Barack Obama’s legacy just took a lethal hit. Now, most people know about his many failures and many have been publicized.
This one failure, in particular, needs more sunlight if we are to stop it from happening again. Look, our foreign adventures usually turn disastrous – Irag for Bush and Syria for Obama.
To the dustbin of history will Obama’s legacy go, and he deserves it. That said his bumbling (and those who came before him) did one thing good – elected Trump.
From Zero Hedge: Maxime Chaix, an expert on clandestine operations, intelligence and US foreign policy, is a journalist and regular contributor to GlobalGeoNews.com. He has written La guerre de l’ombre en Syrie (The Shadow War in Syria, published in French by Éditions Erick Bonnier), a shocker of a book in which he reveals insightful information on the support which several Western intelligence services provided to jihadist militias in Syria, starting with the CIA. His investigation reveals a multi-faceted state scandal and points out the murky game played by the Western powers and their Middle Eastern allies in the Levant.
Emmanuel Razavi: First of all, please refresh our memories about what operation Timber Sycamore is.
Maxime Chaix: Timber Sycamore is the codename of a covert operation officially authorized by Obama in June 2013 to train and equip the anti-Assad rebellion, but which actually started in October 2011, when the CIA was operating via Britain’s MI6 to avoid having to notify Congressthat it was arming the rebels in Syria. Originally, the CIA and MI6 (the British foreign intelligence service) set up a rebel arms supply network in Syria from Libya — a plan that involved the Saudi, Qatari and Turkish intelligence services.
In 2012, probably in spring, Obama reluctantly signed a top-secret executive order, of which little is known other than that it authorized the CIA to provide “non-lethal support” to the rebels in Syria. In concrete terms, then, what the CIA did was to link up its Qatari and Saudi allies with a number of arms manufacturers in the Balkans (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, etc.). With the backing of NATO, which controls arms exports from the Balkans via EUFOR, Qatari and Saudi secret services began buying up weapons and ammunition from these countries to illegally equip anti-Assad rebels.
A few months later, in October 2012, the New York Times revealed that this vast CIA-sponsored arms trafficking was mainly going to support jihadist groups in Syria, while arms exports by air were growing, with weapons being injected into Syrian territory from “operation rooms” in Turkey and Jordan, through the FSA (“Free Syria Army”) and local arms traffickers.
Finally, it turned out that these “operation rooms” were cobbled together by fifteen Western and Middle Eastern intelligence services, including the DGSE(French foreign intelligence service) and MI6, although the we do not yet know exactly what role these various agencies played in this secret war. What is clear — and what I demonstrate in my book with irrefutable evidence —is that tens of thousands of tons of weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition were brought into the Syrian theater of war by this operation. It is also proven that these armaments mostly went to equip jihadist groups, including the terrorist militia which proclaimed itself “Islamic State” in June 2014.
Ultimately, Donald Trump decided to phase out this operation in early summer 2017. This was a major setback for the CIA, as the US President was thereby conceding the defeat of the United States and its partners in the war against Syria and its Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies.
ER: What concrete evidence do you have to show that US intelligence services have provided support to jihadist militias in Syria?
MC: The coordination role that the Agency signed off on in the fall of 2011 is now a proven fact, as we know that it was belatedly confirmed in June 2018 by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s chief adviser from 2009 to 2017. During the interview in question, Rhodes argued that the blacklisting of al-Nusra Front on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in December 2012 was a “schizophrenic” move, since it was obvious that the jihadist militia was a “big chunk” of the anti-Assad opposition, as he put it in his own words. During that interview, journalist Mehdi Hasan not only elicited from him that the CIA had played a coordinating role in this vast arms trade, but also that US involvement in this shadow war had been much greater than we thought.
According to the Washington Post, it was one of the CIA’s “largest covert operations” in its history. In January 2016, the New York Times confirmed this, noting that the CIA’s maneuvers to overthrow Assad were part of a multinational campaign involving billions of petrodollars from the Gulf states, mainly spent by Saudi Arabia.
It must be understood that this secret war ushered in, between 2011 and 2017, close cooperation between Western secret services and their Turkish and Middle Eastern counterparts. Thus, many experts and journalists were making a mistake by analyzing the operations of the various Middle Eastern powers in isolation from those of the Western governments. On the contrary, as the former Qatari Prime Minister admitted in 2017, it was a joint and coordinated operation involving all of those intelligence services.
Due to the record number of public and private funders backing this campaign, and the tens of thousands of anti-Assad mujaheddin who were directly or indirectly aided by the CIA and its allies, I believe this could be the most massive clandestine operation in the history of the Agency. However, I have not been able to determine that with certainty due to the secrecy of this shadow war, which prevents access to archives and severely limits the quantity of leaks to the press.
The fact remains, however, that I was able to assemble in my book hundreds of undisputed sources which combine to corroborate my writing. In this book, internationally renowned researchers such as Joshua Landis and Christopher Davidson support my arguments, which I developed after a long investigation that I launched in 2014. Once again, I invite your readers to consult the evidence cited in my book, as it is overwhelming. I would take this opportunity to point out that Bashar al-Assad and his allies have committed major abuses against Syrian civilians, and that my book is not intended to excuse what they are responsible for.
Nevertheless, and to date, the Western media have focused mainly on the crimes of Assad and his supporters, while suppressing or downplaying the vast shadow war launched by the CIA and its partners in the fall of 2011.