Continuity of Agenda: Destroying Syria, Since 1983

February 21, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Syria's current conflict, beginning in 2011, was the culmination of decades of effort by the United States to subvert and overthrow the government in Damascus. From training leaders of opposition fronts years before "spontaneous" protests erupted across Syria, to covertly building a multinational mercenary force to both trigger and leverage violence thereafter, the United States engineered, executed, and perpetuated virtually every aspect of Syria's destructive conflict.

Enlisting or coercing aid from regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel, Syria found itself surrounded at its borders and buried within them by chaos.

"Bringing Real Muscle to Bear Against Syria" 

But recently revealed CIA documents drawn from the US National Archives portrays recent efforts to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government and the Syrian conflict's relationship with neighboring Lebanon and its ally Iran as merely the most recent leg in a decades-long campaign to destabilize and overturn regional governments obstructing US interests.

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 reveals a very overt continuity of agenda.

February 19, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Since 2001, when then US President George Bush announced his "War on Terror," presidents and politicians both in the United States and among America's allies, have repeated this phrase and have done their utmost to convince the public that indeed, the West was fighting a "War on Terror."

Yet there is something disturbingly ambiguous about what exactly the "War on Terror" consists of, who it's being waged against and how it could ever possibly be brought to a successful conclusion.

It is also often referred to as the "Long War," and for good reason. America's ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is the longest armed conflict in US history. Additionally, US troops still find themselves in Iraq, some 14 years after the initial invasion and occupation of the state in 2003.

Because of the ambiguous nature of the "War on Terror," politicians have been given much room to maneuver their rhetoric, explaining why more wars must be waged, more liberties curtailed at home and more wealth and power channeled into fewer and fewer hands.

What's Really Behind Terrorism? 

The fanatics, weapons, supplies, vehicles and finances that grease the wheels of global terror do not merely spring forth from the pages of the Qu'ran, as bigots across the West insist.

Just like any national army, the army raised and wielded in the name of terrorism has several basic components. Examining these components reveals a very uncomfortable but somewhat poorly hidden truth.

In reality, fanatics must be indoctrinated. And they are, in Saudi-funded madras and mosque networks wrapping around the globe. In the United States and across Europe, these madrases and mosques often serve as both indoctrination centers and recruiting stations. They operate as such with the explicit knowledge, even cooperation of US and European security and intelligence agencies.

One such center can be found in Denmark at Grimhøjvej Mosque in Aarhus which openly serves as a recruiting station for militants meant to fight abroad in US-European backed wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The government of Denmark openly collaborates with the mosque to integrate these individuals back into Danish society when they return.

The mosque in Aarhus is hardly an isolated example. Such mosques backed and protected by US-European-Saudi money and political influence dot the globe, feeding recruits into a global mercenary army carrying out proxy war and staging terrorist attacks whenever and wherever politically convenient.

Both Wikileaks and even the US' own Defense Intelligence Agency has released documents exposing the role both the West and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have played in the arming and funding of actual militants once they reach the battlefield.

North Korean Paranoia is Well-Founded

February 15, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

North Korea is depicted across US and European media as a backward nation run by a despotic, delusional leader encircled by advisers suffering from irrational, militant paranoia. The nation is also depicted as a prominent security threat in Asia-Pacific despite North Korea waging no wars in the region since an armistice in 1953 effectively ended the Korean War.

A despotic, delusional leadership, however, most likely would not possess nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and a large conventional army and yet restrain its use regardless of decades of provocations engineered along its borders by the United States and its allies within the South Korean government. Likewise, a nation governed by the entirely irrational would be incapable of maintaining, even expanding ties with neighboring states like China.

Yet in reality, North Korea has done all of this.

Much of the US and Europe's accusations are predicated on the continued development of North Korea's defense programs including advances in nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. Strategically omitted from US and European rhetoric are the provocations the West itself is guilty of, spurring along North Korea's expanding militarization.

What if, then, North Korea's allegedly irrational paranoia was well-founded?

As former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's health deteriorated, the United States and its regional allies began planning quite openly for an opportunity to overturn the North Korean state.  US-based think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), would publish a 2009, 60-page report titled, "Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea," in which scenarios for the full-scale invasion, occupation and subjugation of North Korea were laid out.

The report included recommendations for an invasion and occupation force it called a "stabilization force," of up to 460,000 US and allied troops.

Considering that, by 2009, the United States had already successfully invaded, occupied and destroyed the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, it would not be "irrational" at all for North Korean paranoia to reach new heights.

The missing ingredients Iraq and Afghanistan had in facing US invasion were substantial defense programs that could deter US aggression. North Korea's possession of increasingly sophisticated nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles means that the price, each year, rises for any attempted implementation of the plans included in the CFR's 2009 report.

