Now, you know as much as Tabacco does about Shia vs. Sunni!
However, if you are a constant viewer of CNN, exactly where is Fallujah, and how would you know anyway? CNN almost NEVER gives you BASIC INFORMATION before reporting a story about someplace you know nothing about! If CNN has oodles of extra time to discuss Trump’s Penis, how come they rarely discuss Sunni vs. Shia, Syrian Civil War or Russians vs. Americans vs. Iranians in Syria? CNN: News & Politics or Peyton Place!
EXPLOITING & GENOCIDE!
In the latest escalation of the war in Syria, Russia has begun launching airstrikes from an Iranian air base. The New York Times reports this marks the first time since World War II that a foreign military has operated from a base on Iranian soil. The move comes as fighting has intensified around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Earlier this month, rebels fighting the Syrian government began a new offensive to break an ongoing government-backed siege of the city. The rebels have been led in part by an offshoot of the Nusra Front, which up until last month had been aligned with al-Qaeda. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the fight for Aleppo as “beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times.” The United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis as millions are left without water or electricity. For more on the humanitarian and medical crisis in Syria, we speak with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In the latest escalation of the war in Syria, Russia has begun launching airstrikes from Iranian air bases—an air base. The New York Times reports this marks the first time since World War II that a foreign military has operated from a base on Iranian soil. The move comes as fighting has intensified around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Earlier this month, rebels fighting the Syrian government began a new offensive to break an ongoing government-backed siege of the city. The rebels have been led in part by an offshoot of the Nusra Front, which, up until last month, had been aligned with al-Qaeda. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the fighting for Aleppo as, quote, “beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times.” The United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis, as millions are left without water or electricity. This is U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci.
ALESSANDRA VELLUCCI: The commission is gravely concerned for the safety of civilians, including a reported 100,000 children living in eastern Aleppo city, where violence has reached new heights in recent weeks as asymmetric warfare intensifies over control of armed group-held neighborhoods and their principal remaining supply lines.
AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, a British aid worker named Tauqir Sharif described the dire situation in Aleppo in this video he posted online.
TAUQIR SHARIF: I’ve just had to watch a woman lose three of her children, who were killed—OK?—and crying over their dead bodies. Thirty people just got killed not far from here in place called Shaar [inaudible]. We were just there yesterday. In a marketplace, 30 people just got killed. So, we’ve had so many dead bodies. You can hear what’s going on here. So, my dear brothers and sisters, please keep us in your duas. We need to get the message out right now. Hospitals are being targeted. People are being killed. OK? And war crimes are being committed. We need a no-fly zone in Syria. We need everybody to start voting for a no-fly zone. This is a massacre going on. This is genocide!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Last week, 15 of the last 35 doctors in rebel-held eastern Aleppo wrote a letter to President Obama calling for help in getting humanitarian aid to 300,000 civilians trapped in the area and an end to Syrian and Russian bombardment of the besieged city. The letter said that there is an attack on medical facilities every 17 hours, and doctors were being forced to decide who will live and who will die.
AMY GOODMAN: According to the humanitarian group Physicians for Human Rights, there have been more than 370 attacks on 265 medical facilities during the five-year conflict, as well as the deaths of 750 medical personnel. Overall, the death toll in the five-year Syrian conflict has reached close to half a million people. The ongoing war has displaced about half the prewar population, with more than 6 million Syrians displaced inside Syria and nearly 5 million Syrian refugees outside Syria’s borders.
To find about about more the humanitarian and medical crisis in Syria, we’re joined by Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He’s visited Aleppo five times since the war began. Last week, he addressed the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. He was a classmate of Bashar al-Assad in medical school. Dr. Sahloul is a critical care specialist in Chicago.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Doctor.
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Thank you for having me.
AMY GOODMAN: When you heard about the latest attack, even since you’ve just returned from Aleppo, Russia attacking from Iran, your thoughts? And then describe Aleppo to us.
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I mean, my thoughts and my colleagues’ thoughts from Aleppo, which I keep contacts every minute with them, is the same, that everyone is bombing Syrians, and no one cares about ending the crisis. So it looks like the Russians are having fun bombing Syria from different parts, now added Iran to this, Iran bases. The coalition are bombing parts of Syria. They are bombing ISIS and also civilians. The Assad regime is bombing, you know, cities and historic sites and civilians, with barrel bombings and all kind of weapons. The Iranians are bombing Syrians. So everyone is bombing Syrians.
