How to Understand Those 60 Trainees

by Joel Veldkamp

 

“I can look out at your faces and see you had the same reaction I do, which is that that’s an awfully small number.”

So said American Defense Secretary Ash Carter in testimony before an incredulous Senate Armed Services Committee on July 7, explaining that the $500 million American project, announced over a year ago, to train and arm a new Syrian rebel army to bring the Islamic State to its knees and force a political settlement on the Syrian regime simultaneously has, to date, trained just 60 fighters.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on behalf of the Iranian nuclear deal recently brokered by the Obama Administration in Washington, D.C., July 29, 2015. Carter was joined by Secretary of State John Kerry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, U.S. treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. DoD Photo: Glenn Fawcett (Released)

Photo: Glenn Fawcett (Released)

It’s been 53 months since the Syrian uprising started, 48 months since President Obama called for regime change in Syria, 29 months since the Islamic State took over northeast Syria, 14 months since they took over northwest Iraq, and 11 months since Obama promised to destroy them, and the entirety of the U.S.’ publicly-announced ground strategy to dislodge the Islamic State from Syria and end the war there is embodied in five dozen “trained” Syrians in Turkey somewhere.

The weeks following Carter’s testimony would bring no more reassurance. On July 29, reports emerged that Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, had captured a group of fighters from Division 30, a rebel group U.S. officials had earlier claimed was among those participating in the train-and-equip program. What would happen when the U.S.’ chief nemesis crossed the U.S.’ handpicked fighters? Division 30 responded by issuing a statement asking its “brothers” in JAN to release the fighters for the sake of the opposition’s “unity” and refused to fight JAN. The extent of the Pentagon’s response was to vigorously deny that any of the captured Division 30 fighters were themselves recipients of U.S. training.

It’s easy to understand the consternation of the senators at the Carter hearing. How could the U.S. foreign policy establishment possibly be so incompetent?

To move beyond incredulity and consternation, we need to put this training project in context. Over four brutal years of civil war, the U.S. has announced a succession of programs to aid “moderate” anti-government fighters in Syria – all similarly modest, even embarrassingly so. But U.S. rhetoric about these programs has been jumbled and self-contradictory, and has had only the most tenuous connection to events on the ground – and to the true scale of U.S. involvement in Syria. The wide gulf between rhetoric and reality evinces a deliberate public information strategy to conceal the nature of that involvement.

The U.S. and Syria’s Rebels – Rhetoric

Starting in March 2012, a year into the conflict, officials at the White House and the State Department began claiming that the U.S. was directly aiding the Syrian armed opposition with “nonlethal aid,” such as communications gear and medical supplies.

A year later, after the outgoing Pentagon and State Department chiefs Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton embarrassed the administration by making internal disagreements over Syria public, the incoming Secretary of State John Kerry announced that President Obama was going to begin “direct assistance” to the Syrian armed opposition, “though nonlethal,” including “food and medical supplies.” The Associated Press hailed this non-announcement as “a significant policy shift.”

Four months later, in June 2013, responding to mounting reports of regime chemical weapons use and the fall of the strategic city of Qusayr to regime forces, American officials told the New York Times that “the Obama administration…has decided to begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition.” White House Advisor Ben Rhodes, however, would only speak of “direct military support” to the opposition: “He would not specify whether the support would include lethal aid, such as weapons.” Since this was the third time direct nonlethal support for the armed Syrian opposition had been announced “for the first time,” we can sympathize with the journalist who complained at the next day’s State Department press briefing, “I have to say – I hope I’m not alone in this – there is still quite a lot of confusion.”

The amounts of “nonlethal” aid that the opposition was said to receive were always small. By May 2014, it totaled just $80 million, and included “552,000 MREs, 1,500 medical kits, vehicles, communications equipment, generators, and over three tons of surgical and triage medical supplies.” Spread out over two years and a battlefield the size of Syria’s, these figures are only marginally more impressive than Carter’s 60 trained fighters.

Occasionally – usually at moments of pressure to “do something” – American officials let it be known that the U.S. was actually sending “lethal” aid to the rebels as well. In September 2013, after President Obama was forced to back down from his threat to bomb Syria after the Damascus countryside chemical weapons massacre, the Washington Post reported that, “according to U.S. officials,” arms shipments from the CIA, “limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked” had begun “arriving in Syria.” The Post described this as “a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”

In April 2014, after the breakdown of peace talks in Geneva and several months of regime successes in retaking lost ground, U.S. government officials leaked the news that the U.S. had provided rebels in Syria with twelve 20-year-old antitank missile launchers – news that was given exhaustive coverage by the Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Brookings Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies, among others.

Mostly, however, U.S. officials maintained the line of “nonlethal aid” in public. In December 2012, a “senior administration official” told reporters, “until we understand how these arms promote a political solution, we do not see how provision of arms is a good idea.” In April 2013, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones reaffirmed, “We do not believe that it is in the United States or the Syrian people’s best interest to provide lethal support to the Syrian opposition.” Asked about the possibility of sending arms in February 2014, a senior U.S. official told the BBC, “We already, as you know, provide non-lethal aid.”

Three days before Mosul fell to the Islamic State, National Security Advisor Susan Rice stated publicly, for the first time, that the U.S. “is providing lethal and non-lethal support” to the “moderate, vetted opposition” in Syria. In reporting this statement, the staff of the Israeli daily Haartez noted, “Rice gave more details than are usually provided by Obama administration officials.”

With so much contradictory information, it is little wonder that confusion reigned on this point, not only among the general public, but among American media organs and policymakers. Thus, after the fall of Mosul, the New York Times claimed that the city’s fall had increased “scrutiny” on “the decision by the Obama administration not to arm moderate Syrian rebels at the outset,” and Hillary Clinton was quick to note that she “pushed very hard” for arming moderate rebels. This past June, outgoing Daily Show host Jon Stewart ruthlessly mocked various Republican figures for proposing arming rebels in Syria, and implicitly praised Obama for not doing so. In criticizing the current nuclear deal with Iran, the Wall Street Journal recently editorialized, “The U.S. could have armed the Free Syrian Army to defeat Iran’s allied Assad regime in Damascus” to get a better deal.

These statements reveal the widely-held assumption that the U.S. has avoided engagement in the Syria conflict, but these statements can only exist in blissful denial of publicly-available information about the reality of the U.S.’ role in Syria since 2011.

