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Hidden History of Syria Regime Collapse Strategy Begins to Emerge
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…though, to be accurate, loyal readers of China Matters knew the skinny as it happened, three years ago and the Western media is now playin’ ketchup.

From today’s Guardian:

Russia proposed more than three years ago that Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, could step down as part of a peace deal, according to a senior negotiator involved in back-channel discussions at the time.

Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said western powers failed to seize on the proposal. Since it was made, in 2012, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions uprooted, causing the world’s gravest refugee crisis since the second world war.

But he said that the US, Britain and France were so convinced that the Syrian dictator was about to fall, they ignored the proposal.

As the Guardian ruefully points out, most of the quarter-million fatalities and millions of refugees were generated after early 2012. The total death toll in early 2012 was…less than 10,000.

Also consider this an instance of neoliberal ass-covering, as if the Western allies were just waiting for Assad “to fall.”

I guess now the “foreign backed insurrection worked so well in Libya and only Russian and Iranian support is standing in the way of an identical democratic nirvana in Syria” alternative history has exploded, it’s time for Plan C a.k.a. “the toothpaste is going BACK IN THE TUBE, people” (Plan A the optimistic “indigenous democracy movement will take down Assad while we cheer from the sidelines and provide just a teensy bit of arms & support” stance of 2011, Plan B being 2012 to date “the jihadis will lick Assad with a big assist from us you betcha.”)

Nope, the full story of Syria in 2012 includes multiple sins of commission, not just omission, chief among them promoting a strategy of foreign-backed insurrection that tossed most of Syria and its people into a meatgrinder for three years…without bringing down Assad.

The facts that the domestic insurrection had failed in late 2011 (with the crushing of resistance in Homs) and that the EOA (Enemies of Assad i.e. the GCC, Turkey, the US, and its EU pilotfish) had switched to a strategy of externally supported regime collapse was clear to objective observers as it happened.

As evidence, I attach two pieces of mine. The first one, from one from November 2011, The Syrian Revolution Hijacked, mordantly concludes:

The democratic revolution ship has sailed. What’s going on today is a foreign-supported insurrection.

The Syrian revolutionaries were too weak to get the nation they wanted.

They’ll have to make do with whatever state that Turkey, the Gulf powers, and the western democracies decide to give them.

It also includes a sinister cameo from Victoria Nuland, a guest appearance by Islamist muscle imported via Turkey, and a startling prescient prediction by M. Badhrakumar concerning a possible Turkish incursion into northern Syria.

The second piece, July 17, 2012: the Day America Exited the 9/11 Era…By Entering an Alliance with Al Qaeda uses recent tittle tattle to update a piece I wrote in 2012 a week after a botched decapitation strike/regime collapse operation engineered by the United States.

To placate the TL;DR crowd, here’s the main takeaway from that piece:

July 17, 2012, the day the US, Europe, Turkey, and the GCC optimistically thought they could wrap up the Syria crisis in a few weeks with a well-timed campaign of terror and insurrection starting in Damascus.

Recently, a Beirut based newspaper, As-Safir, published a report on the July 2012 bombing (not aerial bombing, a C4 boobytrap) that wiped out Bashar al-Assad’s “security cell” a.k.a. his national security team during their daily strategy session in Damascus.

As translated by an outfit called Mideastwire, As-Safir claims the bombing was a decapitation strike as part of an elaborately choreographed scheme by the U.S. to collapse the Syrian government and military and smooth the way for a drive on Damascus by the Free Syrian Army and the elevation of defecting general Manaf Tlass (who possessed limited capacities beyond a firm jaw well suited to Churchillian cigar-clenching but was adored by the French, perhaps because his socialite sister had allegedly been the mistress of a French foreign minister) to the presidency.

I am inclined to believe As-Safir, apparently a lefty, Syria-friendly outfit with a large circulation, because shortly after the bombing I drew the same conclusion, immortalized in my July 28, 2012 piece for Asia Times Online:

[A] funny thing happened last week. The Assad regime didn’t collapse, despite an orchestrated, nation-wide assault (coordinated, we can assume, by the crack strategists of the international anti-Assad coalition): a decapitating terrorist bombing in the national security directorate, near-simultaneous armed uprisings in the main regime strongholds of Damascus and Aleppo, and the seizure of many of Syria’s official border crossings with Iraq and Turkey.

This piece also features a rather farcical cameo by Juan Cole.

As the anti-Assad front cracks, I think we’ll see more of these sorts of reports leaking out, albeit framed as classic passive voiced “Assad didn’t collapse” instead of “a massive West-supported regime-collapse effort failed completely to dislodge Assad while destroying Syria so now it’s time to cut our losses, ignore responsibility,and MOVE ON.”

Ironically, of course, these reports will be leaking out in outlets like the Guardian, whose fact-and-logic-challenged cheerleading for the collapse strategy will probably remain unexamined.

My personal feeling is that most of the EOA including President Obama have grown tired of the game and would like to wind it down. Even the GCC, hemorrhaging from self-inflicted oil war and Yemen invasion wounds, may be willing to give the anti-Assad jihad a rest. Among governments, Turkey looks like the last “Assad must go” outlier in the official coalition, as part of its apocalyptic high-stakes anti-Kurd policy in northern Syria.

But then there’s Israel. I suspect hardliners in Israel, the US natsec establishment are still holding out for a military solution not just because they HATE ASSAD but because stringing out the Syria crisis offers the most effective way to drive wedges between the West and Russia and, more importantly Iran.