And this is really the story that is not being told in the media. I mean, when people know about Syria or hear about Syria, they think it’s something related to ISIS or that it’s something that is complicated. But what’s happening, that civilians are suffering every day. Children are being mutilated and killed with barrel bombs and air missile bombs. Hospitals are targeted. Schools are targeted. Fruit markets are targeted. And historic sites, like the Old City of Aleppo, are being destroyed. So this is the tragedy that we are living in. We had half a million people killed in Syria so far, half of the population displaced. And so far, we don’t have a light at the end of the tunnel.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in terms—you mentioned barrel bombs. What exactly are those, and who is dropping them?
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Barrel bombs are an invention of the Syrian regime. It’s a very cheap way to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. I’ve seen it, in my eyes, and the victims also of barrel bombs in my several missions to Syria, especially to the city of Aleppo. So these are barrels that—big barrels stuffed with TNT, half a ton of TNT, and shrapnels, metal shrapnels. And they come in all kind of sizes and shapes. And they’re thrown from helicopters on urban areas, on hospitals, on blocks, on civilian neighborhoods, on fruit markets, on schools. And it can cause a lot of destruction. I’ve seen them. I took pictures of the victims. I took pictures of the buildings that have been destroyed with barrel bombs. It’s a weapon of mass destruction. It’s a dumb bomb; it’s not a smart bomb. And it can kill a lot of people.
And the only thing I’ve seen—you know, when you go to Aleppo, and this is something that, you know, if you go there—and you will see children pointing to the sky, and then you see this dot, which is the helicopter, and you hear the sound, the chop-chop-chop of the helicopter. And then this dot will throw another dot, which is the barrel, and then you have 30 to 40 seconds to run and hide from the barrel, or you can pray, because you don’t know where this barrel will hit. And it’s happening day after day for the past three years. It caused a lot of displacement. Let’s not forget that 2 million of the people of Aleppo are displaced, either inside Syria or became refugees, because of the barrel bombing. And it’s done by the Assad regime, of course. No one else has helicopters.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And how are the medical facilities and hospitals able to function on a day-to-day basis, if you could talk about that? I mean, what’s the relationship between the various rebel groups and the hospitals? Do they interfere with your work? And is the government paying for the salaries of these doctors? Or—talk about the system, how it’s operating.
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: So, right now what we have in Syria is we have different areas in Syria that are out of the control of the government. These are areas that are controlled by the different rebel factions. And also, of course, you have areas in Syria that are controlled by the Kurdish troops and areas in Syria that are controlled by ISIS. But we operate mostly in rebel-controlled areas, because there are million of people who are in need for medical and humanitarian aid in these areas, and the United Nations are unable to reach them from Damascus, from government-controlled areas. And we reach them from Turkey, from Jordan. And you have hospitals that already established in cities like Aleppo and Idlib and Marat al-Numaan and Saraqib and Hama and other places, Daraa. And these hospitals need support. The government do not pay salaries. I mean, this is false. They don’t pay salaries for areas that are outside of their control. So doctors and nurses depend on NGOs to support them, pay for their salaries.
And many of these hospitals have been targeted multiple times. It looks like there is systematic targeting by the Syrian government, by the Russians lately, to hospitals, because these hospitals treat everyone, of course, including the people who are injured by the fighting and snipers and the shelling. But what I’ve seen in Aleppo is mostly civilians who are the victims of barrel bombings and shelling. I’ve seen children. I mean, I’ve seen, in the last mission, a child, Ahmad, his name, is five years old. He was a victim of barrel bombing. He has a spinal cord injury. He had a lung contusion. He was on life support. And during my stay, he was between life and death. Unfortunately, one day after I left, he died. He had cardiac arrest. I’ve seen a woman, Fatima, 25 years old, who was pregnant in her third month. Two barrels fell on her house. Her older son, Abdo, nine years old, was killed; youngest daughter, Eilaf, was killed. And she was brought to the hospital. She had internal bleeding. She was on life support. Her fetus, unborn child, was also dead. And she was survived only by one son, Mahmoud, seven years old son. I took his picture as he was in the emergency room. I tried to talk with him. He could not smile. He was very traumatized.