The U.S. and Syria’s Rebels – Reality

Among the publicly-reported details of that role:

  • January 2012: According to the New York Times, three and a half months before the administration first announced “nonlethal aid” to the opposition, a secret CIA-assisted airlift of arms to the rebels began, which by March 2013 would comprise 160 flights and “an estimated 3,500 tons of military equipment.” The CIA helped “Arab governments shop for weapons,” and “vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”
  • June 2012: The New York Times reported that the CIA was in Turkey helping U.S. allies in the region decide which Syrian rebel groups should receive “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons,” which were “being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”
  • August 2012: Reuters reported that the CIA was helping to “direct vital military and communications support to Assad’s opponents” from Turkey, under the authority of an intelligence finding from the president earlier in 2012, which “broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.”

In January 2013, Scott Stewart, an analyst at the private intelligence firm Stratfor, concluded based on an examination of weapons seen in opposition-released videos that “the current level of external intervention in Syria is similar to the level exercised against the Soviet Union and its communist proxies following the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.”

All of this predates the announcement of John Kerry’s “significant policy shift” to provide “food and medical supplies” to the opposition. It also predates the State Department’s April 2013 affirmation that, “We do not believe that it is in…the Syrian people’s best interest to provide lethal support to the Syrian opposition.”

The scale of the material aid reportedly delivered to the armed Syrian opposition by the U.S. and its allies through these operations dwarfs anything discussed in the government’s public statements. In February 2014, the Abu Dhabi daily The National reported that Gulf states, with logistical help from American intelligence, had delivered $1.2 billion in weapons and supplies to rebels in Syria since July 2013 alone:

“That amount is set to rise to as much as $2bn, with Saudi Arabia, which oversees the fund according to rebels, seeking to put in between $400m and $800m in additional money over coming months.”

All such numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, but the scale of Syria’s insurgency makes the figure credible.

In addition, while the U.S. loudly trumpeted its worries about inadvertently supporting “extremists” in Syria, its coordination with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in this period – now well-known – belies this commitment. At one point, the U.S. publicly suspended its “nonlethal aid” program to “moderate rebels” after their warehouses in northern Syria were seized by “extremists.” The demonstration would have been more convincing if the “extremists” in question had not been from a group known as the Islamic Front, widely acknowledged to be bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A December 2013 report from the Brookings Institute looking at funding from Gulf countries for extremist groups in Syria claimed that “The U.S. Treasury is aware of this activity…but Western diplomats’ and officials’ general response has been a collective shrug.”

These reports of U.S. involvement in facilitating the arming of the opposition have never been refuted, or even denied. They are simply ignored, and lost in the confusion created by the landslide of contradictory public statements. The fact that leading newspapers and public figures now reprimand the Obama administration for not arming the rebels demonstrates the success of this apparent public information strategy.

The New Plan

This history should inform how we view U.S. government claims about its current doings in Syria.

In the public eye, at least, the effort to aid existing opposition groups in Syria has been replaced by a plan to create a new Syrian rebel army from scratch, training and equipping them in a neighboring country. But all the evidence suggests that this effort is no more serious, and no more central to the U.S.’ real plans in Syria, than the “nonlethal aid” program that consumed so much attention and public debate while American intelligence, with American regional allies, was organizing massive arms shipments to the opposition.

Obama first announced this new train-and-equip program June of last year. Congress approved funding for it in September. By November, recruitment for the new army still had not begun. By January, a host country for the program still had not been chosen, despite offers from four countries. In February, Turkey and the U.S. finally signed an agreement to begin training the force in Turkey, with Turkish and U.S. officials giving contradictory answers about whether the force would be allowed to fight the Assad regime. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently claimed that the Islamic holy month of Ramadan was slowing the training process because, “there’s a lot of folks that are interested in being with their families during that period” – a problem no other fighting force in Syria seems to have. In a devastating post-mortem published in July, Jamie Dettmer of The Daily Beast observed that the original plan called for training 15,000 soldiers by 2018, and asked “whether Syria would even exist by the time the envisaged force was at full strength.”

If this program were truly central to the U.S.’ Syria strategy, it is difficult to believe that this level of delay and recruitment failure – and now, attacks from Jabhat al-Nusra – would be tolerated. No doubt the military and intelligence officers tasked with its implementation are working sincerely. But for the U.S. foreign policy establishment as a whole, this program likely serves the same purposes as the State Department’s 2012-2014 initiatives to deliver MREs, radios and med kits to fighters in Syria: to demonstrate that the U.S. is involved, to create a public impression of an involvement so limited that it does not saddle the U.S. with any responsibility for the human catastrophe in Syria, and to consume media and legislative branch attention that might otherwise be directed at the main activities of the U.S. and its allies in Syria.

While this new training program spins its wheels, events on the ground in Syria are moving rapidly. Following the death of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have set aside their former squabbles and are cooperating in a renewed push to overthrow the Assad regime. This cooperation is manifest in a new rebel alliance, the Jaysh al-Fatih, led by al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. If U.S.’ actions during the first three years of the conflict are any guide, this new joint initiative was not organized without American input or support.

Jaysh al-Fatih may be contributing to the U.S.’s stated goal of regime change in Syria. It may be contributing to an unstated U.S. goal of continuing a war that is very costly for Iran, on whose compliance with the U.S.-brokered nuclear agreement a great deal now rests. Jaysh al-Fatih may now be seen as a crucial counterweight to the Islamic State. It would be irresponsible to assign motivations to the U.S. policymakers from the outside, but unless they have had a recent change of heart, Jaysh al-Fatih’s al Qaeda links and its human rights violations (including violence against Christians and Nusra’s threat to forcibly convert Alawis) are unlikely to be an overriding concern for them. As the Brookings Institute’s Charles Lister writes, “The vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012,” and the U.S. was helping to arm the Syrian insurgency since early 2012.

It has been necessary throughout the conflict, however, for the U.S. to distance itself from these troubling facts, by conveying the impression that its involvement in the conflict is limited to “nonlethal aid” – or, since last June, a small training program in Turkey.

