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Kiriakou writes: "President Donald Trump, just like Barack Obama before him, now seems intent on getting the United States involved in an unwinnable civil war in Syria."

A bomb explosion in Syria. (photo: BBC)
A bomb explosion in Syria. (photo: BBC)

An Unwinnable War in Syria

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

11 April 17


resident Donald Trump, just like Barack Obama before him, now seems intent on getting the United States involved in an unwinnable civil war in Syria. Launching 59 cruise missiles against rundown Syrian air bases in the middle of the night is easy enough. But there are consequences to Trump’s actions. And Republican and conservative celebration at this use of force notwithstanding, Trump has put Syria’s Christians (and those in neighboring countries) in jeopardy, just as Obama and George W. Bush did in Iraq.

Neoconservative and neoliberal ideologies took root years ago in Washington. Both parties try to out-hawk each other on military and foreign policy to prove who is tougher, who is stronger, and who is quicker to use military force, even in countries where the U.S. has no obvious vital interests. There never seems to be any discussion about whether military intervention is legal, let alone moral or ethical. And there is certainly never any talk about asking Congress for authorization, despite the fact that failing to do so usually is a violation of the War Powers Act.

Republicans’ knee-jerk support for military intervention in the Middle East, whether it’s Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere, ought to be anathema to any politician who considers himself or herself a “Christian.” It is these interventions that are having the effect of dooming the small Christian communities left in places like Syria and Iraq.

I’m going to make a big assumption here. I’m going to assume for the sake of argument that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad actually was responsible for launching a chemical attack on Syrian civilians in rebel-held territory last week. Many of my friends in the intelligence community believe that it was an accident. They believe that Assad sought only to drop conventional bombs, but that those bombs hit a facility where chemical weapons were being stored. That’s why Trump can say with certainty that U.S. intelligence agencies were able to track Syrian fighter jets from their bases to the site of the bombing and then back to their bases. But there’s no intelligence – at least none that’s been released – that shows that Assad deliberately dropped chemical weapons on civilians.

The problem for U.S. politicians who fancy themselves Christians, though, is that Bashar al-Assad is literally the only person standing between Syrian Christians and annihilation. It is Assad, like his father Hafez, who have protected Syrian Christians for generations. Syrian Christians make up 11.2 percent of the population, according to the CIA’s World Factbook. But nearly a third of Syria’s 600,000 believers have left the country since the start of the civil war in 2011, pushed out by terrorist groups like ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, according to The New York Times. Before the civil war started, Christians participated in all elements of Syrian society, including as members of parliament, the cabinet, the diplomatic corps, and the business community. They maintained their own court system, they were free to practice their faith in churches and cathedrals around the country, and even the Syrian military was fully integrated, rather than having separate Christian units.

Similarly, in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Christians served in the parliament and cabinet, they practiced their faith freely and openly, and they were successful in business. Thanks to the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq and the subsequent civil war, almost the entire Iraqi Christian community has left for Jordan, the UK, and the U.S.

There is a solution to all of this, but it’s not quick and it’s not sexy. It’s called “diplomacy.” Whether Trump likes Assad’s politics or not, the only way to save the country from becoming a failed state or an ISIS state is to sit at the table with all the stakeholders. Those include Syria, Russia, and, yes, Iran. We are going to have to accept the fact that Assad is not going anywhere. Nor should he. His is the internationally-recognized government of Syria, no matter what Trump and Obama have said. We should respect that and bring him to the negotiating table.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+12 # 2017-04-11 09:30
I love the way you folks cover a story. Plain and simple, but with more angles and greater depth.
+20 # dotlady 2017-04-11 09:43
Negotiation is the correct idea. But the US can't stay zipped because of its adolescent image of power - it just has to reach out and antagonize someone.
+12 # John S. Browne 2017-04-11 09:56

Yes, but keep dreaming John Kiriakou. "Amerika" now loves wars of aggression, "the supreme international (AND U.S.) crime" under both international AND U.S. law(s); or at least blindly bows to it without question, falsely believing that all dissent against, and/or any questioning of, the U.S. government is "un-American", etc.

And as far as there supposedly being two separate parties, neocons and neolibs, they're both two sides of the same coin. That they're allegedly separate is all for nothing but show. They're both part and parcel of the globalist "New World Order (NWO)" system, which is the deep state shadow government that runs the U.S., the West and, increasingly, the world. In other words, the neolibs ARE the neocons, and the neocons ARE the neolibs. They're both fascist and for the increasing takeover of the U.S., the West and the world with globalist corporate-fasci st militarized totalitarianism , "'1984'-style" absolute surveillance, control, enslavement and exploitation of everyone and everything, and extermination of most of the Earth's human population, under the false guise of "saving the planet" (which, in truth, they couldn't care less about).

(Continued below)
+19 # John S. Browne 2017-04-11 11:04

They are like vampires, draining us and the earth dry of everything in order to obscenely profit off of everyone and everything, and they will not rest until they have milked us dry, interned most of us in concentration camps, and exterminated most of us. That is their ultimate goal; and, in reality, they are one in that pursuit.

+8 # Anonymot 2017-04-11 12:34
Much as I appreciate Kiriakou, you nailed that one.
0 # dickbd 2017-04-11 15:00
You make some great points, but when you talk about internment camps, you undercut your credibility, in my opinion. Where is the evidence for those plans?

Also, I am all for reducing the Earth's human population, as we are causing the Sixty Great Extinction, crowding out other species and destroying habitats. However, I am for birth control, not death control.

