Mehdi Hasan, beautiful soul, and his diatribe against the consequential Left

April 21, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

If it wasn’t already clear, The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan, wants us to know he’s a beautiful soul. In an April 19 diatribe against “Bashar al Assad apologists,” Hasan professes his distaste for war crimes, torture, and dictatorship, no matter the source, but devotes particular attention to the violence and restrictions on political and civil liberties attributable to the Syrian president. Assad, Hasan concludes, “is a war criminal even if he didn’t gas civilians,” and leftists should stop defending him. The journalist, who also works for the Qatari monarchy’s mouthpiece Al Jazeera, then proceeds to recite a litany of charges against Assad, some undeniable, some unproved or unprovable. One gets the impression that he’s peeved that the latest chemical weapons allegations against the Syrian government, ridiculously thin to begin with, and now largely demolished by Robert Fisk’s reporting, have failed to stick.

At one time, where one stood on the political spectrum depended on one’s position on the questions of political, social, and economic equality, on a national and international level. Leftists favored greater equality; conservatives liked the status quo; and reactionaries, including Qatari monarchs, agitated for a return to a world of ascriptive hierarchies based on class, gender and race. The methods political actors used to achieve their goals could be judged as acceptable or deplorable on moral or instrumental grounds, but it was understood that the methods used were not intrinsic to the goals sought.

It was also understood that the circumstances constrained the methods. The methods available to advance a struggle toward growing equality, for example, or in defense of it, differed depending on the strength of the opposition; the likelihood it would yield to violence versus moral suasion; the degree to which supporters could be galvanized to fight and their tolerance for sacrifice, and so on. One could find the methods disagreeable, but if so, there was an expectation that one would suggest realistic alternatives.

Hasan has turned the distinction between goals and methods on its head. In Hasan’s view, leftists are defined not by what they’re trying to achieve, but by the methods they use. Torture, dictatorship, abridgement of civil liberties, warfare that produces collateral civilian casualties—all these things, according to Hasan, are signs of a contra-left political orientation. Thus, he argues, with illogic, that “Bashar al-Assad is not an anti-imperialist of any kind, nor is he a secular bulwark against jihadism; he is a mass murderer, plain and simple.” The illogic is evident in the false dichotomy that lies at the center of his argument. Mass murderer (if indeed Assad can be so characterized) does not exclude anti-imperialist and secular bulwark against jihadism; but in Hasan’s world, mass murderer and secular anti-imperialist are mutually exclusive. They are so to Hasan, because he has transfigured Leftism into the concept of avoiding all choices that have potentially awful consequences.

The beautiful soul retreats from the political struggles of the real world into impotent moral posturing, where no choices are ever made, because the consequences of all choices are awful to one degree or another. Success, then, in any political struggle is transformed from acting on the world to change it into avoiding any step that might have terrible consequences—a recipe for impotence, paralysis and failure. To the beautiful soul, the only leftist political movement that is worthy of support is the one that fails, never the one that comes to power and implements its political program and fights to overcome opposition to it.

To Hasan, the Syrian State’s position on the political spectrum is unrelated to its goals: overcoming sectarian and other divisions in the Arab world, safeguarding Syria’s political independence, and achieving economic sovereignty. Nor does it matter that Damascus is engaged in a struggle against (to use Hasan’s own words) “rapacious U.S. foreign policy”, “Saudi-inspired extremism” and “Israeli opportunism”—in other words, the aggression of conservative and reactionary forces that are more powerful individually to say nothing of collectively than the Syrian State by many orders of magnitude. To the Mahatma, all of these considerations are irrelevant, and all that matters in the evaluation of Assad’s political orientation is whether the methods Damascus has used to defend the gains it has made in the direction of asserting its right to equality and sovereignty are methods that that are suitable to a State in periods of stability, normalcy and safety. It’s as if what Hasan deplores about a war cabinet, for example, is not the war that made the war cabinet necessary, but the very fact that a war cabinet was created in response to it, as if carrying on in the regular manner could somehow make the war go away.

Yet what alternatives might the Syrian government have adopted to face the crisis and emergency that rapacious US foreign policy, Saudi-inspired extremism, and Israeli opportunism inflicted upon it? Even the US constitution makes provision for concentration of authority in the executive branch and abridgement of political and civil liberties under conditions of internal rebellion and threatened invasion. From the mid-1960s forward, if not earlier, Syria has faced permanent crisis and emergency, including an ongoing official state of war with Israel, foreign occupation of its territory (now by the United States and Turkey in addition to Israel), and the fostering of internal rebellion by Western states with imperial ambitions—comparable conditions to those which the architects of the US constitution envisaged would require extraordinary powers for US presidents. Are not comparable powers required for a Syrian president? Any realistic assessment of the challenges Syria faces leads inevitably to the conclusion that harsh and quite disagreeable measures are called for if the Leftist project of defending the equality and sovereignty of Syria within the international network of States is to be achieved against the determined opposition of “rapacious U.S. foreign policy,” “Saudi-inspired extremism” and “Israeli opportunism.”

So, faced with these enormous challenges, what should Assad do? Whatever it is, Hasan can’t say. The best The Intercept writer can do is demand: “Is it the only way you know how to oppose” US, Saudi and Israeli aggression? Well, it does, indeed, appear to be the only way the Syrian government knows how to resist forces many times stronger than itself. But if not this way, then what way? “Should we shoot balloons at the opposition?” Assad once asked another beautiful soul.

In the war against the Axis states, the Allies used torture, summary executions, indiscriminate bombing, confinement of civilians to concentration camps, encroachments on civil liberties, concentration of power in the executive branch, and worse. These methods were clearly disagreeable. And yet, they were the methods chosen to overcome fascism.

It would be wrong to denounce the anti-fascist war as deplorable because some, or indeed many, of its methods, were distasteful–from the virtual dictatorships exercised in Britain and the United States, to the abuse, torture and summary executions of Axis prisoners of war, to sieges and the starving of civilians. And was the Allied countries’ refusal to guarantee the rights of assembly and free expression of Nazi and fascist supporters to be condemned as a human rights violation? Every accusation Hasan makes against Assad he can equally make against Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s conduct in WWII. Curiously (or predictably) he doesn’t, choosing instead to direct his venom at the duo’s ally, Stalin, the only one of the three whose goals were authentically leftist.

The beautiful soul is not of this world. The options available to people who achieve real gains in real world political struggles are rarely simple, and are often ugly and disagreeable to one degree or another. The beautiful soul removes himself from the real world of politics, like the monk retreating from the world into his cell, and thereby avoids having to make choices whose consequences may be regrettable. His politics revolve around denunciations of the choices made by people who act on the world to change it. Few would contest that Hitler’s Nazism, Mussolini’s fascism, and Tojo’s militarism, could have been overcome except by recourse to violence, with all its ugly outcomes, though we can imagine Hasan, the Mahatma, demanding of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin: “Is war the only way you know how to oppose rapacious Nazism, or Japanese imperialism of Mussolini’s opportunism?” We can also imagine him thundering that “Roosevelt is not an anti-fascist of any kind; he is a mass murderer, plain and simple.”

Leftism is not turning the other cheek, an unqualified commitment to rights of free expression and assembly, or scrupulously observing the rules of war, anymore than it’s the opposite of these things. However much Hasan would have us believe that Assad’s shooting balloons at the opposition would make him an authentic anti-imperialist and genuine secular bulwark against jihadism, the truth of the matter is that that shooting balloons would only make Assad a spectacularly unsuccessful anti-imperialist and a secular sieve rather than secular bulwark against jihadist extremism. The Syrian president is unquestionably an anti-imperialist, a point Hasan, himself, concedes (though he doesn’t seem to know it) when he asks is there no other way to oppose US imperialism? What is an anti-imperialist but one who opposes imperialism? The Syrian president, then, in Hasan’s view is engaged in anti-imperialist opposition—he just doesn’t like Assad’s methods. He can’t, however, suggest any realistic alternatives.