Why does the U.S. only have sixty fighters to show for its $500 million, year-old training program? Because it reinforces the narrative – nurtured by a raft of previous hopelessly inadequate, publicly-announced and -debated programs to support the opposition – of the U.S. as a helpless bystander to the killing in Syria, and of President Obama as a prudent statesman reluctant to get involved. While the Senate berates the Pentagon chief over the program’s poor results, the U.S. is meanwhile outsourcing the real fight in Syria to allies with no qualms about supporting al Qaeda against their geopolitical opponents – unless the U.S. is, as before, cooperating directly or indirectly in that support.

Whereto Now?

Once it is recognized that the “helpless bystander” narrative is false, and that the U.S. has been deeply involved in the armed conflict almost from the start, it becomes both possible and necessary to question that involvement.

The U.S.’ direct cooperation with Turkey and Gulf states in arming the Syrian insurgency, combined with its refusal to engage in sincere peace talks (as expertly detailed by Hugh Roberts in The London Review of Books), virtually guaranteed that the war would continue without conclusion. The present crisis – 200,000 dead, over half the population driven from their homes, much crucial infrastructure destroyed and Syria’s territory fractured into multiple de facto statelets that will probably never reunify – is the result. Considering the Syrian people’s welfare, it is difficult to imagine a worse policy outcome. A refusal early-on to interfere in the conflict or countenance regional allies’ cooperation with extremist groups, or a genuine attempt at peace talks later in the conflict, or a full-fledged humanitarian intervention of the sort requested by many opposition figures – almost any policy alternative would have been better.

At this stage, it may well be too late to save Syria, but if U.S. policymakers want to try, a good place to start would be to make ending the violence – without preconditions and without regard for their preferred political outcome – the overriding objective in U.S. diplomacy and covert action. In a multi-religious country like Syria, that must entail restraining the ambitions of openly sectarian militant groups like Jaysh al-Fatih. It will mean walking away from a publicly-declared commitment to regime change in Syria. It will likely also mean straining relations with regional allies already discomfited by the nuclear pact with Iran. But to end the conflict, the policies and positions that have been perpetuating it must be changed.

 

Joel Veldkamp is an MA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Center for Middle East Studies who has previously lived in Damascus, Syria. Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelman42  Parts of this article are adapted from a paper presented at the 2015 Middle East History and Theory Conference at the University of Chicago: “Narrative and Reality in Direct U.S. Aid to the Syrian Armed Opposition, 2012-2014

Comments (60)


Syrian said:

Not only the Obama admisntration never helped the Syrian people it also objected to other nation who wanted to help,
The writer in the end of his peice suggest that the US “must entail restraining the ambitions of openly sectarian militant groups like Jaysh al-Fatih” and forget about regime change.
But the writer seem to ignore that all of Assad’s militias and his supporters like Hizboola and the Iraqi militias are the most secatrain of all.
A better suggestion would be if Obama keep staying out if it as he has been doing since day one.

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August 14th, 2015, 2:41 am

 

Poul said:

Perhaps the writer misses the rather obvious possibility that the objective of US policy in Syria is not to end the fighting but to destroy and fragment Syria. Thereby weakening Iran and Russia.

The conduct of the US becomes more logical if that is the political goal, even if American politicians say something else publicly.

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August 14th, 2015, 2:44 am

 

ALAN said:

//At this stage, it may well be too late to save Syria, but if U.S. policymakers want to try, a good place to start would be to make ending the violence //

How long the case will remain so: The error blatant American identity. The destruction of suffering other countries affected by error output are immense, and the perpetrators of errors are playing in golf resorts

It is believed that Professor Landis spent a great vacation this summer and in the past years in this way. He was an active participants in sectarian polarization and religious architecture. it needs to hold him his responsibilities

As for Obama, who has acknowledged giving orders to start the war in seven countries, he must pass the trial and hanging from his testicles in the public arena

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August 14th, 2015, 7:22 am

 

Observer said:

From the pervious post

So there are Sunni and Alawi areas of Latakia and likewise in Damascus just as it still is in Beirut and Lebanon.

Great, as if there is such a thing as Syria.

It is not me who wants revenge, I called for peaceful separation a long time ago. I note that on the ground now there will be revenge. Now that the knife has gotten closer to the neck we hear reconciliation and reform and what have you when for more than 50 years any dissent was labeled terrorism.

Solution of course I proposed a solution: uprooting the security house of cards of this sectarian regime from its tiniest roots. There is NO other solution.

As for the US, it is time that we stay within our shores and stop playing empire. There is nothing in this for the US.

From Stupid W to Stupid O both criminal to the end.

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August 14th, 2015, 7:30 am

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

Obama demonstrated clear incompetency in the last six years, he never had a policy or strategy toward Iran, six years wasted, in fact he supported the rise of Iran power, we see now , Iraq leaders are near total control by Iran, U.S. Pulled out of Iraq and handed over Iraq to Iran, and Obama watched and did nothing while Iran increased support of AssadI, Iran supported HA , and U.S. Did not do anything to object for HA involvement in Syria, U.S. Watched Houthis take over Yemen, all these events embolden Iran, these things were concessions by U.S., with nothing in return, ISIS grew under Obama watch, and became powerful, Obama only watched, Obama let down his traditional allies meanwhile,
All of these proved the incompetent democratic Obama
Americans are disgusted, they are angry at Obama weakness, it is time to have a strong republican president, tired of weak incompetent president, who stood doing nothing while Putin took over Crimea, U.S. Must be respected all over the world

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August 14th, 2015, 8:00 am

 

Mina said:

The interview to which Bhadhrakumar was giving a link for has been removed. Any idea where to find it?
There could only be a few, if any, US Army generals with such deep and extensive knowledge of operational intelligence and special operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as Michael Flynn, who retired as the director of the Defence Intelligence Agency [DIA] just one year ago. Originally assigned to the famous 82nd Airborne Division, his was a career almost entirely dedicated to military intelligence and special operations.

Added to that, Gen. Flynn has a well-earned reputation of being an iconoclast.Remember his extraordinary report of January 2010 on the colossal failings of the hydra-headed US intelligence community in Afghanistan?

All of which, indeed, makes his interview with Al Jazeera last week regarding the US’ fight against the Islamic State very riveting. Let me put down the key points Gen. Flynn made:

The war in Iraq was a mistake; it led to the rise of the Islamic State.
The US should be held accountable for what happened. History is not going to be kind.
The “entire system” is guilty of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The drone attacks have been a ghastly mistake, as they created more terrorists.
Something is wrong with the US’ policies and strategies insofar as the US invested more in conflicts and not in finding solutions to conflicts. That is why terrorism is proliferating.
President Barack Obama should have a different approach — although there are people in the US who believe in “perpetuating conflicts for rest of time”.

