[–] omurphy27 link

Are those locations occupied exclusively by Al Qaeda? The only evidence you've shown is that the CIA has given arms to rebels in areas where Al Qaeda and its affiliates are known to operate.

I see no evidence that the CIA directly gave weapons to Al-Nusra or other Al-Qaeda affiliates. And zero evidence of any direct funding or support of ISIS as conspiracy theorists and Putin propagandists love to assert.

It's possible that these weapons fell into the hands of Al-Qaeda, but more evidence needs to be presented and it's doubtful that arming Al-Qaeda was ever the original intent.

As for arming the SDF/YPG, that has been well known and public for awhile. Morever, the Kurdish forces are pretty much the only ones actually making significant progress against ISIS and will likely be the ones to free Raqqa. Arming and supporting them is completely justifiable, just as supporting the Iraqi army in their fight against ISIS was and remains justified.

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[–] Chathamization link

> Are those locations occupied exclusively by Al Qaeda?

They aren't; there are even areas controlled by the Syrian government. Here's a map of Idlib that someone tried to make recently[1]; HTS is the group that includes al Qaeda/al Nusra (though it should be noted that al Nusra is officially no longer part of al Qaeda). I don't think any Idlib groups are currently being aided by the U.S. either (unless I missed something); the CIA program was ended, and the DoD program seems to mostly support SDF (and I believe a small amount of support to other groups like the al Tanf rebels).

There are plenty of reasons to criticize the CIA effort to arm various rebel factions, but it's a shame that misinformation stating that the CIA armed al Qaeda is being spread around and accepted uncritically.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/comments/6yovaq/map_...

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[–] mhermher link

The best known example is that the CIA did in fact support nour al din al zinki, who were literally fighting side by side with nusra in Aleppo (and now in idlib) in the same operation group. So you have various groups coordinating and working together with some light delineation between them. That's how technically the CIA can deny that they ever directly armed al qaeda.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] balance_factor link

> I see no evidence that the CIA directly gave weapons to Al-Nusra or other Al-Qaeda affiliates. And zero evidence of any direct funding or support of ISIS

You stick a very key word there, directly. In fact the US is who funded and armed Osama bin Laden and his followers jihad against the secular government of Afghanistan in the late 1970s and 1980s - but the CIA did it via the Pakistan ISI. The Maktab al-Khidamat actually had connections to organizations all over the USA.

The US press says Cambodia was taken over in 1975 by communists led by Pol Pot, and in a de facto sense that is somewhat true but in a strict de jure sense it is not. Sihanouk, the Cambodian king who had been ousted by a CIA-backed coup by Lon Nol was who officially ran the government. He was in a political, governmental and military coalition with the communists. The US government and press saw his role as a figurehead and it's not that inaccurate. OK, the Cambodian communists are ousted in the 1979 and suddenly the US is looking to oppose Vietnamese communist influence in Cambodia. So who do they fight to keep the UN seat of? Who does US intelligence fund and arm? The political/military coalition of Sihanouk and the Cambodian communists. Which in the 1970s was called the Khmer Rouge. But suddenly things aren't happening directly, and the fig leaf of Sihanouk and other minor figures and groups becomes much bigger. This was reported in the New York Times at the time, and Nightline went even further, taking a camera crew to Cambodia and showing exactly what was going on - that the US was arming the "Khmer Rouge" rebels whom it had been accusing of genocide a few years earlier.

If a direct link is what is needed then you're not going to find much, as they're not that dumb and incompetent.

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[–] curiousgal link

>fell into the hands of Al-Qaeda

If you’re spending billions on weapons I doubt you didn’t make sure they go to the right person.

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[–] rtkwe link

Even with a perfect screening process for the initial deliveries it's really easy for weapons to end up in unintended hands just as positions/territory are taken and lost by the various sides.

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[–] zeep link

> really easy

meaning more than 50% of weapons?

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[–] rtkwe link

If the chosen groups are crushed or loses a lot of territory yeah pretty easily.

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[–] zeep link

at that point, they should have stopped sending anything (or probably much earlier)

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[–] Chathamization link

> The same documents confirm the CIA has been arming Al Qaeda in Syria.

That's not true. The U.S. has never armed al Qaeda in Syria (al Nusra). The U.S. has bombed them[1], and cut off arms to other groups when it looked like there was a possibility of them getting into al Qaeda's/al Nusra's hands[2].

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/world/middleeast/us-airst... [2] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-rebel...

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[–] gebruikersnaam link

> The U.S. has never armed al Qaeda in Syria (al Nusra).

That's not true[1]. The USAF might have bombed them, the CIA certainly supported them. The war between the CIA and DoD is described here [2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Division_(Syrian_rebe... [2] http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-pentagon-i...

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[–] Chathamization link

From your first link:

> The group received funding, including salaries for its fighters, from the CIA, before being cut off in December 2014 following battlefield reversals at the hands of the al-Nusra Front.

> In mid-2015 the group renewed cooperation with the al-Nusra Front as part of the Army of Conquest during the northwestern Syria offensive (April–June 2015).

The CIA having supported groups that have at times worked with al Qaeda in Syria (and at times fought against them) is quite different from the CIA arming al Qaeda.

The only mention of al Qaeda/al Nusra in your second link is this:

> President Obama this month authorized a new Pentagon plan to train and arm Syrian rebel fighters, relaunching a program that was suspended in the fall after a string of embarrassing setbacks which included recruits being ambushed and handing over much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to an Al Qaeda affiliate.

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[–] gebruikersnaam link

"In October 2012, U.S. officials acknowledged off the record for the first time to the New York Times that “most” of the arms that had been shipped to armed opposition groups in Syria with U.S. logistical assistance during the previous year had gone to “hardline Islamic jihadists”— obviously meaning al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al Nusra."

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-...

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[–] Chathamization link

The New York Times article they're using as their source doesn't say that, however. The article is also from 2012, and not dealing with the CIA's later program to arm rebels (which I believe started in 2013):

> Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.

...

> The United States is not sending arms directly to the Syrian opposition. Instead, it is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The reports indicate that the shipments organized from Qatar, in particular, are largely going to hard-line Islamists.

The only mention of al Qaeda in the New York Times article is this:

> The disorganization is strengthening the hand of Islamic extremist groups in Syria, some with ties or affiliations with Al Qaeda, he said: “The longer this goes on, the more likely those groups will gain strength.”

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[–] trhway link

> The U.S. has bombed them

Did you mean "airdropped weapons and munitions"? Probably they put "bombed" in the official expense reports as a shorter synonym. CIA has been supporting Al Qaeda and other Sunni Saudi proxies for the last 3 decades at least, and i don't see what can realistically happen that would make CIA stop now. If anything, given current Shia position - formed Shia belt from Lebanon to Iran (thus in particular killing any chances for Saudi pipelines to Europe) plus Yemen (where US openly turns blind eye to religion based genocide by Saudis) and Russia playing on Shia side (Russia no specific religious prefs here, they support Shia only because US chose Sunni) - the support would probably be increasing.

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[–] jdhn link

At this point, is anybody surprised by this? It's quite clear that when it comes to sponsoring groups in the Middle East, we just throw money/weapons at anyone, no matter who they are.

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[–] djsumdog link

I've been saying this for years. "The CIA created ISIS. Not just funded, but created the situation where such organizations could come up."

I constantly get criticized for this. "No, of course America isn't funding ISIS. We're fighting them." I then talk about The Bay of Pigs, the 1973 Coupe in Chile, Iranian Contras, The School of the Americas ... a criminal rap sheet that shows a pattern of sociopathhy by the US government -- and Syria fits that pattern: arm ISIS, bomb Assad and then bomb ISIS too .. we're creating and fighting all the wars.

I'm not surprised, but the majority of Americas would be .. if this appeared on CNN, NPR or a major media outlet. Otherwise it's "fake news."

When sales for 1984 went up after the Trump election, I was greatly disheartened. It meant the current administration had commandeered the minds of people to think that now was the age of Orwell, when in reality, we've been in 1984 long before I was born and long before my parents were born.