And you see this over and over in Aleppo. The doctors over there are overwhelmed by the number of casualties and victims. They cannot do enough surgeries to save everyone, especially that they are also, themselves, targeted. One of the doctors told me that he was working for 72 hours and that he does not mind working for a long time, but the worst thing that—the worst nightmare that he figured, that if he goes to his home and discovered that his wife and children are also killed or the target of barrel bombing.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the children? You have said that they eat cat food and grass?
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Well, I mean, that happened in Madaya. That happened in Darayya and other places in Syria under siege. Let’s not forget that, according to the United Nations, there are 850,000 people under siege, barbaric siege, by their own government in places like East al-Ghouta, Darayya, Madaya, Moadamiya, Alwa and Homs and other places in Syria. And in Aleppo now, which became under siege, eastern Aleppo, you have 300,000 people, among them 85,000 children, who are under siege.
When I was there, I visited an orphanage that is also underground for protection. And the children over there had a play for the doctors who are coming from Chicago. We were three physicians who came from Chicago. And during that play, they were talking about that they are scared that they will have to eat grass and tree leaves and cat meat, the same way that the children of Madaya have done. And as you know, in Madaya, we had children who died because of starvation. Unfortunately, their fear became a reality right now. We have this whole area, 300,000 people in eastern Aleppo, that is under complete siege.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, you called for the international community to provide some kind of safe passage for medical personnel and for victims of the bombing. How would that work in practice, given, as you mentioned, all the various groups that have different control of different areas of a city like Aleppo?
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I mean, before the siege happened, this—that’s been going on for more than five weeks, the road to Turkey and to other places in Syria was open—the Castello Road. That’s the same road that I went to Aleppo through and left Aleppo through. And it’s right now blocked by the Syrian regime, and also assisted by the Russians and the Iranian paramilitias. So, if the United Nations oversaw this road, to keep it open, so we can have patients evacuated to Turkey. You have now all ICU beds in Aleppo are full with patients. And they are overwhelmed, so they need to evacuate patients. Children, who right now waiting for death, can be saved in Turkey and other places in Syria.
And also let the humanitarian aid into Aleppo. What the Russians have suggested a couple weeks ago is to have a humanitarian corridor where families are allowed to go to western Aleppo. Western Aleppo is controlled by the government. Of course, no one trusts the Russians in Aleppo. No one trusts the government that is bombing their children and bombing their hospitals. And no one took the Russians on their offer. What we are asking for is a humanitarian corridor that—with the oversight of the United Nations.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to another video by British aid worker Tauqir Sharif in Aleppo. On Tuesday, he posted online this interview with Malika, the head nurse of the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo.
MILAKA: [translated] It was Sunday, and the hospital was targeted from a plane. We got hit three times in a row. At around 1:20, we began moving all children from the second floor down to the first floor to save their lives. So the second strike was at 11:20, and again the hospital was hit. At this time, I was in the ICU, and we had a child who was two days old. His name was Ali Shibli. The room was hit, and I was injured. And, unfortunately, the air was also cut to Ali’s incubator. We tried a lot to resuscitate him, but in the end he sadly passed away. When we gave the baby back to his father, he was very upset, and he cried a lot. And so did I. We will stay here. We are not afraid. We will continue to work. If we leave these children, who will be here to help them? We will never leave our country. We will never stop our work.
AMY GOODMAN: That is the head nurse of the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo. Dr. Zaher Sahloul, you also have just returned from there. You were a medical school classmate of Bashar al-Assad? Do you know him? Have you spoken to him?
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Yes, I mean, we were in medical school for six years. We graduated together in 1988. We took together the oath, the Hippocratic oath, that every physician should do no harm and should save lives, even the lives of their enemies. I met with him after he became a president, three times. And my organization, Syrian American Medical Society, we used to do medical conferences in Syria and do medical missions before the crisis, so I met with him as the president.
