The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
A Hillary Clinton Presidency Could End Up Letting Isis Off the Hook
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

As political leaders across the world swear to engage in total war against Isis in the wake of the massacre in Nice, not enough notice is being taken of the fact that the long-term prospects of the group will be boosted if Hillary Clinton is elected as the next US President. President Obama and the Pentagon have been giving priority to first weakening and then eliminating Isis, and have been having a fair measure of success. The Iraqi army backed by US-led air strikes have recaptured Fallujah and the self-declared Caliphate has suffered a series of defeats in both Iraq and Syria.

But Hillary Clinton’s expected choice as Defence Secretary, Michèle Flournoy, has just co-authored a report by the Centre for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington that recommends that the destruction of Isis should no longer be the overriding objective of the US in Syria, but that equal priority should be given to taking military action against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Army. A new pro-US armed opposition would be built up to fight Assad, Isis, al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda clones, a process that the report admits could take years – and “during that time the dangers posed by Isis will remain”. This is not a marginal opinion among hawks in Washington, as a recently leaked memo from 51 serving State Department officials argued very much the same thing.

This proposed change of policy by a Clinton administration is all too likely, going by her past record of choosing military solutions to complex problems even when it means fighting more than one war at a time and when the outcome is unclear. As a Senator, she voted for the Iraq war in 2003 and, as Secretary of State in 2011, she was the driving force behind the Nato military intervention in Libya that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and handed over the country to criminalised warlords. Her opinions normally coincide with those on the hawkish end of the US foreign policy establishment, whose policies Obama contemptuously described in a famous interview with The Atlantic Monthly as “the Washington Playbook”.

Once Hillary Clinton is in the White House, the “Playbook” that Obama so despises will be very much back in business. A frightening preview of what is to come can be found in the CNAS report, which comes across as a caricature of Washington wishful thinking that is woefully detached from real conditions on the ground.

Instead of focusing on fighting one war against Isis and al-Qaeda until it is won, the report recommends also taking military action against Assad but without destroying the Syrian state, and this demonstration of US military strength is expected to deter Russia and Iran from further engagement in Syria. The study is reminiscent of the battle plan of a First World War general, full of certainties about how enemies and allies will respond to an attack when in reality their response is unknown.

It is worth giving some lengthy quotes from the CNAS document to get the full flavour of these preconceived notions: In western Syria, for instance, the US must not look for a political agreement between government and rebels forces, but should instead “emphasise arming and training local groups that are acceptable to the United States regardless of whether or not they are fighting Bashar al-Assad or Isis”. Such groups, which do not currently exist and which all efforts to create by the CIA and others have ended in humiliating failure, are intended not only to fight Isis and Assad, but to prevent any terrorist safe havens being created and “to marginalise al-Qaeda’s influence and presence”. In other words, they will presumably be fighting al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham and their tens of thousands of experienced heavily armed fighters as well as Isis and the Syrian Army. Protagonists of a multi-tracked US military strategy in Syria have argued that the Syrian Army is not fighting Isis, but this is demonstrably untrue since it has recaptured Palmyra, ended the long Isis siege of Kweiris air base and advanced towards Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria.

Potential members of this pro-US force may be intimidated by this array of merciless enemies, but they should have no fear. The report recommends that “the United States should also be willing to increase its use of military coercion and be willing to threaten and execute limited military strikes against the Assad regime in order to protect these actors while signalling to all of the key external actors in Syria, including both its Middle East partners as well as Russia and Iran, that it is willing to get more engaged”. Keep in mind that the civil war in Syria and Iraq involves many confrontations, but the most important struggle is a sectarian one between Shia and Sunni. Yet the authors of the report are under the impression that the Shia in this part of the Middle East, who see themselves as fighting a battle for their very existence, will pack up and go home because of some “limited” American air strikes.

