voltairenet. In 2011 when his country was subject to a jihadist siege, President Bashar al-Assad’s reaction was against the norm: rather than strengthening the powers of his security services, he cut them back. Six years on, his country is in the process of emerging victorious, in the most important war since Vietnam. This same type of aggression is unfolding in Latin America. Yet here, it is sparking off a far more classic response. In this article, Thierry Meyssan distinguishes the analysis and strategy of President Assad on the one hand and Maduro and Morales on the other. His aim is not to place these leaders in competition, but rather to call upon each of them to remove themselves from political catechisms and to pay due attention to the lessons learnt from the most recent wars.
In May 2017, Thierry Meyssan appeared on Russia Today and explained where the South American elites were going wrong in their fight against US imperialism. He insisted that there has been a sea-change in the way the US now wages armed conflicts and we now need to radically rethink how we should defend our homeland.
The operation to destabilize Venezuela continues. The first phase: violent gangs demonstrating against the government killed passers by, as if citizenship created no bonds between them. The second phase: the major food suppliers organised food shortages in the supermarkets. Then some members of the forces attacked several ministers, called for a rebellion and now have retreated into hiding.
Of course the international press never ceases to hold the “regime” responsible for the deaths of demonstrators. Yet it is a fact that a number of videos testify that these demonstrators were deliberately assassinated by demonstrators themselves. No regard is paid to this and on the basis of this false information, the press then proceeds to qualify Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator” just as it did six years ago with respect to Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad.
The United States has used the Organization of American States (the OAS) as an arm against President Maduro just like it once used the Arab League against President al-Assad. Caracas, not expecting to be excluded from the Organization, denounced this method and left of its own accord.
Maduro’s government has however two failures on its balance sheet: the vast majority of its voters did not go to the polling stations for the legislative elections of 2015, allowing the opposition to sweep a majority in Parliament. It was caught out by the crisis of food products, even though the same thing had been organised in the past in Chile against Allende and in Venezuela against Chávez. It required several weeks to put in place new circuits to provide food.
In all likelihood, the conflict that begins in Venezuela will not be held back by its borders. It will ooze out, embracing the entire North West of the South American continent and the Caribbean.
An additional step has been taken with military preparations against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador following Mexico, Colombia and British Guyana. The team responsible for co-ordinating these measures is from the former Office of Global Democracy Strategy. This was a unit established by President Bill Clinton, then continued by Vice-President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz. Mike Pompeo, the current director of the CIA, has confirmed that this unit exists. This has led to rumours in the press, followed up by President Trump, of a US military option.
To save his country, President Maduro’s team has refused to follow the example of President al-Assad. Maduro’s team thinks that there is no real comparison between what is happening in Venezuela and Syria. The United States, the principal capitalist power, would set off to Venezuela to steal its oil, according to a plan that has been repeatedly played out in the past on three continents. This point of view was given further weight by a speech that Evo Morales, Bolivia’s President, recently delivered.
Let us recall that in 2003 and 2011, President Saddam Hussein, the Guide Muammar Gaddafi and a number of President Assad’s advisors reasoned similarly. They thought that the US would attack the following states in succession: Afghanistan and Iraq, then Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and Syria. And why? For the sole reason of bringing about the collapse of regimes that were resisting its imperialism and controlling hydrocarbon resources in an expanded Middle East. A number of anti-imperialist authors cling to this analysis today. So for example, they use it to try to explain the war against Syria by reference to the interruption of the Qatari gas pipeline project.
Now, this line of thinking is turning out to be false. The US is not looking to reverse progressive governments (Libya and Syria), nor to steal the region’s oil and gas. Its intent is to decimate states, to send people of these countries back to a pre-historic time where “man did not love his neighbour as God loved him but would pounce like a wolf upon his neighbour” [Translator’s note: the literal translation of the French original is: “man was a wolf for man”].
