This partial timeline provides evidence that the U.S. government and Obama in particular bear a significant responsibility for the Syrian war and the results of that war. Obama approved elements of CIA plans that go back over 65 years. The CIA meddling is distinct from the Pentagon’s failed plan to train moderate rebels, not covered in this timeline.
1940s and 1950s “…if you want to understand the origins of authoritarian rule in Syria today, it is important to go back to the 1940s and the 1950s and see the role the CIA played in that land.” See also here, p. 122: “In the late 1940’s, U.S. policymakers grew alarmed when the Syrian government, bowing to public pressure, refused to let a U.S. oil company build a pipeline through its territory. Washington also found the strong anti-Western sentiment and the large Communist party in the country ominous. Concerned that Syria was ‘drifting leftward’, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) laid plans to overthrow its three-year old civilian government.” CIA operatives met with right-wing military leaders in Damascus to discuss installing a “military-supported dictatorship”.
1947-1948 CIA attempts “to influence the 1947-8 elections by backing right-wing figures in the Nationalist Party…”
March, 1949 CIA sponsors Syrian coup d’etat; CIA directly involved.
1957 CIA and MI6 devise plan to assassinate 3 top Syrian leaders and overthrow the government. “…they planned to use agents provocateurs to launch a series of incidents.” “A ‘Free Syria Committee’ should be funded and ‘political factions with paramilitary or other actionist capabilities’ in Syria should be armed.” [Does this sound familiar?] See also here.
2006-2011 Prior to the onset of the Syrian war, the U.S. stirs up opposition to Syrian government (Assad). An April 18, 2011 article reads “Newly released WikiLeaks cables reveal that the US State Department has been secretly financing Syrian opposition groups and other opposition projects for at least five years, The Washington Post reports.”
March 2011 Daraa violence launches Syrian war. “The Daraa ‘protest movement’ on March 17-18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence.” “In Daraa, roof top snipers were targeting both police and demonstrators.” [Notice that this technique also occurred in the Kiev, Ukraine violence.] See also here.
August 18, 2011 Obama says Assad must go. “President Obama and European leaders called Thursday for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign, after months of his violent crackdown on protesters. The rhetorical escalation was backed by new U.S. sanctions designed to undermine Assad’s ability to finance his military operation.”
August 1, 2012 “Obama authorizes secret support for Syrian rebels”. “The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.”
October 2, 2013 “The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, U.S.-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war, U.S. officials said.” “The pace of the CIA program amounts to a trickle into the ranks of opposition fighters, who total about 100,000. U.S. intelligence officials said that as many as 20,000 of those are considered ‘extremists’ with militant Islamist agendas.”
“Those hard-line factions have drained momentum and support from moderate rebel groups. The most prominent Islamist groups, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, include fighters who have extensive experience from the war in Iraq, have ties to al-Qaeda and have carried out high-profile strikes against Assad’s government.”
April 23, 2014 “The U.S. is providing more arms and training to the moderate rebels in Syria, under a growing secret program run by the CIA in Jordan.” “Skeptics doubt the U.S. effort will help much, given the weakened state of the opposition and the inroads made by al-Qaida fighters. The moderate fighters being supported currently have relatively little influence on the ground.”
Oct. 2, 2015 “The CIA has provided the thousands of fighters it has trained at secret bases in Jordan with communications equipment, intelligence support and arms, including antitank missiles. Those CIA-backed fighters reentered Syria across that country’s southern border with Jordan, but many have made their way into units that are now arrayed north and east of Damascus — areas that have been pounded by Russian strikes over the past several days.”
In my opinion, the most serious U.S. meddling is what the Wikileaks cables reveal, which is the State Department’s organization of domestic opposition to its elected government. This provoked the revolution that started in Daraa, and that provided an opening for radical and armed Muslim elements to enter the battle. Next in importance is Obama’s position that Assad must go, because this guides the entry of the CIA and Pentagon into the war while committing the U.S. to a politically untenable and impossible course of attempting to reconstitute a new government among radical and rival forces if and when Assad falls or rebel forces gain control. Undetermined but significant amounts of arms and training have ended up flowing to ISIS and other radical groups that the U.S. cannot control, and these forces can’t be dislodged without bigger military commitments by the U.S. Neither the CIA’s activities nor the Pentagon’s failed training program have resulted in control over the battlefield or those groups, which have expanded control over Syrian territory.
Why did Obama intervene in Syria? There are four main reasons and they are not mutually exclusive. One reason is “democracy promotion”. This appears again and again in his rhetoric and that of the State department, where “democracy” is taken to mean “rights” among other things. Obama viewed Assad as standing in the way of the Syrian people. Obama’s intention to bomb Syria when he accused Assad of using chemical weapons brought out a version of this position in his concern for violations of international law. Obama has an idea of world order and the U.S. role in enforcing it. Obama’s position on the Arab Spring also showed this democracy promotion concern. The second reason is to thwart Iran in order to maintain U.S. dominance in the region. Related to this is U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and Gulf states who have also supported rebel elements in Syria as well as support for Turkey. The U.S. leads a coalition. The third reason is Israel’s influence in administration circles and on Capitol Hill. The fourth reason is to thwart Russia’s influence in Syria and deny it access to the Mediterranean. This appears to have backfired.
These are all reasons associated with Empire. Maintaining and extending the U.S. Empire is the dominant underlying and unquestioned assumption in all of this and in all of the meddling going on in other countries. It is the idea that American ways are superior and should be extended over the globe to create some kind of world order that’s in some sense vaguely utopian or reaches a kind of ever-progressing ascent to God only knows what. There is no real benefit to us average everyday Americans from any of this government meddling in Syria. We can ascend on our own. We can progress or regress on our own, without such interference. We do not need to bring down Assad and replace him with phantom moderates of the choosing of the State Department, the CIA or a president. We can invent, paint, write and play music, plant and cultivate crops, build dwellings, travel, participate in sports, take recreational drugs, have sex, play computer games, write poetry and do innumerable other activities without notions of empire, foreign meddling, or even progress. Who is to say what anyone is to do but themselves?
Why would I or many sane Americans want to bother with who rules Syria or how they rule it? It’s not my province. It’s none of my business. How in the world can I know whether I’m doing any good if I decide to butt in?
The government doesn’t think this way. It’s composed of people who want to meddle and run for office for that very reason. They are arrogant enough to think that they know what’s good for everyone when they don’t know diddly-squat. Who are they but pompous babbling fools? The CIA attracts smart people who love to work by schemes and subterfuges behind the scenes. These are power freaks who love playing byzantine games and relish manipulations. Why should any sane American want to allow these kinds of people to have access to ungodly amounts of money and power that they waste on their futile and very dangerous schemes that kill, maim and destroy?