What distinguishes Assad from leaders Hasan doesn’t demonize as mass murderers is that Assad has been forced by an internal rebellion and invasion to invoke police state powers and deploy force to meet the crisis and that other leaders, enjoying conditions of stability and normalcy, have not. Would any leader under comparable circumstances have acted differently? Hasan’s facile analysis inevitably condemns all leaders of any State or movement that has deployed force and killed, as mass murderers, unless they have met two sets of impossible standards: (1) they’ve guaranteed a politically open society in which the rights of free expression and assembly are guaranteed to all, including the opposition, which is thereby allowed to freely organize the government’s demise, and (2) they carry out all armed operations strictly in accordance with the rules of war.

The New York Times once observed that the US military adheres to all laws of war when it can but violates them under circumstances of military necessity, as, for example, in the capture of cities from insurgents who use the civilian population as shields. Hasan condemns the Syrian Arab Army (or rather Assad specifically) for siege and indiscriminate bombing, presumably in connection with the liberation of Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, measures also employed by US forces in the capture of Raqqa and Mosul. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis defended the US violations on the grounds that “Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.” (Hasan, predictably, didn’t include Mattis in his demonology; the beautiful soul reserves his most impassioned tirades for figures of the Left.) The only alternative to siege and bombing was to accept the capture of these cities by Islamist insurgents as a fait accompli–hence, to surrender to Saudi-inspired extremism and accept the disintegration of the secular Arab nationalist state and the leftist (i.e., anti-imperialist) values embedded in it.

The argument I’m making here is not one of “whataboutism”, but that the only realistic choices available to a military confronting insurgent forces which capture territory and refuse to allow the civilian population to flee are either (1) siege and bombing, with inevitable civilian casualties, or (2) capitulation. Hasan’s diatribe against Assad is in effect a plea for Syrian surrender, for there is no realistic way the Syrian government can meet the crisis and emergency produced by “rapacious U.S. foreign policy”, “Saudi-inspired extremism” and “Israeli opportunism” but to take measures Hasan and other beautiful souls will shudder at and condemn. Implicit in Hasan’s analysis is the view that the only real world struggles against inequality worthy of support are those that use quixotic methods that guarantee their failure, and hence, facilitate the triumph of movements of exclusion, inequality, oppression and exploitation.


Hasan and his coreligionist Eric Draitser, profess not to take sides. Instead, they claim to hover neutrally above the field of battle, siding only with such abstractions as “humanity,” as if humanity does not include contending forces, or, in Draitser’s case, with “the Syrian people”, as if the Syrian people does not include government forces, Islamist insurgents, and Kurdish fighters. Through a verbal sleight of hand they hope to conjure an artificial construct free from competing forces to which they can claim fealty and thereby avoid taking a side. This is a deception, and the position of cowards.

The intellectual predecessors of Hasan, Draitser, and their ilk likewise adopted a position of neutrality in the struggle between slave owners and the slave rebellion, deploring the methods of struggle chosen by both sides, but particularly the violence of the slave rebellion, the necessary condition of the slaves’ emancipation. “If only they could work out their disagreements amicably,” they sighed.

In the 1930s, the neutralists, seeking to hover God-like above the fray, refused to side with either the Communists or Nazis, abhorring the deployment of defensive violence by Communists and Jews against the Nazis who would destroy them.


The War in Syria Was a US Intervention Since “Day One″

By Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, April 15, 2018

In the aftermath of US-led missile strikes on Syria, the Western media has attempted to continue building the case for “US intervention.”

However, before the first agitators took to the streets in Syria in 2011, the US was already involved.

The New York Times in its 2011 article, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” would admit (emphasis added):

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

The work of these groups often provoked tensions between the United States and many Middle Eastern leaders, who frequently complained that their leadership was being undermined, according to the cables.

The financing of agitators from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) before the so-called “Arab Spring” was meant to stampede targeted governments from power – paving the way for US client states to form. Nations that resisted faced – first, US-backed militants – and failing that, direct US military intervention – as seen in Libya in 2011.

After the US funded initial unrest in 2011 – the US has armed and funded militants fighting in Syria ever since.

The same NYT would publish a 2013 article titled, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” admitting (emphasis added):

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

As the proxy war the US waged against Damascus began to fail, multiple attempts were made to justify direct US military intervention in Syria as the US and its allies did in 2011 against the Libyan government.

This includes repeated attempts to enforce the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, multiple false-flag chemical attacks beginning with the Ghouta incident in 2013 and the emergence of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) which helped the US justify the deployment of ground troops now currently occupying eastern Syria.

The notion of the US currently “contemplating intervention” in Syria attempts to sidestep the fact that the Syrian conflict itself – from its inception – has been a US intervention.

Long Before “Day 1″

Even before the most recent attempt at US-led regime change in Syria, the US has pursued campaigns of violent subversion aimed at Syria and its allies.

In 2007, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh would write in his article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Hersh’s words would become prophetic when, in 2011, the US would begin arming and backing militants – many with overt affiliations to Al Qaeda – in a bid to destabilize Syria and overthrow the government in Damascus.

The article would also lay out preparations that – even in 2007 – were clearly aimed at organizing for and executing a wider conflict.

Yet, published CIA documents drawn from the US National Archives illustrate how this singular agenda seeking to overthrow the government of Syria stretches back even earlier – by decades.

A 1983 document signed by former CIA officer Graham Fuller titled, “Bringing Real Muscle to Bear Against Syria” (PDF), states (their emphasis):

Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the [Iran-Iraq] war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey.

The report also states:

If Israel were to increase tensions against Syria simultaneously with an Iraqi initiative, the pressures on Assad would escalate rapidly. A Turkish move would psychologically press him further.

The document exposes both then and now, the amount of influence the US exerts across the Middle East and North Africa. It also undermines the perceived agency of states including Israel and NATO-member Turkey, revealing their subordination to US interests and that actions taken by these states are often done on behalf of Wall Street and Washington rather than on behalf of their own national interests.

Also mentioned in the document are a variety of manufactured pretexts listed to justify a unilateral military strike on northern Syria by Turkey. The document explains:

Turkey has considered undertaking a unilateral military strike against terrorist camps in northern Syria and would not hesitate from using menacing diplomatic language against Syria on these issues.

Comparing this signed and dated 1983 US CIA document to more recent US policy papers and revelations of US funding of so-called activists prior to 2011, reveals not only continuity of agenda – but that attempts to portray the 2011 “uprising” as spontaneous and as merely exploited by the US are disingenuous.

Breaking the Cycle

The current stalemate in Syria is owed to Russia’s involvement in the conflict. This began in 2013 when Moscow brokered a political deal preventing US military intervention then – and again in 2015 when the Russian military – upon Damascus’ request – built up a presence within the nation. Today, it is the threat of Russian retaliation that has hemmed in US options and plunged American special interests into increasing depths of desperation.

The recent missile strikes by the US and its tentative holdings in eastern Syria reflect geopolitical atrophy amid a conflict that was initially aimed at quickly stampeding the Syrian government from power back in 2011.

Washington’s inability to achieve its objectives leave it in an increasingly desperate position – attempting to reassert itself in the region or face the irreversible decline of its so-called “international order.” However, a desperate hegemon in decline is still dangerous.


Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from the author.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, 2018

WikiLeaks Secret Cable: "Overthrow The Syrian Regime, But Play Nice With Russia"

by Tyler Durden - 15 April, 2018

Hours after the overnight US-led missile strikes on Syria, WikiLeaks republished a crucially important diplomatic cable through its official media accounts confirming that Saudi Arabia's long term strategy in Syria has been to pursue regime change "by all means available." According to the leaked internal Saudi government document, this is the kingdom's proposed end-goal even should the United States at any point show "lack of desire" due to the threat of Russian response and possibility of a 'great power' confrontation.

With American lawmakers and media pundits already urging President Trump to escalate and sustain attacks against Syria, it must be remembered that close US allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia have long coordinated to create the conditions that might tip the US administration toward full military action resulting in regime change in Damascus. And more recently, fresh off his weeks-long tour of the US, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has both slammed previous proposals of US troop withdrawal in Syria and declared eagerness "to work with allies on any military response in Syria if needed."

It is also essential to recall that the al-Qaeda linked group which originated the claims of a government orchestrated chemical attack on civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma, called Jaish al Islam (JAI), is and has always been state sponsored by the Saudi regime. The Guardian, among others, reported beginning in 2013 that Saudi Arabia founded and trained the group, spending millions

Secret Saudi cable produced by WikiLeaks: Saudi Arabia "must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria" even should the United States at any point show "lack of desire."

Notably, as Russia as well as some Western counter-terror experts continue to point the finger at Jaish al Islam (and the "White Helmets") for staging the Douma "chemical attack" in order to provoke the US military response, it has emerged through past reporting that JAI itself had used chemical weapons against Kurdish militias in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud district in 2016 (and it appears that the Saudi-backed group openly admitted to carrying out prior chemical attacks according to The Daily Beast).

Given this current context and the continued rapid unfolding of the crisis, the previously leaked 'secret' Saudi memo published by WikiLeaks takes on new significance and meaning: did the Saudis finally trigger their "by any means available" scenario (a 'chemical incident') at a moment when their proxies were collapsing in the face of overwhelming Syrian Army victory?

The below article and translation was originally authored by Brad Hoff in 2016 for WikiLeaks and Foreign Policy Journal, and is used here with permission.

* * *

Secret Intel Memo: Overthrow the Regime “by all means available”

A WikiLeaks cable released as part of “The Saudi Cables” in the summer of 2015, now fully translated here for the first time, reveals what the Saudis feared most in the early years of the war: Russian military intervention and Syrian retaliation. These fears were such that the kingdom directed its media “not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them” at the time.

Saudi Cable: Overthrow the Syrian Regime, but Play Nice with Russia …

Newly Translated WikiLeaks Saudi Cable: Overthrow the Syrian Regime, but Play Nice with Russia |...

Saudi Arabia had further miscalculated that the “Russian position” of preserving the Assad government “will not persist in force.” In Saudi thinking, reflected in the leaked memo, Assad’s violent ouster (“by all means available”) could be pursued so long as Russia stayed on the sidelines.

The following section of the leaked cable is categorical in its emphasis on regime change at all cost, even should the U.S. vacillate for “lack of desire”:

“The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria. As regards the international position, it is clear that there is a lack of ‘desire’ and not a lack of ‘capability’ on the part of Western countries, chief among them the United States, to take firm steps…”

Amman-based Albawaba News—one of the largest online news providers in the Middle East—was the first to call attention to the WikiLeaks memo, which “reveals Saudi officials saying President Bashar al-Assad must be taken down before he exacts revenge on Saudi Arabia.” Albawaba offered a brief partial translation of the cable, which though undated, was likely produced in early 2012 (based on my best speculation using event references in the text; Russia began proposing informal Syrian peace talks in January 2012).

Russian Hardware, a Saudi Nightmare

Over the past weeks Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up its rhetoric on Syria, threatening direct military escalation and the insertion of special forces on the ground, ostensibly for humanitarian and stabilizing purposes as a willing partner in the “war on terror.” As many pundits are now observing, in reality the kingdom’s saber rattling stems not from confidence, but utter desperation as its proxy anti-Assad fighters face defeat by overwhelming Russian air power and Syrian ground forces, and as the Saudi military itself is increasingly bogged down in Yemen.

Even as the Saudi regime dresses its bellicose rhetoric in humanitarian terms, it ultimately desires to protect the flow of foreign fighters into Northern Syria, which is its still hoped-for “available means” of toppling the Syrian government (or at least, at this point, permanent sectarian partition of Syria).

U.S. State Department Confirmation

The U.S. State Department’s own 2014 Country Report on Terrorism confirms that the rate of foreign terrorist entry into Syria over the past few years is unprecedented among any conflict in history:

“The rate of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria–totaling more than 16,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 90 countries as of late December–exceeded the rate of foreign terrorist fighters who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years.”

According to Cinan Siddi, Director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown’s prestigious School of Foreign Service, Russian military presence in Syria was born of genuine geopolitical interests. In a public lecture recently given at Baylor University, Siddi said that Russia is fundamentally trying to disrupt the “jihadi corridor” facilitated by Turkey and its allies in Northern Syria.

The below leaked document gives us a glimpse into Saudi motives and fears long before Russian hardware entered the equation, and the degree to which the kingdom utterly failed in assessing Russian red lines.

* * *

A full translation of the text

THE BELOW is an original and authenticated translation of the WikiLeaks file published as part of "The Saudi Cables." Note: the cable as published in the SaudiLeaks trove appears to be incomplete. Its accompanying pages have yet to be located within the massive trove of leaked Arabic documents.

[…] shared interest, and believes that the current Russian position only represents a movement to put pressure on him, its goals being evident, and that this position will not persist in force, given Russia’s ties to interests with Western countries and the countries of the Gulf.

If it pleases Your Highness, I support the idea of entering into a profound dialogue with Russia regarding its position towards Syria*, holding the Second Strategic Conference in Moscow, working to focus the discussion during it on the issue of Syria, and exerting whatever pressure is possible to dissuade it from its current position. I likewise see an opportunity to invite the head of the Committee for International Relations in the Duma to visit the Kingdom. Since it is better to remain in communication with Russia and to direct the media not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them, so that no harm may come to the interests of the Kingdom, it is possible that the new Russian president will change Russian policy toward Arab countries for the better. However, our position currently in practice, which is to criticize Russian policy toward Syria and its positions that are contrary to our declared principles, remains. It is also advantageous to increase pressure on the Russians by encouraging the Organization of Islamic States to exert some form of pressure by strongly brandishing Islamic public opinion, since Russia fears the Islamic dimension more than the Arab dimension.

In what pertains to the Syrian crisis, the Kingdom is resolute in its position and there is no longer any room to back down. The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria.

As regards the international position, it is clear that there is a lack of “desire” and not a lack of “capability” on the part of Western countries, chief among them the United States, to take firm steps […]

*[in the Arabic text: Russia, but this is a typo]

Media Erase US Role in Syria’s Misery, Call for US to Inflict More Misery


In the Guardian (2/10/18), Simon Tisdall described the US and its Western partners as “hovering passively on the sidelines in Syria,” and “restricting themselves to counterterrorism operations and vain calls for peace.” ABC’s Conor Finnegan (2/26/18) expressed concern that “the US will remain on the sidelines” in the country.

Simon Tisdall argues in the Guardian (2/10/18) that “the West let down Syria”—not by fueling a murderous civil war, but by failing to ensure that its chosen side prevailed in that war.

