Michael Weiss, Pro-Israel Neocon, Authors Blueprint for Western Military Intervention in Syria Approved by Syrian Ex-Pats
Pro-Israel neocon hawk Michael Weiss brags, in a new piece in Foreign Affairs Magazine, that he has drafted a blueprint adopted by the Syrian opposition, which includes a call for foreign military intervention:
…The SNC [Syrian National Council] launched its official Web site [which], drawing on a blueprint I prepared…[made an] aggressive call for foreign military intervention…
Frankly, I find it astonishing that the Syrian resistance would allow such a Perle-Wolfowitz-type character to influence its strategic deliberations. In fact, if these people don’t realize, they’re giving pro-regime forces a perfect opportunity to smear them with the charge of being lackeys of the Israel lobby, which is clearly a role that Weiss plays and relishes doing so. In fact, one of the major themes of Assad’s most recent TV address to the nation was the foreign cabals conspiring to take him down and replace him with a foreign-friendly puppet regime. I hate to say this, but he may be right if Michael Weiss has anything to say about it.
Foreign Affairs has given the pro-Israel pro-interventionist neocon lobby a post-New Year’s gift by publishing his screed advocating violent regime change in Syria. Moon of Alabama has exposed some of Weiss’ neocon roots and his Perle-Wolfowitz like relationships in the Chalabi-like Syrian-exile nether world. The critique of the Weiss article notes his peeved view of those in the Syrian opposition who remain opposed to intervention. Notice in this passage from Weiss that he manages to smear those forces by implying that they are lackeys of the Assad regime:
Making matters worse, in the last two weeks, the SNC has further embarrassed itself by sending mixed messages about its real intentions. First, the group said that it was in favor of foreign military intervention. But on December 30, 2011, reports swirled that Ghalioun and a handful of senior SNC figures had inked a unity agreement with the anti-interventionist National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, a domestic opposition group that activists suspect is a cover organization pushing reconciliation with Assad’s regime.
In fact, in this passage which Moon of Alabama notes, Weiss writes a major portion of the Syrian opposition still opposed to military intervention completely out of the resistance movement:
Nevertheless, there are signs of progress…Now that the SNC has endorsed foreign intervention, bringing it in line with what all factions of the Syrian insurgency have advocated for months, there is a greater likelihood that the various political and military arms of the opposition will unite, if only out of their shared desperation over the unabated carnage. If this happens, then there is a path to Western interdiction in Syria…
The very specificity of the proposals that Weiss advances and the detailed blueprint he offers indicates the intensity of his coordination with the pro-interventionist Syrian forces. Among the leadership of this group is Ausama Monajed who, MoA notes, is the former director of a Syrian opposition TV station. It was operated by the Movement for Justice and Development, a Syrian exile group which Wikileaks revealed as recipient of a $6-million State Department grant. In fact, the original position paper Weiss wrote, on which the FP article is based, was commissioned by the Strategic Research & Communication Centre, a group founded by Monajed.
What concerns me is that FP may’ve allowed itself to be co-opted by forces which have their own particular agenda, about which they aren’t being as transparent as they should. For example, in his FP bio it only notes his affiliation with the Henry Jackson Society. It does not note that HJS has close affiliations with such pro-Israel neocon enterprises as BICOM (UK’s version of Aipac) and the Harry’s Place blog. He is director of yet another pro-Israel advocacy group, Just Journalism, which is a CAMERA-like pressure group which hectors “anti-Israel” or “delegitmizing” media outlets like the Guardian when their work is insufficiently supportive of the “Jewish State.”
He also pens a blog at pro-Tory Telegraph, which is replete with anti-Muslim agitprop. In fact, his Syrian ex-pat friends might want to do a closer examination of some of his Islamophobic effusions before making common cause with him. Can any Syrian Muslim unite with a pro-Israel Jew who harbors such anger and hatred for Islam? Among Weiss’ latest targets was Sheikh Raed Salah, which whom Weiss, BICOM and the British foreign ministry colluded, so far unsuccessfully, to have the Israeli Muslim leader excluded from the UK as an undesirable figure. Similarly, the Bush administration excluded Tariq Ramadan six years ago. Before he moved to Britain, Weiss wrote a blog for the Jewish neocon-funded, The Tablet.