The concept of the CNAS report is eerily similar to the plot of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American, in which the undercover CIA agent Alden Pyle is seeking to create a pro-American “Third Force” in Vietnam that will be an alternative to communism and colonialism. In Syria, other players are to remain curiously passive while they wait for the US to reconstruct the political landscape to its liking. Overall, the report makes the classic blunder of assuming opponents will quail before limited threats when it may be more likely that they will respond with some counter-move of their own.

ORDER IT NOW

The world may soon regret the passing of the Obama years as a Clinton administration plunges into conflicts where he hung back. He had clearly learned from the outcome of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya in a way that she has not. He said in a speech on terrorism in 2013 that “any US military action in foreign land risks creating more enemies” and that the Washington foreign establishment’s tendency to seek ill-considered military solutions was self-defeating. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates would write that when Hillary Clinton was pushing for bombing Libya in meetings in 2011: “I would ask, ‘Can I just finish the two wars we’re already in before you going looking for new ones?”’

All this is good news for Isis and al-Qaeda, whose spectacular growth since September 11 is mainly due to the US helping to spread the chaos in which they flourish. Obama could see the risks and limitations of military force, but Clinton may play straight into their hands.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: 2016 Election, Hillary Clinton, ISIS 
Hide 18 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website

    I hear so many Westerners bitch about those Mooslims.

    But they are missing the context.

    Before any talk of banning all Muslims from Europe(or America), how about banning all Western Imperialists from the Middle East and North Africa?

    After all, it was the West that aided Zionists in ethnically cleansing Palestinians who still live under Occupation.
    After all, it was the West that funded radical Jihadis against secular government of Afghanistan backed by USSR.
    After all, it was the West that invaded and destroyed Iraq and toppled its secular leader and turned that nation over to Jihadis.
    After all, it was the West that bombed the hell out of Libya, deposed its secular leader, and turned that country into a haven of Jihadis.
    After all, it was the West that worked with Israel-Turkey-Saudi-Arabia to aid and arm Jihadis in Syria that turned that nation into a hell-hole.

    And it is Jewish-controlled US that is provoking Russia and China by sending troops to Poland and by placing THAAD missiles in South Korea.

    The bogus humanitarianism of taking in Muslim migrants/refugees is just the cover price for West’s continuing invasion and intervention in the Muslim World at the behest of Jewish Globalist Imperialists. Imperialists always invoke and show off acts of humanitarianism to justify their aggression. To Invade, you have to do publicity stunt of Invite.

    And just compare the body count. How many Westerners have died as a result of Muslim terrorism? How many Arabs and Muslims have died as the result of Zio-Western Imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa. There’s no comparison.

    Nice, France is still very nice compared to entire towns and cities in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Unless this context is addressed, all this bitching about Mooslims really misses the point.
    It is like Nazi Germans bitching about Polish and Russian ‘terrorists’ while invading and destroying other nations. (Of course, if you watch Nazi propaganda films, their aggressions too were often masked by humanitarian gestures.)

    • Replies: @Duglarri
  2. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website

    Let’s look at the BIG PICTURE.

    Americans talk like they are on the defensive, but the reason why so many angry Muslims are on the march is because of US-led wars in the Middle East and North Africa that destabilized nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria. US is controlled by Globalists, and Globalists hate secular Arab modernizers. So, Globalists used US military to destroy Arab governments(seen as rivals of Israel), and the resulting mess is civil war, terrorism, and mass migration.

    Yet, no one mentions the Globalist in the grand equation. It is Globalist Imperialists who set into motions the destruction of the Muslim world and now the spreading violence in the West. But of course, Globalists control all politicians and own all the media in the US. So, we can’t mention the 800 lb gorilla in the room.

    If US had left Muslim nations alone, there wouldn’t be terrorists running all over the place in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Jews want chaos in the Middle East in order to make Arabs kill Arabs.

    Obama and Hillary say nice ‘humanitarian’ things about taking in Muslim refugees, but that is just a cover to mask what is essentially an imperialist US foreign policy in the Muslim world.

