Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Speaking for the first time about reasons for firing his national security advisor John Bolton, US President Donald Trump said he was “way out of line” on Venezuela, even as the State Department doubled down on regime change.

“I disagreed with John Bolton on his attitudes about Venezuela. I thought he was way out of line,” Trump told reporters at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

The failed attempt to effect regime change in Caracas – which Bolton has been at the forefront of since January – was only one of the issues the president brought up. Bolton’s sabotage of denuclearization talks with North Korea, earlier this year, was another.

“We were set back very badly when [Bolton] talked about the Libyan model” with North Korea, Trump added. “That’s not a question of being tough, that’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had agreed to give up his nuclear and chemical weapons programs to the US, only to be violently overthrown and murdered by US-backed groups in 2011.

Bolton also “wasn’t getting along with the people in the administration that I consider very important,” Trump added, making sure to point out that he had opposed the 2003 Iraq War while Bolton was an unapologetic advocate of it.

None of that explains why Trump hired Bolton and kept him on as his principal foreign policy adviser for nearly 18 months, however. Nor does it explain why Trump agreed to appoint Bolton’s colleague Elliott Abrams as Washington’s point man on Venezuela, despite a history of his Trump-bashing public comments.

The Trump administration on Wednesday showed no signs of abandoning the approach to Caracas championed by Bolton and Abrams since January, despite it having failed miserably. Shortly after Trump’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US has invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), which would give legal framework for military intervention in Venezuela.

Pompeo’s pretext is that this was requested by Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela recognized by the US and a handful of its allies, but no one else in the world. Guaido’s repeated attempts to take over power in Caracas since January have failed miserably.

Trump maintained that his policy on Venezuela is “humanitarian” and designed to “help” people there, and blamed “socialism” for the country’s economic woes. He has framed his 2020 re-election bid as stopping the “socialist” Democrats from taking over the US.

“I don’t want to talk about that,” Trump said when asked if he would be willing to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This was in stark contrast to his readiness to meet with the Iranian president, another thing Bolton reportedly opposed.

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Iraq’s Hashd announces formation of Air Force

Hashd

Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are seen in Zumar, Nineveh province, Iraq October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ari Jalal – RC1E698CF530

The Iraqi Hashd, Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), said it is now forming its own ‘Air Force’ in order to respond to hostile air strikes.

The group’s deputy chief, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, said he had ordered to establish the air force directorate for the Hashd; naming Salah Mahdi Hantoush as its caretaker.

This comes a few weeks after suspicious airstrikes targeted the group’s positions in Baghdad and other provinces of Iraq.

A senior  US official said that Israel conducted “several strikes in recent days” in Iraq, including the July 19 attack north of Baghdad which targeted a base allegedly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “to transfer weapons to Syria”.

The claims come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at his country’s involvement in the latest attacks on ammunition depots in Iraq belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) composed of mostly Shia Muslim groups.

The Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council (EC) Mohsen Rezaei said on Sunday that both Iraq and Syria would respond to the latest Israeli attacks on their soil.

“Measures that Israel and America are jointly implementing in Syria and Iraq are against the international rules. And Syrian and Iraqi defenders will soon respond to them,” Rezaie told ILNA on Sunday on the sideline of an event in Qazvin province.

جامعة الدول العربية نحو الإقرار بالموازنات الجديدة… فهل سقط العصر السعودي؟

سبتمبر 4, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هذا حدث عجيب أن تعود جامعة الدول العربية الى إدانة «إسرائيل» بعد أكثر من عقد على تسلط نهج سعودي مصري قطري إماراتي عليها نجح في تحويلها الى اداة لإدانة القوى المناهضة للهيمنة الأميركية و»إسرائيل»، فأصبح حزب الله إرهابياً وإيران عدوة للعرب، والإرهاب معارضات داخلية، تحت الطلب، تدعو الجامعة بعض قيادييها للحضور بصفات مختلفة لتمثيل بلدانها بالنيابة عن الأنظمة الشرعية فيها.

فما الذي حدث حتى صدر بيان عنها بإدانة الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية الأخيرة؟

وهي اعتداءات متواصلة أصابت سورية بأكثر من مئة وثلاثين غارة وما يقاربها من القصف الصاروخي ولم يصدر في حينه عن الجامعة أي إدانات، بل كانت وزارات الخارجية في بلدان الخليج والإعلام التابع لها في العالم العربي تزعم ان القصف الإسرائيلي يستهدف ميليشيات وخبراء إيرانيين يعتدون على المعارضة السورية وسط ابتهاج مصري أردني مغربي وصمت المتواطئين الآخرين في الدول الاخرى.