Has toppling the Saddam Hussein regime and the regime of Gaddafi brought peace back to these states? No! Wars have continued even though “government of occupation” has been set up in Iraq, then a government composed of other governments in the region including those who collaborated with the imperialists opposed to national independence. Wars are still being waged. This surely evidences that Washington and London had no intention of toppling these regimes nor defending democracy. These were transparent covers for their true intentions which were to eliminate the people in these states. It is a basic observation that rocks our understanding of contemporary imperialism.
This strategy, radically new, was taught by Thomas P. M. Barnett following 11 September 2001. It was publicly revealed and exposed in March 2003 – that is, just before the war against Iraq— in an article in Esquire, then in the eponym book, The Pentagon’s New Map. However, such a strategy appears so cruel in design, that no one imagined it could be implemented.
Imperialism seeks to divide the world in two. One part will be a stable area which profits from the system while in the other part a terrifying chaos will reign. This other will be a zone, where all thought of resisting has been wiped out; where every thought is fixated on surviving; an area where the multinationals can extract raw materials which they need without any duty to account to anyone.
Since the 17th century and the British Civil War, Western development has been triggered by its attempt to do all it can to avoid chaos. Thomas Hobbes taught us to support the thinking of the state rather than risk experiencing this torment for another time. The notion of chaos only returned to us with Leo Strauss, after the Second World War. This philosopher, who has personally trained a number of personalities within the Pentagon, intended to build a new form of power by plunging part of the world into hell.
Jihadism inflicted onto an expanded Middle East has shown us what is chaos.
While President al-Assad reacted anticipating the events of Deraa (March – April 2011), by sending his army to quell the jihadists of the Mosque al-Omari, he was the first to understand what was happening. Far from increasing the powers of the forces to maintain order to repress the aggression sourced from abroad, he equipped his people with the means to defend their homeland.
First: He lifted the state of emergency, dissolved the special courts, freed the Internet communications and forbade the armed forces to use their arms if they did so, they would endanger the lives of innocent civilians.
When Assad took these decisions he was clearly not going with the flow. And these decisions were ladened with consequences. For example, at the time of the attack of a military convoy at Banias, soldiers held off using their weapons in self-defence; they preferred to be mutilated by the bombs of their attackers and occasionally die, rather than to fire, risking injuring inhabitants that were looking at them being massacred without intervening.
Like many at this time, I thought that the President was too weak and his troops too loyal; that Syria was going to go down. However six years on, Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Armed Forces met the challenge. While at the beginning the soldiers were struggling alone against foreign aggression, gradually, every citizen came on board, to defend the country.
Those who were not able to or who did not want to resist, went into exile. It is clearly the case that the Syrian people have greatly suffered. That said, Syria is the only state in the entire world, since the Vietnam War, to have resisted until imperialism tires itself out and surrenders.
Second: Faced with this invasion of a multitude of jihadists, from Muslim populations all over the world – Morocco to China, President Assad took the decision to abandon part of his territory to save his people.
The Syrian Arab Army confined itself to the “useful Syria”, that is, to the cities. It abandoned the countryside and the deserts to the attackers. Damascus kept supervising, uninterruptedly, the provision of food to every region under its control. Contrary to an idea accepted by the West as common knowledge, the only areas where there is famine are those areas under Jihadi control and in the cities that it has besieged; the “foreign rebels” (forgive this oxymoron), supplied by “humanitarian” associations, use the distribution of food packages as a means of making starving populations submit to them.
The Syrian people saw for themselves how the Republic alone assumed the role of feeding them and protecting them. The Muslim Brotherhood and their jihadists played no part.
Third: In a speech delivered on 12 December 2012, President Assad traced, how he intended to remake political unity in his country. Of special mention, he pointed out the need to draft a new constitution and to submit it to adoption by a qualified majority of his people then to proceed to democratically elect all institutional officials, including of course, the President.
At that time, the Westerners mocked the claim of President Assad to call elections when the war was at its bloodiest. Today, all diplomats involved in resolving this conflict including the UN, support Assad’s plan.