Of course, the stunning part of the interview was his frank admission that as far back as 2012, the US administration knew about the ascendance of the Islamic State [IS] in Syria, but it was a “willful decision” by the White House to use it to further the ‘regime change’ agenda in that country.

Gen. Lynn was associated with an internal DIA study that was recently released, which shows that the Obama administration knew that the actions of “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey” in Syria would create a virulently extremist group like the IS.

He said he had studied a DIA memo in 2012, which predicted the West’s backing of the IS and was based on very clear intelligence. When the interviewer asked him whether the Obama administration turned a “blind eye” to his analysis, this was Gen. Flynn’s chilling reply:

“I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was willful decision… It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing”.

He said he had argued against the US sponsoring foreign militants in Syria, but of no avail. The reason was that the US and its allies were sponsoring terrorists to put pressure on the Syrian government.

Ironically, the US now claims that the IS may pose a threat to Afghanistan and the top US commander Gen. John Campbell went on record recently that Obama’s pledge to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by end-2016 might not be the final word on the subject.

The specious plea being advanced by Washington currently is that the US wants to turn Afghanistan into a regional hub to wage a war against the IS — a war by the US and its partners, which, in the opinion of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, could last not less than a generation.

This Dempsey guy is a smart general, isn’t it? It was under his watch that the IS was finessed and deployed as the instrument of US regional policy to overthrow the established government in Syria and to force Baghdad to allow the return of American troops to Iraq – and now he pops up in Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office in Kabul one fine day two weeks ago to make the proposition that Washington might need an open-ended military presence in Afghanistan for another 15-20 years to wage the global war against the IS.

It will take another Gen Flynn to tell us another time circa 2025 that the IS that subsequently overthrew the established governments in Central Asia, bled white the regions of Xinjiang and North Caucasus and Kashmir, destroyed the Pakistani state and led to that country’s disintegration, and kept Iran bogged down in the sheer preservation of its plural society (which is an ethnic mosaic) was actually incubated in the American military bases in Afghanistan. Gen Flynn’s interview is here.
http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2015/08/10/us-took-willful-decision-to-create-islamic-state/

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August 14th, 2015, 10:12 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Mina,

Suggestion: Please get off your “The US created everything bad in the Middle East” kick. No one is that dumb. You can close your eyes to the Mullahs, the Saddams and the Assads, but that would just make you blind.

Abdallah Al-Hadlaq:

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8702.htm

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August 14th, 2015, 11:14 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

Stupid americans have killed the syrian revolution, fed Assad and ISIS and the nuclear capabilities of Iran creating all conditions for a huge weapons market in the whole region and many future wars. Russia is the perfect partner for US.

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August 14th, 2015, 1:52 pm

 

ALAN said:

5. MAJEDKHALDOUN
/Putin took over Crimea/
Not only Crimea. Alaska is Russian land too!

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August 14th, 2015, 3:27 pm

 

Ghufran said:

The cia as usual made the wrong decision when it convinced politicians that there are moderate Syrian Rebels who are numerous enough to build a credible force, the answer came quickly after
$ 750 million was wasted. In Syria you practically have 2 main fighting factions:
1.Regime forces and their allies
2.Islamist rebels who range from hard core terrorists to terrorists ligh, like decaf coffee.
A cease fire can be reached if nusra and Isis are sidelined, Assad is forced to exit and hizbullah withdraws its troops, easier said than done but the alternative to a bad deal is partition and a larger war. The shelling of civilian areas by rebels leave no doubt that there are no good actors in this evil play.

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August 14th, 2015, 9:10 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

What makes you sure that JAN “captured” those trainees?
I say that they defected, and joined JAN willingly.

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August 14th, 2015, 9:53 pm

 

Observer said:

There is a de facto deterrent situation between HA and Israel after the 2006 war. Now we have another one in reverse apparently. I am not holding my breath for treachery is the name of the regime:
http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2015/8/14/اتفاق-للإفراج-عن-40-ألف-معتقل-لدى-النظام-بالزبداني
This what happens when you respond in kind and you carry the fight to the other side.

On another note the prisoners of Hama have also obtained concessions from the regime. It is running out of men and now of bullets

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August 14th, 2015, 10:20 pm

 

Syrian said:

Amir in Tel Aviv
if that is the case, it would not be the 1st time the US wasted tons of money on the wrong people, take your country Israel as an example,

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August 14th, 2015, 11:12 pm

 

Observer said:

The whole premise of this article is that the US has a defined policy or I should say Obama has a defined policy towards Syria. It does not have one. At this stage the US is no longer leading from the front or from behind it is following events on the ground as the local regional players have taken over.
Look at Turkey, it is determined to prevent a contiguous Kurdish enclave in the north and will ally with the devil to prevent it and the US is trying to influence but not stop the decision.
Turkey asked NATO to help and if it does not NATO is finished and the new members of the organization that are deathly afraid of Russia on their border will draw a lesson that the US is not coming to the rescue.
All of this is just temporizing so that O can pass the buck to the next President.
The decision by KSA and GCC to stop the Houthis in Yemen and to roll them back was done without the US and because the US was not involved any longer. Kerry is running like a mole in the ground blind and deaf. Just yesterday he raided the flag in Havana when the Castros have used the normalization to increase repression of dissent and to increase their grip on the country. Next they will use the liberalization to become rich like all oligarchs.

O want to disengage and does not want the US’s role to be the same as before or the sole superpower. This may be wise on the very long run but the way he is going about it is an absolute disaster to Syria and ultimately to the US.

I say that we do not have a dog in this fight and we should never have said anything or intervened one way or the other but doing this half ass job is as bad as invading Iraq if not more. Look at South Sudan, we helped them separate from the north and then we opted to let them sort out their differences alone. They are doing it very badly but it is not our problem.

There is an inherent and structural instability and strife built in by Sykes Picot and it will continue to be so for generations to come until these stupid borders are redrawn. There is a complete vacuum of national ideologies replaced by pure sectarianism as the state structures fail one after the other in all these countries hence the de facto redrawing of the map and Iran is talking reconciliation and the unity of Islam because it realizes that these fires it lit to try to get a nuclear deal did not phase the US one bit and now it is trying to extricate itself from the shifting sands. What is happening in Yemen is telling and that is why HA leader went ballistic because he understood that the days of reckoning are coming and the days of non response are over.