أهي تلك الصواريخ من الكورنيت التي أطلقها حزب الله من معاقله الحدودية في جنوب لبنان على مستعمرة «أفيفيم» حيث دمّر مدرعة عسكرية إسرائيلية! فكيف تستطيع هذه الطلقات المحدودة أن تفعل مثل هذا السحر؟

الحقيقة أنّ للموضوع رمزيته المرتبطة بنتائج صراع عسكري في الميادين بدأ منذ أكثر من عقد وشكلت سورية والعراق مسرحاً كبير له.

لقد أدار الأميركيون الصراع بخطة تفتيت هذين البلدين باستخدام الإرهاب الداعشي والأخواني كوسائل لمشروعه بتمويل خليجي كامل ودعم تركي لوجستي وتغطية سياسية عالمية من كل محور الدول الخاضعة للنفوذ الأميركي في العالم.

أم أنّ الجانب الثاني من الخطة الأميركية فجاء على شكل سيطرة على الأمم المتحدة وكامل المنظمات الإقليمية والقومية ومنها جامعة الدول العربية، فبدا ان مهمة هذه الجامعة هي توفير غطاء عربي كامل لإرهاب تحت مسمّى معارضات واستصدار بيانات عند الطلب لتأييد النهج الأميركي الخليجي وإدانة إيران حتى لو لم تفعل شيئاً ومعها أذرعها في لبنان واليمن والعراق وسورية، على حد زعمهم.

فتأمن إسقاط الجامعة العربية بتحالف سعودي خليجي مصري أردني مغربي قطري وضعها على سكة المصالح الأميركية، وبالتالي الإسرائيلية، وجرى طرد سورية من مقعدها في الجامعة وهي من الدول القليلة المؤسسة لها.

هذا الإمساك السعودي القطري بجامعة الدول العربية نقلها من رتابتها اللفظية التي كانت تتجسّد بالابتعاد عن كل ما يسبب اختلافاً بين أعضائها والاتفاق على الامور السطحية، لكنها اصبحت مع السيطرة السعودية الأميركية أداة لإدانة إيران وحزب الله وكل السياسات المعارضة للأميركيين.

يكفي ان امينها العام ابو الغيط ينتمي الى الفريق الوزاري للرئيس المصري انور السادات في مرحلة تطبيق اتفاقية كامب دايفيد المصرية الإسرائيلية. ودوره هذا شجع المحور السعودي الأميركي على تسليمه الجامعة العربية، فأبلى بلاء مسعوراً في العداء لكل القوى المحاربة للأميركيين والإرهاب، حتى انه كان ينتقد هدنة 1701 في لبنان، معتبراً ان حزب الله خرج مهزوماً من حرب 2006 لأنه قبل بالابتعاد عن حدود لبنان مع فلسطين المحتلة 70 كيلومتراً، فهل انتبه أبو الغيط الآن الى أن حزب الله اطلق قذائفه على «افيفيم» من موقع عند الحدود مباشرة ما اضطره الى تبديل رأيه؟

الواقع أن جامعة الدول العربية هي أداة تعكس علاقات القوى العربية في ضوء علاقاتها بالتأثيرات الدولية، لذلك فإن سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي في 1989 أضعف المحور العربي الموالي للأميركيين وجاء الغزو الأميركي للعراق وتالياً سورية ومحاصرة إيران ليمنح تفوقاً محورياً لهذا الفريق استطاع بموجبه إحداث تغيير جذري في السياسات الرتيبة والكئيبة للجامعة.

فتحوّلت فريقاً يطبق السياسات الأميركية من دون أي تعديل وبما يؤدي الى تأييد السياسات الإسرائيلية وتغطيتها للتقارب السعودي البحريني الإماراتي مع «إسرائيل» ومن دون أي حياء.

هناك جانب أساسي إضافي استعملته جامعة ابو الغيظ للاختباء وهي المعارك المفتوحة في سورية والعراق التي كان المحور السعودي الإماراتي الإسرائيلي يعوّل عليها للانتقال رسمياً الى المرحلة الإسرائيلية الجديدة في العالم العربي.

بيد ان الحسابات لم تتطابق مع نتائج ساحات المعارك، فتمكن محور سورية إيران روسيا وحزب الله من دحر الإرهاب الى مساحات ضيقة في سورية، كما ان الحشد الشعبي نجح في تكنيس الإرهاب من معظم العراق. وكذلك فإن انصار الله اليمنيين مستمرون في الصمود وقتال قوى دولية كبيرة تختبئ خلف الدور السعودي العسكري.

اما إيران فلا تزال صامدة منذ 1980 وتتصدى لأعنف حصار معروف منذ نصف قرن على الاقل كما أنها اثبتت انها قوة اقليمة لا يستهان بها ولا ترتجف لمجرد تهديدات من الأميركيين او حلفائهم.

