Voice of Russia
August 12, 2013
Recorded on August 9, 2013
Reactions to recent statements by the outgoing deputy director of the CIA recently regarding the supposed threat to U.S. security from the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad have caused and precipitated reactions and debate far and wide. The seeming 360-degree complete about-face, after more than two years of known U.S. efforts to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad has many wondering as to the mental fortitude of Washington’s geopolitical architects.
This is John Robles. I am speaking to Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Robles: You know what’s going on, I think, better than anybody. The CIA flips the switch in Syria. First they start secretly arming the extremists, importing mercenaries, terrorists, al-Qaeda to destabilize and overthrow Assad, then they decide they’re going openly arm these people. Now they’re saying the biggest danger is: “if the government of Bashar al-Assad falls.” Can you make any sense of this for us?
Rozoff: I wish I could. I know what you’re alluding to, it’s a statement by the outgoing, if he has not already left the position, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency – a 33-year veteran of the agency, incidentally – Michael Morell. He made a statement stating that not only would the overthrow of the Bashar al-Assad government in Damascus be a catastrophe for Syria but for the region. His exact comments, according to an interview he granted to the Wall Street Journal, is that the government’s weapons, in the event of an overthrow of the government, would be up for grabs and up for sale, just as in Libya. So it’s a replication of the Libyan model as we warned about.
Now how seriously are we to take this? Is this the deathbed conversion, if you will, of someone who is now leaving The Company, the Central Intelligence Agency, after almost a third of a century there and is able to speak freely, or is this something off the cuff that isn’t to be seen as indicative, or emblematic, of a general position, or this is a trial balloon?
You know, we’re dealing with some pretty disreputable people when we talk about intelligence operatives in Langley, Virginia and so forth. Their motives are never pure. Let’s be sure about that.
Robles: I seriously doubt that there is some possibility that it’s some independent comment. Calling Syria ”a top threat to US security” and I quote him, is completely ridiculous.
Rozoff: You know, under the seeming guise, the apparent guise of warning about the unforeseen consequences, or unintended consequences, let’s say, of the U.S. getting what it wants in Syria: that is having the government toppled by a motley hodge-podge of terrorists and mercenary elements, who then could go with weapons appropriated from the Syrian government – he doesn’t say a word, by the way, about the advanced weaponry presented to the Free Syrian Army and getting into the hands of people like al-Nusra, a terrorist organization that’s being supplied by NATO countries and by their allies in the Persian Gulf. That he hasn’t a word to say about, of course.
But the models he’s evoking, he explicitly referred to Libya two years ago, but I think the original once again is Afghanistan in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, where the U.S. armed a motley coalition of extremist elements with Stinger missiles and other advanced weaponry, a lot of which is still not accounted for or has been used in internecine fights between the rival groups of rebels that the U.S. supported in Afghanistan, just as in Libya.
Even as we speak, what there is of a government in Libya has apparently sent a hundred armored vehicles into the capital of Tripoli to try to maintain order, even in the capital of the country. The rest of the country is presumably up for grabs.
Robles: This was just a few hours ago.
Rozoff: That’s correct, I mean just in recent hours. And if this is a model indeed as Morrell (I don’t know if he pronounces his surname MOrell or MorEll; I don’t know where he puts the stress) but the deputy CIA director is indicating this would happen – he, at another point says – this by the way is factually true – that the overthrow of the government in Damascus would lead to a destabilization of the region and would affect countries like Jordan and Iraq and so forth. But the U.S. knew that when it began the effort to destabilize and overthrow the government in Syria.
The fact that he’s “got religion” or that he’s had a Damascus Road conversion and is all of a sudden concerned about what’s going on seems disingenuous surely, and as you mention the fact that he would portray a destabilized or a new regime in Syria as presenting any sort of national security threat to the United States is as ludicrous, if not bizarre and delusional, as you indicate it is.