As for the regime it is now a toy in the hands of Russia and Iran who are trying to toss it back and forth lest it burns their fingers. As predicted the cease fire collapsed with this treacherous regime.

I am about to have a popsicle

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August 15th, 2015, 8:34 am

 

mjabali said:

al-Shaykh al-Fadel Observer:

The knife you are talking about is drawn against the Alawites, and many minorities, from 1000 years ago. Nothing new.

You guys cut the necks of thousands of the Alawites…read history. Here you are telling us that you Sunnis are going to do it again. Ok…You think that Alawite expect anything else from you guys?

The Sunni knife you are talking about and happy to see around is why the USA could not find more than 59 people to train.

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August 15th, 2015, 8:35 am

 

Louis Proyect said:

I think the author undercuts his own credibility by citing Hugh Roberts. Here is my take on his ghastly LRB article:

http://louisproyect.org/2015/07/12/hugh-roberts-ideological-defense-attorney-for-a-torture-state/

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August 15th, 2015, 10:58 am

 

Antonio said:

As long as daesh will be strolling around syria and iraq no economic energy linked project will be able to be developped thus impeding gas pipeline from SYRIA, IRAQ, IRAN to reach medterranian costs…allowing Usa to be the big dog in that area….US is making same strategy already adpted in Balkans….NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN…..does anyone remembers when americans were attaking native indians in disguise to make them believe to be attaked by close tribes? That’s ….. Salam…

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August 15th, 2015, 11:06 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

The real reason of monotheism is a kind of paranoid creed in the only God. The real argument for wars in the Middle East is religion and the unique exclusive God.

Jews, muslims and christians are paranoid people with paranoid wars.

The idea of One God for the Righteous People is an evil one.

That’s All Folks !

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August 15th, 2015, 3:26 pm

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

17. ANTONIO

Yes, the US are real motherfxxxers in strategic regional politics but Assad, Iran and Russia are criminal psycho killers’ regimes.

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August 15th, 2015, 4:14 pm

 

Mantooth said:

What are the largest forces in Syria fighting ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and any other extremist groups ? That be the Syrian Arab Army. The United States should back them and align with them. That would eliminate the problem.

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August 15th, 2015, 4:30 pm

 

Alan said:

منتوشAl-Nusra Front, the Islamic state and Islamic militants because they are moderates, are supposed to live in a civilized world next to Obama and Landis side by side and have no place in Syria

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August 15th, 2015, 5:31 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

AITV,

Ma schlomha? MA hadash?

Having a rough time convincing my jewish friends about this agreement with Iran. The liberal jews can’t go against their God Obama…

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August 15th, 2015, 7:16 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Steadily and surely Islamists and terrorists will have full control over
all territories held by ” moderate” rebels.
Nobody should oppose the release of prisoners except terrorists who have killed and can only kill or be killed.
All others should be rehearsed, thieves and thugs are plentiful in Syria and many of them have no allegiance and nobody will ask for their release.
Keep in mind that many thugs who are roaming the streets today claim to be pro regime, do no assume that those deserve freedom just because they put the picture of maher or Bashar on their cars.
End this war among Syrians and force foreign fighters out, all of them.
Assad supporters who want him to stay are doing so out of fear or to avoid prosecution, many could not care less about Syria, a country of 25 million should have no problem finding a person to become president especially if the post is stripped of its unlimited authority.

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August 15th, 2015, 9:55 pm

 

Passerby said:

A couple points.

First, it’s funny all sides claiming all these grand conspiracies where the CIA/USA and half the US government is orchestrating things. The US couldn’t keep it secret that we were dribbling water on the face of three 9/11 ringleaders. There are powerful forces in the US, but it’s not the government, they are employees, and couldn’t keep a secret if their lives depended on it.

Second, the rational thing, with the the Assad crime syndicate having military problems, would be to make a generous offer to the Alawites and their supporters, if the Assad’s were deposed. It’s a win/win, if they take it or not. It would make life a lot harder on the Assad’s, and the best hope for peace. That’s the correct path, but the blood lust is probably too great. The morons think they are about to win. No one is going to win. Long before the Alawites are subjected to the tender mercies of the radicals, the real killing will start. What we’ve seen up to now is nothing.

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August 15th, 2015, 11:58 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Not sure I believe the hype about selling
Assad for a price, the war was more about who gets what than who should be president, if KSA and the USA give Iran what it wants just fit sacrificing Assad people will assume that Iran won the war even if Assad leaves.
The real issues are how the new Syria will look like assuming that the country will remain in one piece. Assad is the symbol but he is not the beef now.

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August 16th, 2015, 12:08 am

 

ALAN said:

Sooner or later, Germany would become responsible for its fatal mistake
Threats to German journalists investigating NSA scandal
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0ae_1439593450

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August 16th, 2015, 1:25 am

 
 

ALAN said:

American immoral acts will always weaken its moral frame and undercut the values we profess. President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech touting freedom and democracy was beautiful. Can US still act according to those ideals?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/politics/04obama.text.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

How the President B.Obama recently accepted an offer from Turkey to use a military base adjacent to Syria to enforce a safe zone and give Turkey a free hand to bomb the Kurdish fighters in Iraq?

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August 16th, 2015, 3:32 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

22. AKBAR PALACE said:

AITV,

Ma schlomha? MA hadash?

Having a rough time convincing my jewish friends about this agreement with Iran. The liberal jews can’t go against their God Obama…

Are you Akbar Palace as a US citizen, with no Israeli citizenship as you said, trying to create a mutiny by agitating your religious sects people in USA against their own president and constitution? Remember Akbar that Obama is your president and this Israeli/Jewish open attack using US parliamentary system is unseen in its arrogance. Akbar you are a living proof to the claims that Jews can not be trusted in Western countries because their loyalty towards Israel/Jews is greater than their loyalty to their home country and the fellow citizens.

