by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
In her extraordinarily bold and direct speech addressed to the Irish Parliament, Clare Daly (TD, Dublin North) called Obama a “war criminal” and “hypocrite of the century”. In describing the fawned reception of Obama in Ireland akin to pimping and prostituting of that nation, Ms. Daly hit the nail on the head. Sadly, America dwarfs Ireland and elsewhere in the undignified category of prostitution – the 29 standing ovations from Congress in May 2011 for war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu attests to this tragic fact.
While Daly was quite right in censuring Obama for his criminal policies, including aiding terrorists in Syria, it is worthwhile noting that Obama is merely a willing instrument; the faces and factors behind his handlers and the policies merit greater scrutiny and exposure.
Backing and arming the so-called Syrian opposition distracts from the threat posed by Israel and its’s expansionist agenda by internalizing the enemy in order to weak the State. As former Israeli Intelligence Chief, Amos Yaldin told the audience at the Israel Policy Forum in February 2013: “And this military [Syrian], which is a huge threat to Israel, is now also weakening and, in a way, disintegrating. We still have risk from Syria– a risk of being an AlQaeda country, a Somalia-type country — but from military point of view, each one of these are less dangerous than the Syrian regular army.”
Perpetuating adversaries to kill each other is a time-tested tactic – one which was used during the bloody eight year Iran-Iraq war; a war which according to Leon Wieseltier[i] was a “distraction” when Israeli boots were on the ground in Southern Lebanon. In that war, the United States was providing arms and intelligence to both sides. When asked what the logic was in aiding both sides in the bloody war, a former official replied: “You had to have been there”[ii]. But why Syria?
The Need for Water
The primary goal of the early Zionist leadership was to control and secure the region’s waters. At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Chaim Weizmann declared that ‘it was of vital importance not only to secure all water resources feeding the country, but to control them at the sources – and the development of these waters became the primary aim of the Yishuv as a whole[iii]. This policy remained in place. As Israel’s third Prime Minister Levi Eshkol put it, water was “the blood flowing through the arteries of the nation”.
As previously stated (HERE and HERE), the chaos we witness in Syria today has been in the making for years with the aid and backing of Israel-firsters in order to accommodate Israel’s agenda – expansion and control of regional water supplies while weakening its adversary/ies.
Israel faced one of its worst droughts in 1990-91. A second more serious drought in 1998, forced it to turn to water rich Turkey. Turkey and Israel engaged in serious negotiations starting in May 2000 to import 50 billion cubic meters of fresh water from Turkey using tanker ships, but using tankers was not cost effective for the transport of water. Alternate plans were suggested.
In September 2000, the same year that young Bashar-al Assad succeeded his father as President of Syria, a strategy paper entitled “The Geopolitics of Water” by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS) opined that “Since extensive water planning proposals will necessitate the establishment of pipelines and energy grids stretching across borders, a political and military structure that can ensure the safety and security of the carriers will be the prerequisite to effective water sharing” ….. “But an effective regional system would require political-military cooperation against Syria”.
How to achieve this?
Israeli-Firsters to the rescue
Media mogul Haim Saban became involved in politics in the mid 1990’s with a view to support Israel. Saban professes that his greatest concern is the “protection” of Israel. At a conference in Israel, Saban described his method of influencing American politics : ‘Make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets’. (Saban penned an opinion piece in The New York Times in support of President Obama in his 2012 re-election bid).
It was no surprised therefore that in 2002, Saban pledged $13 million to start a research organization at the Brookings Institution called the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Saban Center would play an important role in propping up Syrian opposition (as it did in fermenting unrest post-2009 Iran elections with their June 2009 publication titled: “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Towards Iran”).
In 2006, Time Magazine revealed that that the US had been agitating, funding, and supporting “opposition” in Syria. According to the Time, the U.S. was “supporting regular meetings of internal and diaspora Syrian activists” in Europe. The document bluntly expresses the hope that “these meetings will facilitate a more coherent strategy and plan of actions for all anti-Assad activists.”
It is worthwhile mentioning here that America’s support of the so-called “opposition” which includes criminals, terrorists, and foreign fighters to effect regime change underscores America’s stark hypocrisy. According to 18 USC § 2385 – Advocating overthrow of Government (Cornell Law), advocating the overthrow of the government, ‘organizing or help or attempt to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of the government of the United States or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence’ bears serious consequences including fines and prison sentence of up to 20 years.
What is most revealing about the abovementioned Time Magazine piece of 2006 is that America’s efforts to aid the opposition and undermine Assad were run through a foundation operated by Amar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based member of a Syrian umbrella opposition group known as the National Salvation Front (NSF). Abdulhamid was a visiting Fellow at the Saban Center (2004-2006) before moving on to the Neocon-run National Defense of Democracies.
When in 2008, Israel-firster Dennis Ross met with the “opposition” to discuss “Syria in Transition”, Saban’s fellow – Amar Abdullhamid was present. In February 2009, Dennis Ross joined the Obama Administration team. In April 2009, the US funded, London-based Baraada TV started its anti-Assad propaganda into Syria (The epicenter of the uprisings’ was Baraada over water distribution). Baraada TV’s chief editor, Malik al-Abdeh, is a cofounder of the Syrian exile group Movement for Justice and Development headed by Anas al-Abdah who was in attendance at the 2008 meeting with Dennis Ross.