Alas, our government has cut out support for international planned parenthood, and is attempting to cut out support for Planned Parenthood. And talk about overpopulation seems to be forbidden speech now.
0 # John S. Browne 2017-04-12 11:40

Look it up by doing search-engine searches. Congress appropriating 380+ million dollars to build more of them was in the mainstream press a number of years ago. Even "Radscal" here, who you probably agree with most of the time, and who is NOT a "conspiracy-nut " [though the wilful-idiots here probably now falsely think he is; because, God forbid, he often agrees with my comments now(!)], realizes that the concentration camps all across the U.S. is a FACT (what I call a "conspiracy FACT"):

(See "Radscal's" comment regarding same a ways down the page.)

+17 # REDPILLED 2017-04-11 12:25
Thank you for this comment, and for reminding readers of what Justice Robert Jackson said at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals about wars of aggression.

Every U.S. president, member of Congress, military officer, and newspaper editor should be required to read what the Nuremberg Tribunals decided about wars of aggression as well as other war crimes.
+19 # Johnny 2017-04-11 10:03
The totally Zionist owned U.S. government doesn't care about winning the war against Syria. They are content to destroy Syria.
+5 # dickbd 2017-04-11 15:03
Although my beloved late wife was Jewish, I agree with you on that, to some degree. And I also worry that Zionism will bring back anti-Semitism with a vengeance!
+25 # MDSolomon 2017-04-11 10:20
The discussion should not be about whether the war is winnable. US invasions of and involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, etc. are in violation of international law.

The US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are proxies for the Anglo-Euro-Amer ican banking cartel and its corporations; i.s., corporate control over the state, which is one of the textbook definitions of fascism.

As we see with the US missile attack on Syria, fascism requires no proof to carry out its imperialist agenda. Every nation destroyed and attacked since 9-11 controlled its own central bank and currency.

Everyone involved in these wars, from the Bush administration forward, through Obama and Trump, should have to stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
+9 # moonrigger 2017-04-11 11:19
It seems to me now is the perfect moment to insist on Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Iran, the UA, Syria and Russia to come to the table to bring peace to the Middle East. Each has a huge stake in this like never before. The US has significant financial leverage over Israel to persuade them, and now that things are at the very brink in Syria, these nations must see there's no other way out of this mess. To use nukes is M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction). The stalemates between all these countries can't be overcome militarily. Peace must come from a unilateral agreement to give the Palestinians their own state and stop encroachment settlements. Russia and US have to leave the Middle East. Syria needs to replace Assad with a moderate elected leader. ISIS and Al Qaeda need to turn their swords into ploughshares and go home. Resistance marchers worldwide need to keep the pressure on until this happens. Everyone is sick of war and can't take anymore. The big question: who's ready to insist on peace?
+16 # Anonymot 2017-04-11 12:42
"The US has significant financial leverage over Israel to persuade them..."

Sounds good, but it's wrong. We SHOULD have that leverage. On paper we DO have that leverage. But in the real world the funnel of our money that comes directly and indirectly back from Israeli sources to the individual politicians and lobbyists both during and after election time neutralizes any leverage America might have for its public interests.

As a nation we've been sold out. Or bought up.
+15 # Jim Rocket 2017-04-11 12:29
I'm glad Kiriacou hits on the incredible disconnect between these people who profess to be Christians and behave like bloodthirsty barbarians. If they were honest at all they would adopt an image Christ the Repossessor - who wears a $5,000 suit, a gun on his hip and who beats and robs people on the Jericho road.
+6 # hipocampelo 2017-04-11 15:46
Mr. Kiriakou nailed it with this article.
+9 # heraldmage 2017-04-11 17:23
I wonder what Trump & all those who call Assad a murderer would do if US corporate media displayed pictures of the 100's of beautiful Mosul babies killed by US airstrikes since Trumps took office or pictures of the 1000's of beautiful Yemen babies killed by US directed Saudi airstrikes & naval blockade, or 1000's of beautiful Somali babies killed by US drones. Let's not forget the 1000"s of beautiful babies killed by Bahrain's Al-Khalifa regime while the 5th fleet look on.
Thanks to misrepresented facts,fabricate d evidence,& fictitious events the US has been responsible for millions of death since WW2,including a good share of Syria's 500,000. These death weren't to preserve democracy or protect our homeland but for profit. Expensive elections require wars & reconstruction to repay donors.
Assad had no logical reason to use CW, his position was no longer in jeopardy from the US coalition instead left up to his people. Only those actively engaged in the decades long proxy civil war to overthrow Assad benefited from the CW attack & due to Trump needs for support from the anti-Russia,-Sy ria,-Korea hawks he changed in US policy.
It's time WE demand our government provide us with independently verified actual evidence prior to any military action. War is inevitable unless they are required to present actual evidence & prove there is no other option. They lie too easily to be trusted with our lives & the lives of our children.
+8 # Citizen Mike 2017-04-11 19:50
Eternal unwinnable war is the ideal business model for Pentagon suppliers of goods and services. An all-volunteer force is expendable. That is the whole deal.
-4 # janie1893 2017-04-12 01:09
What does Christianity have todo with the civil war in Syria? Nothing, as far as I have been able to ascertain!
-1 # janie1893 2017-04-13 16:40
I reiterate, Christianity has nothing to do with the war in Syria. It happens that Christians are victims along with all the other victims. Let us try to retain some objectivity.

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