Akbar the treaty with Iran was not done alone with USA nor it is a private matter only of Jews, Israel, Gulf royals and USA. The Eurasian great powers, all of them (EU, Russia, China, India, Japan and South Korea), wanted that treaty to be made and no more wars. As YOUR president and foreign secretary said that to the fate of dollar as a world reserve currency on longer term depends of this treaty. As a loyal US citizen you should listen to them, not to your religious idols in Israel who have for two decades promised publicly to the world that Iran will have a nuclear bomb next year. Well the Jewish next year definition is obviously much more than 20 years. In German they say: Morgen, morgen nur nicht heute sagen immer …

Akbar eifo ata gar?

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August 16th, 2015, 4:06 am

 

Juergen said:

Welcome to the New Saudi Arabia!

“We in the West have bought into this idea that insurgency and counterinsurgency is a battle for hearts and minds,” he said. “We forget how many states have been established through brutality.”

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/world/middleeast/isis-transforming-into-functioning-state-that-uses-terror-as-tool.html?referrer&_r=1

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August 16th, 2015, 9:09 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Akbar,

Thanks!
To be honest, if I were an American, I would have worshiped Obama too 🙂 .. I agree with ALL his domestic policies (guns control, immigration, health insurance, prisons etc), and with a lot of his international policies too (Cuba, Africa SE Asia).
The only issue he f**ks up is MENA.

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August 16th, 2015, 2:32 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

AITV,

Uuf! I’ll tell you what, you can have Obama if we can have BB.

I have told all my jewish friends at the JCC, “It’s very simple, the worst republican candidate is better than the best Democrat candidate.”.

Obama has done NOTHING for the US except ruin the economy, ruin our cities, ruin our standing in the world, and help make the world more dangerous.

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August 16th, 2015, 6:20 pm

 

Tara said:

Simo,

Please spare us this freaky ME logic. If Akbar palace does not agree with Obama’s policy, then he is a traitor?! For Jesus’ or Ali’s sake or whoever you worship’ sake, do you not understand that you can disagree with a leader’s policy and still be loyal to your country?

Are you truly a Finn or Alawi menhebak in disguise?

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August 16th, 2015, 7:21 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Thanks Tara.

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August 16th, 2015, 8:17 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#32 Akbar Palace

It is really bewildering to me why republicans hate Obama so much. Under obama, the economy has recovered, house prices are back to pre-crisis levels, stock market almost doubled, unemployment tumbled, and american car companies and banks have all come back from the brink of bankruptcy. Europeans, Asians, and South Americans love and respect Americans again, and everyone in the world is investing again in the United States.

But again, they hated Clinton too.

Obama will go down in history as one of the most effective presidents, especially in the face of such obstructionist partisan congress!

Your Jewish liberal friends are right. Listen to them!

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August 16th, 2015, 10:19 pm

 

Majedkhaldoun said:

Hopeful said Obama is the most effective president
You must be kidding, either that or you do not know what is going on in the U.S.
Under Obama no foreign country respect US anymore
Under ObamaISIS grew and became powerful , committing worse terrorism than ever before
Under Obama more black people killed
Under Obama the cost of health care has increased 30%
Under Obama more trouble passing to the next president than the future president can handle
Under Obama Russia took over Crimea
Under Obama A terrorist HA is getting stronger and Bolder
Under Obama the terrorist countries like North Korea and Iran are getting way ahead

The improved stock market was not due Obama , it was due to the federal reserve dumping huge amount of cash , which will certainly quadruple inflation
Obama is good in passing the problems to the next president, he is the worst president US has in the last forty years
What did Obama do to solve the problem in Syria , nothing
What did Obama do for human rights nothing
Are we Americans happier , ? No

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August 16th, 2015, 11:51 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

It is really bewildering to me why republicans hate Obama so much.

Hopeful,

I’ll repeat what I posted above:

Obama has done NOTHING for the US except ruin the economy, ruin our cities, ruin our standing in the world, and help make the world more dangerous.

Obviously, we interpret things differently. I have the same problem with my liberal jewish friends. One must remember, American jews are USUALLY liberal. Jewish conservatives like myself represent about 25% of American jews.

Under obama, the economy has recovered, house prices are back to pre-crisis levels, stock market almost doubled, unemployment tumbled, and american car companies and banks have all come back from the brink of bankruptcy. Europeans, Asians, and South Americans love and respect Americans again, and everyone in the world is investing again in the United States.

Hopeful, PLEASE!

The unemployment rate is a very misleading and manipulated number. It only take into account the number of Americans LOOKING for work. HUGE numbers of Americans have GIVEN UP! They’ve been out of work so long, they’ve run out of benefits and stop applying for unemployment. This mean they ARE NOT COUNTED in the unemployment rate.

http://www.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/181469/big-lie-unemployment.aspx

We have RECORD numbers of WORKING AGE Americans OUT OF THE WORK FORCE!

Housing, since Obama has been president, and because we have so many Americans NOT WORKING, the “American Dream” of owning a home has decreased. Fewer Americans own a home and RENTING has sky-rocketed.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/real-estate/nation-renters-fewer-americans-now-own-their-own-homes-n167776

But again, they hated Clinton too.

Obama will go down in history as one of the most effective presidents, especially in the face of such obstructionist partisan congress!

Hillary Clinton was one of the worst Sec. of States. Obama and Jimmah Carter are fighting for the Worst US President Award. I think Obama wins.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/was-hillary-clinton-a-good-secretary-of-state-john-kerry-2016-100766.html#.VdHTiJfzOvA

Your Jewish liberal friends are right. Listen to them!

NEVER!

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August 17th, 2015, 8:32 am

 

Hopeful said:

#37 Akbar Palace

Again, this is so unlike you. You usually are much better at sticking to facts and logical arguments.

You are referencing an “opinion” NOT data to prove that somehow unemployment did not improve. Facts tell us otherwise, and they are all around us. I have so many friends and family members who lost their jobs and were without work between 2008-2012. They are all back at work now. ALL of them. Renting has skyrocketed because people have jobs again and are again living alone and not with family and friends. Just three years ago, we had serious problems finding a renter for our property. This year, we had over 12 applicants. The economy is hot again and you know it.

As for house ownership ratios, I am not sure what it proves. Home ownership does not equate to good economy. There was a bubble in home ownership ratio and it burst, which is a good thing. Now we are back to normal levels, levels that are sustainable. It is a good thing. Also, talk to young people. They are in general not interested in “owning” things – they are buying less stuff than their parents. This is why the “shared” economy is booming. Again, it is a good thing.

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August 17th, 2015, 10:10 am

 

Hopeful said:

#36 Majedkhaldoun

The facts tell us otherwise about the state of Americans today.