However, America currently controls 28 percent of Syria (Foreign Policy, 1/25/18), precisely the opposite of being “on the sidelines,” and has recently declared its intent to continue occupying the country indefinitely (New York Times, 2/22/18). As Joshua Landis (Syria Comment, 1/15/18), director of the Center for Middle East Studies, notes, the US controls “half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land.”

Anglo-American press coverage of the Syrian situation has grossly misled readers about their own governments’ role in the catastrophe, and has urged audiences to accept greater Western military intervention in the country without examining the implications of such a move.
Newsweek (2/22/18) attributes sadistic glee to Russia when its bombs kill civilians—presumably distinguishing them from US bombs, which give US leaders no special pleasure when they kill civilians.

In Newsweek (2/22/18), Frederic Hof said that both the Obama and Trump administrations’ approach to Syria has been to offer “words of outrage from the United Nations ambassador accompanied by nothing else,” with Donald Trump’s April 2017 attack on Syria apparently being the one exception. ABC’s Finnegan claimed that “the Trump administration seems powerless to push back other than issuing condemnatory statements—a problem that has faced the US since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.”

Yet over the course of the war, the US has provided far more than “words of outrage” and “condemnatory statements” (, 9/30/15, 4/7/17). A covert CIA operation aimed at ousting the Syrian government, with a budget of $1 billion per year, was used to arm anti-government militias and run secret training camps in Jordan (Washington Post, 6/12/15).

The Guardian’s Tisdall asserted that

when the US and Britain did eventually intervene directly in Iraq and Syria, as part of a multinational coalition in 2015, it was to fight the direct threat to themselves posed by Islamic State.

Set aside that the US and Britain began bombing Iraq and Syria in the name of fighting the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS) in 2014, not 2015 (Guardian, 8/8/14). According to Tisdall’s account, nothing the Western powers did prior to 2015 qualifies as intervention. However, the US has provided financial support for the Syrian opposition since at least 2012 (Reuters, 8/21/12), coordinating weapons shipments to them no later than May of that year (Washington Post,5/15/12).

The Atlantic (3/01/18) ran a piece from Uri Friedman that was less amnesiac and more apologetic, arguing that the US

supported rebel groups and more recently has focused on battling ISIS—in one sense performing a humanitarian service in challenging the murderous Assad regime and uprooting the world’s foremost terrorist organization.

Yet opposition groups that the US has enabled have carried out serious crimes against Syrian civilians, often specifically targeting ethnic and religious minorities (Electronic Intifada, 3/16/17); calling support for such organizations “humanitarian” is a gross mischaracterization. Furthermore, that same American support for the opposition in Syria was a crucial source of ISIS’s strength. When US-armed opposition groups were either defeated by ISIS or joined them, the US weapons gave ISIS a major boost (Newsweek, 12/14/17).

ABC‘s James Longman (2/26/18) describes Syria as “hell on Earth”—not because of the thousands of civilians killed in US bombing, but because the US is not willing to kill even more in an effort to stop the killing.

At ABC, Finnegan said that the Syrian war “has turned into a proxy fight by regional powers.” By failing to add that it’s also a global proxy war, he obscured the role of actors from outside the region. (That is, he obscured the US role; Russia’s presence is noted throughout the piece.) The article then collapsed into inconsistencies, reporting that “there is little appetite among the American public for increased military involvement”—an apparent admission that there is a military involvement there that could be increased, in contradiction with its earlier erasures of US activities in Syria. The article similarly refers to “US-controlled eastern Syria,” an acknowledgment that America is not “on the sidelines.”

Jason Burke of the Guardian (3/04/18) was also flagrantly inconsistent, writing that “armed opposition groups [in Syria] continue to receive logistical support and funding from the United States” and then in the next paragraph saying that “the US has stood back” in the war in Syria.

Protect Syrians by Killing Them

The argument against military intervention in Syria appears in the form of sarcastic parody by an advocate of intervention (Guardian, 2/27/18).

Reporting on the most recent developments in Syria is rife with claims that it’s necessary for the Western powers to overthrow the Syrian government in order to protect Syrian civilians. In the Guardian (2/27/18), Natalie Nougayrède proffered an evidence-free anti-anti-war tirade against what she called

the apathy of supposedly pacifist whataboutery. This is found on the radical left of Europe’s political spectrum, from London to Berlin and Athens. Its moral relativism drapes itself in “internationalism.” From the very beginning, Syria was too complex a crisis to identify sound allies, goes that thinking. The West is guilty, full stop. Regime change is bad—even when it is called for by desperate populations. Conflict is all about controlling oilfields. Sanctions and the stemming of financial flows can end it. Just talk and negotiate. Our pilots are as criminal as those of Putin—never mind the deliberate, repeated pounding of hospitals in eastern Ghouta. Beware the mainstream Western media. If we stop meddling in Syria, things will improve.

Hof, writing in the Atlantic (2/23/18) this time, argues that “unless the United States is seriously considering military strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime . . . any discussion of ‘what to do’ is empty.”

You won’t see the thousands of Syrian civilians killed by the US and its allies referred to as “mass murder” (Atlantic, 2/26/18)—indeed, you’ll rarely see them referred to at all.

Evelyn N. Farkas, in another Atlantic piece (2/26/18), wrote that Washington’s “insufficient political-military action” allows the war in Syria to continue, and criticized what she sees as “insufficient resolve on the part of the United States and its allies.” She then contended that “threatening—and if necessary using—force” against the Syrian government and its partners, and “ramping up sanctions, and increasing military and diplomatic pressure,” is the best way to “protect Syrians.”

These calls for an escalation of the war in Syria mislead readers by ignoring crucial aspects of the issue—including the fact that an invasion of Syria by the US and its allies would violate the UN charter.

The argument that the US military should save Syria rests on the assumption that American militarism is benevolent, both in intent and outcome. Advancing this position depends on erasing the key contributions America and its partners have made to Syrians’ misery, not only through the above-mentioned support for sectarian armed groups but also through the US-led coalition bombing ostensibly aimed at ISIS that likely killed at least 3,500 to Syrian civilians, through derailing diplomatic efforts that might have ended the war years ago (London Review of Books, 7/16/15), and through carrying out a sanctions regime that has undermined Syrians’ access to clean water, medical equipment and food.

The articles advocating a US regime change war in Syria also neglect to inform readers of the consequences of such wars. A comparable undertaking in Libya, far from ending the war in that country, left it riven by factional fighting that has no end in sight, and brought slave markets to the country (AlterNet, 12/5/17). Regime change in Iraq resulted in approximately half a million deaths there (PLoS Medicine, 10/15/13). Advocating that such steps be taken in Syria, without giving the audience a sense of what recent history shows the likely outcomes will be, constitutes severe media malpractice.



Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber
in Toronto. His book, The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media, is published by OR Books.

Elijah Magnier - How Syria Challenges The Unipolar Order

March 28, 2018

Today Elijah Magnier published a three part piece on the war on Syria and its role in the much the global political confrontation. (Find the links at the end of this post)

The first part describes the current situation at the various fronts in Syria and the most likely next operations. The Syrian government is winning the conflict. U.S. CentCom General Votel admitted that the U.S. strategy in Syria has failed. Magnier concludes:

The US has lost the « extremist battle »- they were incapable of achieving the “regime change” objective in Syria. That was the awakening of the Russian bear from its long hibernation who realised how the US was trying to corner it. Moscow also relied on the Chinese dragon, which shares Russia’s goals to eliminate all extremists and jihadist terrorists in Syria.
Both Russia and China are now working closely to put an end to the uni-polar superpower and thus end US world dominance.

