January 28, 2017

President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep.

Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria for refugees from that nation’s conflict. The president went out of his way to insist that such safe zones would spare the United States from having to shelter Syrian refugees.

He should better worry about Chicago where 762 citizens were murdered last year.

At the same time, Trump, declaiming from his new Mount Olympus of New York’s Trump Tower, vowed to impose a 30-day halt on immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals.’

One wonders if any of Trump’s Praetorian Guard noticed that all these listed ‘terrorist’ nations have been attacked by the United States or seen their governments overthrown by Uncle Sam. I’m surprised Afghanistan and Pakistan were left off the list. Their time will likely come soon. Is it any wonder that all of these Muslim nations bear a serious grudge against the United States? The angriest group is ISIS, who are seeking revenge for the destruction of Iraq.

Former President Barack Obama shied away from direct military intervention in Syria, preferring stealthy warfare, drones and hit squads. He had the sense to know that US military intervention in the heart of the Mideast would be fraught with danger, not the least clashes between US and Russian forces. History shows it’s easy to invade into unstable areas but hard to get out.

But not so for bull in the Mideast china shop Trump as he charges into the Levant, advised by generals who made a mess in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Trump’s ardently pro-Israel cabinet must be rubbing their hands in glee as they see Syria in his cross hairs. The destruction of Syria’s regime and fragmenting that nation is an Israeli strategic priority.

One wishes Trump would stop for a moment and reflect. There are 11 million Syrian refugees in Syria and neighboring states. They are the result of a civil war engineered by Washington, Turkey, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, with France and Britain playing a supporting role. Western money, arms and supplies have fuelled the six-year old conflict whose aim was to overthrow Syria’s Assad government because he is an ally of Iran.

The US and France did exactly the same thing in Libya, overthrowing its leader, Muammar Khadaffi, and murdering him – thank you Hillary Clinton. The US invaded and destroyed Iraq, tore apart Somalia and neighboring Sudan, and is now providing warplanes, bombs and mercenary advisors that Saudi Arabia – the patron of the jihadi forces in Syria – is using to crush little Yemen.

The largest number of Mideast refugees are now in Syria, thank you Uncle Sam, and its neighbors, Jordan and Lebanon. The second biggest group are the 5.2 million Palestinian refugees scattered across the Levant. Iraq is awash with internal refugees, thank you George W. Bush. Add now a couple of million refugees from strife-torn South Sudan, a new failed nation created by blundering US Mideast policy as a way of punishing disobedient Sudan, thank Bush and Obama.

At the same time, Washington must avoid any and all risk of military clashes in Syria with Russia. We can’t keep huffing and puffing that Moscow has no business in Syria when it’s as close to southern Russia as northern Mexico is to Texas. The US has troops and bases across the globe, most lately in Africa. Who are we to tell Russia to get out of Syria?

Just when it seemed that the Syrian conflict was beginning to simmer down, Trump’s intervention will be certain to heat up the conflict and undermine potential peace agreements. In case there are still Muslims who believed the US is their friend, as was the case fifty years ago, they will now understand that America is their enemy thanks to Trump’s ham-handed, ‘no Muslims’ policies.

Muslims account for 23% of the world’s population and will surpass Christians in about four decades. Besides riling up the Chinese, is it really wise to antagonize and insult members of Islam, the world’s fast-growing religion? And single out Muslims as most likely to face torture? Bad idea.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2017

This post is in: Syria, USA


  1. Using the “safe zone” Trojan Horse for an American boots-on-the-ground coup de grace of Assad’s tenacious Syria is perhaps Trump’s only appeasement to Israeli’s most ardent desire, an all-out Yankee attack against Iran. On the upside, Trump’s “humanitarian” safe-zones effort is so utterly transparent, it may finally put an end to the R2P Doctrine that has done so much damage wherever liberally applied.

  2. Like you, Eric, US General Wesley Clark is not given very much airtime by the MSM. who increasingly appear to be speaking for the Power, not speaking Truth to Power.

    Of all the big name whistle blowers, General Clark is right up there.

    He revealed to the world in 2007, the Bush Administration had a plan in 2001, to bring regime change to 7 Middle East Nations, including Libya and Syria. I used Eric’s comment in many other discussions, the US is making regime change as American as apple pie.

    It was Democrat Obama who followed through with the 2001 Bush Republican plans in 2011, when his CIA started running Gadaffi’s weapons from their Station in Benghazi, after NATO brought about regime change in Libya according to the 2001 Bush plan, to their proxy terrorist regime change boots on the ground in Syria.

    Trump’s Executive Order targets the same 7 Nations that are on the 2001 Bush list. Is this circumstantial evidence there really is a ‘deep state’ pulling the strings no matter who is in Power?

    Here’s the evidence of General Clark’s 2007 whistle blowing:


  3. Joe from Canada says:

    Nice to see that you are back on target here.
    Hopefully, soon, you will realize what a blunder the great writers of America should have given more attention to Sanders, the Canadian-style prophet in their midst.

  4. soapboxer says:

    Reading Eric Margolis on a Saturday morning never leaves me indifferent.Sometimes stunned by the insight and facts he provides,sometimes angry that ‘democratic’ governments in so many western countries descend to the level of subservient vassal of Washington…at their ultimate expense . This latest contribution exposes the underlining cause of repeated refugee tsumanis striking European shores…a Continent now awash in millions of people who do not share ..and in most cases refute European languages, cultures,values, social ,religious and legal structures. The merciless descent into chaos brought about by the aforementioned countries in the Middle East have sent millions into flight…bombed out house, schools and marketplaces tend to have that effect it seems.
    That flight is the crows coming home to roost …and I doubt that migration is about to end.

  5. Good analysis. However, I doubt that Trump, given his interest in trying to be on good terms with Vladimir Putin, would be interested in risking any clashes with Russia over Syria. If anything, Trump is now more likely to stand back and let Russia do the dirty work of clearing ISIS out of Syria, while using American air power in an attempt to crush ISIS in Iraq.

    Anyway, Eric, do you now regret having supported Trump early on in the US election?

  6. One can only hope that #45 destroys America before he can do too much damage anywhere else.

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