And I remember one time I asked him—you know, I was naive. I came from the United States, and I told him, “Are you planning to do—to have democratic reform in Syria?” And he had this very long, triangulated answer; then he told me, “Syrians are not ready for democracy.” And, you know, two months before the Arab Spring started in Syria, he was asked the same question by, I think, The Wall Street Journal, and he had the same answer. So—but, you know, when we talk with him, he’s very personable. I mean, he’s a humble person, especially when he was in medical school. No one expected him to be that brutal. No one expected him to oversee the destruction of half of his country and displacement of half of the population, killing half a million people. And, you know, this is a puzzle to us. But definitely, he has changed since he became—he took power in Syria.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you’ve said that the crisis in Syria is contributing to the rise of the Islamic State. Could you explain how you see that happening?
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I mean, definitely. The same pictures that you are showing and the same pictures that I’ve seen of children who are mutilated, who are killed, the women who are killed, the elderly who are killed—I mean, I’ve seen a disabled child who was deaf and mute, who was the victim of barrel bomb. I mentioned during my testimony to the Security Council the story of a child, Shahd, 10 years old, who was a victim of barrel bomb, and she was on life support, waiting for evacuation. The Security Council was not able to evacuate her, and she died, next day after my testimony. So these pictures and stories are circulated in the social media. They are used by ISIS and other extremist groups to recruit potential extremists, not only in Syria and the Middle East, but also in Europe and United States. There is a direct connection between what’s happening in Aleppo and what happened in Orlando, what happened in San Bernardino, what happened in Nice, what happened in Belgium. And unless we stop this crisis, unless we stop this gushing wound in Syria, we will continue to have terrorism and chaos.
We are suffering because of the implication of the refugee crisis in Europe and throughout the world. One out of four refugees in the world—we have 20 million refugees. One out of four of them is from Syria. In order to stop this crisis, in order to stop the Islamophobia and the xenophobia that is associating this crisis, we have to stop people from being displaced in Syria. And people are fearful from barrel bomb. I’ve went into medical mission to Jordan and Lebanon and Greece. And when I talk with people, “Why are you leaving Syria? Why did you leave Syria?” they mention the barrel bomb. They mention the Russian attacks. They mention the Assad regime brutality. So, in order to stop the refugee crisis, we have to stop the Assad regime brutality and the Russian attacks.
AMY GOODMAN: You met with President Obama a few years ago. You’re from his city; you’re from Chicago. You gave him a letter. What did you ask of him?
DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I met with him in July 2013. There was a reception in the White House, and I had 30 seconds to talk with him. I delivered a letter on behalf of the Syrian American Medical Society and Syrian physicians, asking him to protect hospitals and protect civilians, the same way that we provided protection to Bosnia during the conflict. I told him that his legacy will be determined by what he does and what he does not do in Syria. He laughed, and he said that, “But my legacy will be determined by other things.” I told him, “Mr. President, your legacy will be determined—the most important factor will be Syria.” I still believe that Syria will determine his legacy. And the fact that President Obama did not follow on his pledges when he had these red lines and did not enforce it, I think this is what is causing the chaos and the extremism and the refugee crisis that we are facing right now.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Zaher Sahloul, thank you very much for being with us, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society, has visited Aleppo five times since the war began. Last week, he addressed the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Denver, Colorado, to look at Hillary Clinton’s transition team. If she is elected president, who would be in charge? Stay with us.
As conflicts from Iraq to Syria have forced a record 60 million people around the world to flee their homes and become refugees, we speak with Scott Anderson about his in-depth new report, “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart.” Occupying the entire print edition of this week’s New York Times Magazine, it examines what has happened in the region in the past 13 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Anderson is also author of the book, “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking with Scott Anderson. The New York Times did something very unusual this weekend, coming up. The entire issue of The New York Times Magazine is devoted to one article, well, which is divided into a number of parts. It’s called “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart.” Scott Anderson’s most recent book is called Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Juan?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I wanted to ask you, one of the people you profiled, Wakaz Hassan, a former ISIS fighter in Iraq—you also interviewed about 20 other former ISIS fighters.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yes!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: What did you—what did you learn from those interviews and from his story?