The second part looks at the development of U.S.-Russian relations over the last decade and the role U.S. 'regime change' policies in the eastern Europe and Middle East played in it. The U.S. attack on Syria was part of the wider challenging of Russia. It brought up a new coalition which is now countering U.S. moves:

Obama saw the “Islamic State” growing in Iraq, moving to Syria, watched it occupying Iraq, allowed Jihadists to travel to the Middle East, opened all Saudi jails on condition jihadist extremists imprisoned are shipped to Syria. For one entire year, with “70 countries in a coalition fighting against ISIS” in Syria, the group was in fact expanding and increasing its wealth by selling increasing quantities of oil. All that to stop Iran and Russia, and create failed states (as in Libya) and fight Muslims with Muslims.
But Moscow, Beijing and Tehran knew that Jihadists must be stopped in the Levant before they had the chance to move to their own countries.
Syria is not going to be another Libya and Russia and China agreed, along with Iran, to stop once and for all the US unilateral dominance at the gates of the Levant.

Part 3 takes an even wider view and describes how China, and the Russian-Chinese cooperation, succeeds in challenging U.S. unilateral domination of the globe:

While the United States is selling for $110 billions weapons to Saudi Arabia to kill more Yemenis and threaten its neighbours (Qatar, Syria and Iran), Russia has signed 10 year contracts with China worth 600 billion dollars, and with Iran worth 400 billion dollars. Also, China has signed contracts with Iran worth 400 billion dollars. These contracts are aimed at economic cooperation, energy exchange; they promise an advanced economic future for these countries away from US dominance.

The US believes it can corner Russia, China and Iran: Russia has a 7,000 kilometre border with China, Iran is not Iraq and Syria is not Afghanistan. In Syria, the destiny of that a world be ruled by unilateralism is over. The world is heading toward pluralism.

The question remains: Is Washington prepared to accept its defeat and acknowledge that it has lost control of the world and pull out of Syria?

With the recent visit of the North Korean leader Kim Yong-un in Beijing, China has challenged the dominating U.S. role in the discussions over North Korea. There will be no uni-polar U.S. solution in the conflict - neither by talks nor by war. A conflict over Korea could soon supersede the conflict in Syria in size and potential consequences. In the global context the war on Syria is just a starting point. It will likely be in Korea, and maybe in Taiwan, where the real battle between unilateral and multilateral order will be fought.

Links to Elijah Magnier's Articles:

Will America accept its defeat or will it challenge the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon?
- Part 1, 2, 3

Part 1)

Part 2)

Part 3)

The "moderate rebels" of Ghouta

While the forces of the Republic and the Russian forces are liberating Eastern Ghouta and 800 Syrians are finding refuge every hour in Damascus, we are publishing this study of Western-trained combatants considered as "moderate rebels".

16 March 2018

The Western media affirm that Syria and Russia are crushing brave democrats in eastern Ghouta.
According to the British and French governments, they would be three armed groups: the Army of Islam, the Rahman Legion and Ahrar al-Sham.
On the contrary, according to Syria and Russia, these three denominations would not designate separate ideologies. These three entities would in fact defend not an idea of ​​Syria, but the interests of their sponsors. They would have regrouped in favor of Resolution 2401 and the attack they are now undergoing.
Many figures are circulating about the number of soldiers in each of these groups and about the number of inhabitants of Eastern Ghouta. In reality, none of this data is verifiable to the point that the UN has given up quantification. If the civilians present in eastern Goutha are indeed Syrians, we do not know the nationality of the combatants. Admittedly, a number of them are Syrians, often convicts, but many others are foreigners (who by definition can not be "rebels"). Again, the estimates are unverifiable.
There are only two things that we know for sure about these groups:
- First, the weapons available to one of them, the Army of Islam, in 2015. This is obviously a bit old, but it is verifiable thanks to the video of a military parade organized by its leader, in Ghouta, in 2015. This group has 4 tanks and nearly 2,000 men, that is to say, 10 times less combatants than he claims to have.
- Then and finally, we know these groups through their communication: logos, flags, websites, Twitter accounts, spokespersons.
JPEG - 50.5 kb
Jeish el Islam logo

Jeish el Islam

Jeïch el-Islam, that is, the Army of Islam, is the only one of these groups to have a local presence. It was created in September 2013 by the family Allouche, from another group, the Brigade of Islam, in the mode of a gang imposing its law on merchants of the Ghouta, not hesitating to publicly execute those who challenged their power.
The group was initially commanded by Zahran Allouche, son of the preacher Abdallah Allouche, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood refugee in Saudi Arabia. From 2009 to 2011, he was imprisoned for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. He was released in a general amnesty decreed by President al-Assad at the request of third countries. For several years, Zahran Allouche terrorized the inhabitants of Damascus declaring that he was going to "clean" the city. He announced each Friday [1] the attacks he was going to commit against the capital. In 2013, he abducted Alawite families [2] in Aadra. He used some as human shields and walked a hundred in cages, before executing the men so that we’d know what fate he reserved for "infidels". After his death, a businessman, Sheikh Isaam Buwaydani called "Abu Hamam", succeeded him.
His cousin Mohammed Allouche, made famous by his repression of manners. He created the Unified Judicial Council, which imposed the Saudi version of Sharia law on all Ghouta residents. He notably organized executions of homosexuals, thrown from the roof of buildings. He represents the group at the UN negotiations in Geneva.
The Allouche family is now comfortably settled in London.
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The blazon of the Brigade of Islam (left) has been transformed into a blazon of the Army of Islam when the second group was formed from the fighters of the first.
At the time of its creation, the Army of Islam brought together about fifty small groups. In a widely circulated statement in Asia, it introduced itself as the defender of Muslims and called on Muslims around the world to join them and to make jihad in Syria.
In July 2017, the Army of Islam, following an Egyptian-Saudi mediation, agreed to recognize Eastern Ghouta as a "de-escalation zone" under Russian control.
His Twitter account in English:
His YouTube channel has just been closed.
JPEG - 56.4 kb
On this video captured from the site of the Army of Islam (consulted on March 15, 2018), we can read a sermon against non-Sunnis, whether Shiite Muslims, Christians or Jews. It ends like this: "Kill them. God torment them with your hands. He will give you victory over them.
JPEG - 42.1 kb
The Legion of the Most Merciful logo

Faylaq al-Rahman

Faylaq al-Rahman, ie "The Legion of the All-Merciful", is a mercenary group of Qatar from which it receives a modern weaponry, especially RPG. It is massively composed of foreigners.
JPEG - 33.5 kb
The Calligram of the All-Merciful Legion is subtitled in English "Al-Rahman Corps", a sign that it is primarily addressed to Western jihadists who do not read Arabic.
Its Twitter account broadcasts many videos extolling the terrorist profession:
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Ahrar el-Cham logo

Ahrar el-Cham

Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, abbreviated as Ahrar al-Sham, translates as the Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant. "Free men" do not refer here to "freedom" in the Western sense. They did not liberate themselves from a dictatorship, but were released from their human condition by practicing Salafist Islam. So that there is no doubt about the interpretation of the word, a minaret appears on the group logo.
This group, very internationalized, was created by Egyptians during the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak by the United States [3]. Syrian Muslim Brothers, who were imprisoned for belonging to a terrorist organization, joined him after being pardoned in 2011 at the request of third countries. Among them, several former collaborators of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan then in Yugoslavia. This explains their proximity to the Taliban, whom they often cite as an example of faith.
In all its publications, it defines itself as a "complete Islamic movement, fighting for Allah and defending religion".
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The flag of Ahrar el-Cham carried on horseback during a military parade.
The group is commanded by Hassan Soufan, known as "Abu al-Bara", who was imprisoned for a decade for his membership in the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Foreign Minister of this group, Labib al-Nahhas, travels to the West. He is a British, MI6 officer. In July 2015, he published free forums in the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph.
The group is supported by Qatar and Turkey. It is considered a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.
The group’s website is:
His Twitter account:
His YouTube channel:

Commonalities of these three groups

These three groups have no ideological difference. All claim to be the thought of the Muslim Brotherhood [4]. According to them, daily life is divided between what is lawful from the point of view of their Islam and what is not.
There are, however, differences between the three groups about how they can treat people who do not share their point of view. Be that as it may, no one lives under their rule without being a Sunni.
Like all the fighters of the "Islamic revolution", their men often change their group and these groups fight each other and join together frequently. It is absurd to draw substantive conclusions. At most, we can see territorial quarrels between their leaders and opportunities for their soldiers.
All of these groups and countless others have well-designed flags and logos as well as quality videos. All of this communication material is manufactured by the United Kingdom. In 2007, it had a war propaganda unit, the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) headed by MI6 (Secret Service) officer Jonathan Allen. Starting from the chemical weapons case in the summer of 2013, the RICU financed an external company to assist the communication of combatants in Syria (and subsequently those of Yemen). It was initially Regester Larkin, then Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat). Both companies are headed by an MI6 officer, Colonel Paul Tilley.
Jonathan Allen, whose rank we do not know, has become number two in the UK permanent representation at the United Nations. He is currently leading the Security Council against Russia and Syria.
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British secret service officer and charge d’affaires of His Majesty, Jonathan Allen, giving a press conference at the UN with his privileged ally, the French ambassador, François Delattre.


“Integrity Has Vanished From The West”

by Paul Craig Roberts -- 26 March 2018

“Among Western political leaders there is not an ounce of integrity or morality. The Western print and TV media is dishonest and corrupt beyond repair. Yet the Russian government persists in its fantasy of “working with Russia’s Western partners.” The only way Russia can work with crooks is to become a crook. Is that what the Russian government wants?

Finian Cunningham notes the absurdity in the political and media uproar over Trump (belatedly) telephoning Putin to congratulate him on his reelection with 77 percent of the vote, a show of public approval that no Western political leader could possibly attain. The crazed US senator from Arizona called the person with the largest majority vote of our time “a dictator.” Yet a real blood-soaked dictator from Saudi Arabia is feted at the White House and fawned over by the president of the United States.

The Western politicians and presstitutes are morally outraged over an alleged poisoning, unsupported by any evidence, of a former spy of no consequence on orders by the president of Russia himself. These kind of insane insults thrown at the leader of the world’s most powerful military nation—and Russia is a nation, unlike the mongrel Western countries—raise the chances of nuclear Armageddon beyond the risks during the 20th century’s Cold War. The insane fools making these unsupported accusations show total disregard for all life on earth. Yet they regard themselves as the salt of the earth and as “exceptional, indispensable” people.

Think about the alleged poisoning of Skirpal by Russia. What can this be other than an orchestrated effort to demonize the president of Russia? How can the West be so outraged over the death of a former double-agent, that is, a deceptive person, and completely indifferent to the millions of peoples destroyed by the West in the 21st century alone. Where is the outrage among Western peoples over the massive deaths for which the West, acting through its Saudi agent, is responsible in Yemen? Where is the Western outrage among Western peoples over the deaths in Syria? The deaths in Libya, in Somalia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan? Where is the outrage in the West over the constant Western interference in the internal affairs of other countries? How many times has Washington overthrown a democratically-elected government in Honduras and reinstalled a Washington puppet?

The corruption in the West extends beyond politicians, presstitutes, and an insouciant public to experts. When the ridiculous Condi Rice, national security adviser to president George W. Bush, spoke of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction sending up a nuclear cloud over an American city, experts did not laugh her out of court. The chance of any such event was precisely zero and every expert knew it, but the corrupt experts held their tongues. If they spoke the truth, they knew that they would not get on TV, would not get a government grant, would be out of the running for a government appointment. So they accepted the absurd lie designed to justify an American invasion that destroyed a country.

This is the West. There is nothing but lies and indifference to the deaths of others. The only outrage is orchestrated and directed against a target: the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Assad, Russia and Putin, and against reformist leaders in Latin America. The targets for Western outrage are always those who act independently of Washington or who are no longer useful to Washington’s purposes.

The quality of people in Western governments has collapsed to the very bottom of the barrel. The British actually have a person, Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary, who is so low-down that a former British ambassador has no compunction in calling him a categorical liar. The British lab Porton Down, contrary to Johnson’s claim, has not identified the agent associated with the attack on Skirpal as a Russian novichok agent. Note also that if the British lab is able to identify a novichok agent, it also has the capability of producing it, a capability that many countries have as the formulas were published years ago in a book.

That the novichok poisoning of Skirpal is an orchestration is obvious. The minute the event occurred the story was ready. With no evidence in hand, the British government and presstitute media were screaming “the Russians did it.” Not content with that, Boris Johnson screamed “Putin did it.” In order to institutionalize fear and hatred of Russia into British consciousness, British school children are being taught that Putin is like Hitler.

Orchestrations this blatant demonstrate that Western governments have no respect for the intelligence of their peoples. That Western governments get away with these fantastic lies indicates that the governments are immune to accountability. Even if accountability were possible, there is no sign that Western peoples are capable of holding their governments accountable. As Washington drives the world to nuclear war, where are the protests? The only protest is brainwashed school children protesting the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment.

Western democracy is a hoax. Consider Catalonia. The people voted for independence and were denounced for doing so by European politicians. The Spanish government invaded Catalonia alleging that the popular referendum, in which people expressed their opinion about their own future, was illegal. Catalonian leaders are in prison awaiting trial, except for Carles Puigdemont who escaped to Belgium. Now Germany has captured him on his return to Belgium from Finland where he lectured at the University of Hesinki and is holding him in jail for a Spanish government that bears more resemblance to Francisco Franco than to democracy. The European Union itself is a conspiracy against democracy. The success of Western propaganda in creating non-existent virtues for itself is the greatest public relations success in history.”

Donald Trump: Is He Too Dangerous to be Head of State?

We [the United States] spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives. … Obviously, it was a mistake… George W. Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East…

—They [President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney] lied… They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.” Donald Trump (1946- ), during a CBS News GOP presidential debate, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.

“Mental impairment and criminal-mindedness are not mutually exclusive; not only can they happen at the same time, when combined, these two characteristics become particularly dangerous.” Bandy X Lee (1970- ), an internationally recognized psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine and editor of the book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ 2017.

“An autocrat in the making is typically an elected outsider who disdains norms, questions the legitimacy of political foes, tolerates violence, and shows a willingness to curtail the free press.” Steven Levitsky(1968- ) and Daniel Ziblatt (1972- ), (in their book How Democracies Die, 2018, 312 p.)

“…An empire is a despotism, and an emperor is a despot, bound by no law or limitation but his own will; it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy. For, although the will of an absolute monarch is law, yet his edicts must be registered by parliaments. Even this formality is not necessary in an empire.” John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd American President, (1797-1801), (in ‘The Political Writings of John Adams: Representative Selections’, 2003)

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it…

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality…” George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) (1903-1950), English novelist, essayist, and social critic, (in his book ‘1984’, 1949, chap. 2)


US President Donald Trump (1946-), as a politician, has succeeded in attracting voters who are dissatisfied or partially dissatisfied with their economic or social situation, especially working class white voters without college degrees. Income inequality and wealth inequality is growing in the United States, and the balance leans toward the winners, even though the losers are more numerous and have not been compensated through job training or social services. In other words, many Americans are disillusioned regarding their chance of living the American dream and about the way the system and public policies disadvantage them. Trump attracts also single-issue voters.