The Problem with Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index

February 13, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

Transparency International puts out what it calls the "Corruption Perceptions Index." It is an annual index it claims "has been widely credited with putting the issue of corruption on the international policy agenda."

These carefully selected words, taken at face value appear benign, even progressive. But upon digging deeper into this organisation's background it becomes clear that these "perceptions" are politically motivated, and the "international policy agenda" clearly favours a very specific region of the globe, particularly that region occupied by Washington, London and Brussels.

Transparency International claims upon its "Who We Are" page of its website that (our emphasis):
From villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels, Transparency International gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption. We work together with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. As a global movement with one vision, we want a world free of corruption. Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, we are leading the fight against corruption to turn this vision into reality.
 Before moving onto the organisation's funding and financials, one would assume that above and beyond any other organisation in the world, Transparency International would carefully and diligently avoid any perceptions of conflicts of interest on its own part. Yet, not surprisingly, that isn't the case.

An Anti-Corruption Org Swimming in Conflicts of Interest 

Upon their page, "Who Supports Us," Transparency International admits that it receives funding from government agencies including:

  • The United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID);
  • Federal Foreign Office, Germany and;
  • The US State Department.  
Transparency International not only receives funding from the very governments it is tasked to investigate, hold accountable and "index" annually, constituting a major conflict of interest, it also receives money from the following:
  • The National Endowment for Democracy;
  • Open Society Institute Foundation and;
  • Shell Oil.
Other troubling sponsors dot Transparency International's funding disclosure, but the inclusion of immense corporate interests like energy giant Shell, is particularly troubling. 

So is the inclusion of the National Endowment for Democracy whose board of directors is chaired by representatives from other large corporations and financial institutions as well as partisan political figures involved heavily in not only influencing politics in their own respective nations, but who use the National Endowment for Democracy itself as a means to influence other nations.

While these interests are transparently self-serving, the use of the National Endowment for Democracy allows them to predicate their involvement in the political affairs and elections of foreign nations upon "democracy promotion." This seems to be the very essence of corruption, "abuse of power" and "secret deals," yet they are funding Transparency International's very existence. 

Thai-Russian Energy Deals Expanding

February 11, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

In recent years, Russia has been taking steps to strengthen its ties with Southeast Asian (SEA) countries significantly. However, there’s a huge potential in establishing even closer ties with the states of this strategically important region which is yet to be realized. Among the major areas of Russia’s future economic cooperation with SEA countries one can mention the energy sector.

It should be noted that Southeast Asia is an extremely promising region for hydrocarbon exports. It’s hardly a secret that for a long time such industrial giants as India, China, South Korea and Japan have been main importers of hydrocarbons in this region of the world. However, ASEAN nations are also experiencing rapid industrial growth, so they are experiencing massive spikes in their levels of energy consumption.

For a really long time local players have been buying oil and gas from major Middle Eastern exporters. However, this is not the most optimal choice for fulfilling one’s energy needs due to a number of reasons, like the increasingly unstable situation in that oil producing region of the world, along with the complexity of tanker logistics. Due to these problems, Southeast Asian countries are becoming increasingly interested in establishing closer ties with Russia. Among such countries one can find the Kingdom of Thailand.

Thailand – is on the list of most powerful ASEAN economies, marked by rapidly growing businesses and industrial projects. The country itself produces and exports gas. However, to fully meet the needs of its economy Thailand resorts to imports. Each year the country is buying up to 3 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar and other suppliers.

According to the OPEC forecasts, in the period of 2017-2022, Thai production of natural gas will be slowing down considerably. As for its oil needs, Thai consumption has been exceeding its production levels for some time. However, it’s unlikely that the Thai economy will be slowing down, exhibiting constant growth. It should be noted that above all, Thailand is interested in LNG imports, since back in 2015 the country took third place in the list of states with rapidly growing demand for this resource, but it doesn’t end just there.

However, Bangkok took care to find future gas exporting partners beforehand. From a geographical point of view, Russia is a much more interesting partner. Deliveries by sea from the Middle East are more expensive and take longer. In addition, Thailand is preparing to establish a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Community, where Moscow occupies center stage.

The Thai side in the talks with Russia has been represented by PTT Public Company Limited, the better share of which is owned by the government. This is a major oil company, that takes care of the production, transportation, and refining of hydrocarbons, along with the construction of oil infrastructure.

US-NATO War Continues to Creep East

February 6, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

Despite unmaterialized hopes of a new tack for US foreign policy, it appears that each and every front of US aggression has reopened in earnest, from the Middle East vis-a-vis Iran, to the South China Sea opposite China and now across Eastern Europe between US-led NATO and Ukrainian forces against Russia.

