Wednesday, May 29, 2019

US government spent $12 billion+ backing Islamic terrorists in Syria 2014-2017, per Obama Syria Ambassador. This doesn’t include $1 billion/yr for CIA or funds spent prior to 2014. US taxpayers financed set up of local governments within Syria that report to Islamic terrorists rather than Syrian government-Norton, The Gray Zone, 2/9/2018…(If Trump cares about the US as he says he does, he has two choices: get US out of Syria today or resign)

“The US government spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, former [Obama] ambassador [to Syria] Robert Ford disclosed in a [Feb. 2018] House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.” This doesn’t include funds spent prior to 2014, nor the estimated $1 billion a year CIA spends in Syria. US tax dollars were not allowed to aid all Syrians. In its usual genocidal fashion, US only allowed aid to areas held by Islamic terrorists, forbidding “humanitarian aid” to areas held by the Syrian government.
 [Image, 12/30/2018, “US flag flies in Syria’s Manbij despite pullout notice,” AFP, Delil Souleiman] 

2/9/2018, “US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent on Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth,” The Gray Zone, Ben Norton 

“The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the [Obama] former U.S. ambassador to the country [2014-2017]. 

This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011. 

This striking figure provides a further glimpse of the exorbitant sums of money the U.S. spent trying to topple the government in Damascus. It also bluntly contradicts claims by Syrian opposition supporters that the former administration of President Barack Obama “did nothing” in Syria, or that it supposedly did not seek regime change fervently enough. 

Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford disclosed this information in written testimony prepared for a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on February 6 [2018]. 

“The cost of US military operations in Syria between FY 2014 and the end of FY 2017 was between $3 and $4 billion,” Ford said. “In addition to the cost of those military operations, the FY 2017 budget request included $430 [million] to build local security forces and the FY 2018 request was for $500 million.”

 [Map, 6/5/2018, Map of Syria highlighting strategic northern town of Manbij (AFP Photo/afp)] 

The former ambassador did not distinguish what proportion of this spending went specifically to fighting ISIS. Although he made clear that some of it was directed at the Syrian opposition. 

Ford also reported that the U.S. spent $7.7 billion in [so-called] humanitarian aid efforts in Syria in those same four years. This figure cannot be excluded from the overall cost of the U.S. regime change mission, however, because U.S. spending on humanitarian aid in Syria has often been explicitly politicized. [US helps only Islamic terrorist-held areas, explicitly refuses to help people in legitimate Syria government territory. Therefore, by definition, US aid is not “humanitarian."]  

The U.S. State Department, USAID, and other government agencies have refused to provide humanitarian aid to government-held areas in Syria and have instead expressly used the funding to bankroll the political, civil, and health infrastructure of [Islamic terrorist] rebel-held territory, including areas that are governed by Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. The Guardian exposed how similar aid initiatives by the British government financed the activities of al-Nusra and other extremist Salafi-jihadist militias. 

Ford acknowledged in his [2018] testimony that U.S. humanitarian aid to Syria was heavily politicized, explaining:  
“The U.S. also has deployed a small civilian team into Syria charged with initial reconstruction and building new local governance or improving on existing local governance. If it sounds like nation-building, it is but on a smaller scale. USAID and other civilian agencies have provided $875 million in non-lethal and stabilization aid to [Al Qaeda groups] opposition-controlled areas in Syria since FY 2012. Last year [2017] alone the US provided about $200 million.” 

This politicized humanitarian funding has been part of a concerted effort to undermine the Syrian government’s control over Syrian territory by creating independent political administrations, civil society organizations, health institutions, and infrastructure that are outside of its control, effectively establishing de facto autonomous governments that survive on U.S. funding. 

In fact, Ford went so far in the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing as to condemn United Nations humanitarian aid programs, claiming they are “basically subsidizing [the sovereign nation’s president] Assad” by supporting civilians in government-held territory (which comprises the vast majority of the country). 

“If you add all these numbers up, US military and civilian costs in Syria over the past four years are at least $12 billion,” Ford said in his written congressional testimony. “That’s a lot of money. And it’s not clear when those outlays will stop.” 

Billions Spent on CIA Syria Operations 

Joshua Landis, a leading academic expert on Syria, speculated that the $12 billion figure may not include spending by the Central Intelligence Agency. 

The New York Times noted that the CIA program in Syria was “one of the most expensive efforts to arm and train [Islamic terrorist] rebels since the agency’s program arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s,” which gave birth to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. 

The CIA likely spent billions of dollars pursuing regime change in Syria, although exact estimates vary. 

In June 2015, The Washington Post reported that CIA covert operations in Syria had “a budget approaching $1 billion a year.” The report continued: “At $1 billion, Syria-related operations account for about $1 of every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget, judging by spending levels revealed in documents The Washington Post obtained from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.” 

U.S. officials told the Post these CIA efforts were “part of a broader, multibillion-dollar effort involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to bolster” the [Islamic terrorist] Syrian opposition. 

A January 2016 report by The New York Times likewise revealed that Saudi Arabia helped finance U.S. operations in Syria, and “estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training effort at several billion dollars.” Significant funding also came from Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey. 

By August 2017, however, the Times had significantly downplayed the price of the operations at “more than $1 billion over the life of the program” — even while acknowledging that it was “one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A.” 

