Author and U.S. foreign policy critic William Blum characterizes U.S. policy on Syria as just a continuation of endless absurdity.
Posted August 13, 2013
Hello, this is John Robles. I'm speaking with Mr. William Blum, he is an American author, a historian and a long-standing critic of US foreign policy.
Robles: Hello, William, how are you this evening?
Blum: Fine, thank you.
Robles: Thanks for agreeing to speak with me, appreciate it. Recently, the Deputy Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency Michael Morrel stated to the “Wall Street Journal” that Syria was a top threat to US security. Now, it's a small country on the other side of the planet. I don't think it was ever really a threat to US security. He said that there are now more foreign fighters flowing into Syria each month to take up arms with Al-Qaeda affiliated groups, I quote, then there were going to Iraq. He's also stated that the Syrian Government's weapons, if the Bashar al-Assad Government falls, will be up for grabs and up for sale by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. What do you make of these statements? Do you think this is a change in the US position in the country?
Blum: Well, certainly a change in public to admit that they've been supporting all these Al Qaeda types for a long time. That's quite an admission, quite a change. Will this have any effect on the US foreign policy remains to be seen, but if the past is any indication we can’t expect too much change.
The US is committed to overthrowing Assad because of Israel. That's the main motivation for the US. Israel doesn't want Assad to be there and that is not going to change. It just makes their position more absurd than before.
The US's foreign policy is a continuous piece of absurdity, and to get it even more absurd at times like now.
They've been supporting these terrible people in Syria for a couple of years now and now all of a sudden one of their officials wakes up and says: “Hey, these are really bad guys we've been supporting, maybe, we should stop doing that?” It's almost comical.
Robles: Yeah, if there weren't so many people dying, it would be laughable, I think. So, they seem to have flipped the switch or switched the flip, but in an absence of a statement saying they would support the government of Bashar al-Assad, if they are going to be against Assad and they are going to be against the insurgents, what kind of a scenario could that possibly bring about?
Blum: They may just stop giving any kind of support to the insurgents. They have given them all kinds of intelligence support and so-called non-lethal military support. Probably more than that but that is what they have admitted to, but they gave them arms as well. So, they gave them all this support. In such a case, it was difficult for Assad's government to be victorious. And, Israel may pick up the slack and invade Syria, I wouldn’t put it past them.
Robles: Do you think Israel is the one behind all this, pushing for Bashar Assad's demise?
Blum: In fact, Israel is certainly the root here if Israel was not a factor the US would not be fighting in Syria they would not have been fighting in Iraq and they would have to be threatening Iran the way they are. Israel is the important key in each of these battles. So they may do more in Syria than they have been doing.
Robles: I came to my own conclusion, if I may... it seems to me that this new flip of the switch which Israeli just... much of a switch... is just another reason for an armed, if you want to call it, “intervention” into Syria. I mean, O.K., they wanna get rid of Assad, to get chemical weapons, that didn't seem to work, and now, they can say: well, if Assad falls, these terrorists are getting all these weapons. They might have to go in and invade and kill everybody, without statements of support for Assad. What do you think of that?
Blum: I can see logic in what you are saying. I can see the US government doing that. But then, what will happen? If they interfere in force, who would they actually be shooting at? It's not clear what the repercussions of this statement would be.
Would they fight against the so-called insurgents, the jihadists – or will they fight against the government? It's an absurd situation, and I cannot predict what's going to happen.
Robles: Do you think that they are going to fight against everybody and just wipe everybody out?
Blum: I'm sure there are people in the US establishment who would like to see that, yes. They are crazy and evil enough to want to kill them all. That is the name of a new book in the US about Iraq, it's called “Kill Them All”!
Robles: That's interesting. There are those in US policy establishment who would promote an idea of just wiping everybody out if they could?
Blum: When Iran and Iraq fought against each other in the 1980s, the expressed wish of some leading American politicians like Henry Kissinger was “give aid to both sides and let them kill as many of each other as they can”. That was expressed by Kissinger and probably somebody else at the time. They did give more aid to Iraq than to Iran, but still, they were not above saying that they hoped that both sides would maximize death and destruction as much as possible.
Robles: That's a very interesting point you've raised, because it has seemed to me – well, I'm sure that its clear to everybody – that they have promoted and stoked sectarian violence between Sunni and Shias, but in reality, I think, the US does not support either group. Would you agree with that?
Blum: The US supports only one group – and that's the United States. Maybe, Israel but that is the other side of the same coin. There is the only reason – expanding the American empire. And, the US is not anti-Islam as you often hear people saying on the left and on the right that it's anti-Islam. It's not anti-Islam. What they've been doing in recent years in the Middle East – they've wiped out the three leading secular societies in the Middle East.
Robles: Right, right, right. Unbelievable!
Blum: In Iraq, then, Libya, and, then, Syria. The public says good we are fighting Islam we are fighting these terrorists but to the powers that be in Washington there is no such thing. They just want to expand the empire and to protect Israel, and that's all that counts.
Robles: Very, very good point, Bill, because in Syria, there were Orthodox Christians, there were Coptic Christians, there were hundreds of different ethnic groups, all living peacefully side by side, the same thing in Iraq, I mean, Sunnis and Shias... Sunni women were marrying Shia men, marrying and living together side by side before the invasion. Now I've heard that many Shia in Iraq wake up with a pot of blood on the doorstep, left by Sunnis stirring them to leave. And there is no more intermarriage.
Right. The same thing in Libya, any coexistence between various
sects has been wiped out by the revolution, and the jihadists
have a great influence in the new government.