SCOTT ANDERSON: There was an amazing pattern. As you say, I interviewed probably just around 20 ISIS fighters, all in prison either in Iraq or in Kurdistan now. The one pattern I found over and over again was that these were—they were all young men, kind of with very bleak futures, either unemployed or underemployed, from working-class families, and not religious at all. None of these—according to them, they were not from religious families. They did not know the Qur’an very well. In a couple of cases, I knew the Qur’an better than they did. They were not recruited in mosques. They joined because their buddies joined, I mean, you know, because they saw stuff on social media. They’ve all—you know, everybody has mobile phones in that part of the world. And they’ve all—they had all seen the ISIS videos. And I think it was this kind of decision that young men make, that better to live large for a couple of years, and, you know, the power and the so-called glamour of—but the power that comes of carrying a gun, and then, you know, worry about what happens in the future two or three years down the road. So, I felt it was—certainly, in my experience, of these kind of foot soldiers, the grunts—they were primarily the ISIS members I’ve talked with—they had more akin to why somebody might join like an inner-city gang or why in Mexico they might join a narco gang. It’s this kind of despair at seeing any sort of future. But it’s not political; it’s not religious! It’s just this impulse to—you know, to have some sort of—I mean, it’s awful to say, in terms of ISIS, but adventure.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But that’s a quite different perspective from what we get here—
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yes!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —that these are religious zealots, who are willing to die for Islam.
SCOTT ANDERSON: That’s right. No, it’s very different. And like a lot of cults, what ISIS—you mentioned like the character, the subject of the article, Wakaz Hassan. He joined up—he was brought in by his older brother. Wakaz at that time was 19; his brother was 26. Part of his basic training was to execute six different prisoners of ISIS on six different occasions. So, it was this kind of brutalizing process where they brought him out of the barracks and he was told he had to shoot somebody in the back of the head, on six different times. And he was—at this point, he’s in. It’s like being in a cult, and now you’re there. And at least in his view, there was no way to get out once he had signed up.
AMY GOODMAN: You have an amazing part of the end of part one of your article. It’s in October 2002. This was right around the time the U.S. Congress voted to authorize war. Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. You interviewed Muammar Gaddafi, and you asked him who would benefit if the Iraq invasion actually occurred. You write, “The Libyan dictator had a habit of theatrically pondering before answering my questions, but his reply to that one was instantaneous. ‘Bin Laden,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt about that. And Iraq could end up becoming the staging ground for Al Qaeda, because if the Saddam government collapses, it will be anarchy in Iraq. If that happens, actions against Americans will be considered jihad.’”
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yeah!
AMY GOODMAN: These are the words of the Libyan leader, who ruled for what? Like 42 years.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Forty-two years, yeah!
AMY GOODMAN: You interviewed him.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yeah!
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about that!
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yeah, he was—he was absolutely prescient of what was going to happen in Iraq. I had been trying to get an interview with Muammar Gaddafi for almost three years. And I finally got it; I’m convinced, because, by October, by the autumn of 2002, the drumbeat for war in Iraq was really building. I mean, it seemed pretty clear that the antiwar demonstrations were not going to have an effect: We were going in. And Gaddafi was worried that he was going to be next, that after the Bush administration overthrew Saddam Hussein that they were going to come after him. And the Bush administration had already been floating that out. They had a hit list. And, you know, Gaddafi was on there. Then Assad was somewhere down the list, because he—you know, in Syria, they weren’t the full-fledged axis of evil, but they were rising up. So, yes, so I went and spent three weeks in Libya and interviewed Gaddafi. And he was absolutely right. Everything he predicted came true to the tee.
AMY GOODMAN: Did he talk about what would happen to him?