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[–] ep103 link

You're right about ISIS for what its worth. The documentary "The Power of Nightmares" is a really good introduction to the background of that whole story for people who criticize you on the topic. Its very accessible and well researched (and from the BBC, so reputable).

But yeah, the short and long of it is that Donald Rumsfeld specifically disbanded the Iraqi command structure after the invasion, against President Bush's orders, because he believed (correctly) that it would result in large groups of them forming armed militias and start a middle eastern uprising. His belief, thanks to the teachings of his mentor Leo Strauss, was that without a mortal philosophical enemy the United States could stay at perpetual war with, the US, buoyed by continued economic prosperity, would continue drifting towards liberal ideals like economic, social and racial equality, and away from things like duty, honor, and fear of god; which in his mind, made America great.

In short, they believed the fear of communism is what kept Americans in line, and that the progress of the 60s, once that fear started collapsing, was something that needed to be avoided at all costs from occurring again. So they needed a new enemy, even if we had to make it ourselves.

Rumsfeld even, at one point, came out and explicitly said that that was his goal at the time, so its not even a conspiracy. Its publicly stated fact, that gets little to no news coverage.

Its like when Dick Cheney came out in an interview over the biopic he published, and admitted on air that the reason he was for torturing people [paraphrased]: "had nothing to do with intelligence. If we tortured suspected terrorists, no one would ever be able to call the Republican party weak on terrorism". He literally admitted to a war crime, and nothing happened.

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[–] arethuza link

"because he believed (correctly) that it would result in large groups of them forming armed militias and start a middle eastern uprising"

Do you have a reference for that - because that is one hell of a strong accusation?

NB Not saying that it would surprise me, but I've never heard that particular accusation before. Though it does sound worryingly like the claims that US money indirectly funded the Taliban via Pakistan - allegedly without the US knowing but that is a remarkable thing not to know....

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[–] ep103 link

Watch the power of nightmares. I confess I'm not 100% confident that that's where I remember that quote from (Its been a few years now), but its a good bet.

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[–] arethuza link

Thanks - I'm a huge fan of "Bitter Lake" so that gives me something else to watch.

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[–] Swizec link

> He literally admitted to a war crime, and nothing happened.

I thought the idea was that you call them terrorists specifically so that they’re not official enemy combatants and the Geneva convention doesn’t apply?

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[–] ep103 link

He got away with it for a lot of reasons, ranging from issues with the term War Crime, to the fact that the US doesn't support the ICC, to the fact that he was a VP, etc, etc. I'm not surprised he avoided prison; rather, I was saddened by the lack of complete moral outrage after he made such a statement.

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[–] pm90 link

No, its because it was terrorists that caused 9/11. So, you could justify anything if you just said: we're doing it because they're "terrorists".

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[–] totalZero link

Setting aside every other part of this discussion:

I don't think a state actor can be accurately described as sociopathic. The expectations and interactions among nations are fundamentally different from those among people.

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[–] duncanawoods link

Can you make an argument for believing that?

Using psychological terms in a strictly behavioural fashion for groups/countries seems to me to not just be an analogy but capturing the essence of what is observable. Many of the concepts are similar e.g. identity, cooperation, aggression, lying, betrayal, self-preservation, fear etc.

You can defend this further and claim that even when examining an individual, you will see conflicting identities and traits that resembles the conflict in a group rather than a constant, simple, single identity. The underlying truth appears to not be not that a group does not have psychological behaviours its that a single simple human identity doesn't really exist and is always an emergent property of some collection of heterogeneous smaller parts identities/modes/processes etc.

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[–] CapitalistCartr link

Then why is it so many other countries don't act as we do? USSR under Joe did; that's hardly a ringing endorsement. Any Scandinavian country would be a good counter argument. Finland has withstood Soviet/Russian intimidation for more than seven decades without running around instigating insane, right-wing police states across the Globe.

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[–] keldaris link

> Then why is it so many other countries don't act as we do?

That's simple: they're weak and can't get away with it. The baseline conduct of nation states is basically that of fairly rational psychopaths, capable of evaluating what they can get away with. Deviations from that norm are mostly reminiscent of irrational psychopaths. Anyone who expects "moral", "just" or "trustworthy" behavior from a nation state is just out of their mind.

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[–] dragonwriter link

> Finland has withstood Soviet/Russian intimidation for more than seven decades without running around instigating insane, right-wing police states across the Globe.

Some would say “submitted to” rather than “withstood”; heck, accommodating a powerful neighbor out of fear and inability to effectively resist is called “Finlandization” for a reason.

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[–] alrs link

Finland's foreign policy was benign, but its domestic policies weren't pretty.

Eugenics: http://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/tree/530b988476f0db569b00...

Kekkonen and the collapse of democracy: http://www.nytimes.com/1973/01/18/archives/finns-extend-pres...

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[–] anigbrowl link

Inability, to a large extent. The relative youth of the US in cultural terms. the simplicity of dealing with a small biddable tyranny rather than a large messy democracy that might not agree with us. The Dictator's Handbook by Bueno de Mesquite & Smith does a good job of breaking down the utilitarian calculus of foreign policy decisions.

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[–] refurb link

Finland did align themselves with Nazi Germany early in WW2 in their effort to counter Soviet actions.

Only after they came to a stalemate and peaceful agreement with the USSR did they split from the Axis and align with the Allies.

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[–] rebuilder link

Most states lack the means to throw their weight around like the USA does.

Interstate relations are what anarchy looks like.

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[–] stemc43 link

If you really look at human interactions they are exactly same as nation - level ones: constant fight for individual success with thinly cover of "moral values".

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[–] vosper link

Nations are just groups of people, but I agree with you. I'm not generally in favour of applying terms like sociopathic to large groups.

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[–] ellius link

Saying anything is "just a group" of its constituent parts is misleading and incorrect. Behaviors emerge at system levels that are not present among individual "parts."

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[–] mythrwy link

There are a number of groups that benefited from ISIS being in the area.

Certainly Iran and Russia getting a poke in the eye probably wasn't a bad thing from the CIA's perspective but they were probably not the only (or even main?) players. More like the gun store and some advisory support. For the other suspects we need only look for the folks who benefited from a buffer between Russia and Iran and their own states and a proxy army keeping Iranian/Syrian/Russian forces tied down. The whole thing is pretty inexcusable though and the people responsible are a level of criminal IMOP. It also appears the scheme isn't going to work out long term and Iran and Russia will continue to have influence in the region. Which given the behavior of our "friends" in the area I can't say I feel terrible about. But I'm probably not looking at it through a geopolitical chess perspective but more a perspective of ruined lives and societies and the spread of extremist ideology.

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[–] iovrthoughtthis link

We've always been at war with Eastasia

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[–] shitgoose link

thank you for proving GP point.

EDIT: "CNN says that we are at war with Eastasia. therefore we are at war with Eastasia."

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[–] rublev link

>we've been in 1984 long before I was born and long before my parents were born.

Can you expand on this? Thanks.

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[–] kruhft link

1984 was simply an extrapolation into the future from someone that already saw the story as a later progression of what is or what has been in societies. The powers that be have always 'watched', there have always been class systems (being a Party member or a Prole), and each class is always said to have it better than the rest, although each always wants to be on the other side, thinking it's better.

It's been this way a long time and didn't start with 1984. There's a saying the '1984 is not an instruction manual', but with it's great proliferation amogst all the great works, one has to wonder that it's spread through society can be thought of as an instruction book on how to lead a society into fear and oppression by claiming it is literature.

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[–] mengibar10 link

US is giving weapons to PKK in Syria. PKK has been considered a terrorist organization both by US and EU for a very long time, I mean decades. They are giving weapons under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Among the weapons given there are surface to air anti-aircraft missiles. Strange thing is that ISIS does not have any aircraft to shoot down. The amount of weapon delivery as of last week is about 13,000 containers. Hard to believe, right?