While Jihadi commandos were freely roaming the entire country, notably Damascus, and were murdering politicians even invading their homes where their families were, to do so, President Assad has encouraged dialogue with nationals who oppose him. He guaranteed the security of the liberal Hassan el-Nouri and the Marxist Maher el-Hajjar so that they too, might risk presenting themselves at the presidential elections in June 2014. Despite an appeal to boycott issued by the Muslim Brotherhood and Western governments, despite jihadi terror, despite the fact that millions of citizens were exiled abroad, voter turnout (of those present) was 73.42 %.
In the same way, from the beginning of the war, he created a ministry for National Reconciliation, something never seen before in a country where war is going on. Assad handed the ministry over to Ali Haidar, the President of PSNS, an allied party. He negotiated and concluded thousands of agreements taking into account the amnesty of citizens who had taken arms against the Republic and their integration in the Syrian Arab Army.
During this war, President Assad has never used force against his own people. This is so, despite the allegations of those who freely accuse him of widespread torture. So, let me be clear: He has never set up mass executions nor mandatory conscriptions. It is always possible for a young man to avoid his military obligations. Administrative procedures allow any male citizen to evade national service if he does not desire to defend his country with weapons in hand. Only the exiled who have not had the occasion to pursue these procedures may find themselves in violation of these laws.
For six years, President Assad has not stopped on the one hand, making an appeal to his people, asking them to thrust upon him obligations, and on the other hand, trying to feed them and to protect them, as far as he is able. He has always assumed the risk of giving before receiving. That is why today, he has won the confidence of his people, and can count on their active support.
South American elites are wrong to pursue the fight of the previous decades for a fairer distribution of their wealth. The battle which they must focus is no longer one where the majority of the people and small class of privileged individuals are on opposite sides.
The choice put to the peoples of the expanded Middle East and to the people of South America is this: aut defendendum vobis patriam est aut morendum vobis est (you must either defend your homeland or die). It is this question that they will have to respond to.
The facts prove it: The number one priority of imperialism today is no longer plundering natural resources. Imperialism, unscrupulous, dominates the world. Yet now its vision has expanded to wiping out people and to destroying the societies in the regions where it is already exploiting resources.
In this iron era, the Assad strategy alone allows us to stand tall and free.
In the first part of this article, I pointed out the fact that currently, President Bachar el-Assad is the only personality who has adapted to the new “grand US strategy” – all the others continue to think as if the present conflicts were simply a continuation of those we have been experiencing since the end of the Second World War. They persist in interpreting these events as tentatives by the United States to hog natural ressources for themselves by organising the overthrow of the pertinent governments.
For the last 70 years, the obsession of US strategists has not been to defend their people, but to maintain their military superiority over the rest of the world. During the decade between the dissolution of the USSR and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, they searched for ways to intimidate those who resisted them.
Harlan K. Ullman developed the idea of terrorising populations by dealing them a horrifying blow to the head (Shock and awe)1. This was the idea behind the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese and the bombing of Baghdad with a storm of cruise missiles.
The Straussians (meaning the disciples of philosopher Leo Strauss) dreamed of waging and winning several wars at once (Full-spectrum dominance). This led to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, placed under a common command2.
Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski suggested reorganising the armies in order to facilitate the treament and sharing of a wealth of data simultaneously. In this way, robots would one day be able to indicate the best tactics instantaneously3. As we shall see, the major reforms he initiated were soon to produce poisonous fruit.
These ideas and fantasies first of all led President Bush and the Navy to organise the world’s most wide-ranging network for international kidnapping and torture, which created 80,000 victims. Then President Obama set up an assassination programme mainly using drones, but also commandos, which operates in 80 countries, and enjoys an annual budget of 14 billion dollars4.
As from 9/11, Admiral Cebrowski’s assistant, Thomas P. M. Barnett, has given numerous conferences at the Pentagon and in military academies in order to announce the shape of the new map of the world according to the Pentagon5. This project was made possible by the structural reforms of US armies – these reforms are the source of this new vision of the world. At first, it seemed so crazy that foreign observers too quickly considered it as one more piece of rhetoric aimed at striking fear into the people they wanted to dominate.