    All imperialists put on a humanitarian face to justify their aggression. So, Soviets called their invasions ‘liberations’. French Imperialists pretended they were spreading civilization to places they conquered. And Japanese did the same thing, invading other nations but justifying the aggression by acting like saviors and liberators. US does the same thing. It attacks, invades, and destroys the Muslim world, but it masks its imperialist aggression with talk of dealing with the ‘humanitarian’ crisis.

    The WAR isn’t so much about Muslims attacking the West but about the Globalist-run US attacking the Middle East and North Africa where close to a million have been killed. Muslim violence is just blowback.

    US, along with Israel/Turkey/Saudis, aided and abetted the terrorists in Libya and Syria who’ve been called ‘freedom fighters’ or ‘moderate rebels’ by the State Department that is loaded with people whose career depends on Globalist money.

    If we don’t want Muslim violence in the West, the solution is simple. Stop invading and messing up those nations and stop allowing Muslim immigration.
    No more Invade/Invite.

  3. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website

    https://youtu.be/y-7j4WVTgWc?t=1h37m3s

    I thought the French got out of Algeria and Africa to get away from the mayhem. But they’ve been importing Algeria and Africa into France to further the mayhem.

    France used to rule much of the world, but the world told the French to GO HOME. Thus, French Imperialism came to an end.

    But the French aren’t satisfied with France as France. Too small, too provincial, too ‘racist'(according to stupid PC).

    So, the French decided to their nation into a mini-world, a grand-nation that resembles an empire of various peoples.
    The result is predictable as empires are inherently unstable.
    The Old French Empire ended in violence and war, and the new France-as-reconstituted-mini-empire will also spiral into mayhem, violence, and chaos, especially as the French Left(that controls media and academia) instruct immigrant kids to hate white people and blame the West for all the evils in the world. (Also, those immigrant youths are raised on black American anti-white rap culture.)

    And of course, Jews love this because their goal is to destroy the ‘Christian West’ by any means necessary.

    • Replies: @prusmc
  4. Erelis says:

    To quote”

    The study (CNAS) is reminiscent of the battle plan of a First World War general, full of certainties about how enemies and allies will respond to an attack when in reality their response is unknown.

    No truer words. Robert Perry noted from Clinton’s email that a policy paper was going around her staff advocating for attacking Assad regime in 2012. Perry said it was probably written by her advisor James Rubin. The State posting shows no author nor date. Here is a link to Perry’s article:

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/07/02/how-hillary-clinton-ignores-peace/

    I looked up the policy paper, and it had this tidbit about how the Russians will react to the direct attacks on Assad.

    https://foia.state.gov/search/results.aspx?searchText=C05794498&beginDate=&endDate=&publishedBeginDate=&publishedEndDate=&caseNumber

    The second step is to develop international support for a coalition air operation. Russia will never support such a mission, so there is no point operating through the UN Security Council. Some argue that U.S. involvement risks a wider war with Russia. But the Kosovo example shows otherwise. In that case, Russia had genuine ethnic and political ties to the Serbs, which don’t exist between Russia and Syria, and even then Russia did little more than complain. Russian officials have already acknowledged they won’t stand in the way if intervention comes

    Yes, the Russians will react the same way they did under Boris Yeltsin some 14 years before the brief was written when Russia was still struggling economically and militarily. The stupidity is proverbially breath taking when one considers this middle schooler’s term paper was circulating at the highest levels of the State Department.

    When the nukes start flying I am sure Hillary supporters will be thankful for the advances Hillary made for women–now even a woman can start a nuclear war.

  5. KA says:

    Interesting developments all over the maps –
    S Sudan is in flames
    Iraq is destroyed
    Libya is finished
    Somalia is no longer one country but has managed to wake up Kenya and Ethiopia to what price it involved to piggyback on US to fight GWOT

    Subsaharn Blacks got mercilessly killed in Libya by the Islamist. Black Lives Matter: Have they asked Killiary what happened when she came ,she saw and people got killed ?