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[–] forapurpose link

The PKK is a far more complex issue. Their mission is self-determination for Kurdish people. After WWI, the Allied powers split the region where the Kurds reside, their hoped-for Kurdistan, between Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. They have faced oppression and worse (e.g., Iraq murdered Kurdish civilians with chemical weapons in the 1980s) from these governments for generations.

In Iraq: In the contest with Saddam Hussein, at least beginning in the 1990s, the U.S. built a strong relationship with the Kurds there. The Kurds used U.S. support to create de facto autonomy from the Iraqi government (something they are voting on in a couple of weeks - potentially a major event in Kurdish history). They became a skilled combat force and strong allies of the U.S., fighting alongside the Americans through the Iraq War and now in the fight against ISIL.

In Syria: My impression is that the relationship between the U.S. and the Iraqi Kurds extends now, with the Syrian civil war, to the Kurds in Syria. Like those in Iraq, the Syrian Kurds also have used their government's weakness to establish some autonomy.

In Turkey: There is no government weakness and no autonomy, but an ongoing contest with crackdowns, terrorist attacks, and more. The Turkish government calls the PKK 'terrorists', but the government's hands are hardly clean. The Turkish government does not want autonomous Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq, both of which would border the Kurdish region in Turkey and would encourage and support Turkish Kurds.

Are the PKK terrorists? Freedom fighters? Some of each? I can't tell you. But certainly they have some argument for seeking self-determination in the face of oppression, and unlike groups such as ISIL their goal is self-determination for their own people, not to bring down governments and to take land and liberty from others.

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[–] mengibar10 link

In that case, can we then draw the conclusion that US is giving PKK all these weapons for a purpose beyond fighting ISIS?

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[–] riku_iki link

Are all kurds members of PKK? Is there any evidence that US is giving these weapons specifically to PKK?

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[–] mengibar10 link

Absolutely not. Especially support for PKK diminished recently after they sabotaged peace process. During the talks Kurds in southeast of Turkey has seen what it would be like of truce. Unfortunately PKK saw an opportunity in Syria and upped the bargain and started playing hard again. After they killed 2 police officers (in their homes) state went after them like no before.

Evidence, yes. Even Turkish government give serial numbers of captured weapons.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1392863...

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[–] riku_iki link

Captured weapons is not evidence of direct supply. ISIS uses all kinds of american and russian weapons, but it doesn't mean it is supported by those countries.

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[–] mengibar10 link

PKK and YPG are two names for one organization operating in bordering countries. Captured PKK terrorists tell that they were fighting for YPG. You should seek and read these stories for yourself. But if you only read media holding exclusive rights for credibility of course it's difficult to find such stories. Especially when you know a Western language only it's difficult for you to get a balanced information.

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[–] icebraining link

Cui bono? Seems like it would just push Turkey into the hands of Russia and Iran.

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[–] knowaveragejoe link

Fwiw, a site having months, even years-old, mostly conspiratorial articles promoted on their sidebars and front page should be a huge red flag. Nevermind the shoddy writing.

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[–] bahjoite link

"US Officials Ask How ISIS Got So Many Toyota Trucks" http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-officials-isis-toyota...

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[–] wavefunction link

When you have someone like Senator John McCain claim that "we can tell the bad guys from the good guys" while being photographed on his photo op tour of Syria with known mass murderers of civilians, you had to know these folks don't know what they're talking about.

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[–] mixmastamyk link

We understand that bureaucrats and their institutions are quite inept when tasked with delivering the mail, for example. But they often get a pass with international relations.

Might be the bikeshed effect in action.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] wil421 link

What do you think happens when you are really fighting proxy wars with Russia? The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

It's not uncommon to arm enemies after fighting a war. Look at Japan and Germany.

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[–] shitgoose link

you mean that after defeating Assad ISIS will become another Japan or Germany?

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[–] wil421 link

You should've said al qaeda instead of ISIS.

They will use the rebels to destabilize Assad's government and then try to install a US favorable one. One could say they are just using al qaeda, they are a stepping stone. I doubt either Isis or al qaeda would be the favorable government, leading to another jihad with the US.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] alexandercrohde link

Just a heads up to those of you with the most pessimistic views of America, you're shooting yourself in the foot when you fall on hyperbole.

For somebody in the middle such as myself, if you want to make a persuasive argument you'd be most convincing by demonstrating emotional stability, rationality, and evidence (links to wikipedia will suffice).

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[–] Alex3917 link

> At this point, is anybody surprised by this?

I mean it does seem weird that you have liberals cheerleading for funding a genocide, and completely losing their shit at Republicans for trying to stop it.

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[–] losteric link

No, that's just the media inciting tribalism for profit.

People across the political spectrum are sick and tired of our absurdly expensive and destabilizing foreign wars and international policing.

Republican politicians are escalating the war. We've actually increased the number of lives and dollars being sent to this war since Trump came into office. None of the Republican governing factions are seriously opposed to the Middle Eastern war.

Democrat politicians aren't really trying to stop it either. Obama de-escalated relative to Bush, but there was never a serious push to withdraw. Some of the progressive governing factions are in favor of moving foreign war spending to domestic investments, but I don't really hear the drums beating for ending the war purely for the sake of it.

There's a disgusting discrepancy between voter priorities and politicians.

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[–] X86BSD link

Does it really seem weird? I mean in the last 7 months we have literally watched the liberal left eating itself. Everest college. Berkeley. Antifa. BLM. Everyone disagreeing with them being silenced and called out as a bigot or racist.

If I flip on the news, I seriously don't event know what country I am living in anymore. Up is down. Freedom is slavery. War is peace. I've heard that before... Oh god...

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[–] Top19 link

Your last words are something Bernard Knox, the famous classicist, encountered in the texts of Virgil while hiding in a bombed out villa in the Italian countryside during World War II.

"""After training as a parachutist, he fought with a special force organized by the O.S.S., the British and the Free French to coordinate elements of the French Resistance with advancing Allied troops after the Normandy invasion. He also instructed members of the French Maquis in the use of explosives.

The O.S.S. later sent him into northern Italy for an equally dangerous mission with the Italian underground, and it was there that he rekindled his passion for the classics. Holed up in an abandoned villa, he discovered a bound copy of Virgil and opened it to a section of the first Georgic that begins, “Here right and wrong are reversed; so many wars in the world, so many faces of evil.”

Professor Knox recalled, in “Essays Ancient and Modern,” “These lines, written some 30 years before the birth of Christ, expressed, more directly and passionately than any modern statement I knew of, the reality of the world I was living in: the shell-pocked, mine-infested fields, the shattered cities and the starving population of that Italy Virgil so loved, the misery of the whole world at war.”""

TRANSLATION: we've been here before, at least twice

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/books/17knox.html

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[–] notfromhere link

oh please, save your hyperbolics. the US president went to bat for a group of white supremacists a couple weeks ago, so I think we have bigger problems than bored college kids and an overturned trashcan in Berkeley

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[–] Alex3917 link

> Everyone disagreeing with them being silenced and called out as a bigot or racist.

Well the fact that antifa and all that stuff happened within a couple months of everyone donating to the ACLU is amusing on its own.

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[–] enraged_camel link

The liberal left is more vocal than ever because they see Nazis and white supremacists openly marching on the streets holding tiki torches and with assault rifles slung over their shoulders, running over and killing counterprotesters, and a President who has been exceptionally lackluster in his condemnation by blaming "both sides".

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[–] travmatt link

By your peculiar logic cops are the proximate cause of crime because they are most frequently in areas where crime has occurred. And doctors are the cause of disease since they are near sick people most often. Or it may be possible that the CIA funnels weapons to enemy areas because that's where the people they are trying to kill are locate.

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[–] 0xbear link

In other words, Putin was right all along about this.

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[–] EGreg link

Can someone write an article about this??

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[–] nolok link

About what?

I mean, I disagree about what our (I'm French) are doing in some places, but its hardly been a secret.

