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Syria

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isis-convoy
Did the US allow ISIS to escape to keep the fighting going?
Americans have been living in a country that has not known peace since 9/11, when President George W. Bush and his posse of neoconservatives delivered the message to the world that “you are either with us or against us.” The threat was coupled with flurry of hastily conceived legislation that opened the door to the... Read More
white-helmets
Hollywood buys into yet another lie
I actually forced myself to watch the documentary The White Helmets, which is available on Netflix. It is 40 minutes long, is of high quality cinematographically speaking, and tells a very convincing tale that was promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” It is overall a very impressive piece of propaganda, so... Read More
Trump's anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric
Something peculiar happens to American presidents after they take office on January 20. Campaign promises to right the easily perceived misdirections in foreign policy are abandoned, and the new program for dealing with the rest of the world winds up looking very much like the old one. Bill Clinton was an anti-Vietnam War draft dodger... Read More
The Arab Gulf States, Israel, and Turkey all prefer anarchy to Assad
The United Nations Charter, to which all member states are signatories and which prevails over all other treaties and agreements, states that the organization is obligated to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace... Read More
Once again, actual intelligence seems sparse
On the morning of April 4, a Syrian Air Force Russian-made Sukhoi-22 fighter bomber dropped or fired something at a target in rebel-held Idlib Governorate. A cloud of some chemical substance subsequently materialized and drifted to the adjacent inhabited village of Khan Shaykhun, where it killed between 50 and 100 people. We also know that... Read More
Intelligence community insiders are getting restless for a whistleblower to step forward
Wars and rumors of wars have been dominating news cycles of late. No one should be surprised that there is a “former intelligence officer” subculture that is particularly noticeable in the Washington, DC, area. We stay in touch, communicate regularly, have lunches to discuss the “old days,” and sometimes organize to raise objections to some... Read More
idlib
Did Syria actually use chemical weapons?
Sounds like we’ve heard it all before, because we have, back in August 2013, and that turned out to be less than convincing. Skepticism is likewise mounting over current White House claims that Damascus used a chemical weapon against civilians in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on April 4th. Shortly after the... Read More
iran-rg
A world in turmoil, thank you Mr. Trump!
The real Donald Trump has been exposed. The man who promised a sensible and non-interventionist Middle Eastern policy and a reset with Moscow has now reneged on both pledges. His nitwit United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has directly linked Russia and Syria for punishment by the omnipotent Leader of the Free World lest anyone be... Read More
foreign-service
Or can they? More bombs and less talk on Syria
It is ironic that fifty-one U.S. State Department employees, perhaps overly-generously dignified in the media with the title of “diplomats,” have come out in favor of removing a foreign head of state by force. Detailing their opposition to the status quo, the signatories submitted a dissent memo through established Foreign Service channels. The document itself... Read More
russian-tank
Dishing it to the Russkies
One of the most astonishing news stories I have read of late appeared in Business Insider at the beginning of February entitled “ ' The Russians are going to have a cow’: the U.S.’s message to Putin ‘is a really big deal.’” The article described how the Barack Obama Administration has decided to build up... Read More
shutterstock_97488068
Why are we "over there?"
I had expected that there would be little in last week’s State of the Union address about foreign policy as it is not an Administration strength, but, to my surprise, President Barack Obama gave it about eight minutes, a little over 1000 words. Governor Nikki Haley was, however, more detached from the issue in her... Read More
istanbul1
Turkey's duplicity threatens the entire region
Turkey borders several Middle Eastern countries that are either unstable or potentially hostile to it, sometimes both simultaneously. With a modern military of more than 600,000 underwritten by NATO membership it is regional superpower whose ability to dominate the politics of its neighbors is sometimes exercised. Turkey has a large and educated population, a vibrant... Read More
shutterstock_153579146
The release of the White House “Government Assessment” on August 30, providing the purported evidence to support a bombing attack on Syria, defused a conflict with the intelligence community that had threatened to become public through the mass resignation of a significant number of analysts. The intelligence community’s consensus view on the status of the... Read More
5 questions Obama needs to answer about chemical weapons and Syria
If the arguments being presented by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for attacking Syria seem increasingly shrill and disjointed that might well be because a legitimate case cannot be made for going to war. The central argument—i.e., that punishing al-Assad will “change his calculus” and dissuade him from using chemical weapons against... Read More
The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict
The tale of what is going on in Syria reads something like this: an insurgency active since March 2011 has been funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and allowed to operate out of Turkey with the sometimes active, but more often passive, connivance of a number of Western powers, including Britain, France, Germany,... Read More
No intervention or dissident group can control the freewheeling revolution.