Robles: Do you think there is some possibility, I mean this is maybe a little far-fetched, but okay. Worst-case-scenario: Is this opening a can-of-worms where they are just going to go in and wipe everybody out?
Rozoff: That’s a distinct possibility but we have to keep in mind the Benghazi incident; U.S. officials may in fact be preparing their own domestic populace for the eventuality that should the U.S.’s desire be fulfilled and a puppet regime of some sort is installed in Syria, then a similar situation may evolve as to what has occurred and is occurring in Libya, where there’s anarchy, chaos, internecine bloody fighting throughout the country and where some “innocent” U.S. CIA agent may end up, you know, on the wrong end of a bullet, which is the only concern, of course, they would have in Washington. I mean what would happen to the Syrian or Libyan people is of absolutely no concern to them, any more than what has happened to the people of Iraq or Afghanistan, for example. But the fact that a concerted effort has been made on the diplomatic front and, covertly, in terms of providing fighters, materiel, “rat lines” for bringing in terrorist mercenaries into Syria, coordinated by the United States, its NATO allies in Europe and their so-called democratic allies, and NATO partners, incidentally, in the Persian Gulf, like Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Everything is in place…I don’t know how much importance to really attribute to these statements by Morell except that some of them, indeed, are true but have been self-evident, apodictic if you will, for the last year and a half. I mean any sensible person could have told you what would happen, based on similar experiences in Iraq, in Kosovo and certainly most recently in Libya. We know what to expect. For that matter again, in 1992 in Afghanistan, we know exactly what to expect when the U.S.‘s cohorts and proxies take power. They start carving each other up, they plunge the entire country and the society of that country into lawlessness and brutality, And then you have the destruction of a nation and a culture.
Robles: Do you think that this is another “repackaging” of a “pretext” for military intervention?
Rozoff: There’s really no enthusiasm about entering into another military conflict, in Syria, though we do have to recall that John McCain and Lindsay Graham, once again a propos the Edward Snowden affair, have threatened Russia with bringing countries like Georgia into NATO, increasing the missile system in Europe, but also, by implication, forcing Russia down in Syria because this is much larger than just simply replacing the government in Damascus.
This is a question of Russia having more firmly and more consistently than I know post-Soviet Russia to have ever done before in a foreign policy issue, with the possible exception of the Caucasus war five years ago, in South Ossetia. But what we’ve seen over the last two and a half years is that Russia three times exercising its veto in the United Nations Security Council in conjunction with China. That’s an unprecedented triple veto by two permanent members of the Security Council.
On the question of Syria, Russia has committed itself with a persistence and a strength that I believe is unprecedented in the entire post-Soviet period. That whereas Russia has certainly opposed, you know, acts of unjustified military aggression in the post-Cold War period with Iraq ten years ago, with Libya to some degree too, two years ago, with Yugoslavia in 1999 and so forth, you know this is a precedent that Russia has established by defending international law in the case of Syria without any indication that it’s going to back down, meaning that the stakes have been raised appreciably, where for the U.S. to persist in its hell-bent desire to topple the government and effect a regime change in Syria is more an open toe-to-toe conflict with Russia than it is, as we talked about on previous occasions, than it is simply a matter of changing the government by overthrowing it in Damascus. We are talking about a much more serious proposition right now.
Updated: Aug. 14, 2013
U.S.-Russia Conflict Over Syria: Diplomacy Versus Infantilism
Voice of Russia
August 14, 2013
Recorded on August 9, 2013
Any U.S. claim that they are going to launch lethal drone strikes inside Syria as they did several months ago, without even the pretense of having the authorization of the government, is an act of yet further international lawlessness. Voice of Russia regular Rick Rozoff gives his analysis of the recent statements by the CIA with regard to Syria.
This is John Robles. I am speaking to Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and the International mailing list.
Robles: How do you think that’s going to play out with Russia, this new possible pretext? Do you think maybe they are looking for a way out, maybe, or…Do you think that’s possible?