The CIA and it's equivalent are not working to get those countries to a stable state, they are working to get them to a non threatening state. Big difference.

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[–] jjcc link

Europa has multiple terrorist attacks, let alone wave of refugees from unstable countries exported that change the dynamics of politics that result in many changes societies including polarization.

Maybe you mean they didn't realize non-state treat is bigger than threatening state? I don't really understand.

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[–] hammock link

Many have, you just won't find it on ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTimes, WaPo, etc...

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[–] TheCowboy link

Wasn't hard to find: "and reports that some of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to Al Qaeda further sapped political support for the program."

New York Times, Aug 2, 2017

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[–] mtgx link

Everything else has been downranked and censored by Google as fake news.

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[–] hammock link

The same documents confirm the CIA has been arming Al Qaeda in Syria. Scroll down to the last map[1] which shows CIA weapons went directly to Idlib province (northwest section in green) and the Golan border region (south). Both of these areas were and continue to be occupied by Al Qaeda. Idlib specifically is where genocidal cleansing of religious minorities was confirmed to be conducted by Al Qaeda "rebels" directly assisted by CIA weapons.[2]

[1]https://www.occrp.org/assets/makingakilling/MapOfSyriaIraq.p... [2]https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/syria/2016-01-19/ass...

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[–] yogthos link

Wars are a business for the US military industrial complex, plain and simple. The longer US is funding these wars, the more profit these people make.

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[–] ghostbrainalpha link

I thought as you do. That's why I invested in Haliburton when Trump was elected. I figured the Military/Industrial complex was about to do VERY well.

I'm down 20% since Trump was elected. Not saying we are wrong, necessarily.

But its good to check these theories against reality whenever possible.

http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/hal

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[–] mengibar10 link

What makes you think Trump is pro-war? My observation that he's against wars unless they are very profitable for the State not necessarily for companies. That is why the stocks are down probably. On the contrary Clinton was pro-war and establishment wanted her to win but she lost.

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[–] codeisawesome link

Does that have to do more with the industry's performance as a whole, or this specific company? I do notice that in order to possibly avoid the arms "looking western", they are focussing on buying & supplying soviet looking weapons instead.

Perhaps, the to-capacity usage of black/smuggling routes by various powers (US, NK, Saudi) - would increase business to legal transportation routes? Because the price of being illegal might be driven too high. Thus shipping might actually be doing well... I dunno.

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[–] baursak link

Should have gone with Raytheon, up ~35% since the election. Why HAL anyway, it's more of an oil company than a MIC company?

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[–] mmjaa link

Oil companies are the industry, in military-industrial-complex.

(Note that it should really be: military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex, since that is a more accurate description of the conglomerates currently destroying the planet..)

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] frandroid link

Did you miss the part where the U.S. has been giving tremendous support to the SDF/YPG in its fight against ISIS?

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[–] alrs link

The US supported both Iran and Iraq in their war against each other, which makes sense if the end-goal was to weaken both.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/26/world/us-secretly-gave-aid...

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[–] pm90 link

This comment is quite misleading. The US did support Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. The Iran-Contra affair, if you read the article you linked to, was an attempt to free American hostages held by Hezbollah (an Iranian funded group) while also procuring illicit money to pay the Contras. i.e. US sells weapons to Iran, Iran pays US, Hezbollah frees hostages, US pays the money from Iran to Contras. The US never supported Iran the way it supported Iraq; the USG has been pretty anti-Iran every since the Islamic revolution, and specifically the storming of the US embassy in Teheran.

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[–] parthdesai link

and for US military industries to profit.

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[–] baursak link

This literally started a couple of months ago under Trump, along with ending CIA's weapons running program. Here Trump truly deserves credit and outshines Nobel Peace laureate Obama. If he removes PKK from the US list of terrorist groups, that would be a 3 for 3 for him, although I'm not holding my breath.

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[–] notfromhere link

US has been supporting the Kurds longer than trump's term in office

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[–] mentalpiracy link

We have been supporting the Kurds, yes - but our support is schizophrenic at best.

Though the Kurds are almost everything the US could want in a mideast ally - moderate, self-sustaining and stable, demonstrably capable - we will probably never embrace them fully due to our relationship with Turkey.

Some backstory:

Turkey lists the PKK as a terrorist organization, as Ankara and PKK have been fighting a separatist conflict for decades. Though the PKK has never targeted Americans, the US still lists the PKK as a terror org to placate Ankara.

The US has invested in Turkey as a strategic regional ally since the Cold War. Geographically Turkey was a key bulwark against Soviet power, and indeed we housed nuclear missiles within Turkish territory for many years. Even after the USSR collapsed, Turkey's regional value to the United States has grown. Incirlik is one of the largest air bases in the world, and remains a key logistical point for our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Turkey was also important to the US ideologically because they were a stable, moderate, secular Muslim state, e.g. the kind of country we wanted to serve as a template for the rest of the Middle East. Thanks to Erdogan, this value has decreased sharply thanks to his moves to consolidate autocratic power at the expense of the still largely secular and moderate Turkish populace.

(Tried to keep the value judgements out of that, sorry if I offended someone by summarizing too generally).

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[–] mengibar10 link

PKK is a terrorist organization because they have been killing civilians. Especially indiscriminate killings through bombings market places, public meetings. Most of the time their victims have been Kurdish people.

A terrorist is a terrorist only when Americans are targeted?

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[–] mentalpiracy link

For the purposes of US foreign policy, apparently yes. Terrorists kill Americans, and the US won't deal with terrorists.

But if you don't kill Americans... well, then the US can label you separatists or independents or some other creative euphemism. If you're useful to them.

Cynical take, and I certainly don't agree with it myself, but nonetheless that's how it works.

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[–] baursak link

Do you mind posting links from reputable sources (i.e. not blatant Turkish government propaganda)?

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[–] baursak link

All three news stories describe the same event -- Dec 2016 stadium attack by TAK, which is not PKK. TAK broke out of PKK as a new separate group because of PKK's willingness to compromise with Turkey.

So again, can you substantiate your claim that modern PKK is a terrorist organization?

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[–] richardknop link

The level of support is what's important. Under previous administration the support was on a very low side and much more support was thrown behind sunni states (Turkey for example) and extremist sunni militias. This has changed under Trump and it seems like the support will be shifted away from extremist sunni militias and towards Kurds. I have to give Trump credit for this.

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[–] baursak link

Not sure what you mean by "Kurds". Why is PKK still a designated terrorist group?

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[–] megous link

Obviously some Kurds in north-east of Syria. I'm not sure there's any support of Kurds on the Turkey side, where Kurdish cities are being razed to the ground last several years. It's not even in the news that much compared to the other stuff from the region. Yet there is million or more of internally displaced people by this violence.

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[–] frandroid link

Because NATO.

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[–] enraged_camel link

The PKK is responsible for killing over 30,000 Turkish civilians back in the 80s and 90s. That's roughly ten times the number of people that died in 9/11 attacks.

If that doesn't make them a terrorist organization... well, I don't know what to tell you.

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[–] megous link

Turkey is responsible for executing 20,000 Kurdish civilians and destroying several thousands villages in the same conflict. They're still destroying Kurdish cities today, Sur, Sirnak, Nusaybin, Cizre, ... Burning civilians alive by hundreds in one incident.

If that doesn't make them a terrorist organization... well, I don't know what to tell you.

It's a war.

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[–] enraged_camel link

>>Turkey is responsible for executing 20,000 Kurdish civilians and destroying several thousands villages in the same conflict. They're still destroying Kurdish cities today, Sur, Sirnak, Nusaybin, Cizre, ... Burning civilians alive by hundreds in one incident.

[citation needed]

Turkey is definitely not blameless in this conflict, but I want to see some reliable sources for the outrageous claims you just made.

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[–] rdtsc link

What exactly do they expect these "rebels" would do even if they win the fight with ISIS. Are they going to pack up their bags, return all the weapons and go home to rearing children and being doctors, teacher and engineers.