 Articles like the UK Independent's "‘Everything is destroyed’: on the ground as latest surge of deadly violence strikes eastern Ukraine," sound the alarm, stating:

While the fighting has been largely kept to the outskirts of Avdiivka during the day, the nighttime has been hellish for residents. Shells have landed indiscriminately throughout the town, and civilian casualties are racking up.
The Independent would continue, stating:
According to Hug, both sides are making use of heavy weapons such as the multiple-launch Grad missile system, and they are doing so in plain sight of OSCE observers. Grads, along with 152mm and 122mm artillery, were banned under the Minsk II agreement, which was signed two years ago after the catastrophic battle of Debaltseve.
And to accent just how "in plain sight of OSCE observers" Ukrainian forces are operating, footage taken by BBC staff shows two OSCE observer vehicles following directly behind advancing Ukrainian tanks during one of the reported offensives.

Despite the BBC's own staff capturing the footage, the BBC's reporting on Ukraine features carefully cropped photos omitting the OSCE observer vehicles.

The OSCE itself, in its own official reports, states (emphasis added):
In violation of withdrawal lines, the SMM observed two tanks (T-64) between government-controlled Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk) and Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk). In government-controlled Talakivka (90km south of Donetsk) the SMM saw two towed howitzers (D-30, Lyagushka, 122mm) towed by two military trucks (Ural). In government-controlled Ivanivka (59km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM saw four multiple rocket launcher systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) at a military compound which were previously seen on 29 November 2016. On 29 January, approximately 2.5km north of government-controlled Aslanove (85km south of Donetsk), an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted four self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near a tent with two-three soldiers visible and stacks of what appeared to be ammunition boxes.
While US and European media portray US foreign policy as having shifted under incoming president Donald Trump, Ukrainian forces are emboldened by a systematic campaign of US-NATO support, including US-NATO forces operating both inside and outside Ukraine attempting to train and equip Ukrainian forces ahead of renewed fighting anticipated in eastern Ukraine.

CBS News in its February 1, 2017 article titled, ""Re-tooling an army from scratch," as it fights a war," admits:
The U.S. is working with Canadians, British and Lithuanian forces at the remote training center near Yavoriv, which is now referred to as the Joint International Peacekeeping Security Center.
Training ranges from gearing up ministry of interior troops to regular troops, military police and medical personnel, all admittedly for the purpose of reengaging rebel forces in the east in direct violation of agreements made with eastern Ukrainians, brokered between the US, NATO and Russia.

CBS News would admit as much, stating:
"The training here will increase their survivability on the battlefield," Ducich said. "They're going against an enemy that has very sophisticated weapons -- and not just from the lethal standpoint... there's an electronic warfare aspect to this that we have not seen that we are now incorporating into the training here. I don't think it's about matching (Russia's capabilities). I think it's knowing what you can do and maximizing that effectiveness on the battlefield."
In addition to openly training Ukraine's army to reignite hostilities, rebel leaders have been targeted and assassinated amid the fragile ceasefire.

US Set to Expand South China Sea Conflict

February 5, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Triumphalism followed the election of US President Donald Trump, particularly among those opposed to US foreign policy under US President Barack Obama. In particular, hope was rekindled that America would withdraw from the many, provocative conflicts it was cultivating, ranging from the Middle East to East Asia.

However, triumphalism and hope are now dashed, as the new US administration moves clearly and in earnest to not only continue on with these confrontations, but expand them.

For students of history, particularly those following events in Asia Pacific, the prospect of the US moving its confrontation with China forward for control over the region is hardly a surprise.

A Quick History Lesson of US Imperialism in Asia 

The United States had occupied the Philippines, declaring it a US territory from 1898-1946. It had also been involved in the military occupation and several armed clashes in China with Chinese forces, including during the Second Opium War and the Boxer Rebellion. Such conflicts saw Chinese fighters attempt to remove by force foreign influence, including supposedly Christian missionaries used to impose US and European sociopolitical control over China.

During this period of overt American colonisation throughout Asia Pacific, the annexation of Taiwan was also considered, as an American analogue of Britain's annexation of Hong Kong.

In Thomas Cox' 1973 book, "Harbingers of Change: American Merchants and the Formosa [Taiwan] Annexation Scheme," published by the University of California Press, Cox wrote:
Since it appeared unlikely that Taiwan would long remain a part of the Chinese empire and there was ample justification for action by the United States, [US Commissioner in China, Peter] Parker argued that the United States should move quickly. "I believe Formosa and the world will be better for the former coming under a civilized power," he wrote.
It should be noted that Parker's advocacy of the US annexation of Taiwan was backed not by political ideology, though it was certainly presented as such publicly, but by US business interests at the time, particularly those of the Nye Brothers, merchants involved heavily in US-Chinese trade, including the movement of opium across the region.

Regional dynamics would change just before, during, and immediately after World War 2, with a resurgence of localised power and independence movements ousting Western colonial powers. This included the ousting of British and French holdings across the region such as in Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and across Indochina which included Laos, Cambodia and of course Vietnam.