Sunday, June 24, 2012

Violence in Syria can destabilize Mideast region: Analyst

Editor's Note:  U.S. propagandist Lawrence J. Corb from Center for American Progress gets handed his ass.   Corb claims the U.S. has left Iraq.

A recent report from the mainstream daily newspaper New York Times has gone into detail as to how the CIA is facilitating arms and other assistance to armed groups in Syria and that it is doing it on Turkish soil near the borders with Syria.

Damascus has always been very vocal that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were assisting, funding and arming armed groups operating on the Syrian soil.

With the Kofi Annan's peace plan in limbo and the United Nations Observer mission currently suspended, it seems that the challenge to solve the Syria unrest has become as complicated as ever.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Lawrence J. Korb, from the Center for American Progress in Washington, to further talk over the issue.

The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Sukant Chandan, a political commentator in London, and Kevin Barrett who is an author and Islamist studies’ expert from Madison. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: It is not just the issue of the armed groups in Syria, but there have been a ton of reports indicating that Al-Qaeda is active and is being funded by the US, or its proxies. Why is the US arming Al-Qaeda?

Korb: Wait a second! You have got the story all wrong. What the New York Times article said today and again we are not quite sure not everything that is written in the newspapers come to be true but what they were saying is that the US people are there to make sure arms are not the ones they are supplying; we are not supplying any.

Do not fall into the hands of al-Qaeda. That is their mission. And this idea that somehow the United States wants regime change in all these areas is nonsensical, this all started what happened in Tunisia; that it moved to Egypt.

In fact, we were criticized for staying with Mubarak too long and even the Israelis are not happy with what is going to happen in Egypt given the fact that they had very good relations with Mubarak. President Obama has been criticized by his political opposition for not doing more.

In fact, Senator McCain who ran against him for president last time basically is urging the United States to start an air campaign. President Obama was criticized for not doing enough in Libya for basically to use the term leading from behind.

So this idea that the United States wants regime change, the United States basically wants the people of Syria to make a decision in a non-violent way. The way it was done for example in Tunisia and the way it was done in Egypt and the UN was the one who basically, with Russia and China, that wanted to get in there to stop the violence.

The rebels agreed to lay down their arms; Assad said he would but then he did not. You know, one of the most significant things happened today, was not the New York Times story, was the fact that a Syrian pilot flying a Mig-21 went to Jordan to seek asylum and we know many of the members of the Syrian military particularly enlisted people are now defecting and I think the real question is can we stop this before there is any more slaughter.

Press TV: Time and again Turkey has been indicated in the arming and facilitating of the armed groups in Syria. What is Turkey's agenda in Syria?

Korb: Again, your guest in London [Sukant Chandan] was talking about the United States ally of Rwanda. President Clinton was criticized for not doing anything to stop the slaughter in Rwanda.

We are talking about Somalia; that is not an American operation; that is the Ugandans, the Kenyans, and people from Burundi. So this idea that somehow the United States is trying to use its allies to control these countries is simply not true.

And it is interesting that your other American guest [Kevin Barrett] was talking about after 9/11. After 9/11, Iran condemned the attacks of 9/11; Iran supported the United States going into Afghanistan.

Even with Iraq which I happen to think was a mistaken war, was an unnecessary war but the fact of the matter is when the Iraqis told us to leave, we left. So this idea that somehow we are trying to control this is not true. Now that we have a military industrial complex, yeas, but you know, they are focused on these days, not focused on the Middle East; they focused on the “threat from China” to justify keeping the military budget up and in fact you probably have seen the whole question about the pivot to Asia rather than focusing on the Middle East.

The interesting thing is al-Qaeda got upset at the United States. One of their concerns was that we were supporting regimes like Mubarak. Well, now that we are not, what is the narrative? So I think that somehow in other word mixing up an awful lot of things.

As I said, President Obama is getting beaten up by his political opponents for not doing anything in Syria. He was beaten up by his political opponents for not doing more in Libya. So this idea that the United States is trying to dominate or control ... and even the Israelis would prefer Mubarak being in power. They are concerned about what is going to happen with this election if we ever find out what the situation is.

To get your other question, the Turks were brokering peace talks between the Assad government and the Israelis. And so the idea that somehow on the other hand the Israelis are concerned about a civil war now and I think that is what the Turks are concerned about that this war in Syria will spread because if the Russians keep sending new or used helicopters there, the fighting will go on and that it will spread into their border.

That is what the Turks are concerned about. They do not want to see these things spread.

Press TV: How can ending the unrest in Syria be a Syria lead initiative if there are so many factors, so many external factors, being tossed in the mix?

Korb: Again, if you go back when they started and the Syrian people started demonstrating and asking for reforms, the Assad regime, rather than negotiating with them, started killing them. Well before this, anybody on the opposition side was using violence, the government was cracking down.

It is incredible; I am listening to the history here. People forget Assad’s father. Assad’s father killed 40 thousand people in order to put himself into power. What would the “imperialist” that you are calling on the British, the French and the United States, no, we did not do that.

And everybody had hoped, given the fact that he was educated in the West; that he might be a little bit more reasonable, but he has been every bit as bad as his father and the international community is under tremendous pressure.

You go back to Libya; it was the Arab League that pushed us to get involved not the British and the French. There were playings from the Arab League; [got us for] flying missions over there. The United States only did something like 25 percent of what happened there.

So the idea that somehow this is the United States ... believe me, the United States would like to focus on its problems at home rather than having to deal with these issues and I am sure President Obama will just assume that the violence stop there so he could focus on what is happening here.

So I think people are sort of mixing up history. It is like the Iranians helped at the Bonn Conference; it was Iran, your country, that persuaded the Northern Alliance to support Karzai. This was not an American initiative, so somehow [neither] the idea that the United States was trying to control all the things. We want to leave Afghanistan and trying to leave and in fact we have turned over a more and more of dimensions to the Afghans. 

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