Rozoff: There was a comment today by the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, kind of a back-handed slap at the infantile and provocative antics of President Obama here, who has postponed, or has canceled, indeed, a proposed scheduled summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and Sergey Lavrov said about the meeting today, U.S. time, of the foreign and defense ministers, both secretaries or ministers of both countries, that, it’s time for a grown-up discussion on these issues and I think that, you know it, quite clearly, somebody like Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, he is a seasoned diplomat, he is mature, he is able to control his emotions and not to make unwarranted and almost childlike comments like the ones coming out of the White House…
Robles: No, I think he is a very true diplomat. I mean, I’ve been watching him for years and years, I’ve never seen him once…you know…
Rozoff: … lose his cool or say something untoward. You would have to define to Americans, certainly anyone 50 years of age or younger, what the word “diplomat” means. We’ve not seen any.
Robles: And it was wonderful, I am sorry, I just want underline it, it was wonderful today, because I actually heard him speak for the first time in English, and his English is wonderful.
Rozoff: I’ve never heard Lavrov speak in English, but there again… I can’t think of an American Secretary of State…
Rozoff: … who spoke a second language. That’s not necessary, if you’re the global empire. You know, your tributaries and vassals, to quote Zbigniew Brzezinski, have to speak your language. And pay you their tribute in the coin of the realm. They have to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s in Caesar’s language moreover.
Robles: So, anyway, back to the CIA proclamation by the Deputy Director. What other insights can you tell us about his comments?
Rozoff: It could be a question, as we’ve alluded to, of kind of hedging his bets, should the worst case scenario, worst case scenario for the world and for Syria, not necessarily for the US, occur, and that there is a toppling of the government in Syria and then you have a new hotbed of terrorism that spreads across the border…we have to remember one of the three major fighting groups that the US and company are supporting. In addition to the Free Syrian Army and the Al Nusra Front, is something called the Islamic State of Iraq.
What you have are Sunni extremists, Wahhabi extremists, unquestionably supported, armed, financed by Saudi Arabia, fighting inside Syria.
So, not only perpetrating bombings and other killings of Shiite, Christians and other minorities inside Iraq, they are spreading this dubious jihad across the border into Syria and certainly into Lebanon. So, you know what the US may be doing is in the event the US would succeed in regime change in Syria, they have then already prepared the groundwork for saying, “See we warned you that certain unsavory elements might gain influence or come to the fore,” something of that sort…
Robles: O.K., so, no one is going to blame them for arming these enemies to begin with, right?
Rozoff: Yeah, they have plausible deniability, we warned you that they were not all a nice group of characters. However it was also roughly almost a year ago when the Obama administration, the White House, was talking about the necessity perhaps of waging drone warfare against some of their non-preferred fighters among the rebel groups within Syria, which I don’t think one was to have taken seriously at that time either.
What it was was that the US would reserve the right to launch drone or perhaps even cruise missile attacks inside the country, and then sugar-coat that by saying they are trying to weed out extremist elements amongst the rebel groups, the rebel armed groups fighting inside Syria.
Rozoff: But you know that no country has the right to state that they reserve the prerogative of launching lethal missile strikes inside the territory of any other country.
Robles: Sure, sure. No matter how you paint it, I mean, you can call ti a “preventive air strike” or “humanitarian invention”, or whatever you want to call it, but it is still an act of aggression, which is illegal under international law.
Rozoff: Sure, and we know that just in recent hours the U.S. has succeeded in killing some 34 people in Yemen in drone strikes, but the assumption, as in the case of the Yemen or Pakistan, is that the government at least passively permits the United States to do it, if it doesn’t acknowledge it is doing so. But, you know, in the case of Syria, self-evidently, they would not have the permission of the government.
So for the U.S. to claim they are going to launch lethal drone strikes inside Syria as they did several months ago, without even the pretense of having the authorization of the government, it’s an act of yet further international lawlessness.
Robles: Yeah, completely. Thanks a lot, Rick, it was a pleasure speaking to you.
Rozoff: Yes, same here, thanks.