    EU is flooded with migrants and terrorists .

    Stuxnet has spread the chances of successful cyber attacks from abroad that can cripple US life literally and has already compromised it’s most protected secrets . (http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-1.730842)

    None is counting average 20 suicide of Iraq Afghanistan vet a day from at least 2011 .FOX or CNN or WSJ have not devoted one segment or Op Ed on those veterans .

    Billions lost in fruitless war.

    Still Killary and her killing team angling for more of the same .

  6. Duglarri says:
    @Priss Factor

    In fact, the Nazis did complain about Polish terrorists attacking Germany. They went to the extent of dressing up convicts in Polish uniforms, shooting them, and publicizing a Polish “attack” on a German radio station. It was used as the excuse for the invasion of Poland in 1939.

  7. Duglarri says:

    By my count, Hillary is promising five new wars: Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran, and Ukraine.

    What’s left of the US army will be busy.

    • Replies: @prusmc
  8. @Priss Factor

    Cockburn’s contribution and this response are obviously correct. This means that the harpy has to be kept out of office to ensure our survival. Don’t expect this recklessness not to have consequences. Survival trumps political correctness.

  9. Rehmat says:

    NOPE Buchanan – No western power would like to kill its own bastard baby ISIS given birth to destroy Muslim resistance the Judeo-Christian occupation of historic Palestine.

    Same goes for the BLOODY FRIDAY in gay-friendly city of NICE.

    On July 14, the BBC’s Jews announced that French Jewish president Francois Hollande has decided not to extend the state of emergency imposed after the Friday November 13, 2015 Paris false flag operation.

    Hollande government has failed to suppress a 3-month-old anti-government violent mass protests against a new labor law. The protesters are demanding the resignation of French prime minister Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti with a Zionist Jewish wife.

    Hollande is the least popular French president in country’s history. His current popularity rating stands at 14% and falling in comparison to Nicolas Sarkozy’s (Jewish) 21% and Front National’s Marine Le Penn (have a Jew boyfriend) at 28%.

    On Friday, by coincident a truck ramped into a crowd of people celebrating the Bastille Day (French Revolution 1789) in city of Nice killing 84 people and injuring another 100. Hollande immediately announced the extension of the state emergency.

    French police has named Tunisian-born French citizen Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, as the ‘lone’ truck driver. Like all the other false flag operators, police had been watching Bouhlel for years – and he was killed by police on the spot before he said ‘Allah Akbar’!

    Police claims Bouhlel was emotionally very upset over his wife of three children divorcing him. If that could turn a man into a terrorist – then more than half of all French male population could be terrorist. France has 55% divorce rating. Belgium has world’s highest divorce rating (71%). French president has proved this theory wrong by producing four sons without marrying his live-in partner of over 20 years. He is currently living with his third live-in partner.

    Various videos are being played by the Jewish-controlled media in support of the so-called ‘Muslim terrorism’ – but what I see is lots of people running around and shouting like in a Hollywood film (see below) – no dead actors or blood.

    This is the third terrorist event in France since country’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius (born to Ashkenazi Jew family in 1946) warned Netanyahu in 2014 that France may recognize an independent Palestinian state if the so-called ‘peace talks’ between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority failed. He repeated the warning in January 2016.

    Why French are victims of Europe’s most terrorist attacks? France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim population (7-10 million), great majority of which is non-White and pro-Palestine. France is also home to Europe’s most powerful Jewish Lobby (CRIF). Last year CRIF condemned Hollande over meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in Paris.

    France also has its version of Jewish terrorist organization, Jewish Defense League (Ligue de Defense Juive (LDJ).