هذه النجاحات ادت تسلسلياً الى تراجع أميركي وذعر خليجي وتقهقر إسرائيلي حاول ان يقصف الضاحية والعراق وسورية لترميم الوضع المتدهور والاحتفاظ بعلاقاته الحميمية مع الخليج.

لكن قذائف حزب الله على مدرعة افيفيم أكدت على استمرار الانتصار وزادت من معدل الذعر المتفشي وكأنها رسالة من محور إقليمي يشكل حزب الله رأس حربته، الأمر الذي يثبت أن عودة الجامعة الى لغتها التسووية هي نتاج لموازنات القوى الجديدة وقد يترتب عنها الابتعاد الظاهري عن «إسرائيل»، خصوصاً ان هناك رأياً يقول إن افيفيم هي بداية مرحلة جديدة من القتال داخل فلسطين المحتلة وليس ضمن أراض عربية محتلة، كما يحدث منذ 1948.

فهل تنكفئ السعودية عن قيادة الجامعة العربية؟ تراجعها اسلامياً واقليمياً وعربياً يشجع على انحسار دورها في الجامعة العربية انما من خلال المزيد من تعطيل الجامعة وحصر دورها بالمزيد من الحيادية المزعومة؟

RECENT ATTACKS ON IRAQI PMU WERE LAUNCHED FROM US-OCCUPIED PART OF SYRIA – REPORT

ٍSouth Front

Recent Attacks On Iraqi PMU Were Launched From US-occupied Part Of Syria – Report

Illustrative image. Source: the PMU media wing.

Israel launched the last five attacks on the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) from bases in the US-occupied areas in northwestern Syria, an Iraqi intelligence source told the Middle East Eye on August 27.

The intelligence source added that Israeli drones were used in the attacks, claiming that Saudi Arabia is financing such operations.

“The drone attacks were launched from SDF [US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces] areas with the financing and backing of the Saudis,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Middle East Eye.

Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan offered the SDF funds in return for their bases being used as a launchpad for the strikes, according to the source. Al-Sabhan visitied the SDF-held areas last June.

In the most recent attack, a commander of the PMU was assassinated in a drone strike near the al-Qa’im crossing on the border with Syria.

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هل اقتربت الحربُ في الخليج؟

أغسطس 27, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هناك معادلتان يعمل عليهما الأميركيون في الخليج.

الاولى حصار إيران اقتصادياً الى حدود خنقها وتفجير الدولة فيها، والثانية توتير الأوضاع في بحار الخليج وميادينه وصولاً الى العراق وسورية ولبنان انما من دون إدراك الحرب المباشرة.

في المقابل تجاهد إيران وبكبرياء لتحقيق صمود اقتصادي على قاعدة الاستناد على تماسك اجتماعي إيراني عالي المستوى يفاجئ أخصامها، بالاضافة الى امكاناتها على مساحة الدولة التي تزيد عن مليون وسبعمئة الف كيلومتر مربع وتحالفاتها الاقليمية الوازنة.

هذه هي الشروط التي يتجابه فيها الإيرانيون والأميركيون، لكن الجديد هو اختراق أميركي جديد لشروط هذا الصراع ويتعلق باستخدام «إسرائيل» آلية جديدة جرى تكليفها بإرباك تحالفات إيران في العراق وسورية ولبنان.

وبشكل تلقائي اتخذ أنصار الله اليمنيون قراراً موازياً بتشديد دورهم في إرباك السعودية داخلياً من جهة وعلاقتها بالنظام الاقتصادي الغربي من جهة ثانية، مرسلين صواريخهم وطائراتهم المسيّرة الى أهداف اقتصادية وعسكرية نفطية على نقاط استراتيجية منتقاة بعناية من المساحة السعودية، بشكل يصيب إطلالتي السعودية على الخليج من ناحية والبحر الأحمر من ناحية ثانية.

لذلك يخدم هذا الدور اليمني المتصاعد اليمن اولاً الذي يتعرّض لأعنف عدوان خليجي غربي إسرائيلي منذ خمس سنوات، معلناً في الوقت نفسه انه جزء من حلف المقاومة على مستوى الإقليم.

ضمن هذه المعادلات تخترق أميركا مدى الصراع بإقحام «إسرائيل» الأمر الذي ينقل الكباش الإيراني الأميركي الى مستوى جديد، دافعاً قوى المقاومة في البلدان المستهدفة الى تبني قرارات معادلة لهذا الخرق الخطير.