The hardliner/Likud Middle East policy is based on maintaining the Iran vs. civilization existential threat dichotomy, which is threatened by President Obama’s efforts at rapprochement via the nuclear deal…and the wholesale stampede of European powers eager to shed the sanctions incubus and do more business with Iran, which is (ironically, if you want to put it that way) the only reasonably stable, war-free oil power in the Middle East.

The best way to keep Iran on the other side of the fence from the West, in other words, is to sidetrack any talk of peace/transition negotiations, sustain the assault on Assad, and elicit ever more overt and off-putting support from Russia and Iran (which see the possibility of closing the books on the Syria adventure and are determined to keep Assad hanging on).

At the very least, a second win for Iran (in Syria) is forestalled. At best, during an escalating crisis, Iran gets painted as an enemy of all that’s good and decent and the wheels are pulled off the nuclear deal buggy—by instituting new US sanctions against Iran, perhaps, which is apparently seen as a dealbreaker.

Enough predicting. Time will tell, I guess.

Here are the pieces covering the evolution and execution of the EOA regime collapse strategy in 2011-2012.

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Syria 
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  1. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    “Enough predicting. Time will tell, I guess.”

    With Jews, we lose.

  2. Israel wants Assad’s regime destroyed so as to break the Shi’a Crescent at what was thought to be it’s weak link; and both the Saudi’s and Israel want to punch a nat gas pipeline up thorough Syria and then to southern Europe…something else which Putin cannot permit. Contra Peter Lee, I don’t think Israel and its American puppet are going to cut bait anytime soon…and the chances for this mess escalating into a direct Russian-American confrontation and a genuine Third and Final world war are still quite good. PARTICULARLY if the entirely Zionized/neo-con’d Republiscam party wins the 2016 Prez election. Much as I despise the collectivists, we are – in terms of raw physical survival – probably better off with the Demoncrats in the WH. They are less likely to incinerate the planet on behalf of Israel

    • Replies: @anonymous
  3. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    better off with the Demoncrats

    I don’t know. Killary is more competent and hard-working than the Bush clan. That’s a bad thing.

    • Replies: @Marian
  4. Marian says:

    Killary…competent? Not sure about that one, but she is financial whore. Who’s got the money? Makes me almost root for Trump to win.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  5. @Marian

    “Her voice was ever soft and low,
    A wonderful thing in a woman.”


    EMMA ALBERICI: If we can just move to Syria – the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission over the weekend. It’s called for the UN Security Council to support a move that would see president Assad transfer power to his vice-president, who would then oversee elections. Now, will Russia support that plan?

    SERGEI LAVROV: Russia would not support anything which would be actually imposed on Syrians.

    The Arab League initiated a peace plan in November which was very straightforward and consisted of three points.

    First, end of any violence, irrespective of wherever it comes from, meaning that the opposition must also distance itself from the armed extremist groups.

    The second point, the beginning of the dialogue resulted in pre-conditions.

    And the third point, no outside interference.

    These three elements of the Arab League initiative of last November became the basis for a draft resolution which Russia introduced in the Security Council and which is on the table of the Security Council. We strongly supported the Arab League initiative which was introduced in December to send an Arab League observer mission to Syria, to watch both the government and the opposition and to establish facts about what is going on on the ground.

    EMMA ALBERICI: And they’ve been doing that? And they now say the fighting is intractable?

    SERGEI LAVROV: They have been doing this, and they produced a report one month after they were sent there, and then the Arab League convened a week ago to consider this report. And adopted a decision which … well, contradicts the findings of the report.

    And then this decision was taken to the Security Council, where it is now. And we are discussing it in New York, but we do want to have the report itself on the table. It took us some time and some days to get this done, but now the report is in the Security Council. And we would be guided by the facts.

    We would also be guided by the need to avoid taking sides in a situation of internal conflict.

    The international community unfortunately did take sides in Libya and we would never allow the Security Council to authorise anything similar to what happened in Libya. Yes, we condemn strongly the use of force by government forces against civilians, but we can condemn in the same strong way the activities of the armed extremist groups who attack government positions, who attack administration in various provinces of Syria, who attack a police station and who terrorise people telling them not to come to jobs, not to come to hospitals, not to come to shops.

    It’s impossible to … when you say that government forces must leave towns, but at the same time you watch BBC, you watch CNN and you see that parts of those towns are taken by the armed opposition, are you realistically expecting that any government in this situation would leave the city and leave it to the armed groups? I don’t think so.

    So, my point is that the international community must speak one voice. If we want to end violence, irrespective of where it comes from – and that’s the language of the Arab League – then all those countries on whose soil various opposition groups are present, they must lean on those groups, we all must lean on the Syrian government and tell them that you must sit down and stop this. You must agree how your country is going to be run.

    We would not pre-judge the outcome, whether this would involve the president of Syria living, or whether there would be some other solution, we went through this in Libya when the African Union – the organisation of 50-some countries, to which Libya belongs – introduced a plan under which the fate of Gaddafi would’ve been decided at the end of the negotiating process as part of the overall package.

    It was rejected because some countries outside the African Union said no, no, no, Gaddafi must go before anything else happens, and then we had what we did. The African Union was humiliated, because to throw away an initiative which was aimed at peacefully resolving the crisis just because somebody had some very personal animosities was a mistake, and if we’re going to repeat this in Syria, well, we cannot help it if some people insist on doing something bad.

    But we would not be party to it and we would not let the Security Council endorse something like this.

    Did Americans see a statesman the like of Lavrov in the Republican debate yesterday?

  7. If the US spent just 10% of the effort it has devoted to destroying the Arab/Persian/Muslim world to destroying Israel just imagine how peaceful and prosperous the world could be.

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