SCOTT ANDERSON: No, no. And the interesting thing—a very interesting thing is—one of the most memorable things in the interview is I—it was almost my last question to him, and it was kind of a platitude in this question. I said, “How would you like to be remembered?” And he was so comfortable in the interview and so kind of arrogant about his position in Libya. He started off giving this kind of very, very platitudinous answer. It was like, “Well, you know, I would hope to be remembered as selfless, you know, that I gave to my people, that”—you know, just these kind of throwaway answers. And then he kind of paused for a second, and he chuckled, and he leaned towards me, and he said, “And I hope this is actually really true.” You know, in other words, maybe it’s always just been all about me, anyway. So, no, he had no—I don’t think he had any clue that—what was coming. Nor did—you know, I think, over and over again, I don’t think Hosni Mubarak, right up ’til the day he had to resign, he ever thought he was going to go. I think it’s part of the nature of these kind of personality cults these dictators build around themselves, that they’re so inoculated that they’ve just really lost touch with reality.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you the bigger question that you try to tackle here: What went wrong with the Arab Spring? Because we’re in a situation right now where, both in Europe and in the United States, people are faced with this enormous, one, refugee problem—
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —out of the Middle East and, two, these failed states, including Yemen, which we haven’t talked about at all.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right! Yeah, that’s right! Yeah!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And yet, there’s no connection made between growing intervention from Europe and the United States is leading to more destabilization rather than less—
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —and how you get out of that situation.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yeah, it’s very hard. If there’s any consolation in the current situation, I think we’re kind of near the—we’re near the bottom of how bad it can get. It’s hard to see how places get much worse, although Libya is going to get worse next year, because, along with the kind of division between different militias, you’re also headed for an economic crash that’s coming in Libya next year. They’re going to run—they’re just running out of money. It’s hard to see how Syria gets worse. It’s hard to see really how Iraq gets worse.
But I think that—so, it’s very hard to see what an intervention actually looks like. You know, I’ve often thought, well, you know, what is the Obama administration’s foreign policy in the region? And I don’t think it really has one. I think it’s utterly reactive at this point. But then it’s hard to imagine what a proactive policy in the region would actually look like. I mean, what do you do in a place like Syria? I mean, at least in Iraq, you’ve—there now seems to be kind of an operating coalition against ISIS. But I think the problem—and I personally feel that, militarily, ISIS is going to be pretty much destroyed in the near future. But ISIS is not just a military—it’s not a guerrilla group anymore. It’s an idea. And as I was talking about these young men, you know, you have millions and millions of young men throughout the Middle East with no economic futures, who are not necessarily religious or even political in any way, but also what you have throughout the region is a kind of a built-in resentment against the West. So, that whole breeding ground is just going to continue on, and I don’t see how you deactivate that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you very much for being with us.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Any word to the wise on how to read this entire issue, which also has a virtual reality tour of the retaking of Fallujah with Iraqi soldiers?
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right, right. You know, I don’t know. It’s hard for me to say how to—because it’s been my baby for a year and a half now, I don’t know how really to suggest how to treat it. You know, I think, like any—it’s the story of—you know, the six stories are kind of interwoven. And I think maybe to find the stories that—I think different stories will resonate with different people. I’m going to stay with that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you, Scott Anderson, who has written this remarkable total issue of The New York Times Magazine called “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart.” In print, it occupies the whole issue.
That does it for our broadcast. A very special congratulations to Dave Enders and his wife Monica! Their new baby, Sophie Grace, welcome to the world.
Democracy Now! has some job openings, including senior news video producer. Go to democracynow.org.
Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has used a base in western Iran to carry out airstrikes in Syria. The ministry reported the strikes hit targets in Aleppo, Idlib and Deir ez-Zor provinces. The strikes are the first Russia has carried out from a third country since it began its military intervention in Syria’s civil war, and a base in Iran gives Russia greater capability to intensify its bombing campaign in Syria. This comes as fighting is intensifying in and around Aleppo. The United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis as millions are left without water or electricity.
Alessandra Vellucci: “The commission is gravely concerned for the safety of civilians, including a reported 100,000 children living in eastern Aleppo city, where violence has reached new heights in recent weeks as asymmetric warfare intensifies over control of armed group-held neighborhoods and their principal remaining supply lines.”
We’ll have more on Syria after headlines with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria.
THE UGLY AMERICAN(S)
Re Civil War in Syria & President/Commander-in-Chief of Syrian Armed Forces/General Secretary of ruling Ba’ath Party: Bashar al-ASSAD
Tabacco did NOT view the Initial broadcast on 8/8/16 wherein Mr. Morell showed his War Hawk/Ugly American Ass! Watch the YouTube URL below for Excerpts mentioned!
But I did catch Morell on Rose 8/17/16, Tivo’d it, and will excerpt it at end of ‘The Ugly American(s)! In the Redux, Morell cleans up his curriculum vitae to make himself ‘acceptable’ in the Hillary Clinton Regime, which may or may not occur depending on which Candidate Americans deem MOST DANGEROUS!
