Saturday, October 31, 2015

US scrambling to counter Russian knockout punch in Syria: Analyst

Barry Grossman made the remarks in response to Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper’s recent criticism of the Russian strategy in Syria.
The US spy master blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s air campaign in Syria as an “impulsive” move that lacks careful strategic planning.
"I personally question whether he has some long-term strategy or whether he (Putin) is being very opportunistic on a day-to-day basis," Clapper said in an interview with CNN on Thursday. "And I think his intervention into Syria is another manifestation of that."
“Mr. Crapper’s (sic) primary official role is administering the insidious process by which the US security apparatus manages public perception using psyops, counter intelligence, data theft, and an endless stream of propaganda,” Grossman told Press TV on Saturday.
“When it comes to assessing his bona fides, we should also remember that he has already demonstrated his unqualified willingness to lie by intentionally giving false testimony when, in 2013,  he appeared before Congress in connection with the NSA’s unrestrained domestic spying operations,” the analyst continued.
He said the fact that President Barack Obama chose not to fire Clapper for lying to Americans indicates that the DNI “has become little more than a lackey to the Obama administration,” who is “periodically wheeled out to speak publicly on various hot political issues.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (AFP photo)

“The Director of National Intelligence says that President Putin is ‘winging it’ and lives in an intelligence ‘bubble’ created by an inner circle made up of individuals who are afraid to be bearers of ‘bad news.’  He says that Mr. Putin’s policy in Syria is ‘opportunistic.’  Well that sounds like the rhetoric of a school yard bully who has been bested by one of his peers. It is about as relevant to the wider issues as me saying that ‘Mr. Crapper (sic) has bad breath and poor fashion sense,’” Grossman said.
“In any case, the Director’s rhetoric foolishly glosses over the fact that no matter how much the ‘spin doctors’ talk about human rights, justice for all, and democracy, the United States and its allies are themselves in Syria -- and indeed in most other nations in the region -- for opportunistic, self-interested reasons; so we can put that canard back in the crapper where it belongs. Opportunism and self-interest are indisputably the cornerstones of the corporatist ideology that now holds full sway in America,” the analyst argued.
“The US at least appears to have been caught somewhat flat-footed by Russia’s moves to take a more interventionist role in the Syrian conflict and has been scrambling for weeks to counter the knockout punch delivered to its own unrelenting propaganda effort by the way of the media reporting about what is almost universally said to be Russia’s far more effective assault on the thugs, foreign proxies, and stooges who have been wreaking havoc from behind various contrived banners of convenience like al-Nusra and ISIL.
“But even the most ardent fans of Russia are being disingenuous if they claim that Russia’s position or, more to the point, President Putin’s strategy, is entirely driven by principle rather than his perception of what is in Russia’s national interests.  They are also ignoring what President Putin said himself only a couple of weeks ago before the UN General Assembly.
“The only thing that seems clear is that Russian intervention -- which, by the way, having now been at least 4 years in the offing,  is anything but an ill-considered, off the cuff response by an isolated leader as the Director (Clapper) would have us believe --  has made the US effort to counter ISIL appear just as weak and half-hearted as it has actually been, while at the same time exposing  the US’s dominant agenda of supporting any militants willing to take the fight to Bashar al-Assad by destabilizing Syria.
“To be sure, Syrians have again reaped a short-term tactical advantage from Russia’s intervention but militating against that in the longer term is that its military presence in Syria has given America the compelling excuse for putting boots on the ground which, to date, has been missing despite its best efforts to fabricate one.
“Perhaps that is why the American media and political apparatus has not been more robust in its condemnation of Russia’s move, while Secretary of State [John Kerry] continues to tray and win President Putin and his foreign secretary over to embrace the same priorities as the US led coalition – that is making the elimination of Bashar al-Assad a priority over the fight against ISIL,” Grossman contended.
The international lawyer said that US arms manufacturers and government contractors have been a major stakeholder in various conflicts in the Middle East, and the recent military escalation in Syria is designed to “stake out corporate America's claim.”
“Given the continuing absence of any credible presidential alternative to Bashar al-Assad and with Syria now in calculated chaos, even Blind Freddy should be able to work out that the point of the US-sponsored proxy war on Syrians was never about Assad or about bringing stability to their nation; and the current talks in Vienna are clearly a diversion as the Americans prepare to put boots on the ground in order to stake out corporate America's claim vis-à-vis Russia and its ambitions.  It’s Vietnam all over again.
“That, I expect, is something that has the CEOs of America’s arms producers and their stooges in Congress all salivating with joy in anticipation of the profits they will reap both from the destruction and the subsequent rebuilding of Syria.
“Listening to John Kerry speak about what the US-controlled coalition will and will not allow in post-war Syria, is enough to bring to mind images of the Versailles Treaty process and the Yalta Conference, except that the Americans have overlooked the fact that Syria has not declared or waged war against any foreign state and the US is very
On Friday, Kerry framed the troop announcement as part of a change in strategy that included diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
“We are intensifying our counter-Daesh campaign and we are intensifying our diplomatic efforts to end the conflict,” Kerry said. “That is why President Obama made an announcement about stepping up the fight against Daesh.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad upon his arrival for a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on October 21, 2015. (AFP photo)

The US, Russia, Iran and 15 other countries gathered for an international meeting in Vienna on Friday to resolve the years-long conflict in Syria.
“Meanwhile, even as the US fantasizes about imposing a political solution [on Syria], it is preparing to put more boots on the ground presumably motivated by its ghetto logic that possession is nine tenth of the law,” Grossman said.
“The obvious solution to the crisis imposed on Syria by the international community, is that the US and its allies and client states all butt out, go home, and mind their own business, leaving those nations in the immediate region, which have not disqualified themselves from taking part in a solution by violating Syria’s sovereignty and the conventions of armed conflict, to deal with the threat posed by ISIL and other groups of insurgents, while hopefully paying some attention to the genuine complaints of those Syrians who, prior to being played by the US-led coalition, were dissatisfied with the political status quo in Syria,” he argued.
“But since there is no prospect that the US will remove itself from the conflict, I would say that Russia’s direct involvement is, for the time being, preferable to it doing nothing, however unpredictable the ultimate consequences of its involvement may be,” Grossman concluded

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