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Destroying Syria to Make It Safe for American Values
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“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 Mideast. Except this time it was the United States, France and Britain who wrought havoc in the Arab world, assisted by modern Turkey.

The UN’s refugee czar, Antonio Guterres, just asserted that there are now 4,013,000 Syrian refugees outside their homeland, and another 7.6 million as internal refugees from the war raging there since 2011.

That total’s some 11.6 million refugees- a staggering 50% of Syria’s population. Over a quarter million are refugees in Europe; the rest spread across the Mideast with the largest numbers in Lebanon and Jordan.

This flood of displaced people is the largest number of refugees in the past 25 years, according to the UN’s Guterres. In fact, Syria’s refugees now exceed in number the 5.5 million Palestinian refugees. At least the Syrians may one day return home; by contrast, Palestinians, stateless for over six decades, have no realistic hope of returning to their former homes in what is today Israel.

Before the 2011 war, Syria used to be a vibrant, growing nation with beautiful old cities and a rich, ancient culture going back over 2,500 years. Damascus is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.

Syria was always regarded as the beating heart of the Arab world and its intellectual epicenter. It was also the progenitor of Arab nationalism, a long-time defender of the Palestinians, and a determined foe of Israel – though in recent years the Israeli-Syrian border has been very quiet. Damascus, two generations behind Israel in military strength, dared not confront the powerful Jewish state directly.

For the past four decades, Syria has been ruled by its Alawi minority, an offshoot of Islam’s Shia faith. Alawi, like their fellow Shia in Lebanon, were the nation’s poorest, most marginalized people. The only work many could get was in the military. Eventually, an iron-fisted Alawi air force general, Hafez al-Assad, seized power. After Assad’s death, his second son Bashar took charge of the regime, backed by a strong army and ruthless security organs.

The Bush administration, prompted by Israel, toyed with the idea of toppling Syria’s Assad regime but it backed down when a few smart minds in Washington asked who would the US get to replace the existing government? Syria’s main opposition came from the outlawed, underground Muslim Brotherhood that spoke for Syria’s long-repressed Sunni majority. Washington wanted no part of the Muslim Brothers. Better the Asads, who quietly cooperated with Washington in spite of being backed by Iran.

But in 2009-2010, Washington changed policy. As anti-Iranian war fever in the US mounted, the White House demanded that Damascus renounce its alliance with Iran, or else. The plan was to isolate Iran prior to its being attacked. But Syria refused to cut its vital ties to Tehran.

So Syria was marked for regime change. Washington was fed up with Arab leaders who defied the writ of the American Raj. The Assads would meet the same grisly fate as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Khadaffi.

In spring, 2011, anti-Assad guerillas, armed and trained in Jordan by CIA, infiltrated from Lebanon into southern Syria at Deraa. This was the squalid little town in which Lawrence of Arabia was captured by the Turks. Derna was a hotbed of anti-government agitation. Soon, more US proxy rebels infiltrated across the Lebanese border. British and French special forces joined the rebels. Saudi Arabia provided the financing.

France, former colonial ruler of Syria and Lebanon, was particularly interested in re-asserting its influence in the Levant and the oil-rich Gulf states. Israel was convinced that overthrowing the Asad regime in Damascus would isolate its two main enemies, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbullah movement, leaving the latter vulnerable to a new Israel attack.

A propaganda blitz was unleashed against Syria’s President Assad, branding him the butcher of the Middle East. This was nonsense. The mild-mannered Assad was a former London-trained ophthalmologist who became Syria’s leader when his older brother Basil was killed in a car crash. The Assad regime had some very tough, nasty senior figures, but certainly no worse or more brutal than many other American Mideast allies like Egypt, Iraq, Algeria or Morocco.

No matter. Bashar Assad became America’s new Mideast devil and the object of western-engineered regime change. The means was to be a replay of the 1980’s Afghanistan jihad against the Soviets that this writer had covered.

An Arab army of young man ranging from idealists to malcontents was formed by western intelligence services. But unlike Afghanistan, the new Arab force was mostly composed of fanatical, Salafist jihadists created by Saudi Arabia and aided by Turkey and Jordan to pass into Syria.

“America’s Salafists” were the cutting edge of Washington’s grand Mideast strategy, developed during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to divided and rule by turning Sunni Muslims and Shia against one another. Results in Iraq were spectacular. The idea was to do the same again in Syria, where a minority Shia regime ruled a sullen, restive Sunni majority.