All this creates a fertile ground for a populist politician. This has happened elsewhere and it is now a political reality in the United States. It is also normal that Donald Trump is strongly opposed by various establishments and attacked by those to whom his populism is repugnant.

But beyond the purely personal considerations people have to support or oppose him, what are the characteristics of this neophyte in politics that many, and not only in the United States, consider scary?

For example, some observers have drawn a parallel between the current occupant of the White House and the decadent emperor Caligula (12-41 CE) of Ancient Rome. Caligula was autocratic, unpredictable, unhinged and a self-conscious populist who lacked self-restraint. He was a sociopath who enjoyed hurting and humiliating people. Moreover, he treated politics like a show. He indulged in pornography and depravity. He was disruptive and contemptuous of existing institutions, and he was a warmonger who courted the military.

A biographer in the know has also linked Trump’s outrageous behavior, as a politician, to Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the subject of his book ‘Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil’, 1998. Indeed, author Ron Rosenbaum (1946- ) explains how a constant attack on the media and the courts by Trump was also a tactic used by Hitler to gain power, in Germany. History has a way of repeating itself, and no one should think that disastrous past experiences cannot be repeated.

Whether all this is the case or not, what can be safely said is that never in its entire history has the United States faced a president in the White House of the sort that Mr. Trump represents. Persons closed to him have warmed us: Donald Trump is “deeply mentally ill” and “no longer connected to reality” and what is more, he is prone to loose his temper and act in anger, sometimes in pure madness. These are, we will all agree, very dangerous character traits for any U.S. President, if they are true.

It has been observed that the White House under Trump’s direction is often in turmoil, in disarray and sometimes, in complete chaos, and that the American president is mentally unstable and that he is prone to act impulsively, like an unmoored loose cannon, in most anything he does. It is said that Trump often acts in a bluffing and vengeful way, firing people right and left for any motive, sometimes in a most nefarious way. That should certainly be another reason for alarm and consternation.

It may be worth recalling here what the former Director of the CIA under Barack Obama, John Brennan (1955-), said, referring to Donald Trump and his mean dismissal of the FBI’s No. 2, Andrew McCabe (1968-), Friday night, March 16, 2018, a few hours before the latter was to become eligible for a pension:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

Recently, for example, he was reported to want to launch an international trade war for the childish reason that he did not want to be “laughed at”. This is unsettling, because all this is based on faulty economic thinking and wrong facts. A protectionist U.S. President can do great harm to the world economy. —Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn had enough of that craziness, and he resigned. Trump only wants “sycophants” around him.

In the coming months, I fear that American consumers and the world stock markets will give their own assessment of Trump’s economic folly, and it won’t be pretty.

Consequently, many people have concluded that the current occupant of the White House is not mature enough and not competent enough to be president of the United States. In his book, ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’, author Michael Wolff writes that “Trump lived… as a real-life fictional character”, that he is a man detached and mostly cut off from reality, being comfortable in relying on so-called false and subjective “alternative facts”. For such a person, only appearances matter, not reality.

People who know him well have labeled him unpredictable and inconsistent. Trump is the flip-flopperpar excellence. Indeed, Trump’s intellectual inconsistency is beyond comprehension. He can adopt, almost simultaneously, two opposite positions without flinching… and without apology.

And, as if this is not enough, Donald Trump is also besieged by huge conflicts of interest, not the least is a level of nepotism not seen in the White House in modern times.

Let us try to get a more complete picture of the political situation in the United States:

1. The American electoral system favors Republicans

First of all, let us say that it is one of the peculiarities of the American democratic system that it happens quite often that the winning candidate in a presidential election becomes president while receiving fewer votes than the losing candidate. It sometimes happens that the losing candidate receives even a majority of votes, but is still not elected. This happened in the 1876 election.

In fact, American presidential elections are not necessarily decided by the popular vote. According to the rules of the Electoral College, a few hundred “grand electors”, chosen in each of the 50 states, are the ones who elect the U.S. President.

Such a system tends to advantage the Republican candidates and it disadvantages the Democratic candidates, because it gives less weight to the votes in the most populated states than to those cast in the less populated states.

For example, according to the official results of the 2016 election, the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received 48.5% of the popular votes (65,953,516 votes) but received the support of only 232 “grand electors” out of a total of 538, or 45.12% of these. However, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump only collected 46.09% of the national votes (62,984 825 votes), but received 306 or 56.9% of the “grand electors” votes. Consequently, it was Donald Trump who became U.S. president and not Hillary Clinton.

Note that in 2000, Republican candidate George W. Bush also received half a million fewer votes than Democratic candidate Al Gore, but the Electoral College system resulted in electing George W. Bush president. — In 1876 and in 1888, similar results ensued, when a Republican candidate was elected U.S. President, while receiving fewer votes than his Democratic opponent. — It can be said that the system of the American Electoral College tends to favor Republican candidates, who are generally more conservative.

2. Trump is egocentric and authoritarian

The current sitting American president, Donald Trump, does not seem to have deep-seated personal principles. He seems to be egocentric and he is always on the lookout to profit personally from any event: if someone or something gives him pleasure, prestige or money, he is all for it. No American president before him has dared to express openly his feelings or his insults of others, and even state his policies, on a social medium like Twitter, so much so that Donald Trump has been called the “toddler-in-chief”.

That is why Donald Trump is not your normal American president, even for the United States where money plays a larger role than elsewhere in electing public officials. Being a real estate oligarch who owns hotels and casinos, among other properties, he has brought to the White House the authoritarian and plutocratic ethics found in some wheeler-dealer corners of that industry, an ethics of ruthlessness.

Accustomed to running his real estate empire by himself, he was badly prepared to lead a democratic government, which is, by definition, decentralized. However, his authoritarian approach seems to appeal to his supporters. In fact, Trump acts as if he were the representative of rednecks in the White House.

In a new book, with the ominous title of “How Democracies Die”, two political scientists (Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt of Harvard University) compiled four warning signs to determine if a political leader is a dangerous authoritarian:

The leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules;
He or she denies the legitimacy of opponents;
He or she tolerates violence;
He or she shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media. According to the authors, “a politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern.” Unfortunately, in their eyes, “Donald Trump meets them all!”

Regarding violence, Trump did not hesitate to name a torturer to lead the C.I.A. Torture is an immoral practice that he has personally espoused in the past.

Basically, Donald Trump is an unscrupulous demagogue, being both populist and authoritarian, of the type that has become dictator in other countries. This should be a source of preoccupation because for some time now, American presidents have been stretching the law to govern through executing edictsand to keep the United States on a permanent war footing. Donald Trump has expanded that practice and brought it to a new level. In his first year in office, indeed, Trump has issued no less than 58 executive orders and some 30 so-called “proclamations”, without any input from Congress.

Some business leaders can be expected to line up behind the Trump administration, especially if they expect to draw financial benefits from it, when they are at the receiving end of some money largesse (such as huge tax breaks financed with more public debt). The same applies to ambitious politicians who are willing to dance with the devil, if this can advance their career. However, it is another matter when the Trump White House extends its authoritarian cult of personality to American career civil servants, supposedly sworn in to work for the nation and uphold the Constitution, not to hold allegiance to the person temporarily sitting in the White House.

Also, it could be considered odd when Donald Trump applauds himself, but when he requests, in a dictator-like way, to be applauded when he speaks, whether he tells the truth or not, and pretends that it is even ‘un-American’ not to applaud him, this should raise alarm.

