52 thoughts on “James Rubin Advocates Syrian Regime Change, U.S. Military Intervention to Defang Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Excellent, Richard. This one is so good I want to frame it and hang it on the wall. You’ve very succinctly laid out the indeed “harebrained scheme” of any US intervention in Syria, the ridiculous posturing of Israel, and that neocon-style dunderheads like Rubin shouldn’t be publishing such drivel and fueling an already very politically volatile situation. Unfortunately, many people I know are stupidly believing that Assad should be kept in power, simply because they think the only alternative is a US and Israel-led debacle similar to Iraq.

    1. Actually, I think that is a good reason for keeping Assad. I understand the limits here but keeping the US and Israel out of Syria strikes me as a very important undertaking even at the cost of Assad.

      1. Speak in the abstract, Davey, without considering the human cost in terms of death and torture under Assad’s rule. The US does not have money or personnel to become militarily involved in Syria, and in an election year I doubt Obama would dare to try. Israel, ever the coward, won’t engage either. It’s only equipped to stomp unarmed Palestinians, as Hizbullah proved back in 2006.

        1. If there were a serious threat of intervention (ala James Rubin!), then supporting Assad makes strategic sense. Even so, I do not know the human cost of Assad’s regime. What I hear all the time is the number of rebels massacred by the Syrian government, over and over. But, not a word of the many Palestinians condemned and imprisoned by Israel relentlessly over six decades. Not a word about that in the MSM.

          It is comforting to think the the Israelis are cowards, and I will grant that history would support this view given its many assaults on unarmed civilians again and again. But it is not beyond reason to suggest that Israelis might intervene, say in the form of US intervention, Israel’s good buddy, always willing to take a punch for little David, eh?

          1. Proxy war is always a possibility. I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel and the US weren’t already bankrolling some rebel factions. However, I don’t think it’s about regime change – both have been content with the Assads for 40 years and could have wiped them out many times over by now, especially during better economic times. I think the back door stuff has more to do with both Israel and the US wanting to be remembered for backing the winner, and to have influence over Syria’s new government as a reward for all that “assistance.”

  2. The air operation one is interesting as it would mean GCC planes flying over Israel to bomb another muslim country… Putting the glaring problematic aside, he’s seemingly mistaking the oil sheiks for warriors.

    Nevermind that Turks aren’t Arab…

  3. Please Google “Project for a New American Century” as it’s precisely this plan written well ahead of W. Bush going into office by the same Neocons that eventually enacted it by pulling us into Iraq. This is fact.

    All of this is glaringly obvious. Like the bankers pulling Glass-Steagall so they could repeat the very reason it was put into place the first time. Just need to stop looking at minute time frames, step back, and look at the broader picture.

    1. btw, an honest reading of PNAC reveals its a plan to bolster Israel, leaving it the only one standing, by having America sacrifice itself to take out those who stand in Israel’s plans.

      When people say “America went into Iraq”, they should really be pointing the finger at people like William Kristol, Carl Levin, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Powell and Wolfowitz. These are not Americans. They are working here for a foreign and international interest.

      At the same time, those who are seeking to enact such plans should be separated by those who identify themselves as Israelis as non-Israelis. This way, there will be no confusion as to who is the “Al Qaeda” of Judaism versus the whole.

  4. “America should do nothing in the Middle East because it helps Israel, unless it also helps U.S. interests.”

    EVERYTHING the US does in the Middle East is in US interests, including supporting Israel. I assure you, US intervention in Syria has already begun with the arming and financing of the so-called insurgents, and they’re not doing it for Israel’s sake. Rather for their own hegemony in the area. Israel could disappear tomorrow (and it might) and the US would still be attempting to project imperial control on Syria, Iran and beyond. Israel is merely a convenient tool of the US.

    1. I disagree with you. The U.S. is mainly involved because of the strong Zionist influence in our government. We have strong ties with Israel because of AIPAC and the large number of Zionist that are a part of our congress. And what interest do you purpose Israel has for the US? I think it is the other way around. Israel gains interest from the support from the US, not the other way around. Israel doesn’t do crap for the US. Israel care about two things that come from US, money and protection. If we stopped funding and protecting Israel, we would no longer be Allies. Personally, I do not view Israel as an Allie. They have not done anything positive for the US. Israel cares only about Israel.

