Stalled Out on the Road to Damascus, Syria

the LAST of the 9/11-Sprung Regime Change Wars?

The pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles

— Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” 1965

A lot of folks, including this writer, were surprised to learn in the Spring of 2018 that the United States had a significant troop presence on Syrian soil.  Of course, America had shot some “Home of the Brave!” cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield only the Arab Spring before (April 7, 2017), marking the first time in the 6-year old conflict that the USA had officially attacked Syria.  The administration of Donald Trumpistan was quite new at the time, and the Corporate Press that was already addicted to Russia-phobing his novel presidency was falling all over themselves with praise for this unhinged action.  Why?  The cruise missile strike was explicitly framed as an “appropriate” response to an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, a claim that has since come under considerable scrutiny; indeed, so much so that employees walking the halls of the OPCW HQ are constantly shifting their eyes, wondering who will blow the whistle next…

Official American involvement, or threat of involvement, really began during the Summer of 2012, when Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize winning predecessor, Barack Obushma, declared that any Syrian use of WMD would constitute a “red line” for direct U.S. intervention.  Suddenly, visions of another “Iraq” were swirling in the foggy, Mesopotomac air.  The nimble Obama, however, quickly pivoted to assure all and sundry that any American response to such a dastardly deed would not involve “boots on the ground.”  Curiously enough, one year later, an alleged chemweaps attack occurred in the Damascus suburb of Gouta, the blame for which was immediately pinned on the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.  Well, we all know what happened next: nada. Obama cited a lack of Congressional support (like he “needed” it) for punitive action against Syria, and thus his bold “red line” vanished like a desert mirage over Syrian sands…

The timelines in the Syrian conflict — or conflicts — tend to be a bit more than blurry, but the Obama administration was clearly playing a double game with the American public over Syria.  While blowing some “red line” smoke across mainstream airwaves, Obama, in late 2012, had secretly authorized a CIA mission — Operation Timber Sycamore — to train, then arm, jihadi-style mercenaries for the violent overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  Of course, the American people and their elected representatives were kept in the dark about all of this Syrian skullduggery while a compliant Corporate Press spewed whatever anti-al-Assad talking points they were fed that day.  The Syrian regime change operation became — or always had been — a pet project of the Obushma administration and those crazy gun-slingers at the CIA, no doubt emboldened by the “success” of the Libya operation.  Timber Sycamore would eventually be phased out by Trump in 2017, but by then the Pentagon was doing most of the heavy lifting for regime change in Syria because — any guesses? — the U.S. already had a few thousand “boots on the ground” there, doing whatever American “boots on the ground” do in countries where they have been covertly “inserted,” and– definitely not invited

This clandestine, and obviously illegal, American invasion of Syria occurred no later than the end of 2015, but the record is still not clear due to official obfuscation on the subject; indeed, most Americans are still not aware that the Obama administration invaded Syria in the first place, nor that, under the Trump-following administration of Joe “Malarkey,” a large contingent of U.S. troops are still in Syria today, “guarding” 70% of Syria’s oil production against…Well, anyone “We don’t like!”, including the Syrian government.

Incidentally, the phrase “Syrian Civil War” is totally a Western propaganda construct.  There may have been an iota of credence to this description in 2011, due to the defection of some Syrian military members to the “rebellion” then, but it seems pretty clear by now that this conflict has been overwhelmingly driven by foreign actors.  The major players include, in no particular order:  Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France (“Hey, shout out to Sykes-Picot!”), U$A, Russia, Qatar, Israel, and Iran.  Wow, but how truly “International” this war is!  Of course, various al-Qaeda affiliates and whatever’s left of ISIS — that somewhat nebulous Islamomorphic phenomenon — should be listed as well, except that:  If we followed the money, we’d find that their “jihadist business ventures” are entirely traceable to donors who comprise all of the major international sponsors of this catastrophic conflict, catalogued above.  Considering the fact that American, Russian, Turkish, and Iranian troops operate inside of Syria, while the Israelis have been bombing Syrian “targets” with impunity for years, the myth of a “Syrian Civil War” evaporates under the most cursory inspection.

“But, What about all of those Terribly Trump-Abandoned Syrian Kurds I heard so much about on NPR in the Fall of 2019?”

Nevertheless, to return to the issue of American “boots on the ground” in Syria, where they are still, tending to most of Syria’s sacred oil wells, a “humanitarian” mission if ever there was one…It is noteworthy that His Orangeness made a Big Noise about withdrawing all American Forces from Syria in December 2019.  In the event, the Corporate Press was horrified by this “abandonment” of “so Ancient an Ally!” as the Kurds of Syria, and the Pentagon quickly moved to ignore Trump’s blustering on the subject; after all, the Death Star’s in charge these post-9/11 days.  The War Drum Beat goes on, no matter whose Reality Show Starring, or Zombie-ing, in the current case, the Oval Office.

The power of propaganda for the War Machine after 9/11, of course, cannot be exaggerated; this is especially true of the Syrian Regime Change Operation which, hopefully, represents the last of the 9/11-sprung regime change wars in the “Greater Middle East.”  As a real world example of the power of this propaganda, particularly in the Syrian context, I cite a disputative experience I had with two “Blue-Check Liberal” friends at an Open Mic venue in December of 2019 pertaining to the “Trump withdrawal” of violently trespassing American troops in Syria.  Apparently, NPR, along with every other mainstream Corporate Media outlet, had been blaring the message that Trump was “Abandoning the Kurds!” all day.  Of course, this is a “War Cry!” seldom heard in American media, but there it was, in all of its newly minted talking point glory.