The best measure I know is the Consumer Confidence Index. When Americans are more optimistic about their future, they spend more. Check out the chart under Obama. Americans confidence has been steadily rising since he took office. It is the opposite under Bush, where the index tumbled. Under Bill Clinton, it rose steadily. The data is very telling. On the other hand, sound bites are just… sound bites. No facts.

And other than in the Middle East, America is loved and respected again. In the Middle East, everyone wants America to fight their nasty wars, so every is dismayed with Obama’s disengagement policy towards the Middle East. It is so telling that in places like Egypt and Syria, both sides of the conflicts are equally against Obama, because he is not “doing more to help their side”. And now even Israel joined the parade of “anti Obama”, because he is not doing what it wants him to do! One can intelligently argue whether Obama’s disengagement policy is good for his/her country in the Middle East, but there is no question that it is good for Americans.

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August 17th, 2015, 10:43 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Obama and the democrats can’t control the border and have created “sanctuary cities”. The purpose is clearly to expand the number of “takers” in society to get more “Americans” to vote for democrats. Obama WANTS more illegal aliens to come to the US.

Obama’s nuclear “agreement” with Iran. A hopelessly inept agreement where the US gets nothing and Iran gets billions of dollar and an eventual nuclear capability.

Obama whispers in Putin’s ear the he will have more “flexibility” unit after the mid-term election. Meanwhile Putin reads Obama like a book and takes Crimea from Ukraine.

You usually are much better at sticking to facts and logical arguments.

Hopeful,

Practice what you preach. What “facts and logical arguments” do YOU have showing, “… America is loved and respected again.”.

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August 17th, 2015, 10:53 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Hopeful said Obama is loved and respected ,in the world
Where in Russia?, in North Korea?, or China,?or the Middle East? are you serious? imagining things and consider it facts
three days ago there was a poll showing that 58% of American are against the Iranian Deal compare to 31 % for it, Obama is not loved by Americans too.
Ask the three previous defense secretaries, they criticized Obama policy, Even Hillary Clinton showed that she is different from Obama Foreign policy

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August 17th, 2015, 11:18 am

 
 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Akbar,

I take your deal: BB for Obama…ASAP please…LOL.

I’m with Hopeful, “Obama will go down in history as one of the most effective presidents”.

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August 17th, 2015, 11:48 am

 

Hopeful said:

#40 Akbar Palace

Here are the numbers: http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/global-opposition-to-u-s-surveillance-and-drones-but-limited-harm-to-americas-image/pg-2014-07-14-balance-of-power-1-02/

Make your own conclusion.

I did qualify my statement: “Europeans, Asians and South Americans”. The fact that Russians view the US more negatively than under Bush should make “conservatives” happy with Obama, no?

And Akbar, why did you change the focus away from unemployment and housing? If you did so because you accepted my argument, then I am truly humbled.

I frankly do not have any problem with republicans questioning Obama’s foreign policy or even immigration policy. These are valid arguments and they are debates worth having. But when they start arguing about the state of the economy, against all logic and data, then I believe they are either closing their eyes to the facts, and are only interested in discrediting the president, or they are out of touch with reality (think “Trump”).

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August 17th, 2015, 12:08 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

I’m with Hopeful, “Obama will go down in history as one of the most effective presidents”.

Sorry AITV, you and Hopeful are hopeless.

And Akbar, why did you change the focus away from unemployment and housing?

I merely picked on your “… America is loved and respected again.” comment because I didn’t think you were going to be able to quantify such a claim. The link you provided above seemed misleading. What is “surveillance and drones”? Also the likability of the US has a lot to do with the 9-11 attacks and our response to it.

Put it this way, Libya and Gaddafi didn’t like the US, but he FEARED the US enough to open his WMD programs up for inspection (after we kicked Saddam off his throne). Let’s just say, Iran doesn’t feel the same way Gaddafi did.

Hopeful,

As a very impatient debater, let us, again, agree to disagree. I sincerely doubt we will change our POVs. I, of course, enjoy our exchanges and I respect both of you very much.

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August 17th, 2015, 1:19 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#45 Akbar Palace

I agree with you on Gaddafi. But that was 2003. The US had an opportunity to show that it can use its military power to influence positive outcomes, and it botched it, mainly due to the arrogance, incompetence and nepotism of the Bush’s adminstration. By 2008, people had lost BOTH respect and fear of the US. Of course the US is not the only one to blame. Bad players in the region made a fool and a mockery out of the US’s project in Iraq, but that only contributed to losing more respect and fear.

Iran in 2015 is not Libya in 2003. The US in 2015 is not the same as the US of 2003. I have many Iranian friends in the west. All are intelligent, educated and open minded. All hate their regime. All want open and friendly relations with the US and the west. All support the deal. None wants to see the nation of Iran humiliated by the U.S. None wants to see a new war in the Middle East. None wants a new revolution in Iran leading to a regime change. All are convinced that an opening to the west will eventually lead to a gradual regime change in their country. I am not surprised, and nor should you – polls show that other that Israelis, Iranians have the most favorable views of the US in the region: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/the-iran-we-dont-see-a-tour-of-the-country-where-people-love-americans/258166/.

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August 17th, 2015, 6:55 pm

 

Tara said:

Akbar

I am with you. Obama sealed the deal for me for democrats. From now on, republican all the way for me. And I think the US is much less respected in the world than any other time in history. Since than an American prez draws a red line, only to change it in a matter of wks to hot pink . All this guy cared about is his “legacy “. Passing all the problems to the future American Prez.

Syrian

Brilliant as usual . Amir had no answer for you. I so much admire Turning the table in one simple move. It was so entertaining!

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August 17th, 2015, 7:37 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Syrian #13,

I will answer your ‘out of the blue’ statement.

1) Every opinion poll in Amrica shows a strong support of around 65-70% to Israel. (Tara is counted with the other 30%). The aid that the US is providing reflects this sentiment.

2) Most of the aid the US is giving, is in a form of military equipment and weaponry, made in the US. So most of the money stays in Amrica.

3) An American coming to Israel, will imminently feel welcomed and at home. Compare this to an Iranian or a Russian visitor to Syria. The Israeli-American friendship is between the peoples, not between juntas, dictatorships and governments.