Barnett declared that in order to maintain their hegemony over the world, the United States would have to “settle for less”, in other words, to divide the world in two. On one side, the stable states (the members of the G8 and their allies), on the other, the rest of the world, considered only as a simple reservoir of natural resources. Contrary to his predecessors, Barnett no longer considered access to these resources as vital for Washington, but claimed that they would only be accessible to the stable states by transit via the services of the US army. From now on, it was necessary to systematically destroy all state structures in the reservoir of resources, so that one day, no-one would be able to oppose the will of Washington, nor deal directly with the stable states.
During his State of the Union speech in January 1980, President Carter announced his doctrine – Washington considered that the supply of its economy with oil from the Gulf was a question of national security6. Following that, the Pentagon created CentCom in order to control the region. But today, Washington takes less oil from Iraq and Libya than it exploited before those wars – and it doesn’t care!
Destroying the state structures is to operate a plunge into chaos, a concept borrowed from Leo Strauss, but to which Barnett gives new meaning. For the Jewish philosopher, the Jewish people can no longer trust democracies after the failure of the Weimar Republic and the Shoah. The only way to protect itself from a new form of Nazism, is to establish its own world dictatorship – in the name of the Good, of course. It would therefore be necessary to destroy certain resistant states, drag them into chaos and rebuild them according to different laws7. This is what Condoleezza Rice said during the first days of the 2006 war against Lebanon, when Israel still seemed victorious – “I do not see the point of diplomacy if it’s purpose is to return to the status quo ante between Israel and Lebanon. I think that would be a mistake. What we are seeing here, in a way, is the beginning, the contractions of the birth of a new Middle East, and whatever we do, we have to be sure that we are pushing towards the new Middle East and that we are not returning to the old”. On the contrary, for Barnett, not only the few resistant people should be forced into chaos, but all those who have not attained a certain standard of life – and once they are reduced to chaos, they must be kept there.
In fact, the influence of the Straussians has diminished at the Pentagon since the death of Andrew Marshall, who created the idea of the “pivot to Asia”8.
One of the great differences between the thinking of Barnett and that of his predecessors is that war should not be waged against specific states for political reason, but against regions of the world because they are not integrated into the global economic system. Of course, we will start with one country or another, but we will favour contagion until everything is destroyed, just as we are seeing in the Greater Middle East. Today, tank warfare is raging in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt (Sinai), Palestine, Lebanon (Ain al-Hilweh and Ras Baalbeck), Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia (Qatif), Bahrein, Yemen, Turkey (Diyarbakır), and Afghanistan.
This is why Barnett’s neo-imperialist strategy will necessarily be based on elements of the rhetoric of Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, the “war of civilisations”9. Since it is impossible to justify our indifference to the fate of the people from the reservoir of natural resources, we can always persuade ourselves that our civilisations are incompatible.
This is precisely the policy which has been in operation since 9/11. None of the wars which were started have yet come to an end. For 16 years, on a daily basis, the living conditions of the Afghan people have become increasingly more terrible and more dangerous. The reconstruction of their state, which was touted to be planned on the model of Germany and Japan after the Second World War, has not yet begun. The presence of NATO troops has not improved the life of the Afghan people, but on the contrary, has made it worse. We are obliged to note the fact that it is today the cause of the problem. Despite the feel-good speeches on international aid, these troops are there only to deepen and maintain the chaos.
Never once, when NATO troops intervened, have the official reasons for the war been shown to be true – neither against Afghanistan (the responsibility of the Taliban in the attacks of 9/11), nor Iraq (President Hussein’s support for the 9/11 terrorists and the preparation of weapons of mass destruction to attack the USA), nor Libya (the bombing of its own people by the army), nor in Syria (the dictatorship of President Assad and the Alaouite cult). And never once has the overthrow of a government ever put an end to these wars. They all continue without interruption, no matter who is in power.