It came as no surprise that John McCain who was a member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) formed to rid Iraq of Saddam Hossein, and a cheerleader for the Libya intervention, the Egyptian opposition to Mubarak, for bombing Iran, and so on…..visited Syrian “opposition” (via Turkey) in order to encourage more bloodshed. And expectedly, he was de-briefed — not at the White House, but at the Saban Center!
Soon after McCain’s presentation at the Saban Center, the White House disputed UN’s account and claimed that that Syria had crossed the ‘red line’ and used chemical weapons.
It is not the intention of this article to exclude the plethora of other individuals, think tanks, forums, and media pundits who have institutionalized Israel’s policies and promoted them as ‘America’s interests’; these are too numerous to mention here. However, a notable other Israel supporter must be named.
The Evangelical Factor
While various groups in Washington perpetuate and support Israel’s aggressive and expansionist policies — at a cost to America, non have the zeal and the zest of the Evangelicals who support Israel to death. According to the dispensational model, a time of turmoil lies ahead, but believers will be “raptured” away before it begins. This period of tribulation will culminate in the final battle at Armageddon, a valley northwest of Jerusalem.
The close association between American evangelicals and Israel has been a clear goal of Israeli politicians, especially those in the Likud party. According to Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum of AJC, “the evangelical community is the largest and fastest-growing bloc of pro-Jewish sentiment in this country”[iv]. Israel and Jewish organizations continue to rely on the support of Evangelicals to justify Israel’s occupation of Arab land even as Christian Zionists zest for evangelizing Jews remains a point of tension.
For example, within days of the June 1982 invasion of Lebanon (with a green light from Reagan), full-page ads appeared in leading papers requesting Evangelical support for the invasion[v]. In 1998, when Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington, he met with Jerry Falwell and numerous fundamentalist Christians before meeting with President Clinton. Similarly, as recently as April 2013, Pat Robertson warned that brokering peace between Israel and Palestine would bring punishment on America.
It has been alleged that funds raised in America by right wing Christians is funneled to West Bank settlements. The mayor of Ariel on the West Bank had estimated that two thirds of all Jewish settlements were funded by Christian Zionists.[vi]
Building for Armageddon?
While Evangelicals (not all) are rupture-ready and encourage Israel’s expansionist agenda, Israeli politicians are not yet Armageddon-ready; at least, not yet.
In March 2013, Business Inside revealed that the United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars building bunkers in Israel due to be completed 900 days from February 13, 2013. The project called Site 911 “will have five levels buried underground and six additional outbuildings on the above grounds, within the perimeter. At about 127,000 square feet, the first three floors will house classrooms, an auditorium, and a laboratory — all wedged behind shock resistant doors — with radiation protection and massive security. Only one gate will allow workers entrance and exit during the project and that will be guarded by only Israelis”. Each door of the facility will have a detailed description of the mezuzahs written in “in-erasable ink”. This should be heartwarming news to Americans whose taxes are spent on such projects while the bridges at home are crumbling.
The political establishment and the media has pimped out the nation. The list of conflicts awaiting us is long and bloody. Syria will not be the last conflict. This has been a brief and incomplete overview of what drives our nation, and where we are headed, the handlers and the willing instruments (in the words of Clare Daly, pimps and prostitutes). We continue to sink our head in sand and hope for a hero – for ‘something to happen’. There is only one hope for the future, and the only one power that can alter this destructive path: “We, The People”.
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.
 Chapter 6 reads: “The United States could play multiple roles in facilitating a revolution. By funding and helping organize domestic rivals of the regime, the United States could create an alternative leadership to seize power. As Raymond Tanter of the Iran Policy Committee argues, students and other groups “need covert backing for their demonstrations. They need fax machines. They need Internet access, funds to duplicate materials, and funds to keep vigilantes from beating them up.” Beyond this, US-backed media outlets could highlight regime shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent. The United States already supports Persian language satellite television (Voice of America Persian) and radio (Radio Farda) that bring unfiltered news to Iranians (in recent years, these have taken the lion’s share of overt US funding for promoting democracy in Iran). US economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership……”
[i] Wieseltier, Leon, “Israel meets Iran in Lebanon; The Wrong War”, The New Republic, Apr 8, 1985
[ii] Stephen R. Shalom, The United States and Iran-Iraq War, citing Stephen Engelberg, “Iran and Iraq Got ‘Doctored Data, U.S. Officials Say,” New York Times, 12 Jan. 1987, pp. A1, A6.
[iii] Jan Selby, “Water, Power & Politics in the Middle East; The Other Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003
[iv] Donald Wagner, “Evangelicals and Israel: Theological roots of a political alliance”, The Christian Century, Nov. 4, 1998).
[v] Donald Wagner, “Evangelicals and Israel: Theological roots of a political alliance”, ibid
[vi] Colin Shindler, “Likud and the Christian Dispensationalists: A Symbiotic Relationship”, Israeli Studies, March 31, 2000