Excerpts of Charley Rose Interview 8/8/16 of Michael Morell, former CIA Director re Assad, Syria’s President
“I want to scare Assad! Go after Presidential Guard, Presidential aircraft & helicopters. Bomb his offices in middle of the night. Make him think we’re coming after him!”
“I want to put pressure on Russians; I want to kill Russians in Syria COVERTLY; I want to make Iranians pay a price as Iranians did to USA in Iraq” – echoed by Hillary Clinton (she also includes China) and others
President Obama, “Assad needs to go!”
Michael Maloof, former Pentagon Chief, “Morell’s comments imply Russian-USA relations will get off to a bad start if Clinton wins! His thinking will lead to an open conflict between the USA & Russia”
MICHAEL MORELL is NO DUMMY! But the higher up he goes in any prospective Hillary Clinton administration, the more nervous I will be!
He cleans up his Interview from the previous week, but rest assured, his initial malapropisms are more indicative of his true character than any ‘cleanup’ that might follow! Likewise, beware of the ‘New’ Donald Trump – however he may appear! Freudian Slips are more reliable than PR readjustments!
Tabacco Transcribes Excerpts From 8/17/16 TiVo of Michael Morell’s Follow Up Interview On Charley Rose:
CHARLEY ROSE: Mike Morell is here; he is the former Acting & Deputy Director of the CIA. He was also contributing to CBS News, but resigned in order to endorse Hillary Clinton.
Most recently he wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times arguing that Donald Trump poses a THREAT to our National Security if elected President.
His book, ‘The Great War Of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism From al Qaeda To ISIS’, was released in paperback yesterday.
I am pleased to have him back to this table – welcome!
MICHAEL MORELL: Thank you, Charley!
I divide things into two categories: 1) National Security Threats – those people, those countries, which are actually trying to harm us in some way, and 2) National Security Challenges – that if we don’t manage right, could become Threats!
Threats: No. 1 on the List is International Terrorists! ISIS is at the Top of that List today; al Qaeda was at the Top of it 10 years ago. al Qaeda is still part of that International Terrorism.
That is No. 1 on that List. We are at Greater Threat of a Terrorist Attack in the United States than we were at any time since 9/11. So that Threat persists!
CHARLEY ROSE: (Reading from NY Times) Quote, Hours before he is set to receive his first classified intelligence briefing, Donald Trump said he does not trust information coming out of US intelligence agencies, indicating he would cease relying on the bulk of the intelligence community’s massive work force.
During an interview aired on Fox Wednesday, Trump, the Republican Presidential nominee, was asked whether he trusts intelligence. “Not so much from the people, who have been doing it for our country”, Trump responded. “I mean, look what’s happened over the last ten years; it’s been catastrophic!”
MICHAEL MORELL: (with a sardonic smile on his face the whole time Rose was reading the Times report) Wow! Wow! I saw that. I have so many reactions to that, Charley. Umh! No. 1 Umh! – he does not appreciate how important intelligence is to keep our country safe (very measured response). I would argue intelligence is more important today than it ever has been in American history. Umh! Let me kind of prove that point to you.
(Does Morell have a ‘tell’ when he’s practicing sophistry/ deception? ‘Umh, umh, uhm’!)
Yada, yada, yada, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!
Tabacco: Morell proves that he can do sophistry with the best of them. Trump should thank his lucky stars that his opponent is Hillary, not Morell.
Trump was referring to US intelligence inadequacy, not US intelligence irrelevance! Morell cleverly changes the subject here ever so slightly. That’s my job, folks, to mention whenever Sources do the Sophistic thing!
I love Morell’s use of the word ‘because’ and relevant follow through. Morell and Tabacco are kindred spirits. But Tabacco attempts to be forthright and honest, even when it hurts my own case (no lawyering here). Morell’s an intelligent, clever former CIA guy himself. So defending the indefensible is to be expected. But rest assured that Tabacco won’t let him get away with the subterfuge – even when it hurts both our cases! OK, Donald, you won that one!
HOWEVER, when Trump says to Blacks, “What have you got to lose! (by voting for Trump over Clinton in November)”, there are several very good, relevant retorts:
1 – No, what have we got to gain since GOPers prevent Dems such as President Obama from helping Blacks
2 – The Supreme Court (no explanation required)
3 – What about all your Redneck Buddies since even Donald Trump cannot serve both those Masters
4 – Planet Earth – and that’s just for starters! Donald’s middle name is SOPHIST!