Not initiating the conversation, as I had not been subjected to this particular propaganda bombardment in toto, I naively commented that the military Americans in Syria had no right to be there in the first place; therefore, it was quite an easy — thus correct and rational — decision to remove these American crisis facilitators from that foreign country.  Both of my friends, who were almost “violently” disagreeing with me, are absolute peaceniks, at least according to their own understandings of their respective “politics,” as far as I can tell.  The most amazing or bizarre a priori fact of this “conversation” is that any acknowledgement of the illegality of an American troop presence in Syria was completely off-limits, or out-of-bounds.  Quite obviously, American soldiers were not illegally inserted on to Syrian soil for the express purpose of shielding Syrian Kurds from harm; instead, they were “infiltrated” there specifically to boost a longstanding effort to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.  By the way, it almost goes without saying, my two Bluetocratic, anti-Trump peacenik friends had probably never had a single solitary thought about the plight of Syrian Kurds — not to mention any other Kurds! — in the entire consciousness of their lengthy lives.  Such is the power of the post-9/11 propaganda for the War Machine, the Death Star, that is currently stoking a “fake crisis” over Ukraine (more on this in a moment–), with Taiwan waiting in the wings…

Syria, perhaps, provides the most ironic of all possible bookends to the 9/11-inspired regime change War Regime.  As in Afghanistan, ultimately, after two murderously long decades, the Regime Change War Series seems to have finally crapped out.  Bashar al-Assad’s still in power in Damascus, and the Caliban Taliban are once again the force to be reckoned with in Afghanistan (truth be told, to any Pentagonal Prosperos out there listening, the Taliban never went away, despite the best laid plans of General David Patreus and the Obushma “surge”…).  Iran, of course, as always, is seen as the ultimate “prize” in this latest, post-9/11est rendering of the “Great Game.”  That “game” is obviously up, over, kaput, and doneski.  Small question, a bit rhetorical:  Can the “boys in power” finally grow up and take some responsibility for the World they keep blowing up but pretend to rule by “Rule of Law”?

Further Note: a Correction

This piece was originally written back in January 2022, when talk or chatter about a Russian move into Ukraine was just that.  At that time I saw this Media circus — or typical hysterical hype — through a “wag the dog” lens, thus the above phrase “fake crisis over Ukraine.”  After all, one year into the current American regime, it was abundantly obvious that the administration of Joe “Bidenopolous” is a clear and present failure, a political fact that even some of the sleepiest walkers among us are waking up to…

Well, lo and we were Western Intel Agency told, Mr Putin actually launched his “Special Military Operation” into Ukraine on February 24.  Many an analyst missed the boat on this “special launch,” and for all sorts of reasons, like the possibility of Nuclear War, depending on NATO’s counter-move, or the threat of Russian economy-crippling sanctions, among others.  However, in retrospect, I think it’s worth noting that the initial “wag the dog” optical returns were spectacular for the “Collective West” and Mr Biden, absent-mindedly skippering our economic Titanic.  Suddenly, all of the TransAtlanticans’ self-inflicted problems were “Mad Vlad’s” fault.  Inflation going Weimar-style sideways bonkers?  Hey, no worries, because it’s just “Putin’s Price Hike!”  Yet, this distraction airy spin has worn quite thin by now, it seems.  Far from crushing the Russian economy, an avalanche of Western sanctions has badly boomeranged, leaving Western leaders scrambling amidst the shambling of their own economies, while the Russian military gobbles up more of Ukraine every day, one morsel at a time.  Until further notice, Mr Putin is calling the shots, not Brussels, London, nor the DC regime change crew.

The other “Thing” to note here, perhaps, is the collapse of the Covid Regime and the attempt to splice its sorry remains into a “Putin’s the Virus!” kind of narrative, with Taiwan still “waiting in the wings.”  Many commentators have emphasized this baton pass, from Covid to Putin, of official Western ideology; CJ Hopkins and Fabio Vighi immediately spring to mind in this context.

But to return to Syria:  With some degree of geopolitical justice it can be said that the current conflict in Ukraine can be described as “Syria 2.0”.  Many of the same players are in play, including the Oscar-winning “White Helmets” (according to reports) in this Ukrainian showdown although, quite notably, not Israel.  So, what’s up with America’s BFF in the Middle Easternlands?  Well, many a Saul has been blinded “on the road to Damascus,” but the crazy Israelis know a thing or two, and they apparently value their “condominium” with Russia over Syria above their “special relationship” with the United $tates in regard to Ukraine.  Saudi Arabia, too, as well as China, India, and the list goes on and on.  Wasn’t the whole idea to “isolate” Russia?  It would appear that the West is “isolating” itself, instead.

“Something’s happening here,” as the late 1960s band Buffalo Springfield once sang (“For What It’s Worth”), and it certainly looks like a “paradigm shift” of geo-tectonic proportions is presently playing out upon this Planet.  Who’s to say who “wins,” but maybe, just maybe, “winning” the “Great White Western Way” isn’t the only Game in Town these days?

Todd Smith lives, writes, and observes the Brave New World Order in St. Louis. He can be reached at Read other articles by Todd.