouldn’t move hard to counter US efforts to overthrow Moscow’s ally, Syria? The Syrian war began almost five years ago by the US, France, Britain and Saudi Arabia to overthrow Syria’s Iranian and Russian-backed government. The result so far:... Read More
The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” So echoed the cry this week from the Pentagon, the US media and Republican candidates for president. How silly. It seems the Russians have sent six tanks to Syria, some medium artillery and a bunch of military technicians to two bases on Syria’s coast near Latakia. According... Read More
“The Turks have passed by here; all is in ruins and mourning. “ So wrote France’s great writer, Victor Hugo, of the horrors he had witnessed during the Balkan liberation wars of the 1880’s. If Hugo were alive today, he might well have used the same haunting lines to describe the smoking wreckage of the... Read More
President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known. Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and... Read More
The alleged beheading of freelance journalist James Foley by the shadowy ISIS (or Islamic State) has sparked outrage and horror around the globe. I say “alleged” because we are not sure if the decapitation was real or faked. After three decades of covering wars in the Mideast, Africa, Latin America, and Afghanistan, my reaction as... Read More
As Syria lies dying, western media cries, “we must save Syria’s suffering children.” Indeed so, among Syria’s nine million internal and external refugees, some 450,000 are children. All civil wars are bloody and cruel, but Syria’s strife has reached new extremes of violence and mass civilian suffering as the US and Saudi Arabia use this... Read More
President Barack Obama foolishly backed himself into a corner during the growing Syrian crisis by issuing fatwas about mythological red lines. When his bluff got called, the silver-tongued president was left twisting in the wind. Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded and given, instead, to Vladimir Putin. Add a warning to Obama’s amateur foreign... Read More
Recalling the massacres and destruction during the 1820’s Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, then Victor Hugo wrote, “the Turks have passed by here – All is in ruins and mourning.” Today, the nations in ruins and mourning are Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and, to a lesser degree, Libya, all dismembered or broken up... Read More
Let’s face some hard facts about the vicious conflict in Syria. If the US directly attacks Syria, the real cause will not be the recent chemical attacks. What are 300 or so dead in a 2-year old war fuelled by the western powers that has so far killed over 100,000? Chemical weapons are horrible. So... Read More
That old colonial impulse keeps coming back. This past week, Britain and France pushed the rest of the European Union to lift the arms embargo in Syria – which in plain English means outright military intervention in that nation’s civil war. Let’s recall that Britain once ruled a quarter of the earth’s surface and most... Read More
WASHINGTON DC – The vicious Syrian civil war has put the world’s two biggest nuclear powers on a collision course over a small Levantine nation of no strategic interest to Washington. This cannot be allowed to go on. News that the US and Russia will hold a Syrian peace conference this month is most welcome... Read More
Play with fire, and you will get burned. A mortar shell fired from Syria by either government troops or rebels as a provocation killed five Turkish villagers on the border. Turkish heavy artillery riposted, killing Syrian soldiers. Turkey’s parliament authorized military action against Syria. One could almost hear the thunder of the great Ottoman war... Read More
The embattled regime of Bashar Asad just managed to shoot itself in both feet, provide ammunition to Syria’s enemies, and give them yet another excuse to intervene in its raging civil war. A senior Syrian government spokesman just confirmed his nation did indeed possess chemical weapons, and might employ them against a “foreign aggressor.” Western... Read More
NEW YORK – America’s most vital national security concern is to maintain calm, productive relations with Russia. The reason is obvious: Russia and the United States have thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on each other. Many are ready to launch in minutes. Compared to this threat, all of America’s other security issues are minor. Avoiding... Read More
Syria’s murky, multi-level conflict continues to grow worse. So does public confusion here in the west as the US, British and some European media keep depicting Syria’s civil war as a simple passion play pitting the evil Asad regime in Damascus against mostly unarmed democratic protestors. We saw this same one-dimensional, deceptive reporting recently in... Read More
ISTANBUL – It’s dark and foggy here today along the mighty Bosphorus that separates Europe and Asia. Just as murky and dangerous as exploding next-door Syria. Turkey’s formerly very successful “no problems” foreign policy crafted by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutogolu buried old arguments with Syria, Iran, and Lebanon and opened billions of new trade for... Read More
Libya, in spite of its oil treasures, is strictly a sideshow in the great game of nations. We should be keeping our eyes on highly strategic Syria, a potentially combustible nation of 22.5 million that lies at the very heart of what we call the Mideast. Sizeable demonstrations have erupted in the Syrian port city... Read More
PARIS — Last week, US intelligence released a dramatic video that purportedly showed a Syrian nuclear reactor under construction and North Korean personnel helping in the project. The video and still pictures were evidently taken by Israeli agents. The unfinished "reactor" was destroyed last September by Israeli warplanes in an operation that was closely coordinated... Read More
President George Bush charges that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's trip last week to Syria was undermining US foreign policy. He's absolutely correct. If ever there was an administration whose foreign policy needed undermining, it's the Bush/Cheney diumverate. The House and Senate do not traditionally take a lead in foreign affairs, except, of course,... Read More
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.
He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Lew Rockwell. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.
His internet column www.ericmargolis.com reaches global readers on a daily basis.
As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow.
A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.
A native New Yorker, he maintains residences in Toronto and New York, with frequent visits to Paris.