  5. What limited help and resources do you think the US should provide in order to help the Syrians bring about regime change?

    1. What limited help and resources do you think Iran should provide Hamas and Hezbollah in order to help the Palestinians bring about regime change?

      1. BTW, not arguing here: just pointing out a glaring inconsistency in the way the western world views the funding/aiding of insurgencies.

        1. Don’t apologize: The one sided view is handy, the language is readymade — the US will “help” the good guys bring about regime change. Why doesn’t the US help Hezbollah and Hamas for the same purpose? The US doesn’t even allow fund raising for these organizations but is happy to host to IDF supporting glee clubs for Zionists. Don’t apologize for being argumentative. That’s the point of talking about these things. I know these little mental gymnastics help me to put things in perspective.

      2. I was just referencing this part of the original blog post:

        “An alternative that placed the burden on the Syrians themselves to bring about regime change (with limited help and resources offered from the outside) and that sought to find an indigenous leadership that answered to Syrian interests and ideals (rather than western or Israeli ones) after the current one fell–that plan might have a chance of success.”

        I was curious to know what the author had in mind when he referenced “limited help and resources offered from the outside” in the above paragraph in arguing that a plan for regime change that is brought about by the Syrians themselves might have a chance of success with the possible inclusion of such limited help.

    2. Why the hell should they provide anything? Why don’t they just stay the hell out of it, and out of the internal affairs of the middle east? The US is at the root of most of the problems in this part of the world, and they’re possibly doing a lot of CIA-instigated meddling in Syria to push a “regime change” they cannot afford to foment via military means.

      Don’t forget that the US doesn’t hate Assad as much as they appear to. Does “extraordinary rendition” ring any bells? It should; Syria was one of the black prison sites where the US disappeared “enemy combatants” for “enhanced interrogations.”

      1. As I mentioned to the commenter above, I was just asking about the reference to “limited help and resources offered from the outside” that was included in the blog owner’s original post.

        The original post suggests that regime change that is brought about by the Syrians themselves might benefit from such help. Do you not agree with that?

        1. The problem is, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, Bob. The Syrians won’t benefit if another compliant pro-Israel puppet government takes the place of Assad.

  6. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of a nuclear attack on Israel, it’s the fact that Iran doesn’t even need to test a nuclear weapon to undermine Israeli military leverage in Lebanon and Syria

    More to the point, under those circumstances Jews might feel uneasy in Palestine and decide to emigrate, aggravating the “demographic problem” even further. Already the goyim are breeding like rabbits, multiplying out of control, diluting the supposedly Jewish state. Things are looking bad.

    1. I think you are wrong about fertility rates. The Haredim have the highest birthrates of any demographic in Israel, I believe.

      Also, why did you write “Jews might feel uneasy in Palestine” rather than in Israel? Are you talking only about the Jews who are living in the occupied territories? If so, I think they are the least likely to emigrate under those circumstances. If you mean the Jews in Israel, why didn’t you write Israel?

      1. Ya rabbi !
        You really don’t have any sense of humour, do you, Bob ?
        By the way, “traducteur” means “translator”. Maybe that gives you a hint …..no ? Still no light in the horizon ?

      2. BM: “The Haredim have the highest birthrates of any demographic in Israel, I believe.”

        I do believe you’ll find that an Israel overrun by Haredim is equally as problematic for the future survival of the zionist regime as an Israel overrun by Palestinians.

  7. I’ve always taken it that Israel’s interest in Syria is to weaken it, not necessarily to eliminate the Asad regime, or to encourage the necessarily Salafi successors.

    The game seems to be going well. Syria will be in confusion for a good ten years.

  8. alexno: you try to be logical, but Rubin does not.

    Rubin ignores the fact that the “endgame” like in Libya is not feasible. First, Russians sold some modern air defense systems to Syria, so simply flying over Syria with impunity is not THAT simple. Second, while Mauritania etc. may be against Asad regime, Iraq has its own troubles with Salafist terror and will support Asad. Thus Syria cannot be isolated and besieged like Libya. It will get weapons from Russians and Iranians, and subsidies from Iraq and a little blessing from China.