Rebel groups have pretty fluid membership. I see some joining one group and going to ISIS. That's how ISIS ended up with a lot of US weapons in their hands.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38048482

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[–] travmatt link

So all Russia and Iran are doing is just trying to defend against ISIS? That's certainly one interpretation I suppose.

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[–] baursak link

At this point, they are trying to support a secular and a relatively liberal (relative to an alternative) regime against ISIS and other jihadis, yes. To see an alternative, take a look at Libya after Gaddafi where there are literally slave markets in 2017.

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[–] djsumdog link

Fun fact, Gaddafi didn't run the country. No media outlets reported on the democratically elected head of state in Libya. They also didn't report on the free electricity, subsidized housing, subsidized fuel, free education and the fact that Libya was stable and in no debt to the WMF.

Now they are in debt to the WMF, are a totally non-stable state ravaged with crime and their slowly progressively moving government has reverted decades in terms of democracy and human rights. It's a mini-Iraq with less than 1/8 of the news coverage.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] chinhodado link

What do you mean by "didn't run the country"? Do you mean "ruin" instead?

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[–] wil421 link

Free is only free until your money runs out. Look at Venezuela, the government gave the things you listed as free until they couldn't.

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[–] pm90 link

You could say that about almost any Petro State, including Saudi Arabia. Libya's tremendous energy reserves plus small urban population made it that much more easy to offer freebies to all the citizens who asked for it.

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[–] Cyph0n link

"At this point" being the key phrase here. That wasn't their goal when they came in to back Syria: the goal was to clamp down on the uprising and its armed resistance. Of course, things are more complicated now.

Oh definitely, Assad is liberal and secular, to the point where he operates countless secret torture prisons and has forcibly disappeared tens of thousands of his citizens. Use the term "lesser of evils" if you must. But relatively liberal? Absolutely not.

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[–] toyg link

"Relatively" implies "to something ", in this case (I would assume) either to middle-age-style religious warlords (Daesh et al) or absolutist monarchies built around religious rule (Iran, Saudi). So yeah, I'd say Assad is "relatively liberal" by Middle-Eastern standards - a place where almost every state has some secret police, an absolutist ruler, and no separation of church and state.

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[–] Cyph0n link

I'm from (arguably) the only Arab Spring success story, so I'm quite familiar with how Middle Eastern dictatorships operate. We have a truth commission that has gone through how people have suffered at the hands of the deposed regime.

Even when compared to similar Middle Eastern autocrats, Assad is simply on a whole other level in my opinion. One might argue it's because of the war, but I really don't see why war crimes and torture prisons are required to "win" the civil war.

On the contrary, his people will never forget. Good luck building a stable and successful country with so much blood on your hands.

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[–] X86BSD link

Citations on these secret prisons and dissapearing of people by the tens of thousands please?

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[–] Cyph0n link

https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/16/if-dead-could-speak/ma...

There are a few other good sources. I'll try to find them.

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[–] notfromhere link

Keeping a minority Alawite government in power is just going to keep leading to these Sunni uprisings.

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[–] zacurry link

These uprisings "keep" happening because the Saudis and the usa provide funds to these rebel groups to oust the Shiite (alawite) regime. In Bahrain, a Sunni minority government is ruling the state.

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[–] dagenleg link

At least Alawite goverment looks out for other minorities. Sunny majority government is going to be devastating for everyone who is not Sunni.

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[–] baursak link

Majority of Syrian Sunnis support the government. Majority of Syrian army is Sunni.

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[–] travmatt link

>relatively liberal (relative to an alternative)

We're talking about the al-Assad ruling family? The same family whose literal policy is to raze towns that shelter any opposition, and are currently literally gassing their own citizens?

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[–] wavefunction link

Interesting that you're conflating Russia and Iran unprompted, especially since Iran has done more to fight ISIS than the Gulf State 'allies' who appear to be happy to invest in both ISIS and Al Qaeda.

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[–] Stranger43 link

And protect their influence.

The US have never managed to secure any positive relationship with any secular/moderate Arab movement due to an mixture of commiphobia and incompetent arrogance within the western diplomatic establishment. Where as there is an relatively close relationship between most of the sponsors of radical Islamic terror and the US establishment through the gulf royals and their investment into the failing businesses of western dynasties and retired generals/admirals.

So the result of tolerating/establishing a moderate semi-secular government in an Arab state, tend to benefit Iran/Russia as we saw with post Saddam Iraq where the new government was forced to buy Russian planes and ask for Iranian support as the US kept stalling their attempts to buy American(mostly due to infighting between us suppliers) until half of Iraq had fallen to ISIS.

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[–] rajathagasthya link

To put in another way, Russia is trying to defend Assad rather than fighting ISIS. They are going to fight anyone who opposes Assad, whether it's ISIS or the rebels. The reason is their military bases in Syria which Assad has allowed them to operate in exchange for his "safety".

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[–] djsumdog link

The US and Russia are not really enemies at all; not even under the Obama administration. It's all a nice setup to keep most people distracted. Both nations depend on each other for arms and weapons sales.

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[–] wilburTheDog link

The proxy war against Russia is about oil. The US and its allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar want the Trans Arabian Pipeline to run through Syria. Russia is financially dependent on its oil and natural gas deliveries to Europe. If the US had been able to overthrow Assad they would have been able to supply Europe's energy needs from the Arabian peninsula and weaken Russia. This is old news, really. These kind of energy politics have been going on since the 50's. (https://www.ecowatch.com/syria-another-pipeline-war-18821805...) and have shown no sign of stopping (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/world/europe/us-seeks-to-...)

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[–] QAPereo link

Lessons were learned... 9/11 gave the MIC 2 tasty wars, one ongoing and the longest ever for us. They've learned that this is how you create a cycle of demand, aka a cycle of violence.

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[–] elif link

7 wars at last count, i believe. Or actually, 0 wars and 7 AUMFs since if they were wars, congress would have to publicly debate their merits and impacts.

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[–] sixQuarks link

Sadly, you're probably correct. Although we should never underestimate the incompetence of government, but this is too crazy to be incompetence.

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[–] baursak link

The US is literally sponsoring Al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria to fuel the proxy war against Russia and Iran and to hinder their fight against ISIS and other jihadi groups. It's 1980s all over again and a 16th anniversary of 9/11. No lessons learned.

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[–] skrebbel link

Anyone got a tl;dr about the motive behind all this? What does the US government gain by flooding the middle East with weapons?

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[–] travmatt link

Broadly, America has traditionally supported Sunni leaning states, most notably Saudi Arabia. Russia has traditionally supported Shia Iran, and both the powers are competing for influence within the region.

In the course of the Arab Spring, the legitimacy of many ME leaders/dictators was questioned, among the most notable of these was the rule of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. A popular local outpouring of resentment against his regime was coopted and inflamed by hardline Sunni extremists, many of these being veterans of the Iraq War or younger generations of recuits. This escalated into a full civil war, which quickly turned into a proxy battle for control over Syria, which heretofore had been a Russian proxy state, with a large air base.

While the United States has been arming anti-Assad (who also are notably anti-American) forces, Russia has been targeting civilian population centers (with both conventional and chemical weapons) to first create then inflame the Syrian refugee crisis, driving political instability first throughout Turkey then the EU - both sides seeking to ratchet up the pressure on terms favorable to them.

The tl;dr is a civil war turned proxy war is creating some of the most acute human suffering present in our world today.

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[–] _nx010_ link

Oh wow.

The refugee crisis unfolded years before Russia even entered the conflict. Accusing them of creating it now is silly. Nor did Russia have a large air base in Syria until last year. Nor did the Russians supply or use chemical weapons. In fact, they earnestly tried to do the opposite - take Assad's chem weapons away (though they obviously failed).