The ‘Obama Did Nothing in Syria’ Myth

Robert Ford’s disclosure constitutes the latest admission by a government official that the [US taxpayer] cost of U.S. operations in the Syrian war have exceeded 11 digits, extending into the tens of billions. 

It also stands in stark contrast to the claims of pro-opposition advocates and pundits, who have breathlessly insisted that the administration of President Barack Obama was not serious about overthrowing the government of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. 

Media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has repeatedly documented the claims that “Obama did nothing” in Syria, a lie that has persistently been spread by some of the world’s most high-profile journalists. 

The editorial boards of leading newspapers and senior politicians in the U.S. and Europe have contributed to this popular myth. Obama’s liberal and conservative critics alike have excoriated him for supposedly “shrugging” and “sitting idly by.” 

The lie that the U.S. “did not intervene in Syria” has been repeated by figures from Senator John McCain to New York Times reporters and beyond. 

Congressional Syria Regime Change Hearing 

Robert S. Ford is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, an influential Washington, D.C.-based think tank that is funded largely by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
MEI largely acts as a vehicle for Emirati influence in the U.S.

Leaked emails show the think tank has been used to give an appearance of independence to UAE-backed foreign trips with U.S. diplomats. 

The testimony in which former ambassador Robert Ford revealed this information was prepared for the House Foreign Affairs Committee [2018] hearing “Syria: Which Way Forward?”, which also featured some of Ford’s extremely hawkish colleagues at MEI. 

MEI senior fellow Charles Lister, who has for years lobbied for the United States to violently overthrow the Syrian government, while whitewashing the Salafi-jihadist rebels in Syria, also prepared written testimony in which he lamented the failure of the regime change program and proposed new ways to bring down Assad. 

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a hardline neoconservative who serves as chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, opened the hearing stating that “many people were encouraged by Secretary Tillerson’s recent speech” in which he called for a “Syria under post-Assad leadership.” 

In this speech in January [2018], Tillerson confirmed that U.S. troops will remain in Syria indefinitely, even after ISIS is defeated. He also reaffirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to regime change, and called on the international community to economically undermine [millions of innocent Syrian citizens] Damascus by refusing to fund reconstruction efforts. 

Ford and Lister joined Ros-Lehtinen in praising Tillerson for outlining these goals, but lamented that specific actions were not proposed by the administration to bring them to fruition. 

How exactly the U.S. is going to bring about regime change in Damascus at this point remains unclear. In his prepared testimony, Ford conceded that the “Syrian and Iranian governments, and Russia, all want us out of Syria.”” 


Added: US elites have long partnered with Islamic terrorists: 

Jan. 2016, “A Special Relationship: The United States is teaming up with Al Qaeda, again,, Andrew Cockburn 


Added: 3/14/2013, “Why We Shouldn’t Be Arming Syria’s Rebels,” Huffington Post UK, Charles Shoebridge 

Those advocating arming [Islamist terrorists in Syria] also assume that, because rebels are fighting a dictator, the [Islamist] rebels must themselves support democracy. While opposition leaders outside Syria speak of inclusive democracy, gender equality and human rights, such concepts are largely alien to the Islamist fighters dominating Syria’s [so-called] rebels, the most influential of whom are groups such as the al Qaeda linked al Nusra Front. Rather, they aim to replace Syria Shia with Sunni power….Many have good reason to detest the Assad government. But this is no reason to provide weapons to those with little regard for democracy and human rightswhich for the true interests of Syria’s people and the West may make matters very much worse.”

Added: The US wasn’t invited into Syria. In 2011, US said Syrian Pres. Assad “had to go.” Since at least 2012 US taxpayers have been forced to pay for weapons to arm Islamic terrorists, the so-called “opposition,” to carry out bloody regime change in Syria: 

June 21, 2012, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition [Islamic terrorists],” NY Times, Eric Schmitt: 


Added: US narrative about Iran omits that Iran’s primary motivation for nuclear weapons is defensive. Iran is Shia, a minority in the Muslim world, most of which is Sunni. Iran knows that US prefers Sunnis: 10/20/2011, “The Lost Decade, Angelo M. Codevilla, 

subhead, “From Bad to Worse:” “The Iranians-not just the regime-want nukes because they are the only Shia state in the Sunni-dominated Muslim world, and because they want to further the interests of Shia populations in Sunni dominated states. They want nukes all the more because they know that the U.S. government takes sides against the Shia in all possible situations.”…(4th parag.) 

subhead, “Iraq’s Legacy:” “The [US] occupation’s practical political purpose was not to leave Iraq to its Shia majority and Kurdish separatists, but rather to “stabilize” (read, to preserve) the role of its ruling Sunni minority.…The 2007-08 “surge” of U.S. troops…protected Sunni enclaves....By the time our troops withdrew…the Shia ruled from north of Baghdad to the Persian Gulf, the Sunni enclaves were well armed, and all Iraqi sides were convinced that the next round of struggle would yield better results for them. Disrespect for America may be the occupation’s most harmful international legacy. 

Iraq’s legacy in America is worse. The occupation habituated the U.S. armed forces to regard it as normal to bleed without prospect of victory. Officers who commanded their troops to operate in replenished minefields, and who enforced “rules of engagement” that make troops vulnerable to un-uniformed enemies until these took action.”…


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