    Nice is widely regarded as one of the best gay-friendly cities in France, second only to Paris. From beaches, to museums, bars and clubs, the gay scene is lively and varied in Nice and last year the first LGBT centre of the Alpes-Maritimes was opened here!

    https://rehmat1.com/2016/07/16/french-witness-another-bloody-friday/

  10. does anyone remember the bombing in madrid spain not too long ago? spain was a member of the ‘coalition of the willing.’ after the bombing, they quit iraq and said we’re out of the war on terror.
    i don’t think spain has had an incident since madrid.(if i’m wrong, someone let me know)
    remember this argument? ‘we’re fighting them over there so we won’t have to fight them over here.’
    well, it’s because we’re fighting over there that civilians are killed over here.
    western governments know that sending armies to kill kill kill in the mid east and africa will result in revenge-minded types targeting western civilians – us. but they make war anyway. our government doesn’t care if innocent people in america die for its misdeeds.
    remember what henry kissinger said? ‘soldiers are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in world affairs.’
    americans could force change. americans could force our government to ‘stop going abroad in search of monsters to destroy.'(john quincy adams)
    but, i doubt we will.

  11. prusmc says:
    @Priss Factor

    When we need a Jacques Massu we get a Charles Moose. The harpy will have no trouble finding a Massu. Who will she use it on?

  12. prusmc says:
    @Duglarri

    The new mission of the armed forces: social justice, diversity and-an employment program. If there is any fighting it will be done by a minority of the forces.who will be hamstrung by PC ROE.

  13. Sean says:

    The majority in that region are Sunnis and they are not going anywhere either. If ISIS or something like it were to overthrow the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (official title) that would go some way to unravelling the Gordian knot of Arabs inside what now calls itself the ” “Jewish and democratic state”.

    Israel can be democratic or Jewish. Not both. If a Sunni majority country wants radical Sunni government is not the US’s job to hang Isis (or any other faction) on a hook. Israel should’t be restrained; there is no such thing as a limited liability war.

  14. Let them off the hook? Wasn’t she behind the plan of transferring weapons from Libya, where her good works were ostensibly done, to Syria for the express purpose of arming them to bring down Assad?

  15. hbm says:
    @Priss Factor

    If US had left Muslim nations alone, there wouldn’t be terrorists running all over the place in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Jews want chaos in the Middle East in order to make Arabs kill Arabs.

    They also want Muslims in the West to create the same chaos here; for vengeance; because of their psychological need to repeat prior events by indirectly authoring them to happen again and again; to keep the West embroiled with Islam as the Jews are in Israel, ultimately to give them a moral pretext for when they commit their own violence against them. Of course they’ll howl the whole time about Jewish innocence and about human rights and how anyone who notices what they are doing is nuts.

    Personally I reject the idea Libertarian types forward that Islam wouldn’t dislike the West if we would just leave them alone. Leaving them alone is the right thing to do but is only part of the answer. Staying out of their part of the world must be matched with keeping them out of ours. Reasonable people are over a false dichotomy barrel, with the Neocon interventionists telling us that they hate us for who we are on one side and the la-la land non-intervention inviter multiculturalists on the other.

  16. Art says:

    Over and over FOX JEWS runs the Israeli Jew – Gorka – mouthing kill kill kill, like Israel does – when does he sleep?

    Gorka wants the Turkish military to take over its government. Surprise surprise – the Turk military is Israeli Jew friendly. He says “break the country up” just like the Jews have planned for the last sixty years.

    The neocon Jews all want another democratic government to come apart and fail in the ME.

    Killing strongmen is what started all the ME troubles. Destabilizing Turkey is totally wrong.

    Is there no end to Jew evil?

    p.s. Is there anyone who truly cares about America First working at FOX JEWS?

    (Some of the lamest face timers are “The Five” – not a clue among them – there is not a general, sheriff, or hardline Jew that they do not adore.)

  17. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says:

    ATTACK in NICE: The CLASH of Civilizations

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W8xjEFWrHg

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr