Reading Dennis Ross and David Ignatius is a good reminder that the neocons live in a different world than the rest of us. They do not conform their analysis to reality, but rather they conform reality to their view of the world. Where most people would be encouraged to read that Aleppo in Syria was about to be liberated from its 3.5 year occupation by al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, the neocons see a disaster.
On the brink of al-Qaeda’s defeat in Aleppo, the Washington Post’s Ignatius is furious that, « President Obama won’t approve military tactics that could actually shift the balance. » Yes, he wants to shift the balance toward al-Qaeda because like the other neocons he is so invested in the idea of regime change in Syria that he would even prefer turning the country into another Libya than to see government forces defeat his jihadist insurgents. Failing to « shift the balance » toward al-Qaeda fighters in Aleppo only brings « greater misery for the Syrian people, » in the world of Ignatius.
Ignatius’s Washington Post, which has never seen a potential war it did not want to see turned into an actual war, thinks it a tragedy that the Syrian army’s advance on al-Qaeda occupied Aleppo has « cut off all vital routes of supply from Turkey to the rebel-held areas of the city. » Those would beTurkish supplies in support of al-Qaeda and ISIS rebels, but the Post is too deceptive to mention that fact.
It is as dishonest an inversion of reality as anything printed in Pravda of old.
In the same vein as Ignatius, former Bush/Clinton/Obama Administration Middle East « expert » Dennis Ross writes to tell us, « what Putin is really up to in Syria. » In the above-linked article, The Los Angeles Times does not reveal that Ross is hardly an objective observer of the situation. As one of the founders of AIPAC‘s Washington Institute for Near East Policy — and a current counselor to that organization — Ross strongly supports AIPAC’s position in favor of regime change in Syria and Israel’s active role in assisting jihadist rebels from al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in their efforts to overthrow the Assad government.
So what does regime change neocon Dennis Ross want us to believe is happening in Syria? The Russians, he asserts, are playing a dirty game by stepping up their bombing campaign against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and affiliated rebels instead of pushing for a ceasefire. How funny that when the US/Turk/Saudi/Israeli-back jihadists were on the verge of taking over all of Syria not that long ago there was no talk from neocon quarters about a ceasefire or a negotiated political solution. Only now that al-Qaeda’s stronghold in Aleppo is on the verge of liberation by government forces are the neocons screaming that diplomacy should be given a chance.
Russian operations are « designed to strengthen the Assad regime and weaken the non-Islamic State Sunni opposition in different parts of the country, » writes Ross. He doesn’t mention that particularly when it comes to Aleppo, the « non-Islamic State Sunni opposition » means al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and affiliated forces.
By relentlessly bombing Islamic State and other jihadist groups seeking to introduce Sharia law into secular Syria, « Putin is…undercutting our aim of isolating Islamic State and having Sunnis lead the fight against it. » Read that again. By attacking ISIS he is preventing the US from isolating ISIS. Doublespeak.
What is Putin really up to in the world of Dennis Ross? He is not sincere about defeating Islamist extremism in Syria or even helping Assad’s forces win the war. No, Putin « aims to demonstrate that Russia, and not America, is the main power broker in the region and increasingly elsewhere. » Ah yes, the old argument about Russian expansionism. Baltic invasion, restoration of the USSR. All the neocon tripe.
Ah but here is where Ross plants his seed, whispers in the Administration’s neocon power brokers’ ears:
« Certainly, were Russia’s costs to increase, Putin might look for a way out. »
Hmm, now we see what he’s getting at:
…it is time we make it clear to the Russians that unless they impose a cease-fire on Assad and Hezbollah and insist that humanitarian corridors are open, we will have no choice but to act with our partners to create a haven in Syria — for refugees and for the organization of the Syrian opposition.
In other words, tell Russia if you do not stop fighting al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria we will face-off in a WWIII-threatening stance to establish a « jihadistan » in part of Syria from where the hundredth or so version of a rebel fighting force can be re-assembled.
Ross’s plan is not for the weak of heart. « [W]e cannot threaten to create a haven without following through if Putin refused to alter his course, » he writes. Meaning of course that we must be willing to actually go through with WWIII if Putin does not blink, back down, and pull out of Syria just as Russia’s intervention is meeting its objective. Surrender when on the verge of victory in Syria or face a nuclear war with the United States.
No one ever accused the neocons of thinking small. But with much of the Middle East a smoldering ruin due to the disastrous interventions they lied us into, no one should count out even their most insane-sounding plan being seriously considered somewhere in Washington.