For the sake of journalistic transparency, I want to know what is Weiss’ precise relationship with Ausama Monajed and any organization or entity with which the latter is affiliated. Is the journalist a consultant? Is he being paid? If so, by whom and how much? And where is the funding organization getting its own funding? I only wished Foreign Policy had asked such questions before publishing him and giving him a platform to incite for potentially catastrophic mayhem in Syria.
One has to ask what Weiss’ interests are in the Syrian cause. Of course there is a Lawrence of Arabia wannabe element–bringing democracy to the huddled Arab masses yearning to breathe free and all that. But one shouldn’t discount Weiss’ close collaboration with pro-Israel elements as well. Israel, as a frontline neighboring state, has a strong interest in the kind of regime that replaces Assad. It would like nothing more than to see a replacement that minds its own business and allows Israel to pursue its own interests in the region unfettered. That would mean bringing to power those who would renounce Syria’s current alliance with Iran and Hezbollah.
Israel is certainly not above meddling in Syria’s affairs to attain such a result. It did so for decades in southern Lebanon before being attrited to death by Hezbollah’s attacks. Though Israel would likely realize that it’s fingerprints must not be seen in order not to tarnish the reputations of those with whom it is doing business. That’s why Weiss could serve as such a useful intermediary. He is one of the pro-Israel crowd, but not an Israeli. So his associations and affiliations will not be as easily deciphered and exposed (which is why I’m writing this).
I’m laughing at IDF chief of staff’s offer made last week to a Knesset committee to take in Syrian refugees after the Assad regime falls. First, can you imagine Israel, which mowed down like flies Syrians who crossed the Golan border only last year, taking in Assad’s refugees? Second, can you imagine any Syrian nationalist in their right mind accepting such an offer of refuge from Israel? They’d be branded for life as a collaborator. Syrians would rightly suspect any such offer as having the smell of underhanded self-interest to it.
Now to Weiss’ formula for intervention. He begins by calling for military forces from “the west and Turkey” to establish a “corridor” for refugees. This would serve a sa beachhead from which a full-scale military revolution would spread throughout the country to topple the regime. The notion that western military forces could enter Syria for any purpose at all is laughable, especially not as part of plan for regime change.
It is entirely possible that Turkey might send its military if the situation became grim enough. But that would be an intervention of a totally different nature since it would be a neighboring Muslim state. Further, if Turkey intervened, all bets would be off as to what form of government would replace Assad. Turkey would have little interest in installing an Israel-friendly puppet regime of the sort that Weiss undoubtedly dreams. Turkey, if it were smart, would pick a Syrian leadership with authentic nationalist roots and with strong support on the ground. Even Weiss admits that the Syrian expat horses on which he’s betting have no Syrian street cred, since they’ve spent the past few decades sittin’ fat and pretty in Knightsbridge and other watering holes of the wealthy.
To be clear, I am not endorsing the Assad regime. It is a brutal regime on the order of those toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. The world and the Middle East would be far better off without Assad in power. But the question is how to remove him and what takes his place. First and foremost, the Syrian people, that is those battling this regime every day in the streets of that country’s major cities, deserve the clear and final voice on who will lead them. Such decisions must not be made top-down by a bunch of ex-pats funded by the U.S. State Department and guided by a pro-Israel neocon huckster.
If there is intervention it must be done extremely carefully and with due consideration to how least to provoke the Syrian people. In other words, Turkey will probably have to take the lead on this. If the west tries to muck around here as Weiss is, it will only end up getting bitten. What we should avoid most of all is a type of intractable Iraq-Afghanistan-type resistance to foreign military occupation. This is precisely the sort of mess that Weiss’ manipulations could induce and he even concedes this possibility in his essay.