4) Jews in Amrica are the biggest contributor segment of society, to the tax authorities. I read somewhere that (on average), A Jewish person will pay more tax than any other American (WASP, Hispanic, black, etc). It is only fair that a tiny share of this Jewish contribution, will be allocated to support the nation of the Jews.

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August 17th, 2015, 8:12 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

It is only fair that a tiny share of this Jewish contribution, will be allocated to support the nation of the Jews.

Gee AITV,

It is a bit interesting to hear from an Israeli about what is “fair” for the US to be “allocated to support the nation of the Jews”.

This reminds me of this past weekend when my sons told me what would be “fair” for their inheritance. I was taken aback; and I bit my tongue from their chutzpadik.

Perhaps it is “fair” for Obama to sign Israel’s life away with this agreement with Iran. We’ll find out very shortly what that scumbag did.

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August 17th, 2015, 8:45 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#47 Tara

“And I think the US is much less respected in the world than any other time in history.”

The numbers say otherwise. Take a look at http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/6/country/224/. Play around and compare between 2008 and today. Also compare the “confidence” level under Bush and Obama. Other than in Arab countries and in Russia, people have more favorable opinion of the US under Obama. The difference is so stark in places such as Europe and south east Asia. The numbers do not lie.

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August 17th, 2015, 9:49 pm

 

Tara said:

Hopeful

“How much confidence do you have in the U.S. President (Bush ’03-’08, Obama ’09-Present)?”

This is a very stupid poll rather ! Confidence in what ? In not attacking even if he is attacked? S murky vague question like that is plain old useless to confer any info.

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August 17th, 2015, 10:03 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#48 AITV

“The Israeli-American friendship is between the peoples, not between juntas, dictatorships and governments.”

Very well said. Until Arabs (and specifically Palestinians) understand this equation, they stand no chance of tipping the balance of America’s support in the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

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August 17th, 2015, 10:12 pm

 

Passerby said:

Well, easy to see why the UN guys quit the job, no one has had their fill of death yet.

Last stab at an alternative to the hope on all sides to be able to exterminate/subjugate the other side.

I guess I’ll assume it’s hopeless with the Assad Syndicate still in power, and the butchery will just have to increase to a much higher level, and wash my hands of it. No one will likely cut a deal regardless, but that’s clearly hopeless.

Ok, Offer to the Alawites (and their supporters):

Get rid of the Assad Syndicate, and Eastern Syria will become part of Iraq. No group will have a majority, and the Alawites will be protected with some hope of living in peace. Internationally guaranteed fair election for a new government.

Same for Iraq, then the Shiites would no longer have a 60% majority, and couldn’t stink it up like they have. Internationally guaranteed fair election for a new government.

Sure seems better than the ethnic cleansing and border issues of sectarian division.

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August 17th, 2015, 10:17 pm

 

Hopeful said:

#51 Tara

I think it is rather obvious: confidence in his leadership of the superpower leading the world. You can mock and dismiss the data as much as you like, but if you make claims that contradict the data, I suggest you point to alternate data and facts to support your claim.

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August 17th, 2015, 11:30 pm

 

Syrian said:

Amir
Your post required an “out of the blue” response, suggesting that even after the US spent 8 millions dollars on each trainee that the captured trainees have actually joined JAN willingly is so conniving that only someone who went through the same experience of biting the hand the feed them would think of,
As we say in the US, it takes one to know one,meaning only ungrateful person would recognize another, or at least in your case you think you did.
And your lame response prove my point.
Welcoming Americans in Israel,agreeing to accept American products and hardware instead of cash payments is the least you can do, but instead your prime minster goes to the US uninvited by Obama then playing one branch of the US government against another branch is your actual Thank You note to all the aids that you get.

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August 18th, 2015, 1:14 am

 

Syrian said:

Obama legacy domestically is the unproven yet Obama care.
Internationally, the lost trust of The US commitment to defend its Allies and its principles.
The “improved economy” is the result of working of both parties.
The biggest economy in the world is too big for one person to make a change by himself even it is the POTUS.

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August 18th, 2015, 1:24 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

…but instead your prime minster goes to the US uninvited by Obama then playing one branch of the US government against another branch is your actual Thank You note to all the aids that you get

Syrian,

Netanyahu was invited by the US Congress. His speech was IMMENSELY respectful and thankful of Barrack Obama to the point of nausea. And this agreement is not an ordinary agreement. It basically allows Iran to go nuclear in a decade. Israel’s future is at stake. This speech was needed, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Now when US Congress has to vote against this flawed agreement, it will not be enough to have a majority (which congress already has), it will take a super-majority of 67%. At this perilous time, the GOI is being EXTREMELY quiet. But we all know, the Middle East and Israel are doomed.

Thank you Democrats for your stupidity. We now know which party is pro-Israel. There is no dispute any more.

Good Morning Ben Cardin! Ma schlomha?

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August 18th, 2015, 6:56 am

 

Hopeful said:

#57 Akbar Palace

“Thank you Democrats for your stupidity. We now know which party is pro-Israel. There is no dispute any more.”

This is the kind of misleading sound bites which republicans always love to throw around.
54% percent of America Jews support the deal. Are they anti-israel? Really? Maybe they are anti-Semitic too? Akbar, you are starting to lose it!

The deal prevents Iran from getting a bomb NOW without starting another war in the Middle East. It is good for Israel, America and the world.

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August 18th, 2015, 9:14 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

This is the kind of misleading sound bites which republicans always love to throw around.

Hopeful,

I’m a quick study!

54% percent of America Jews support the deal. Are they anti-israel?

I think they’re aliens from another planet. Or just uninformed liberal worshipers.

Akbar, you are starting to lose it!

I lost it a few years ago. Now I no longer care.

The deal prevents Iran from getting a bomb NOW without starting another war in the Middle East.

Let me edit your statement for accuracy…

“The deal prevents Iran from getting a bomb at any time only in your dreams without disturbing the current wars in the Middle East that are already raging.”

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August 18th, 2015, 11:01 am

 

DDearborn said:

Hmmm

Why isn’t the truth being spoken regarding the 500 Million dollars? That 500 Million didn’t go to “train” anybody. That money was spent rearming and supporting ISIS. ISIS is of course a mercenary force created by Israel with the blessings and support of traitorous members of US government to illegally wage a war via terrorism to institute regime change in Syria.

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August 18th, 2015, 9:18 pm