The result, as we have seen, is the relentless destruction of Syria by civil war. The entire nation has become a patchwork of warring groups similar to Germany during the 30 Year’s War of the 1600’s. Salafist jihadis fight al-Qaida-aligned jihadis who fight ISIS forces who fight Kurdish militias, French, Turkish and British special forces are deep in the fray.

Syria’s Christians, about 10% of the population, are backing the Assad government. They saw the destruction of Iraq’s ancient Christian communities, that had been formerly protected by President Saddam Hussein, after the US invasion of 2003 unleashed fanatical Salafists.


The massacres and butchery in Syria is unprecedented in the Mideast. The carnage even exceeds the many horrors of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war. Street fighting is destroying many of Syria’s villages, towns and cities. Beautiful Aleppo, a world heritage site, is being blown apart.

Syria’s anti-regime groups could not continue fighting without arms, munitions, medical supplies, radios and cash from the western powers. Washington’s fatuous claims it is deploying “moderate” jihads is a sour joke. The US is fully backing the region’s extremists against one of its oldest secular regimes. Who will finally win this multi-faceted civil war remains unclear.

But it is clear that Syria has been largely destroyed. It joins Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia in ruins and mourning – all examples of states that defied the American Raj. The plight of some 11 million Syrian refugees huddled in tents, drowning in the Mediterranean, or fleeing for their lives must be laid directly on Washington’s doorstep.

The nation of the Statue of Liberty is supposed to welcome and shelter huddled masses fleeing hunger and danger, not cause millions of refugees because of its ruinous Mideast policies.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Syria 
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  1. Yesterday C Span’s Washington Journal asked listeners to comment on “Crime in your city/town/rural community.”

    Callers reported on the many, many homicides in the places where they live; drug related killings, gang violence, poverty-provoked violence and killing and mayhem, all over the United States.

    An hour or so later ultra-zionist and neocon Clifford May of Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Matthew Spence of newly minted Truman National Security Project held a linear discussion offered as a Round Table on the Iran nuclear deal.

    After using up all their nasty-adjectives then running them around a second and third time, May and Spence agreed that “the young people in Iran want their government gone.” May & Spence somehow know this, are eager to help, and believe that they have the right and duty to throw Iran into chaos to achieve what they are certain “the young people of Iran want,” a government and society like the USA, so that Iran, too, can have murder and mayhem in their streets, a fast-fooderie on every corner, and their ancient cultural heritage destroyed by the liberty-loving USA.

    It makes me weep.

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    to make it safe for Israel is more accurate..

    • Replies: @An Observer
    , @Karl
  3. Sadly it all rings too true however freely Mr Margolis lets his prejudices roam. “American Raj” is a metaphor capable of making me bridle as the expression “Anglo-Jewish Zionism” tends to but, on reflection it is not a bad one. The British Raj in India after all did a lot of good and was maintained by a remarkably small number of mostly high minded public servants after the 18th century freebooting robbery of the old rulers (themselves mostly descended from recent conquerors) had finished. Even the neocons, for all I know, probably propound a mission statement which is far more than an instrument for protecting Zionism above all else.

    Hubris, ignorance and folly more than anything more sinister for the most part, I suspect. I suspect President Obama knows this and just doesn’t know how to untangle the mess.

    • Replies: @a.z
    , @tinman
  4. Kiza says:

    The writer mentions but is quite circumspect about the role of Israel in all this.

    It blatantly clear that it is Israel which is creating Lebensraum for itself by destroying secular government in the surroundings, one-by-one, and replacing them with extremists and crazies. This would be, of course, a stunningly short-sighted strategy if it were not for one simple fact that I mention later. The idea is to make Israel into an island of prosperity whilst surrounded by Arabs fighting each other to death. Thus, Israel and its US Government, are actively supporting the most radical, the most crazy, the most murderous Arabs. This strategy is obviously working, but only in the short-term. Once the fighting settles and a new steady state is established with the crazies in power, then they will forget all the help Israel and US have given them and they will turn against Israel. This is just like the anti-Russian mujahedin have turned against the US after the Russians were expelled out of Afghanistan (one would think that this would have been a sufficient lesson on blow-back, but no).

    Think about the logic of the de-secularization of the Middle East – is it better to have a secular regime next door with which you can negotiate, or is it better to have extremists and nut-cases?