So hands off USA. Hands off Clinton-Obama. Hands off Cameron. Hands off Sarkozy. Syria doesn’t need your “interdiction.” If you want to support the Syrian resistance, figure out ways of doing it within Syria and stay away from the Syrian Chalabis only too eager to accept your lucre and claim they represent the real Syrian people.
It’s incredibly ironic that Weiss advises interventionist powers to circumvent a virtually certain Russian Security Council veto of a pro-regime change resolution by bypassing it and going to the General Assembly via a Uniting for Peace resolution, which would enable action with a two-thirds vote. Of course, this is precisely the route the Palestinians were planning to use in getting UN recognition of statehood. This was the tactic about Israel and the U.S. were so up in arms. Now apparently, the western interventionists find the same tactic quite convenient. I find mystifying Weiss’ belief that his Syrian ex-pat friends could get the support of that large a percentage of the GA given the neocon inspiration for so much of the tactics and strategy for intervention.
Also interesting is Weiss’ cavalier suggestion that the U.S. Sixth Fleet could enforce a blockade and no-fly zone in Syria. In case he doesn’t realize it, the blockade of a foreign country is an act of war. Syrian loyalists could easily take their fight outside of Syria and seek revenge against American interests in the region or outside it. As if we don’t have enough already on our plate with a potentially imminent war against Iran which would occupy our Fifth Fleet. Do we want two theaters of operation in a single geographic region for U.S. forces?
It’s cute that Weiss mouths the rhetoric of Israeli and U.S. anti-Iran hawks who repeat like a church choir the chorus: “force is a last resort, force is a last resort.” Yet no one is fooled. He devoted a few thousands words to painting a scenario for military intervention. A single sentence stating the opposite point of view is completely unconvincing.
14 thoughts on “Michael Weiss, Pro-Israel Neocon, Authors Blueprint for Western Military Intervention in Syria Approved by Syrian Ex-Pats – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“Do we want two theaters of operation in a single geographic region for U.S. forces?”
That argument is unconvincing. Iran has made it very clear a couple of months ago in a message to Turkey’s president Gul that it regards any foreign intervention as a war on itself. Iran said it will use all it might to defeat interventionalists into Syria and it wil not shy away from a full scale war against Turkey, NATO and the GCC to defend Syria against foreign intervention. Iran said it will not limit the boundaries of such a war to the intended war theater, but will attack attackers on their home soil. Hisbollah and it’s allies in Libenon and Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq declared that they will take part in such a war on the side of the Syrian-Iranian Axis.
The Iranian threat is absolutely credible. Iran regards Syria as the center piece of it Shia crescent and feels vulnerable itself in it’s bare independence and existence if the Israel-Lobby, NATO and the GCC go to war against Syria. The Syrian-Iranian axis will have significant backing in such a war against NATO. Russia and China will use it’s veto to block diplomatic cover for intervention in Syria. Russia will also continue to deliver weapons including advanced weapons like Yakhont anti-ship missiles. And anyone who knows the biography of Nouri al-Maliki, understands that he will also back the Shia crescent in a war against NATO and the GCC.
So, in case of war – or intervention – there will be no “two theaters of operation in a single geographic region for U.S. forces.” In the case of an intervention in Syria there will be only one “theaters of operation”, and that war theater will reach from Lebanon over Syria and Iraq up to Iran.
Turkey did understand the Iranian message and immediately backed down from it’s war rhetoric. Instead Turkey works now togther with Iran to find a solution for Syria. Just yesterday Ali Laridschani was in Turkey, met there with Gul and Erdogan. The Turkish side agreed again to solve the Syrian crisis with talks and reform.
What you claim regarding Iran-Turkish relations is neither credible, nor have I ever heard such a threat mentioned in the media. It seems fairly clear to me that at some pt Turkey will intervene in this situation. Iran has a choice of Turkey or western powers doing so. It simply doesn’t have the power or influence to prop up Assad forever. The Iranians are nothing if not pragmatic (contrary to western-Israeli claims), and realize that they’re betting on a losing horse if they go “all in” for Assad. Iran will be able to make peace with a Turkish intervention far better than a western one.