The thing about Russia targeting civilians is curious to me. Is Russia killing civilians in Syria? Sure. Are Russians doing it on purpose, as part of their strategy? That I am not so sure about. I suspect it has more to do with urban nature of the conflict, low-precision bombs, bad intel, and yes - I have to admit - the traditionally lower value Russians place on human life (including their own). But as a part of some grand genocidal strategy that Western press attributes to the Russians? Probably not.

Case in point, when US aviators were bombing Mosul, they were also killing hundreds of civilians in the process (see links below). Despite the fact, no one has accused the US of specifically targeting civilians. All civilian deaths were chalked up to mistakes, rather than evil intent.

But in Russia's case, it's a strategy. Beats me why.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-syr...

[2] https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-07-13/were-high-civilian-ca...

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[–] travmatt link

>The refugee crisis unfolded years before Russia even entered the conflict. Accusing them of creating it now is silly. Nor did Russia have a large air base in Syria until last year. Nor did the Russians supply or use chemical weapons. In fact, they earnestly tried to do the opposite - take Assad's chem weapons away (though they obviously failed).

Correct, I misspoke earlier - the Russians did not create the refugee situation - but they have certainly inflamed and weaponised it. In addition to targeting civilian population centers with indiscriminate munitions, they have also shut down legal asylum from Syria into Russia, claiming that Syria is safe for its residents. Again, it does this so the refugees are forced to flow eastward into turkey then Greece, despite Syria being a proxy state and Russia owing some form of assistance. They've compounded these issues by spreading disinformation in Europe, planting stories of fake rapes and murders by Syrian refugees in European media, again to sow distrust and create political instability. And I'm thoroughly unconvinced about the efforts of Russians to find and confiscate chemical weapons - they only agreed to the deal in the first place to mitigate the chance of Americans opening direct military operations after the red line violation, and as you've alluded to, there have been plenty of chemical weapon attacks since then.

And to fend of further misrepresentations of my words, I never said Russia's goal is to kill civilians - again their goal is to destroy their homes and communities, so that they are forced to become refugees. By closing its own borders it's making sure other countries have to bare the burden of its operations - this is what the NATO commander meant when he said Putin is trying to use Syrian refugees to break NATO.

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[–] omurphy27 link

"A popular local outpouring of resentment against his regime was coopted and inflamed by hardline Sunni extremists"

I seem to remember the Assad regime continuously arresting, torturing, and even outright shooting peaceful protestors for a number of months, which directly lead to the armed rebellion. Obviously, Sunni extremists would later hijack the opposition, but I feel that far too many gloss over Assad's role in starting the entire conflict.

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[–] liopleurodon link

"Russia has been targeting civilian population centers (with both conventional and chemical weapons)"

citation needed

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[–] tudorw link

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/27/499578650/...

"This year, UNICEF "said it has verified at least 38 attacks on schools around Syria, whether in government-held areas or rebel-controlled territory. Before Wednesday's attack, 32 children were killed in 2016 in attacks on schools," as the group's regional chief of communication, Juliette Touma, told The Associated Press.

"A total of 60 attacks were recorded on schools in 2015," she told the AP, adding that 1 in 3 schools in the country have been rendered unusable by the conflict."

"At least 96 children have been killed and 223 injured in eastern Aleppo in the past week, UNICEF said Thursday, with some left to die on the floor of hospitals due to lack of medical supplies. Syrian and Russian forces have been bombarding rebel-held areas of the city for five straight days in what has been described as the most intense bombing campaign to hit the city since the war in Syria started six years ago."

https://news.vice.com/article/un-slams-russia-syria-for-kill...

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[–] timeu link

The reporting about Aleppo was a bit ridiculous (Aleppo must have more hospitals than any other city) compared to how our Media reports about Mossul and Raqqa. Go look up the numbers of how many civilians were killed by the anti-IS Coalition forces (btw it dramatically increased since Trump is in power). Only because the media is not reporting it in the same extent as in case of Aleppo doesn't mean it doesn't happen. War sucks. Plain and simple.

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[–] travmatt link

Also of note is the attacks on hospitals, al-Assad's very deliberate strategy of gassing civilian populations, Russia's use of non discriminatory weaponry such as barrel bombs, and especially their advocacy of political instability in Europe, including planting false stories of rape and genocide by muslims, and their cooperation with Erdogan in promoting said instability.

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[–] evunveot link

There's also the pipeline angle, which isn't a mainstream narrative, though I haven't noticed anyone trying to debunk it. Article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

https://www.ecowatch.com/syria-another-pipeline-war-18821805...

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[–] travmatt link

This is what people mean by strategic interest. But trying to say the Syrian proxy war is over a pipeline is saying the tail is wagging the dog.

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[–] phyller link

The article says they are theoretically only arming groups that are fighting against ISIS. I'm pretty sure if they can defeat them on the ground without committing American troops (airstrikes can only do so much) and only spending $1 billion dollars they are going to consider that a big win.

The sentiment of this question explains why even further. ISIS does very bad stuff and is a major problem, and we can all wonder why the west doesn't do more to stop them because they clearly have the ability to do so. But then the moment the US gets really involved, everyone is going to shift blame to them for everything. I don't condone secretive actions like this myself, but considering the US's global influence and capability, if they weren't doing something about ISIS the question could easily be restated "What does the US government gain by allowing extremists to rape and pillage the middle east?"

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[–] raverbashing link

"only arming groups that are fighting against ISIS"

Yeah, a lot of "moderate rebels" (that are slightly less theocratic than ISIS)

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[–] tboyd47 link

Unfortunately, the US military has transferred the Cold War strategy of "an enemy of my enemy is my friend" to radical pseudo-Islamic militant groups. That's not going to work so well because you might have two groups that have exactly the same beliefs except they gave allegiance to a different imam so they consider each other to be kuffar.

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[–] phyller link

Yea. I think every employee of a 3 letter agency should be required to write a scholarly paper on the term "blowback" and have it peer reviewed before they get to spend any money.

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[–] icebraining link

The US already has troops on the ground, at least a few members of the special forces are working with the SDF/YPG on the front lines.

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[–] misja111 link

The war in Syria is a proxy for a battle between two countries: Iran on the one side, which supports Assad's regime, and Saudi Arabia on the other side, which supports the Sunnite rebel groups ISIS and Al Qaida.

Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US and Iran an enemy, so therefore the US supports the rebel groups that fight Assad's regime. What's more, US's close ally Israel is right at the border of Syria and Israel is a long time enemy of Iran as well.

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[–] Quarrelsome link

Assad is also Russia, that's a pretty big deal. Its worth noting how this conflict also draws in people linked to Hamas and Hezbollah. Its suspected that part of ISIS's emergence was due to Turkey as they expanded towards the Kurds (a key demographic that Turkey is keen on subduing) so it really is a clusterfuck before we even start to consider US/Russian involvement.

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[–] travmatt link

Syria is also home to a large Russian airbase and contains strategically/economically important warm water ports - Syria is a very valuable Russian ally, probably why the prospect destroying that relationship is so enticing.

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[–] notfromhere link

It's western policy to prevent any unified arab state to emerge from the middle east.

...not that the middle east needs the help dividing itself, but a pan-arab superstate would probably be bad news bears for the Med region

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[–] X86BSD link

This is the reason Syria was destabilized by the US. Natural gas to Europe. Period. This is not about Assad, the US is simply demonizing him to justify their destruction of another secular soverign country. Russia supplies Europe with almost all of its natural gas. This is unacceptable to the west. What the west wants is to drag nat gas up from Qatar through Syria to the med and north into Europe breaking Russia's strangle hold on their nat gas. The problem? Assad wouldn't play ball. He refused to allow the pipeline to go through Syria. That made him a target the US had to demonize with fictitious stories of savagery he committed against his people just like with every other leader in the Middle East the US murdered.

So the US government declared him a savage animal and wanted to overthrow him. The problem? Russia was Assad's ally. And they refused to allow that to happen. They have deep ties with Assad. As well as naval bases in Syria. So that resulted in a proxy war. The US aiding, arming, and training savage barbaric monsters aka Isis, aka Islamic barbarians to fight for them to take over Syria. And the Russians, who actually are on the right side, who are supporting Assad and fighting these monsters.