It is not at all surprising that there is a widespread distaste in the United States for Trump’s personality and for his obnoxious character. A majority of Americans who cherish their democracy simply cannot stand him. He is an embarrassment even for his supporters.

3. Trump acts and speaks like a sociopath who enjoys making other people miserable

It would be comical if it were not potentially so tragic. Trump is in a permanent state of self-admiration, constantly relying on exaggerations, on overstatements and on illogical statements. No previous American president could have matched him as an adept of self-congratulation. He shows himself as a self-aggrandizing individual. He seems to be suffering from an advanced case of megalomania. In fact, Trump is an expert in erroneously declaring himself an expert in about everything. And, he does not hesitate to qualify himself a “genius”!

Trump has also confessed that he likes to “make the life of people miserable”, i.e. the life of journalists, authors, competitors and anyone who opposes him. An example, among hundreds if not thousands of frivolous and gagging lawsuits, is his meritless but expensive litigations, in time and money, against author Timothy O’Brien for writing the book “TrumpNation”. After his suit was dismissed in court, because it was a direct attack on the First Amendment, Trump stated to the Washington Post, “I did it to make O’Brien’s life miserable, which I am happy about.” Such is the modus operandi of a very sadistic and malicious person who does not hesitate to attack the free press and the right to free speech in a democracy.

4. Trump is a compulsive liar

Numerous public allegations have also made the public aware that Trump is obsessed with sex and sex, sex, and sex again. He is also an alleged sex harasser who continually disparages women.

On Tuesday March 20, former Vice-President Joe Biden (1942- ) did not mince his words, while speaking at an anti-sexual assault rally, telling students at the University of Miami what he thought of Donald Trump and the way the latter talks about women:

“If we were in high school, I’d take him [Donald Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him”, for disrespecting women.

It is well known now that Donald Trump is a pathological liar who seems to fear the truth like the pest. That is because Donald Trump is fundamentally intellectually dishonest. That is probably the main reason Trump’s lawyers are adamant in not wanting their client to testify alone and under oath, in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation about his alleged electoral collusion with Russia.

Publicly, Trump pretends to be willing to be questioned under oath by special counsel Robert Mueller, declaring: “I’m looking forward to it, actually”; “I would do it under oath.” This could be another example of a ‘good cop-bad cop’ charade by Trump, because he would never accept to be interviewed alone, without his lawyers, under oath, and he would likely blame his lawyers for another flip-flop of his own.

This is also the reason why Trump has held only one formal press conference since taking office—unlike its predecessors, who held one each month—in order to avoid being questioned by experienced journalists. He prefers partisan political rallies where no one can contradict him or steal his show.

5. Trump is a dangerous man to have control over nuclear arms

Even if it were possible to disprove half of what has been written about Trump’s eccentricities, his laughable theatrics, his twisted logic, and his lies, Donald Trump would still be a monster of a human being. We will never repeat often enough that he is a dangerous person to hold power, especially in a country like the United States, which is loaded with nuclear arms. Trump is indeed an unstable and irresponsible person; he is a person with poor judgment, besides being erratic, reckless and trigger-happy. He also employs constantly a bellicose tone in his relations with foreign leaders. This is a very bad combination for a head of state in today’s complex world.

And to add to that image, Trump would like to return to a bygone era, when well-known totalitarian leaders favored big shows of force. Trump made it known to “his generals” that he wants a large-scale, multi million dollar “beautiful” and pompous military parade, in his honor, in Washington D.C., on Veterans Day, with thousands of soldiers in tight formation, marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, with planes and helicopters buzzing by the Washington Monument and with 70-ton Abrams tanks and Patriot missiles systems rolling down before the President’s stand. Trump seems to have had this idea after attending the French military deployment of July 14th, last summer. It’s a bit as if a childish Trump had seen a toy in the neighbor’s yard and said, “I want one too!”

Such a powwow show would gratify Trump’s infatuation with military toys he would like to play with. It would be quite an irony if the United States, which fought fascist Germany during World War II, itself adopted fascist trappings, three quarters of a century later.

Regarding nuclear arms, Tom Collina, policy director of the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund, has noted that a recent poll indicates that 60 percent of Americans do not trust Trump with nuclear weapons. Consequently, he concluded: “the public is right to distrust Trump with nuclear weapons, and we all need to speak up and oppose these new, dangerous policies.” — I totally agree.

Trump has not only sociopathic tendencies, being insensitive and having no empathy for anybody else but himself; he could also be considered a would-be genocidal psychopath when he talks freely saying this is the “calm before the storm”, that it (North Korea) “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before”, even going as far as threatening to “totally destroy North Korea”, a country of more than 25 million people! This is even more scandalous, considering that Donald Trump uttered that insane threat during a speech at the United Nations, an organization specifically created to avoid war.

Therefore, one cannot completely exclude some foul acts of savagery coming from the Trump administration in the coming months and years. The current disorganization in the Trump White House could lead to inhuman disasters, considering the instability of Trump’s character and the lack of moral fortitude and vision on the part of the current Republican leadership in both the House and the U.S. Senate.

6. Trump can be expected to rely on “wag the dog” tricks to get out of trouble

It is indeed common practice for some American presidents to “wag the dog”, i.e. distract from domestic or personal domestic problems by provoking some conflicts abroad. On this score, since Trump’s domestic problems are presently piling up, with multiple lawsuits launched by women with whom he had sexual affairs in the past, with serious allegations that foreign governments were involved in his election, and with the looming Special Prosecutor’s report possibly raising an accusation of obstruction of justice against him, he could be expected to want to distract attention from his problems and to make dangerous, possibly catastrophic, policy decisions. Indeed, it is a modus operandi for him to attempt to deflect attention from his personal problems by creating problems elsewhere.

Note that Donald Trump is the first person to be elected president of the United States without any political or military experience. Recently, he has surrounded himself with sycophants who are immoral torturers and belligerent advocates of regime change in other countries. The summum of cynicism on his part—considering that he campaigned by repeating constantly that the Bush-Cheney 2003 war of aggression against Iraq was a disaster and a dumb decision—occurred on Thursday March 22, when he named one of the very architects of the Iraq War, in the person of the extremely bellicose John Bolton, as his national security adviser. I think the United States of America has a big problem in having such a person as its president.


Keeping in mind what I wrote in the introduction and the rational motives that motivate his supporters to be behind him, it nevertheless remains that Donald Trump is an emperor with no clothes, and a reliance on cognitive dissonance on the part of his partisans cannot hide that simple fact.

Indeed, when all things are said and considered, it is impossible not to conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong with Donald Trump. Many experts and observers have warned the world that his state of mind is a danger to public safety. The Republicans, in particular, who happen to control the U.S. Congress, have a great responsibility to reflect on and to act upon that information before some irreparable damage is done. If Trump were to do something catastrophic in the coming weeks or months, economically or militarily, those Republicans in Congress will have to share personal and collective responsibility in the disaster.

More than one year ago, because of Trump’s lack of seriousness and preparation, I warned that he was going to be “a threat to American democracy and an agent of chaos in the world”. Unfortunately, every day seems to bring forth new proofs of that assessment.

Therefore, as time goes on, the case for Trump’s impeachment is going to get stronger and stronger. His removal from office will become increasingly urgent and increasingly compelling. It’s a safe bet that credible steps for his impeachment as U.S. President will be taken rapidly, if the Democratic Party regains control of the House of Representatives during this fall election—and possibly faster, if enough Republicans see the light before then.


International economist Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles” and of “The New American Empire”.

Rodrigue Tremblay is a frequent contributor to Global Research

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The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Prof Rodrigue Tremblay, Global Research, 2018