I follow up news from the region quite closely on a daily basis for my website.
The western media haven’t reported a lot on the Iranian war threat against a Turkish “military intervention” in Syria. Iran kept it rather low level in the media, I guess for giving the AKP a way out saving face.
There was a visit from a high level Iranian military guy close to Khamenei to Turkey. Erdogan, Gul and Davotuglu spoke in quite war mongering tunes before that visit. I remember that after the visit Iranian state media just reported, Turkish president Gul promised not to go to war against Syria.
The supportive statements from key members of the Hezbollah-led Lebanese March 8 Alliance and Muqtada al-Sadr were carried by Iranian state media. I guess it’s no surprise that they support Iran’s policy on Syria.
See here for example how careful Turkish media reported about the visit of Yahya Rahim Safavi in Turkey: Iran issues warning on Syria
The report sounds more as if that was just a threat of sanctions. However one may read that report on the “warning” a bit different, too. Some arab media were much more explicit. Roads to Iraq, for example, called it in English repeatedly a standing Iranian threat to enter the war if Turkey decides to go to war with Syria:
Well, I wasn’t participant in the meeting of Yahya Rahim Safavi with the highest ranking turkish officials, so I can’t actually say for sure what was spoken there.
But what I can say is that, as far as I have seen, in fact Erdogan, Gul and Davotuglu tuned down their rhetoric against Syria very much after the visit of Yahya Rahim Safavi. So I think, the stories, that Yahya Rahim Safavi delievered a bold war threat, and that changed the behaviour of the AKP, are quite credible. Of course, Iran not only has military power. I noted, that Iranian media started to give space to the islamic Felicity Party in Turkey and to what I understand, Iran has a good dialog with Turkish cleriqs in the mosques and via this way a different way to excert infuence in Turkey.
PS: I don’t think, Bashar al-Assad is “a losing horse.” He seems to be quite popular in Syria. Even The Doha Debates reported that, according to their poll, 55% of the Syrian population want to stay Assad president:
The Doha Debates is really not an organisation know to be supporters of Assad. My prediction is, that there will be elections in Syria and Assad will win them. I don’t think the Syrian population will vote in their majority for the friends of Michael Weiss, not even with lot’s of support from Al Jazeera.
I’d just like to second what you say Bandolero, and specially for pointing out that 55% support for Assad ( almost certainly higher now following his public appearance with his family, and a well accepted speech). It is hard to know why Qatar would have such a poll – did they really believe their own propaganda? But they had to suppress the result as it’s certainly not what they want to hear, as the major sponsor of violent regime change, for instance through the AJ preacher Qaradawi.
Even if Iran didn’t accept the reality of this support for Assad, it seems doubtful that they would side with Turkey, given the nexus between the Gulf Sunnis and them, vs the Shia “Axis of Resistance”. We are simply duped by our own media circus, which is only to be expected now it includes the BBC and the Guardian as well as the Turncoat Al Jazeera ( though one wonders if in fact this was always its agenda, given the long standing agenda for regime change by Feltman/Bandar)
However, in all this it is too easy to overlook Russia. There has admirably been no turning of key Russians like Sergei Lavrov, and what they have said is crystal clear; unlike Iran they don’t have to give in to aggressive military threats from the Saudis and the US/Nato/UK. And of course they have their A/C in the Eastern Med, allegedly already supplying Syria with defensive missiles.
Not that any of this makes me optimistic about war – Israel and the US and Saudi Arabia are all fundamentalist theocracies, they have all the bombs and missiles, and they’re just dying to try them out; we should be really worried – in fact we should be out in the streets in our millions!
The U.S. a “fundamentalist theocracy?” Getting a little carried away with the rhetoric now, aren’t we?