    Once the dust settles, Israel will be in big trouble. However, Israel has a big and stupid uncle, Uncle Sam, who will sacrifice any blood and any treasure to save Israel from its mad policies. It is Uncle Sam’s blood and treasure which again and again and again pays for the Israel’s Middle Eastern follies.

    When is enough finally enough?

  5. a.z says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    the millions upon millions who died in multiple famines that were unleashed during the british colonization is all the good that the british accomplished. the last one happened when in fearing japanese movement towards india the british forcibly restricted the availability of food from the market and denied even the subsistence level food that the population needed and diverting them to grain storages (so they have the options to implement a scorched earth policy if needed) and towards the war effort. more than 1.5 million died from the british made famine when the food production itself went on unhindered and was perfectly capable of avoiding the catastrophe. americans at their worst have not been as destructive as the british when it comes to foreign occupations.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  6. @Kiza

    Bravo well done article and from Israel born author
    Uncle Scam has a future plan for the rebels –eradication
    I recall a 60s cartoon in mad mag. Home owner had a problem with mice. brought in a stray cat. Mice cleared. Cat attracted scores of mowing cats, to rid them, he bought a mean dog. next picture–he was left to sleep in the dog house.
    jUS/UKrael has a sinister plan for the coming stupid Arab conquerors— sudden death

  7. @a.z

    Those who have bothered to wade through this despite its careless language and focus on the writer’s emotional state of mind rather than reasoned exposition or pertinent fact may care to find something reliable careful and factual.

    Having remembered that the highly respected Amataya Sen had concluded that there wasn’t actually a food shortage in Bengal in 1943 (to which fairly obvious reference was made by a.z.) I did an elementary search and now direct attention to the Wikipedia article headed Bengal Famine in 1943. Even Churchill’s hardheaded refusal to divert scarce shipping from other services vital to the war that could still be lost comes out of it as understandable even if Sen was wrong and food did need to be imported from.Australia (some was btw).

  8. SA says:

    Just appalling.
    Thanks Eric.

  9. Biff says:

    “If you got brown people in your country, look the fuck out!”

    George Carlin..

  10. Margolis is mistaken. Though supported by the US, the Assad’s have run one of the most repressive and brutal regimes. They converted a peaceful revolt for democratization into a brutal military repression of the civilian population. The Assad regime used tanks, artillery, fighter jets and helicopter gunships against unarmed peaceful civilian demonstrators. This was before the resistance got arms. On the one hand Margolis says that the US-Israel would not tolerate even the quasi democratic Muslim Brotherhood, (see what happened in Egypt) yet on the other hand he wants his readers to believe that the US is supporting the most violently anti US groups to date. How come the US bombs them daily and has spent billions in doing so? Th US-Israel has its own surrogates, the communist YPG and PKK. The Saudi -Jordan-Gulf-US axis has the so-called Free Syrian Army. The USAF appears to be their air force. The brutal Assad minority regime, the Alawites, were given power in Syria by the France (one of the most cruel nations, see Heart of Darkness) as were the Maronites in Lebanon to Balkanize the predominantly Muslim Arab world. The minority sectarian Assad regime is fully funded and assisted by the Shia Sectarians of Iran and Hizbullah with Russian backing. So this is at least a triangular scenario, there are wild cards here which may in the end be detrimental to the US and Iran. The new US-Iran detente is meant to address the issue of bringing in Iranian muscle power and forces on the ground to strengthen minority Shia claims and support US interests. Iranian assistance is sought in the Syrian civil war as its collaboration produced the desired results in the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Replies: @tinman
  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Dear Wiz —
    You are, I am afraid, sadly misled by the gloss of British propaganda. The British Crown has always used famine as a weapon of conquest and colonization — centuries of it. From the islands of the western pacific to the Irish genocide by same, the British Crown and Parliament love creating famines. They are cheap, quick to kill millions; and distribution of supplies can be controlled to fill the bellies of the privileged and compliant. If all the British war crimes, tortures and vicious destruction of peoples were laid where they belong — at the Crown’s door — the monarchy of Britain would be indicted and destroyed.
    While there is almost certainly honor and compassion deep within the British people, none, but none is found in its government, royal or otherwise.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  12. tinman says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    because, of course, Obama gets a pass.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  13. tinman says:

    right, right. the coordinated attacks, er, protests, were, uh, peaceful.
    yeah, yeah, that’s what happened. and there was a “mass uprising” afterward -like a result of like police/state brutality. Yeah. yeah, yeah. And, like, it was a “popular” uprising. yeah.

    like, for real, dude. “People” revolted. uh, yeah. all over Syria. yeah. right. Yeah. yeah. And like, it was like, dude, liberty vs oligarchy. resistance against the machine. totally. that’s what like, totally happened. yeah. yeah. that’s right.