The “Arab Springs”, which were born of an idea from MI6 and directly inspired by the “Arab Revolt of 1916” and the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, were included in the same US strategy. Tunisia has become ungovernable. Luckily, Egypt was taken back by its army and is today making efforts to heal. Libya has become a battlefield, not since the Security Council resolution aimed at protecting the population, but since the assassination of Mouamar Kadhafi and the victory of NATO. Syria is an exception, because the state never fell into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, which prevented them from dragging the country into chaos. But numerous jihadist groups, born of the Brotherhood, have controlled – and still control – parts of the territory, where they have indeed sown chaos. Neither the Daesh Caliphate, nor Idleb under al-Qaeda, are states where Islam may flourish, but zones of terror without schools or hospitals.
It is probable that, thanks to its people, its army and its Russian, Lebanese and Iranian allies, Syria will manage to escape the destiny planned for it by Washington, but the Greater Near East will continue to burn until the people there understand their enemies’ plans for them. We now see that the same process of destruction has begun in the North-West of Latin America. The Western medias speak with disdain about the troubles in Venezuela, but the war that is beginning there will not be limited to that country – it will spread throughout the whole region, although the economic and political conditions of the states which compose it are very different.
The US strategists like to compare their power to that of the Roman Empire. But that empire brought security and opulence to the peoples they conquered and integrated. It built monuments and rationalised their societies. On the contrary, US neo-imperialism does not intend to offer anything to the people of the stable states, nor to the people of the reservoirs of natural resources. It plans to racket the former and to destroy the social connections which bind the latter together. Above all, it does not want to exterminate the people of the reservoirs, but needs for them to suffer so that the chaos in which they live will prevent the stable states from going to them for natural ressources without the protection of the US armies.
Until now, the imperialist project ran on the principle that “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”. It admitted that it had committed collateral massacres in order to extend its domination. From now on, it is planning generalised massacres in order to impose its authority – definitively.
US neo-imperialism supposes that the other states of the G8 and their allies will agree to allow their overseas interests to be “protected” by US armies. That should pose no problem with the European Union, which has already been emasculated for a long time, but will have to be negotiated with the United Kingdom, and will be impossible with Russia and China.
Recalling its “special relationship” with Washington, London has already asked to be associated with the US project for governing the world. That was the point of Theresa May’s visit to the United States in January 2017, but she has so far received no answer10.
Apart from that, it is inconceivable that the US armies will ensure the security of the “Silk Roads” as they do today with their British opposite numbers for the sea and air routes. Similarly, it is unthinkable for them to force Russia to genuflect, which has just been excluded from the G8 because of its engagement in Syria and Crimea. •
(Translation Anoosha Boralessa/Pete Kimberley/Current Concerns)
1 Ullman, Harlan K. & al. Shock and awe: achieving rapid dominance. ACT Center for Advanced Concepts and Technology, 1996
2 Mahajan, Rahul. Full Spectrum Dominance. U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond, Seven Stories Press, 2003
3 Alberts, David S./ Garstka, John J. & Stein, Frederick P. Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority, CCRP, 1999
4 Shaw, Ian G. R. Predator empire: drone warfare and full spectrum dominance, University of Minnesota Press, 2016
5 Barnett, Thomas P. M. The Pentagon’s New Map, Putnam Publishing Group, 2004
6 Carter, Jimmy. “State of the Union Address 1980”, Voltaire Network, 23. January 1980
7 Certain specialists of the political thinking of Leo Strauss interpret this in a completely different way. As far as I am concerned, I am not interested in what the philosopher
thought, but what is being said by those who, rightly or wrongly, speak to the Pentagon in his name.
Drury, Shadia B. Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, Palgrave Macmillan, 1988
Norton, Anne. Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire, Yale University Press, 2005
Gottfried, Paul Edward. Leo Strauss and the conservative movement in America: a critical appraisal, Cambridge University Press, 2011
Minowitz, Peter. Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians Against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers, Lexington Books, 2016
8 Krepinevich, Andrew F. & Watts, Barry D. The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy, Chapter 9, Basic Books, 2015
9 “The Clash of Civilizations?” & “The West Unique, Not Universal” Foreign Affairs, 1993 & 1996
Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon & Schuster, 1996
10 May, Theresa. “Theresa May addresses US Republican leaders”, Voltaire Network, 27 January 2017
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