    The most fatal part of the reasoning of Rubin is that in a civil war, being a ruthless fanatical extremist can be a plus. And that means Salafist, exactly the guys Iraq has trouble with, and USA tries to keep down in Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Mali, with mixed success (to put it generously). So now we can dream that in collaboration with Monsanto we can breed a new pro-American and pro-Israeli strain of Salafists to take over Syria. DNA of sheiks of Qatar can be extracted for that purpose.

  9. “limited help and resources offered from the outside”

    And what of the help that the Assad regime is receiving from outside from Iran, Russia, etc?

      1. I ran across another piece of info yesterday claiming that the resistance is actually buying weapons from the Syrian Army. Nothing would surprise me now.

  10. I didn’t know Rubin was married to Christiane Amanpour?

    There is a reason, as you highlighted, why Iranian power plays a part in this Syrian conflict, (the balance of Middle East power) but who didn’t see it coming? One by one, all these dicatators will fall.

    One thing worth mentioning here, is that the other regional powers, havn’t been so determined to develop their own nuclear weaponary at least openly. In the case of the Saudi’s, Qataris, and the oil rich countries, that is because they know Israel will be allowed to go so far only, and then pulled back. Because Iran has defied this route, it is a threat. That is why Jordan, Saudi are openly talking of developing ‘peaceful’ nucearl programmes now, something they didn’t before. Worth remembering too, that Iran trades oil in the EURO.

    Saddam was on the verge of switching to trading oil in the EURO too, many believe that was the real reason Iraq was invaded.

    I can’t say i’d shed tears if the Assads fell. Good riddance. But regime change should come from the Syrians themselves.

  11. Syrian army systematically killing civilians: Amnesty

    Syrian government forces are killing civilians in organized attacks on towns and villages that amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said on Thursday, citing evidence from over 20 locations in the country’s northwest.

    The rights group repeated its call for the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and to impose an arms embargo.

    Amnesty’s findings, detailed in a 70-page report, add to reports of massacres elsewhere in Syria as a 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad moves closer to a civil war.

    Its researchers visited 23 towns and villages in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces between April and May, conducting interviews with more than 200 people, including many whose relatives had been killed or whose homes had been destroyed.

    Amnesty adviser Donatella Rovera told Reuters TV she had found repeated examples of brutality against civilians during two months of unauthorized visits to northwest Syria.

    “Wherever I went, in every town, in every village, there was a very similar pattern – soldiers who went in, in very large numbers, for very short but very brutal incursions where they extra-judicially executed young men, burned down their homes. Those who they arrested were then tortured in detention,” she said.

    “And that was really repeated in every town and every village that I visited … The bulk, the overwhelming majority of the violations are being committed by the government security forces and their paramilitary militia against the civilian population,” she added.


    Is there nothing that folks in the West can and/or should do about this situation?

      1. I don’t think that is what Amnesty International is suggesting in this report. I ask the question in earnest. I know you’ve written on this topic before and stressed that a regional solution would be best, but if one is not forthcoming is there anything that should be done? Can the US serve any role, via the UNSC or other international organizations, to help prevent a the continued (or possibly expanded) systematic killing of civilians by the Syrian army. Or to stop the reverse from happening (i.e. rebel groups killing “pro-government” civilians). More importantly, is there anything that ordinary people outside of the region can do to support peace and an end to this kind of bloodshed?

        1. It’s a losing battle just trying to keep up with the wingnuts who preach non-intervention by saying Assad is “popular” with the Syrian people and should be supported.

          1. Have you read the most recent report from Human Rights Watch?

            HRW: Syrian forces using sexual violence

            Some excerpts:

            HRW quoted a man who said he had been held in the Political Security branch in Latakia in a cell with over 70 other people. He said young boys were treated worse than adults, brought back to the cell raped and with their fingernails pulled out.

            “One boy came into the cell bleeding from behind. He couldn’t walk. It was something they just did to the boys. We would cry for them,” the man said.