    “…the resistance….” lol funny. stuff.

  14. Some day, America, it will be our turn to experience the ravages of war.

  15. @tinman

    “Obama gets a pass”? Sorry, you’ll have to elaborate/elucidate.

  16. @Anonymous

    That says something about you and your emotions but doesn’t indicste that you have tudied any history or even read some of the better works of good histotians – about anything. I have some rebel Irish Catholic ancestry but that is a reason for taking the evidence about the potato blight famine seriously and learning the nuanced truth.

  17. @Minnesota Mary

    That says something about you and your emotions but doesn’t indicste that you have tudied any history or even read some of the better works of good histotians – about anything. I have some rebel Irish Catholic ancestry but that is a reason for taking the evidence about the potato blight famine seriously and learning the nuanced truth.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  18. @Wizard of Oz

    @Minnesota Mary

    Sorry defeated by the software. Not meant for you MM. I just wanted to find out what your favourite scenario was. A biological weapons rerun of the Civil War could be a good one for the video games industry – maybe already on the market????

  19. @Minnesota Mary

    Sorry MM: see correction.

    • Replies: @Minnesota Mary
  20. @Anonymous

    Israel has adopted a strategy of the long game. Make facts on the ground, by whatever distasteful means; then sustain those facts through the massive material [\$3 Billion a year at this writing] and moral support of the world’s prominent super-power until generations that KNOW the deplorable nature of the actions simply die. “Should only take, –meh–, 65 or 70 years….” Then, opposition loses much of its punch and can be dealt with pretty effectively by throwing up the hands and exclaiming, “What can I say?…facts are facts. Bad or not, they were done by a dead generation. Can’t we just move on!?” Whether Israel ‘learned’ this approach from the USA or not, the U.S. has amply demonstrated how effective it can be to hound indigenous peoples off their land (maybe through so called ‘ordinary citizen action’ apart from the government for deniabilitythat will later protest, “Who, MEEE!???) and steal it. Think, for just ONE example, Cherokee Nation. A few generations afterwards, only a small number of “loonies” and a handful of great grandchildren of those hounded and robbed have much interest in justice any more. It makes me sick at heart, but there it is. Utterly sick.

    • Replies: @Karl
  21. I respect Mr. Margolis greatly and thank him for his great service to the American public. It is with sorrow that I must disagree with his view that our war on Syria is designed to make it safe for American values. The war against Syria is part of a plan to establish Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

  22. This doesn’t make any sense. The US didn’t start the uprising in Syria, didn’t actively support it, and eventually started bombing parts of it. I have a lot of sympathy for the argument that US intervention would have made things worse, but the fact is that there has been little US intervention and it has not had any important effect on the outcome. For better or worse the US is a bit player here.

    • Replies: @geokat62
  23. geokat62 says:
    @Oliver Cromwell

    “… but the fact is that there has been little US intervention and it has not had any important effect on the outcome.”

    Have you had an opportunity to read The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy? Do you recall W’s SofU speech in which he accused Iraq, Iran, and strangely NK of forming an Axis of Evil? His speech writer, neocon David Frum, coined that phrase and conveniently substituted NK for Syria so as not to make things too obvious for the goy that PNACs game plan was to get the U.S. to remove three regimes that were still aiding and abetting the Palestinians and Hezbollah. The strategy is referred to as “A Clean Break,” as it is meant to depart from the bankrupt approach of Land for Peace in favour of a more robust approach best described as Peace for Peace. It’s a good read. I highly recommend it!

    For better or worse the US is a bit player here.

    Making this kind of statement indicates one of two things: either you’re guilty of misinformation or disinformation. I’ll leave it to you to clarify which.

    Here’s a link that provides a little evidence of the U.S.’s involvement:

    And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.

    In any case, the connection between Benghazi and Syrian rebels is stronger than has been officially acknowledged.