Incidentally, Charley Rose set Morell straight by listing all the CIA MISSES! You can bet your ass Morell did NOT respond to Charley’s LIST! More yada, yada, yada!
Morell refutes the notion that Russia’s PUTIN is ‘this great chess player or Strategic Thinker’ and instead calls Putin a ‘Tactician’! (Short-term wins over Long-term advantages)
CHARLEY ROSE: Now let’s talk about the interview you did with me here (Aug. 8th)!
MICHAEL MORELL: The Syrian Civil War has to end! And the reason it has to end is because it is feeding Extremism in Iraq and Syria.
Even if we get our arms around ISIS and squeeze ISIS down and down and down and down, the Civil War will continue to breed Extremism. ISIS will go away, and some other Group will replace it.
The Syrian Civil War needs to end! In my view there is Not a Military Solution to that! And the reason there is not a military solution to that is because a military solution would end up with the destruction of the Syrian Military, the Syrian Security Services, Syrian Intelligence Services, etc. etc. etc., Syrian Police. And if you destroy all of those in an attempt to end the Civil War, you are left with a complete vacuum: Security Vacuum, Stability Vacuum – you end up with LIBYA or IRAQ!
EINSTEIN WAS RIGHT –
AND WHEN HAS REGIME CHANGE EVER WORKED FOR USA BENEFIT,
REGARDLESS OF OUR EXCUSE!
South Korea - We LOST that War! Anyone ever hear of Kim Jung Il!
Vietnam - We LOST that War too!
Grenada - Reagan WON that “Occupation” in 1983, but how could he lose to that tiny Caribbean island? ”The Mouse That Roared”
Guatemala, Chile etc. - My 1900> Source below apparently slept through the Reagan era when Ronnie was committing Genocidal Wars/breaking US Laws by assassinating Foreign Leaders in South America; you know how tough it is to keep up with all these little wars in obscure places!
Haiti - Did anybody mention US’s ‘Aristide Regime Change’, with which America had nothing to do – with!
Iraq - We’re STILL LOSING that War!
Beginning with 1900 and coming forward to today:
Skipping over WWI because of its relative Legitimacy!
Prior to 1900, the Bully USA pretty much had its own way! But since 1900, we have nothing but Pyrrhic Victories to show for our Belligerence & Domination (exceptions: WWI & WWII).
Don’t modern politicians ever crack a History book? Don’t they ever refer to Albert Einstein? Hell, don’t they ever read ‘Tabacco’!
Unless and until Democrats & Republicans begin to let ‘other voices into the room’, DC POLITICIANS will continue to LINE THE POCKETS OF WAR PROFITEERS & THEMSELVES, while both America’s Reputation and its Future are consigned to the Toilet Bowl of History!
Be SURE To Click On This Image To Increase Text Size!
See what I mean! Yes, this Article is from 2012, but it happens too frequently! What else do Dems & GOPers have to ‘negotiate’ with except TAXPAYER money! “You SCRATCH my back, and I’ll SCRATCH yours!”
In which Book of the Holy Bible is it written that the USA will last 1,000 years as Hitler predicted for Nazi Germany? How well did that turn out!
While you are in the process of checking the request immediately above, also research where in the U.S. Constitution CAPITALISM is Endorsed, Enshrined or even Mentioned?
Even African Slaves were mentioned ambiguously as “three-fifths of all other persons”.
American Politicians (and their Barbershop Mimickers) sit around deciding a) which country to drone next, b) which foreign leader to rub out for our own expedience and c) how shall we punish those, who give us insoluble problems.
The Conceit is bad enough, but when it involves NUCLEAR CONSEQUENCES, you’d think that even Hillary and Donald would realize there are rooms that even they must not enter!
The Differences/Distinctions between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are shrinking to an infinitesimal delta-sized Calculus dimension & Hillary’s National Lead Is Shrinking! Damned if you do; damned if you don’t! Thanks for nothing, Debbie Wasserman Schultz!
Even the Green Party got profiled on WEDNESDAY, August 17, 2016 – too little & too late, but at least they didn’t get Weekend Scraps like Wasserman Schultz saddled Bernie Sanders with!
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People