            “I could hear one girl fighting with one of (the men)… She pushed him and he shot her in the head,” HRW quoted the woman as saying. She said three girls, the youngest aged 12, were then raped. After the men left the woman went next door.

            “The scene on the inside was unreal. The 12-year-old was lying on the ground, blood to her knees… More than one person had raped the 12-year-old… She was torn the length of a forefinger. I will never go back there. It comes to me. I see it in my dreams and I just cry.”


            I know from your posts here that you are a strong proponent of human rights. Can these crimes be ignored?

          2. As horrific as these crimes are, what distresses me is that similar crimes by U.S. & Israeli forces throughout their respective histories were glossed over. You are in high dudgeon over Syria’s horrors, but not so much over Israel’s & America’s. It would make your feelings much more powerful if your horror was equal for all these diff situations.

          3. You think that by sending in US troops all this mayhem will just go away? Do you not have any short term memory or do you need to google “Iraq” and “Libya” for a refresher course on what happens when “outside intervention” comes from the US and its friends?

          4. At no point have I suggested “sending in US troops” – I have simply pointed to the reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and recommended considering supporting the actions that they suggest (such as calling for the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court).

          5. You’re simply a hypocrite, Bob.
            Everyone who’s read you ever since the beginning know that you have never once showed the same emotions when it comes to Israeli exactions. Not once !
            No, when it comes to Israeli exactions, you stay flegmatic, and just start nitpicking about semantics, was that really a ‘massacre’ etc, details, being ‘critical’ of the sources etc.
            When have you ever posted excerpts from reports on Israeli exactions ? Phew !

  12. I would be more comfortable with Bob if he asked his question:

    Is there nothing that folks in the West can and/or should do about this situation?

    about the HR violations in Palestine, er…the West Bank. DY is a good historian on this blog: Does Bob ask these questions about the endless litany of Israel’s abuse of HR?

    1. With respect to what folks in the West can and should be doing about the situation in Palestine (no idea what “er…the West Bank” means), there are suggestions made on this blog all the time for actions that can be taken. Are you not aware of the BDS movement, for example?

      It is hard to even respond to what you are asking, however, when, with respect to the situation in Syria, your suggestion stunningly appears to be: keep Assad in power.

      And no historian on this blog is needed to find that remark, as it can be found right here on this very page.

      I wonder how a person who cares so deeply about human rights could read the reports by Amnesty International and HRW about Syria and conclude that it would be best to keep Assad in power there.

      It is especially surprising coming from someone who is so passionate about the HR violations being committed against Palestinians – one would think that passion would extend to the Syrians who are suffering in the horrific ways described in those reports (including the execution-style killing of large numbers of civilians, and the rape and murder of young children).

      It is strange that these reports of HR violations committed by Syrian forces have not moved you in the same way as the reports of HR violations committed by Israeli forces.

    2. @ Davey
      Haha, I just posted a comment to Bob further up the tread before reading this comment of yours. Non, Bob is a perfect hypocrite on Human Rights. It’s apparently not the ethnic origin of the victims that makes him react differently, but rather that of the abusers.
      And that being said: I’m devastated by what’s going on in Syria, devastated by seing pro-regime journalists/commenters still spewing hasbara – and they really have exacly the same methods – about a peace loving progressive regime, fighting Israel heroically, being agressed by al-Qaïda and blahblah.

      1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and what is going on in Syria. It is encouraging to know that your concern for human rights is universal. I am sorry that you think I am a hypocrite. In reality, I support an end to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as well as the elimination of all settlements. Israel certainly should be taken to task for its human rights violations and this website does a great job of doing so on a regular basis (along with many other blogs and international organizations). I have been a supporter of this blog since long before you ever posted here but do feel moved to post comments when I see inaccurate information or ridiculous remarks from others. I support Zionists like Richard Silverstein in his endeavor to promote Israeli democracy, as he writes on the title page of this blog. We disagree from time to time, but the fundamentals are the same. I wish you could see that bring critical of the governments of Syria and Iran does not always necessary suggest ignorance or misdirection with respect to Israel.