The Weiss’ article in question was published in the Foreign Affairs Magazine (www.foreignaffairs.com) which is different than the Foreign Policy Magazine (FP) (www.foreignpolicy.com).
Ahmed Chalabi (refered in the text) at least is an Iraqi and had once lived in the country, even he left the country at the age of 12. Michael Weiss is an American (and probably Jewish) and works for a pro-Israeli propaganda organization in Britain. Probably the only part of Syria he has ever visited is the occupied Golan. Revealing his “Jewish sounding” name in the paper demanding military intervention in Syria on the behalf of Syrian National Council is as amusing as the story of the new Iraqi flag “they” planned for Iraq after the invasion. That famous blue and white flag.
Absolutely right. Excuse my carelessness, Foreign Policy, it wasn’t yr fault!
Its Foreign Affairs nit Foreign Policy.
At least get the simple facts right Richard.
A commenter noted the error in a comment he posted 2 hrs before yours & I corrected the error as soon as I read his comment/correction. You’ve never made a similar error? Or are you perfect?
I don’t understand. I wrote over 1,000 words and you feel you have to post a comment criticizing me for one slip?
You wrote a good piece, I used it as the backbone of my post. I linked to you & credited you. And yet you still feel the need to tear me down. Buddy, there’s something else going on here that’s between the lines. I have no idea what the issue is for you. I presume you have a life to live as do I. Get over it, whatever it is & move on.
And btw, unless you were trying to call me a “nit” there’s a typo in your comment. Does it matter? No. Would I have pointed it out unless you’d been looking for “nits” to pick? No. Again, who cares. I’m neither the first nor the last whose made such a careless error in confusing the 2 magazines. Errors happen. Unless you’re God or a perfect human. Which are you?
Whilst you may or may not agree, I just wanted to inform you that Canadian Armed Forces personal have received ‘standby’ deployment messages to Syria, which I am not sure is part of their involvement in the UN or NATO.
My source is a current Captain in the Canadian Armed forces.
Clearly, the civilized world should rise up and defend the poor people of Syria from the slaughter of Assad’s regime. A true massacre – the number of people killed in Syria over the past several months is comparable to the number of deaths of both Israeli and Palestinians in the last 30 years.
Richard, you really should pay more attention to this topic.
I don’t believe you. Canada would never send troops to Syria. Never. You weren’t credible before, you’re no more credible now. More than 6,000 Israelis & Palestinians have been killed in the past 30 yrs. That’s IF the 6,000 number of Syrian dead which Weiss used (not a given by any means) is correct.
I wrote to you (under a different alias) in a comment to your post about Rabbi Rotter about a week ago that the ‘college’ that proclaims to have received an MBA does not, according to my knowledge, offer such a a degree. The comment was moderated by you, although in a follow up post you write of this.
I have absolutely no reason to make up such things, and you of course are entitled to your beliefs. I write what I heard. I am not sure if is routine procedures in NATO or the UN peacekeeping force, but this is what I heard.
The number of dead in Syria varies between 5000-7000. I am not sure any more what you consider credible sources.I will quote Humans Rights Watch that claims 5000 deaths between March and October. The UN claims 5400 dead between March and January.
War is coming Richard, like it or not.
If you tell me what the previous alias was I can research yr comment & see whether I somehow missed it or whether there was a specific reason I didn’t approve it.
It’s possible you heard what you did about Canadian armed forces going to Syria. But I find it almost impossible to believe. If there was such a deployment, the Canadians would make it completely secret as it would give away the fact that Canada planned to cooperate in some sort of operation to or in Syria. It doesn’t add up to me.
Americans are sick and tired of these endless ‘Wars for Wall Street and Israel’ the only two outfits that really benefit from all this carnage.
We want our troops to come home and the money used to rebuild our shattered infrastructure, that is falling apart right in front of our eyes, since most of our taxes is going to support the destruction of ME and African nations and to support corrupt Wall Street banks.
Enough is enough, maybe if we stop the madness now, those people whose lives we’ve turned into a living Hell will forgive us.