US Strike on Syrian Forces: The Scramble for Post-Islamic State Syria

May 22, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

The recent strike on a Syrian military convoy within Syrian territory by US military forces represents another incremental escalation by Washington within the region, and another example of American unilateral military aggression worldwide.


The tactical scope of the attack was relatively limited, but strategically, the stakes particularly along Syria's territorial boundaries have been raised significantly.

Regarding the attack, US geopolitical analysts appear unanimous regarding the rhyme and reason behind it.

Foreign Policy magazine in a recent article claimed that the strike "showed American commanders are willing to use force to maintain de facto safe zones in the country’s east." The article also attempts to claim these "safe zones" are being used to stand up forces to fight the Islamic State.

In reality, the Islamic State was a creation of the US and its regional allies and meant specifically to "isolate the Syrian regime," according to a 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency report.

Considering this, the Islamic State's presence in Syria and narratives depicting US efforts as being aimed at fighting the terrorist front are simply being used as rhetorical cover for the more obvious and original purpose of US intervention, regime change in Damascus.

By attacking Syrian forces and asserting US control over Syrian territory, Washington is attempting to permanently "isolate" Damascus even further.

The Atlantic was even more specific in its analysis.

It's article, "The Scramble for Post-ISIS Syria Has Officially Begun," states clearly:
[The strikes] sent a message that the area around the base—al-Tanf in southeastern Syria, near the borders with Iraq and Jordan—was an “American sphere of influence and area of operations.”
The article also claimed:
Just as Assad and Iran look to be winning the ground war in Syria, the U.S. and its Syrian opposition partners in the south have intensified their own anti-ISIS activities, exerting more and more of an influence and presence in the south.

Of course, if "Assad and Iran" are poised to win the ground war in Syria, that includes the defeat of the Islamic State, which in theory would mean Washington should be augmenting Damascus and Tehran's efforts, not impeding them with military strikes that not only tactically setback forces fighting the Islamic State and other extremist groups, but also raises the risk of a wider regional war between Washington, Damascus, Tehran and even Moscow that would create more extremism, not less.

US is Using the Islamic State as a Pretext for Regime Change 

In reality, however, Washington is not interested in defeating the Islamic State, but rather using the terrorist front's existence in Syria as a pretext for the incremental expansion of both its military presence in Syria and its use of military force directly against the government in Damascus where indirect methods (including the use of the Islamic State itself) have failed to topple it.

Still, both Foreign Policy and The Atlantic, along with many others within US foreign policy circles admit that these activities will only be useful in establishing "safe zones" along Syria's peripheries, not expedient regime change.


If NATO Wants Peace and Stability it Should Stay Home

May 20, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

A curious op-ed appeared in The National Interest, penned by Hans Binnendijk and David Gompert, adjunct senior fellows at the RAND Corporation. Titled, "NATO’s Role in post-Caliphate Stability Operations," it attempts to make a case for NATO involvement everywhere from Libya to Syria and Iraq in fostering stability in the wake of a yet-to-be defeated Islamic State.


The authors propose that NATO step in to fill what it calls an impending "vacuum left as the caliphate collapses," heading off alternatives including "chaos or Iran, backed by Russia, filling the void, with great harm to U.S. and allied interests in either case." The op-ed never explains why Iran, neighboring Syria and Iraq, is less qualified to influence the region than the United States which exists literally oceans away and shares nothing in terms of history, culture, language or shared interests in stability and peace.

The op-ed would literally claim:
NATO is the only security organization with the skills and breadth to take on this task. The U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition of 68 partners is ill equipped to engage in this complex task. A more cohesive organization such as NATO should lead, but in ways that allow continued Arab participation. A creative version of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition could provide the answer.
It was an interesting choice by the authors to showcase one of NATO's most stupendous and continuing failures in Afghanistan with mention of the ISAF, a force that not only has failed to bring stability to the Central Asia nation in over a decade and a half of occupation, but has presided over the emergence of the Islamic State there where previously it had no presence.

The reality of what NATO is versus what The National Interest op-ed attempts to pass it off as, resembles more of a sales pitch for a shoddy product than a genuine attempt at geopolitical analysis or problem solving. But the truth goes deeper still.

NATO is a Global Wrecking Ball, It Cannot Create Stability 

The op-ed focuses primarily on proposing NATO roles for a post-Islamic State Libya, Iraq and Syria.

Libya is perhaps the most tragic of the three, with NATO having used direct military force in 2011 to topple the government of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in support of known extremists passed off at the time by both NATO spokespeople and the US-European media as "moderate rebels."



The predictable fallout from this military campaign was the collapse of Libya as a relatively stable and unified nation-state into warring factions. The instability became fertile grounds for extremism, with many of the groups backed by NATO evolving into what is now the "Islamic State."

The National Interest op-ed also makes mention of "Arab participation." It should be remembered that the most extreme factions fighting in Libya were not only aided by direct NATO military intervention, but were armed and funded by Persian Gulf dictatorships as well, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

A similar pattern of sowing instability has unfolded in Syria, leading to, not averting the rise of the Islamic State.

And Iraq's instability is a direct and lasting consequence of the US military invasion and occupation of 2003.

If nothing else, this exposes NATO and its members as a collective, global wrecking ball. Just as a wrecking ball cannot be used to construct a building on a vacant lot, NATO cannot be used to construct the conditions for stability across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).


Last to Die in Afghanistan: US Marines Back to Helmand

May 17, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

Some 300 US Marines are once again being deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan after upward to 20,000 US Marines had spent between 2009-2014 attempting, but clearly failing to secure the province for the US-installed client regime in the nation's capital of Kabul. 




The latest deployment of US forces in Afghanistan after allegedly "ending" combat operations and the "Afghanistan War" in 2014, exposes several realities surrounding US foreign policy that directly conflict with the political narratives emanating from Washington.

The War Isn't Over 

The United States and members of its coalition involved in the invasion and now 16 plus year occupation of Afghanistan have not in fact ended the war, let alone won it. The fact that entire districts, and even provinces remain beyond the control of America's client regime, and even those that are under Kabul's control remain contested, reveals an ongoing conflict with little prospect of ending. 

Fighters resisting the US occupation and the US-backed client regime have established networks that extend beyond Afghanistan's borders far from where US forces can reach. Afghanistan's neighbors have attempted to broker practical peace deals between groups like the Taliban and other factions within Afghanistan's patchwork of tribes for the sake of long-term stability, undermining entirely the artificially imposed political order the US has attempted to create and maintain. 


Attempts at "nation building" have failed, with foreign contractors and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to profit from their activities within Afghanistan with little to no genuine interest in a collaborative and fundamentally constructive effort to develop the nation. 

Attempts to build up local Afghan governance and military forces have also failed because of a fundamental disconnect with American objectives and the actual aspirations of the people the US is attempting to impose its version of governance upon. 

The New York Times in an article titled, "Marines Return to Helmand Province for a Job They Thought Was Done," explains the current situation in Helmand province: 
The Marines’ new mission is a difficult one: to assist and train Afghan soldiers and police to defend the provincial capital. The Taliban control seven of the province’s 14 districts and are encroaching on five others. The government fully controls just two, local officials say.
The process of US Marines taking and holding towns, cities and districts only to have them fall immediately back into the armed opposition's hands after withdrawing is a familiar one for US foreign policy. It is the same process that played out repeatedly in Southeast Asia as the United States struggled to impose its political will upon the people of Vietnam.


Trump's Trip to Riyadh Offers Left and Right Common Ground

What liberals should really be railing against, and what Trump supporters should really know about "Sharia law." 

May 14, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

A video went viral of an aggressive American man beating his chest, grabbing his genitals, and taunting a Muslim family on a Texas beach in support of what he believed was US President Donald Trump's mission of purging America of "Sharia law" and "ISIS" (the Islamic State).


What this man was likely not aware of as he made his lowbrow political statement was that the "Sharia law" he actually fears is called "Wahhabism," and that his candidate of choice "Trump" was preparing to visit  the very source of Wahhabism - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the American left remains convinced that their priority should remain resisting an alleged covert alliance between Russia and the Trump administration of which no evidence actually exists. They have made this a priority at the expense of exposing and resisting a documented and longstanding alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia that has endured for decades.

There is common ground here for the American public, but only if the intentional distractions presented by the Western media from both right and left cover can be sidestepped and the truth revealed.

Wahhabism's Source Code 

If the Islamic State is a virus, its source code can be traced directly back to Riyadh and the political regime that resides there. Riyadh chops heads off of offenders, the Islamic State does too. Riyadh oppresses women, the Islamic State does too. Riyadh is arrayed against all forces beyond its and American geopolitical influence, the Islamic State does too. Riyadh promotes a divisive sectarian-driven strategy of tension to divide and conquer, the Islamic State does too.


It is no coincidence that both Riyadh and its American sponsors are fighting precisely the same enemies as the Islamic State: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

In essence, President Trump's visit to Riyadh represents a paradox for Trump supporters.

He's the man supposed to "save America" from "Sharia law," but is visiting Riyadh from whence the corrosive version of "Sharia law," known as Wahhabism, originated and is actively perpetuated from. Worst of all, Riyadh perpetuates Wahhabism with the explicit and long-term support of the United States, including now under the Trump administration.

For the average chest-beating, genital-grabbing Trump supporter, America's complicity in propping up Wahhabism began under US President Barrack Obama who they suspect had infiltrated American politics as a "secret Muslim." President Trump's victory at the polls was supposed to reverse this "infiltration."


The Imperative of Replacing Google and Facebook

May 11, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Nations are beginning to take more seriously the control of their respective information space after years of allowing US-based tech giants Google and Facebook to monopolize and exploit them.


Vietnam, according to a recent GeekTime article, is the latest nation to begin encouraging local alternatives to the search engine and social media network in order to rebalance the monopoly over information both tech giants enjoy in the Southeast Asian country today.

Google and Facebook: More than Search Engines and Social Media

The two tech giants and others like them may have appeared at their inceptions to political, business, and military leaders around the world as merely opportunistic corporations seeking profits and expansion.

However, Google and Facebook, among others, have become clearly much more than that.

Both have verifiably worked with the US State Department in pursuit of geopolitical objectives around the world, from the collapse of the Libyan government to attempts at regime change in Syria, and using social media and information technology around the world to manipulate public perception and achieve sociopolitical goals on behalf of Wall Street and Washington for years.

The use of social media to control a targeted nation's information space, and use it as a means of carrying out sociopolitical subversion and even regime change reached its pinnacle in 2011 during the US-engineered "Arab Spring."

Portrayed at first as spontaneous demonstrations organized organically over Facebook and other social media platforms, it is now revealed in articles like the New York Times', "U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings," that the US government had trained activists years ahead of the protests, with Google and Facebook participating directly in making preparations.

Opposition fronts funded and supported by the US State Department's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its subsidiaries Freedom House, International Republican Institute (IRI), and National Democratic Institute (NDI) were invited to several summits where executives and technical support teams from Google and Facebook provided them with the game plans they would execute in 2011 in coordination with US and European media who also attended the summits.

The end result was the virtual weaponization of social media, serving as cover for what was a long-planned, regional series of coups including heavily armed militants who eventually overthrew the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, with Syria now locked in 6 years of war as a result.

It was during Syria's ongoing conflict that Google would find itself involved again. The Guardian in a 2012 article titled, "Syria: is it possible to rename streets on Google Maps?," would report:
In their struggle to free Syria from the clutches of President Bashar al-Assad, anti-government activists have embarked on a project to wipe him off the map. Literally. On Google Maps, major Damascus thoroughfares named after the Assad family have appeared renamed after heroes of the uprising. The Arab Spring has form in this regard. When anti-Gadaffi rebels tore into Tripoli last August, the name of the city's main square on the mapping service changed overnight – from "Green Square", the name given to it by the erstwhile dictator, to "Martyr's Square", its former title.

The internet giant's mapping service has a history of weighing in on political disputes.
Google's monopoly in nations without local alternatives ensures that public perception is lopsidedly influenced by these deceptive methods.


The Independent in a 2016 article titled, "Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim," would expand on Google's activities regarding Syria:
An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton's leaked emails have reportedly revealed. 

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and 'give confidence' to the rebel opposition.
Clearly, more is going on at Google than Internet searches.


Fake News: Asia's "Autocrats" Vs Asia's Autocrats

May 7, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

Mounting evidence suggests media outlets across the United States and Europe are selectively labelling leaders from around the world as "autocrats," "despots" and "dictators" based not on their actual human rights records, policies or actions, but rather on where they fall along the spectrum of obedience to and complicity with the ambitions of Wall Street, Washington, London and Brussels. 


No clearer example of this can be seen than the media's treatment of current Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

In an AFP article titled, "Thai junta chief accepts Trump invite," the media service claims:
Thailand's junta chief has accepted an invitation to visit the White House from President Donald Trump, his spokesman said Monday, the latest autocrat to be embraced by the US leader.
In an attempt to justify AFP's claims of the Thai prime minister being an "autocrat," AFP states:
Thailand's former army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power three years ago, anointing himself prime minister and ushering in the kingdom's most autocratic government in a generation. 

The coup strained ties with the Barack Obama administration as the military jailed dissidents, banned protests and ramped up prosecutions under the kingdom's draconian lese majeste law.
In reality, AFP is intentionally misleading readers while grossly mischaracterising the current state of politics in Thailand. AFP is also contributing to a much larger deception regarding the principles the United States allegedly stands for and US foreign policy in actual practice.

Thailand's "Autocrat" Ousted a Very Real (US-backed) Autocrat 
The 2014 coup after which Prime Minister Prayut assumed power, ousted a regime which up to the very eve of the coup was mass murdering protesters in the streets. Protests spanning 2013-2014 were aimed at removing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from power for a series of abuses, corruption and the fact that she served openly as a proxy for her brother, Thaksin Shinwatra, ousted from power earlier, convicted of corruption and currently residing abroad as a fugitive.


During the protests, the Shinawatra regime organised cadres of heavily armed militants who used assault rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and other weapons to attack demonstrators, at some points during the crisis, on a nightly basis. Up to 20 would die and many more left injured or maimed.


Myanmar Dodges Human Rights Bullet With US-EU Help

May 3, 2017 New Eastern Outlook 

Myanmar appears poised to escape international scrutiny of its vast and expanding human rights abuses targeting its Rohingya minority.


US State Department-funded media platform, The Irrawaddy, would report in an article titled, "Burma set to Dodge Full UN Probe on Arakan State," that:
Burma looks set to escape an international investigation into alleged atrocities in Arakan State, after the European Union decided not to seek one at the UN Human Rights Council, a draft resolution seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday. 

The UN said in a report last month that the army and police had committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya Muslims in northern Arakan state and burned villages in a campaign that may amount to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
The article would also reveal the role the European Union played in avoiding the UN probe, stating:
EU diplomats told a meeting on Tuesday that they preferred using an existing mechanism that had received good cooperation and access from Burma’s government, rather than a new approach, and to give more time to the domestic process.
The article indicates, however, that existing mechanisms lack transparency, independence and thus legitimacy. It also notes that other nations, including Ukraine and Syria, have not escaped similar probes.

Why Myanmar is "Special" 

The Southeast Asian state of Myanmar's political transition last year which saw Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy come to power and herself assume office as the first "State Counsellor of Myanmar," was the culmination of decades of US-European regime change efforts.


The extent of this support is documented in immense detail in the 2006 Burma Campaign UK report, "Failing the People of Burma?" (.pdf). It states:

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED – see Appendix 1, page 27) has been at the forefront of our program efforts to promote democracy and improved human rights in Burma since 1996. We are providing $2,500,000 in FY 2003 funding from the Burma earmark in the Foreign Operations legislation. The NED will use these funds to support Burmese and ethnic minority democracy-promoting organizations through a sub-grant program. The projects funded are designed to disseminate information inside Burma supportive of Burma’s democratic development, to create democratic infrastructures and institutions, to improve the collection of information on human rights abuses by the Burmese military and to build capacity to support the restoration of democracy when the appropriate political openings occur and the exiles/refugees return.
While many laud Western support for the supposed democratic movements within Myanmar's political landscape, one of the keys to genuine democracy is self-determination, a concept completely negated by foreign funding and involvement within a nation's internal politics.