  24. Johann says:

    Pravda rightly named the coalition that is destroying Syria and exterminating the century old Christian villages as the FUKUS (France, UK, United States) evil empire. FUKUS is led by amoral greedy old men and women, representative of the Obama/Biden regime. The blood that is on the collective hands of the American public is unbelievable.

  25. Karl says:

    >> to make it safe for Israel is more accurate

    no one treated Israel with softer gloves, than Bashir Assad.

    no one can show me any Hebrew-language writings, which show the masses or the leadership of the Hebrew Republic, agitating for or even propounding for – the overthrow of Assad.

    I understand that you’re angry that a bunch of Euro White Males (blame them for everything!) ruined the peaceful, harmonius, stable regimes of the Arab World.

    • Replies: @Sean1
    , @geokat62
  26. Karl says:
    @An Observer

    >> Israel has adopted a strategy of the long game

    it was a pretty successful strategy, which enabled the Spaniards to reclaim their indigenous land from Arabic Colonialism…. so I think it will work for us Hebrews for the same purpose.

    In the ancient days – when the Cherokee identity didn’t yet ===exist=== as an ethnic identity….. the entire Levant spoke Proto-Hebrew. Which modern Hebrews can understand much better than you can understand Beowulf.

    When your great-great-great grandchildren are rapping & hip-hopping in Ebonics – ours will STILL be complaining in Hebrew about the Jerusalem cops writing parking tickets – printed in Hebrew

    • Replies: @geokat62
  27. Sean1 says:

    Kids gloves. I’d lean more towards fear and respect, but yeah, the Assad-era Syria had more cordial relations with Israel (as far as it can be in this area) than most others did. Aside from that, why would you doubt Israel wishes to protect itself? Historically, it swims in a sea of enemies, and for better or worse Israel is very proactive in ensuring its survival.

  28. geokat62 says:

    When your great-great-great grandchildren are rapping & hip-hopping in Ebonics – ours will STILL be complaining in Hebrew about the Jerusalem cops writing parking tickets – printed in Hebrew

    EBY – you really need to refresh your material… your one-liner has completely lost its lustre… the replacement of “communicating” with “rapping & hip-hopping” simply doesn’t cut it!

  29. geokat62 says:

    I understand that you’re angry that a bunch of Euro White Males (blame them for everything!) ruined the peaceful, harmonius, stable regimes of the Arab World. (emphasis added)

    Very, very disingenuous, EBY. You must not have yet read Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. It’s a good read. Perhaps you could provide us a summary of their shortcomings?

  30. rybo1 says:

    America is devoid of any true values.

  31. @Kiza

    You are close to having it figured out but haven’t got it quite right. By having the crazies take over the surrounding nations in the Middle East, Israel will have an excuse to go in with Uncle Sam’s help, and kick butt, take over those neighboring countries, and expand the footprint of Eretz Israel to be the same as it was under King Solomon. There is method in their madness of helping the crazies take over Syria.

  32. alexander says:

    Dear Mr Margolis,

    Don,t you really mean…We are destroying Syria to make it safe for Israel to retain its most coveted stolen possession..The Golan heights ?

    How can Israel return the Golan to Syria., (which is required by the U.N.S.C.)…if there is no Syria left to return it to ?

    “Rolling back” Syria through the use of proxy forces, be they terrorists ,mercenaries or whatever, has been a stated objective of Israel as far back as 1996…. see the ‘Clean Break, strategy for securing the realm.”

    Do you really believe the Israeli lobby cares about all the Syrian civilians being slaughtered as a result of the conflict,?….. After initiating the US slaughter of millions of civilians in Iraq, and the brutal extermination of Palestinians civilians in Gaza last summer, why do you suppose they really care at all ?

    Keeping the Golan Heights by “wiping Syria off the map” is the objective…and the horrific Syrian civil war is making it “safe” for Israel to keep it…Permanently !

    • Replies: @geokat62
  33. geokat62 says:

    Couldn’t have said it any better, myself!

  34. Interesting read as far as it goes. But how does it end? The Turks and the Americans seem about to finally destroy Assad. Will Russia, China and Iran allow this? And what of the pipe line that supposedly is the motivation for the destruction of Assad?’ Why can’t we have the pipe line AND Assad? And what of the deal recently struck in Vienna? Does the US expect to conduct war and diplomacy with Iran simultaneously?

    Is there no common decency in the ruling/monied classes anywhere? Sorry. That was a rhetorical question. Sigh. Perhaps it is true that the world is the devil’s playground.

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