Re-elected President Barack Obama’s first foreign policy challenge is likely to be Syria and one has to hope that he will have the wisdom to avoid grasping the nettle. After watching last week’s video of rebels lining up twenty-eight captured soldiers and executing them at close range with machine guns, one might well ask what... Read More
A quick, completely un-professional and non-systematic survey of some of my former CIA colleagues about how one goes about identifying the Syrian insurgents “who share our values,” per the Mitt Romney formula to overthrow the Assad regime, produced the following responses: “Ask them if they share our values. Explain what our values are if they... Read More
Regional powers aren't immune to blowback and other consequences of intervention either.
Over the past eleven years we have become so accustomed to the United States intervening in the affairs of other countries, to include regime change and military invasion, it is sometimes possible to forget that some other nations have also found themselves mired in situations that they cannot extricate themselves from when they pursued similar... Read More
According to Stratfor, the Free Syrian Army plans to restructure and rename itself the Syrian National Army. Stratfor describes the rebels as “a mix of secular defectors, Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and foreign Salafi-jihadist groups.” The change is being made “so the Syrian rebels can present a more united front and thus gain more credibility with... Read More
Iran and Syria move to the frontburner
Normally Washington bureaucracies shut down in August, but this year the intelligence community was working flat out to develop information on two crises in the Middle East. One official describes a deep sense of foreboding, recalling NSC Counter Terrorism Security Group chairman Richard Clarke’s description of walking around the West Wing in August 2001 with... Read More
A bizarre interview took place last week on NPR. Michael Martin spoke with Brian Sayers of the Syrian Support Group. Sayers is the group’s director of government relations and is reported to be a former NATO political advisor who was hired to lobby on behalf of the Syrian insurgency this year. The Syrian Support Group’s... Read More
Reuel Marc Gerecht, the Wall Street Journal’s always available advocate of “let us reason together before we bomb Iran,” is now urging an immediate US surrogate attack on Syria by “unleashing the CIA.” Gerecht, a former CIA officer who served in Istanbul and Paris, once described the Agency disparagingly as a mixture of Monty Python... Read More
There are a lot of short memories in Washington. The Iraqi National Council, headed by Ahmed Chalabi, was founded to bring about regime change in Iraq. From the start it became a neocon favorite and had instant access to the levers of power in the federal government. It also began stovepiping made-to-order intelligence into the... Read More
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... Read More
The US intelligence community is trying to sort out information suggesting that Syria might be enriching uranium on behalf of Iran. The information is coming in mostly from the Israelis and from various Iranian dissident groups, some of which act as surrogates for Israel, but an effort appears to be underway to implicate Damascus in... Read More
My mood is somewhat euphoric as my beloved NY Giants, after three lethargic quarters, came from behind to beat the dog-ass Pittsburgh Steelers! But I hope the TAC readership is also noting reports that helicopter borne US special forces have attacked a village inside Syria, killing eight and wounding fourteen more before departing. As Syria... Read More
The Israeli media is reporting the Russia has negotiated the use of port facilities in the Syrian city of Tarsus, intending to establish a base for Mediterranean operations for its Black Sea fleet. It also sent two Tupelov long range bombers to Caracas last Wednesday on a friendly visit and will carry out both naval... Read More
The few people in US intelligence circles who were actually allowed to review the evidence provided by the Israelis regarding the alleged Syrian nuclear facility have called it "bullshit." Perhaps the mainstream media should note the implausibility of the tale being spun given the inability of Syria to support any nuclear program. They should challenge... Read More
Flight Path to Damascus
Israel’s Sept. 6 bombing of a building in Syria continues to be shrouded in secrecy, but both American analysts and United Nations investigators now believe that the entire incident was the result of poor intelligence compiled by the Israelis and accepted by a gullible White House. The follow-up investigation has been hampered by the Bush... Read More
Israel plays war games with Syria
An Oct. 13 New York Times front-page story claiming American and foreign intelligence confirmation that the Israeli strike on Syria last month was on a nuclear reactor being constructed with North Korean aid was based on misleading information leaked by Eliott Abrams and Stephen Hadley at the National Security Council. Other than Hadley and Abrams,... Read More
Eveything Israel wants you to know about its secret airstrike
On Sept. 6, Israeli F-15s and F-16s attacked a site near Dayr az-Zawr in northern Syria, though the strike wasn’t confirmed for nearly two weeks. The Washington Post reported on Sept. 13 that according to a former Israeli official, “it was an attack against a facility capable of making unconventional weapons.” Two days later, Syria... Read More
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Philip Giraldi
About Philip Giraldi

Phil Giraldi is a former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. In addition to TAC, where he has been a contributing editor for nine years, he writes regularly for Antiwar.com. He is currently Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and resides with his wife of 32 years in Virginia horse country close to his daughters and grandchildren.


Personal Classics
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.
Pay no mind to the Mossad agent on the line.