This is all about energy folks. Natural gas and Russia's strangle hold on europes nat gas supply.

When you understand this, the level of barbarism the US is engaging in puts the fedgov in a whole new level of depravity in most people's eyes.

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[–] alexandercrohde link

do you have any sources for these claims?

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[–] X86BSD link

http://armedforcesjournal.com/pipeline-politics-in-syria/

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/its-all-about-pipeline...

That took longer than it should have because of the stupid throttling at HN regarding posts. It's hard to carry any kind of discussion when you are limited to three? Replies per hour?

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[–] zacurry link

I wouldn't be too surprised if this is true. The USA wants to ensure that all energy deals are done using their "petro" dollar.Assad could have/is threatened to trade using euro , much like Saddam did(Iraq made a windfall from that decision when euro went up) before the Iraq war.Many people say that was one of the motivations behind the Iraq war.

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[–] knowaveragejoe link

Any better sources? ZH is notoriously sensationalist and often completely wrong.

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[–] mfukar link

The answers to the question "what is there to gain?" are fairly obvious, don't you think?

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[–] skrebbel link

No, otherwise I wouldn't ask.

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[–] cfv link

Shitting on Russia's projection of power?

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[–] vermontdevil link

Proxy war against Russia and Iran.

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[–] banned1 link

Funds?

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[–] stefantalpalaru link

> What does the US government gain by flooding the middle East with weapons?

A bigger market: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military–industrial_complex

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[–] r721 link

The better link is the whole project page:

https://www.occrp.org/en/makingakilling/

>Since the outbreak of war in Syria, weapons from Central and Eastern Europe have flooded the conflict zone through two distinct pipelines – one sponsored by Saudi Arabia and coordinated by the CIA, and the other funded and directed by the Pentagon.

>A series of investigations by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) have brought to light these multi-billion-dollar weapons deliveries -- exposing the misleading and potentially illegal documents on which they rely, the shady dealers at its heart of the trade, and the governments that have profited from the war.

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[–] rapeofthelocke link

Thank you. That was the point of my submission. The importance of the article is not so much that the US is funding weapons to Syria (as many commenters have said, that's unsurprising); the key point here is that they are using nefarious means to do it, and thereby undermining international law and control mechanisms such as the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

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[–] danso link

I doubt I would have read this article (through HN) if the submitter hadn't added "Falsifies End User Documents" to the submission title (actual title of the article is "Revealed: The Pentagon Is Spending Up To $2.2 Billion on Soviet-Style Arms for Syrian Rebels"). So I'm glad that technical detail was emphasized, because a lot of this story deals with technicalities. It's not a secret that the Pentagon spends hundreds of millions to fund rebel groups -- as the article points out, they put out press releases and official PowerPoints about it. But what is interesting is the obfuscation of details, such as the special ops "end-user certificate" which is so vaguely worded that it basically implies the Pentagon could transfer weapons to anyone it feels like. "NATO allies and partners" instead of "Republic of Iraq", for instance.

I loved the example of one of the publicly-available arms contracts being altered after reporters sent questions; even in something as big as arms deals and proxy wars, someone in the bureaucracy will fuck up the paperwork: https://www.occrp.org/assets/makingakilling/pentagon-procure...

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[–] evunveot link

This is about what the Pentagon/military is doing. The CIA had its own operation.

"Reporters have pieced together the Pentagon’s complex supply line to Syria using procurement records, ship-tracking data, official reports, leaked emails, and interviews with insiders. This program is separate from a now-defunct CIA effort to arm rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad."

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[–] wu-ikkyu link

See Iran Contra. Congress made it illegal to use tax payer $ to fund Nicaraguan terrorists, so the MIC created a clandestine workaround.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Contra_affair

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[–] PeachPlum link

The WaPo is not an independent reporting body, its parent group Amazon, has juicy contracts from the CIA, you can trust nothing it prints.

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[–] dragonwriter link

Amazon is not WaPo’s parent; Bezos owns it independently of Amazon.

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[–] jaxytee link

Still a conflict of interest.

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[–] knowaveragejoe link

If you're a conspiracy theorist, sure. Why would WaPo write negatively about the CIA if that were the case?

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[–] anotherbrownguy link

>Why would WaPo write negatively about the CIA if that were the case?

To distract from something else or to downplay their ill deeds or to explain what they did in completely different context so that the real intent can be hidden.

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[–] hLHEDuYtSh link

This article makes it sound like the program is ongoing, but I am not sure how to reconcile this with stories like this, which claim that the program has been cancelled: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump...

Does anyone have insight here?

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[–] throw2016 link

There is no way for a group like ISIS to exist in the modern world without support from a major power.

The dichotomy of arming and supporting extremists and those who support global extremism like SA on one side while accelerating surveillance programs at home to protect yourself from the same extremists is diabolical, something a truly despotic state can pull off.

They would have to have near complete control or a pliant media, civil institutions, academia and a passive citizenry to pull it off.

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[–] forapurpose link

It's a valuable story to tell, but I wouldn't leap to any conclusions:

Why shouldn't the Pentagon be arming allies in the Syrian civil war? Speaking very generally, I hope they do support those resisting Assad, Iran, and Russia. There is nothing necessarily nefarious in arming allies, and it's better than sending your own people to fight and die.

However, I'm surprised it's going on:

First, the Obama administration was accused of being too cautious in arming anyone, not only in Syria but in Ukraine. (I read that they studied the issue, and concluded that the tactic of arming insurgents rarely worked out well, and often resulted in the arms falling into the wrong hands. I don't know how much that study influenced their decisions, however.) Obama was in office until January, so Trump would only have had a few months to setup and execute this multi-billion dollar program, including procurement, international logistics, and more.

Second, the Trump administration has announced they are abandoning the rebels, except when they are fighting ISIL, and accommodating Assad and the Russians (and as a result, their ally the Iranians).

So under what and whose policy are the Syrian rebels being armed?

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[–] brndnmtthws link

So does paying taxes in the US qualify as funding terrorism?

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[–] throwawayscw link

One of the stipulations for supplying these militas with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile launchers is to upload a video of them shooting their target to youtube.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BGM-71_TOW#2011:_Syrian_Civil_...

https://www.reddit.com/r/CombatFootage/search?q=syria+tow&re...

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[–] anotherbrownguy link

It's not very surprising. It's very simple. They serve people who benefit as long as there is conflict.

If there is conflict:

- there will be multiple groups who want to defeat each other

- you can sell weapons to the richest of those groups

- you can sell weapons to third party governments (who use money collected forcefully from the public) to "fix the problems" caused by the conflict

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[–] Asdfbla link

It always surprises me that those intelligence agencies obviously think this is worth it, considering they certainly must be aware of all the potential drawbacks that occur when you fuel war and instability like that.

They must operate with totally different views of what constitute "good" and "bad" outcomes of the whole conflict. I guess you can justify all of that by just being cynical enough, but I'd like it if the military (at least in democratic countries) had to make their rationale for heating up conflicts transparent to the civilian world.

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[–] rapeofthelocke link

Pleasure. Keep following OCCRP: they are the world's best kept secret in investigative reporting.

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[–] FrojoS link

Several comments here blame profits of the military-industrial complex as motivation for these arm exports, yet these weapons are produced in former USSR countries not in the US.

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned here yet, since it's even in the title of the article. Of course, there are still profits for the US military-industrial complex. For instance the article states that "US-based Alliant Techsystems Operations" has a contract for buying these weapons from countries like Bulgaria. In addition, one can cynically assume that heating up the conflict will increase demand for US involvement and subsequent increase demand for US weapons. Still, I find it interesting, that after initially arming rebels with US weapons, the US switched to soviet-style weapons. According to the article, the rebels "were already using and familiar with" the soviet-style weapons. I would say that makes sense, but would hardly be a deal breaker if your main motivation was selling US weapons. This is not meant to defend US policies, but I think their geopolitical motivations are much more important than mere profit seeking and corruption.