        1. You’re still just ‘pouring water out your ears’.
          My point stands, no matter how long you’ve read this blog, and no matter how much you agree with Richard:
          You have never shown the slightest emotions in your comments when it comes to Israeli exactions.
          Your comments and the responses from Lifelong and Davey [that I call “David in San Diego” ;-D in my mind]and others here really show it perfectly.
          Fine, you want a Two-State solution on the ’67-borders but the Israeli majority don’t wan’t that: don’t you think it’s time for an international intervention ? And as you’re very concerned about the Syrians, I guess you advocate for a total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan and the return of the refugees.

  13. The world is full of horror. In order to be effective, one must pick and choose which particular horror they wish to involve their time and energies. In my case, the horror meted out upon Palestinians by the Jewish state over decades and decades is particularly compelling. As a Jew, I am irate that these horrors, this basic racism, is perpetuated in my name, so they say. I have a duty as an American Jew to call the attention of others to this outrage as I am able. I wish I had more resources to give to combat the horrors worldwide, much of it provided by US foreign policy, btw, but I there is only so much.

    This blog is largely dedicated to those who are engaged in this particular arena of injustice. My concern with you is that it seems you raise the banner of horrors in Syria as though to lessen, somehow, the horrors committed by Israel. I would say your appeal for the “West” to “do something” belongs really elsewhere perhaps on a Syrian blog where you are certain to find both opposition and concurrence with your views directly. The concern in RS’s article is basically the hypothetical involvement of the US and Israel in regime change in Syria, particularly Israel. If you will stick to that knitting, so to speak, commenting knowingly on Israel’s regional strategy, as I know you can, I would not find your appeal so repellant and obfuscating.
    I am here to learn, not to be re-directed.

    1. On the one hand you write that my post about the West doing something about Syria belongs on another blog, yet on the other hand you write that the concern in the article is the possible involvement of the US in Israel in regime change in Syria.

      I understand that for whatever reason you want to ignore the specific details about what is going on in Syria, but certainly if one is going to raise the question, as RS does here with respect to what the US is advocating ought to be done about Syria, it becomes fair, I would think, to ask what ought to be done if not regime change.

      RS himself writes in the post that with “with limited help and resources offered from the outside” (his words) the burden ought to be placed on Syria for its own regime change. I asked what the limited help and resources might entail in direct response to those comments and followed up to those who responded my question.

      You yourself wrote, in response to a different commenter, not me, that you think Assad ought to be kept in power, rather than have the US and/or Israel get involved.

      On a blog devoted to peace and human rights, such as this one, that was staggering to read.

      1. Because YOU think US/Israeli involvement in Syrian affairs is better than Assad and his mafia staying in power ?
        Davey didn’t write he wanted Assad to stay in power, period. He wrote it might be the ‘least worse’ option, and I totally agree. Everything else is better that US/Israeli involvement, everything. At least the thugs in power now speak Arabic, and not English and Hebrew !

        1. Actually, it is beyond comprehension advocating “regime change” by force given the record in the ME. I suppose that after the hard rain of “smart” explosives, Israel and the US would vie for the reconstruction contracts? The US has devastated Afghanistan and Iraq without political gain of any kind. However, the private contractors and private armies have done well, very well indeed. Is “reconstruction” the main export of the “West”? Is it this that keeps the US from complete economic collapse? I am reminded that Israeli firms got the work of reconstruction in Gaza under the auspices of a UN agency.

      2. The problem with the future in Syria is you have nothing but bad choices. Assad staying in power? Bad. Assad toppled? That could be very bad as well. Al Qaeda and all manner of Islamist extremists are laying their betting money down regarding the Syrian future. Who will replace Assad? A figure dedicated to a free, tolerant, democratic Syria (if there is such a person)? The model might be Libya, though in Syria the opposition is even less united than it was in Libya. And how’s Libya doin’ these days? Not so great, huh?

        If Syria could find a form of rule & political leadership something close to Turkey’s I’d feel more confident in its future. I’m more worried Syria will turn into Iraq or Libya or worse.

        1. You’ve stated it very clearly, Richard. And because the security situation is going from bad to worse, we don’t know just what is going on inside the country, who has committed which atrocity, etc. Assad’s big mistake was in not negotiating with the protesters and stepping down when he had the chance. He will probably end up like Gaddafi.

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