By the way, this seems to be a very well researched article, thanks for the submission @rapeofthelocke.

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[–] brndnmtthws link

The winners will always have the privilege of rewriting history to make themselves look righteous. If Germany had won WWII, it would be the same thing except with a different set of ruling elites.

Perhaps we need to consider that governments as they exist today do not work, especially when power is held in the hands of so few people. The US congress (which has the power to kill people) is only made up of 100 senators, which is supposed to represent the views of ~325 million people. Doesn't that seem a little fishy? In the age of the internet, why can't everyone with a computer or cell phone participate in policy making?

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[–] ssijak link

Saddest thing is that most Americans are brainwashed by one sided mass media to think that USA is doing good and righteous deeds. Sad truth is that USA is for a century producing countless wars for its own interest, in which millions of inosent people died and left many regions in ruin and in bad relationships to its neighbors. Btw, i witnessed two of those pointless wars. Last time when as a kid in a capitol of Europe, Belgrade, bombs and tomahawks were falling on my city. Painfully pointless and sad.

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[–] flachsechs link

if anyone hasn't seen the movie "lord of war" with nic cage, i highly recommend it. it deals with these kinds of issues.

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[–] VMG link

Aaaand the story is pushed down: https://i.imgur.com/TTTvpPy.png

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[–] Top19 link

So you actually hit on the correct answer in your response. According to George Friedman, the futurist, it is "to destabilize the region". That might not be the original goal of any mission the US does, but the fact remains, if the US goes into an area and really help a population, we win. If the region is destabilized such as crazy infighting occurs that prevents people coming together and such, the US also wins.

A good example is the often observed fact that "Napoleon was the best thing to have ever happened to the British". Europe was very close to aligning against Britain, and dragging them into a revolutionary war ala the US, but at the last minute a new bad guy appeared, the French, whose energy the other European powers poured themselves into.

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[–] gras link

How would Israel benefit from a stable Middle-East? I'm of the impression that Israel would want perpetual instability in order to prevent the Arabs from uniting and destroying the Jewish ethnostate, and that's why they orchestrated the war on terror.

Funny that you mention Napoleon, he was allegedly funded by the Rothschild banker family as were the British; they funded both sides. It seems to me that Israel is doing the same thing now.

One barricade to discussing this seems to be the word "antisemitism". Right now antisemitism is a very broad term which includes anti-Zionism, being critical of Israel, disliking people for being Jewish of race, culture, ethnicity or religion, and goes up all the way to "gas the kikes". It even includes things like talking about "blood libel", which is a misleading term in itself because there have been proven cases of Jews killing goyim for ritual sacrifices.

I'm personally against discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity, but I deplore the idea of any culture or religion being above critique. If a culture or religion tries to tell me I can't talk about them because they are so oppressed, while they are themselves disproportionately wealthy, influential and perhaps also intelligent... that's not being oppressed, that's a manipulation tactic only afforded by those already in power.

Lately I've been trying to understand the relation between Israel, US foreign policy, Zionism, Marxism, feminism, the concept of "isms", and the Jewish faith, especially the Talmudic branch. It's a... noisy thing to research, lots of angles, ill-defined terms, lots of misinformation going around. Forgive me if I got something obviously wrong.

If you think my beliefs are inaccurate on any of this stuff, please help me develop them by helping me to some better sources of information (or perhaps techniques on better historic research). It's hard researching this and my time is limited.

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[–] dragonwriter link

> How would Israel benefit from a stable Middle-East?

Israel-the-people or Israel-the-currently-dominant-political-faction?

Because the answers are different and opposed.

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[–] gras link

"Rotschild Zionists", not the anti-Zionist Jews or gentile Israelis.

I'm having a hard time deciding how to group Zionist Jews (I think most Israeli citizens are?) that are not politically active, they're in a spectrum between the upper end of the gentile lower class and the lower end of the Zionist upper class.

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[–] dragonwriter link

> Could someone explain to me why Al Qaeda and ISIS are aligned with Israel's interests?

Much the same reason as Hamas is (and why Israel was instrumental in creating Hamas because it's the enemy they want to have): it's an opponent to their existing more established enemies that creates instability and conflict among Arab and Muslim grouos, and because if it succeeds in displacing the existing groups rather than merely weakening and destabilizing them while killing lots of Arabs, it's ideology is much easier to turn international opinion against.

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[–] gras link

I guess it makes sense, seeing how Israel is known to have supported Al-Qaeda by taking care of wounded soldiers in the border zone. I thought it was strange that Israel supported a group that the US was officially fighting, but I wrote it off as part of Israel's policy of destabilizing its neighbors.

Could someone explain to me why Al Qaeda and ISIS are aligned with Israel's interests? I don't understand why they like these groups, they are very anti-Zionist, anti-American and anti-Semitic. Is it because they fuel the global arms trade? Because they destabilize the region? Because they scare Jews into moving to Israel?

Is it because they are useful idiots, like the Nazi's and Antifa are? Or is there another way to see this?

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[–] mythrwy link

It's not people are horrified by Assad's regime at all. That's just a line to sell a war in newspapers. There are much much worse governments than Assad in the world. Some are nominally our friends. Some we just ignore because they aren't in strategically important locations or don't have resources of interest.

I thought it was commonly understood at this point that "spreading democracy and human liberty" translated to "strategic significance". Which I'd feel a lot better about if they just came out and said. I might even support the campaigns if a good argument were made. But being deceived leaves a bad taste in the mouth and you start not trusting.

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[–] meri_dian link

You're much too cynical. We support democratic nations and try to set up democracy and liberal institutions when situations present themselves. We don't completely shut out nations like Saudi Arabia because there is more to be gained by working with them than against them. What would you want the US to do, invade Saudi Arabia because we disagree with it?

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[–] ssijak link

who gave you the right to invade anyone on that matter? people will disagree all the time. if iran or somalia or kuba or whomever disagree how USA is governed, does it give them right to invade you? and will you have the same opinion if USA were to be weak and they had the power to do it?

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[–] mengibar10 link

Do you support Democratic nation? Read and learn (spoiler it was not the first nor the last time).

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-rol...

The mistake you're making is using the "we". If you mean a state within State by "we", you are wrong, if you mean the people, the public, you are right. People general have no clue what their state (not government) are doing to others.

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[–] mythrwy link

Is what was done to Syria and the Syrian people worth the cost of "setting up democracy and liberal institutions"?

(As if that were even remotely possible to be the outcome)

So what is it then? Why are we there? It's not human liberty when the people being armed are worse than the people they are trying to overthrow.

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[–] david927 link

Rubbish. The US needs to curb its military, worldwide.

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[–] meri_dian link

The US is a major reason for the lasting peace among developed nations. A multi-polar world means war.

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[–] dragonwriter link

> The US is a major reason for the lasting peace among developed nations.

The Soviet Union was a bigger reason, with Russia (with an assist from al-Qaeda/ISIS) stepping in to take their place not long after the USSR fell.

There's been peace among the First World countries because they are united in an alliance with common enemies. The US has been important in forming the alliance, sure, but the enemies were the real key.

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[–] mengibar10 link

How do you explain fabricating evidence to invade a sovereign country within that context?

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[–] meri_dian link

This is a damned if we do damned if we don't sort of situation. People are horrified by Assad's regime, so the US is called to take action. Arming rebels is one way it has taken action. Unfortunately in a situation as complex as Syria some of those weapons inevitably fall into the hands of rebels groups we do not want to be associating with.

On the other hand if the US were to do nothing, people would decry the injustice of such a powerful nation ignoring - tacitly accepting - the mass murder of civilians.

There are no good answers here.

Edit: Any country, not just the US, that tried to get involved in foreign affairs to the degree that the US has would inevitably have negative outcomes. Involving oneself in messy situations usually leads to messy conclusions.

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