لجهة الحشد الشعبي العراقي المستهدَف منذ أسبوعين تقريباً بهجمات من طائرات مسيرة على مخازنه ومواقعه في أنحاء مختلفة من العراق، فيعتبر ان الهجمات عليه ما كان يمكن أن تتم لولاً التنسيق الأميركي الإسرائيلي وهذا يجعله يفرّق بين صاحب القرار بمهاجمته وهو الأميركي والمُنفذ الإسرائيلي، فهما متعاونان لإرباك الحشد وتأزيم وضعه الداخلي في العراق على قاعدة أنه لا تجوز له المشاركة في حروب إقليمية. والقصد هنا هو دعم إيران في حربها مع الأميركيين وتجاهل الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق المستمر منذ 2003 والذي ينشر عشرة آلاف جندي أميركي في عشر قواعد في العراق متلاعباً بوحدته الداخلية وثرواته وأدواره.

على المستوى نفسه يرتفع معدل الغارات الجوية الإسرائيلية على سورية في محاولة واضحة تبدو وكأن هدفها سحب اهتمام الجيش العربي السوري من منطقة إدلب وشرقي الفرات نحو التحسب من الخطر الإسرائيلي المباغت.

وهذا يشمل ايضاً دور حزب الله في سورية الذي يصرّ الأميركيون والإسرائيليون على سحبه من سورية مع ما يزعمون انه قوات إيرانية.

لذلك يضغط الأميركيون لإعادة نصب الدور التركي على عداء كبير مع سورية وحزب الله وإيران.

وللمزيد من تقليص الدور الاقليمي لحزب الله اخترقت طائرات مسيّرة إسرائيلية الضاحية الجنوبية للعاصمة اللبنانية بيروت على علو منخفض ولم تتمكّن من تنفيذ مهامها لأسباب تقنية فسقطت منها اثنتان احداهما سليمة.

وهذا اختراق إسرائيلي لتوازن القوى العسكري المرسوم مع حزب الله منذ 2006 تاريخ الهزيمة الإسرائيلية لآخر عدوان بري إسرائيلي على لبنان.

هنا يكتشف المراقبون ان «إسرائيل» تضع حزب الله امام احتمالين: ان يرد على الاختراق بصليات صاروخية على أهداف استراتيجية إسرائيلية في فلسطين المحتلة، وهذا خيار له بعدان: داخلي يؤدي الى إعادة تجميع القوى اللبنانية المحسوبة على السعودية والأميركيين في اطار المطالبة بحصرية السلاح مع الدولة اللبنانية والحياد عن معارك الإقليم، والثاني معنوي وهو ان لا يرد حزب الله فيستجلب المزيد من الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية المشابهة، فيخسر صدقيته مع جمهوره دافعاً الإسرائيليين انفسهم الى عدم تصديق تهديدات حزب الله التي تثير عادة رعب الإسرائيليين المدنيين والعسكريين ولا تزال.

هذا السياق، يؤكد الخطة الأميركية التي تريد عزل إيران عن تحالفاتها للمزيد من الخنق الأميركي لها، الامر الذي يدفع نحو رفع مرتبة الصراع من درجة «شديد التوتر الى بداية الحرب الفعلية بأشكال متنوّعة. فليس معقولاً ان يكتفي بلد ما بمراقبة بلد يحاول قتله بقطع أنفاسه، وليس مقبولاً صمت العراق ولبنان الرسميين عن نشر الأميركيين للارهاب الإسرائيلي الجوي على مدنهما ودساكرهما.

لكن لحزب الله توجهات أخرى ارسلها بخطاب «مستعجل»، اكد فيه امين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله أن الرد على «إسرائيل» لن يتأخر وبشكل حربي أوسع، وكذلك الحشد الشعبي الذي اعلن بدوره عن استعداده لإسقاط المسيرات الإسرائيلية، اما سورية فهي في حرب فعلية مع الأميركيين والأتراك والإسرائيليين وانواع الارهاب، وبذلك يجري نسف مشروع الأميركيين الذي يريد عرقلة حلفاء إيران داخل بلدانهم، الأمر الذي يمنحهم حرية حركة في الإقليم بدعم إيران القوة الإقليمية الوحيدة التي نجحت في مجابهة النفوز الأميركي الهائج الذي يرى فيها سبباً في تراجعه في العالم الاسلامي وبالتالي العالم.

فهل تذهب المنطقة الى حرب؟ الأميركيون لا يريدونها ويرغبون في السيطرة بالاقتصاد والحلفاء، اما إيران وتحالفاتها فإنهم ذاهبون للدفاع عن منطقتهم بكل الوسائل المتاحة بما فيها الجانب العسكري والضغوط الشعبية وإفساح المجال لتحالفات عميقة مع روسيا والصين.

American Media Distortion vs. Facts

American Media Distortion vs. Facts
TEHRAN (FNA)– The privately-owned media is still dominated by the interests of the US political and corporate elites, and used as a tool by the government to manufacture public consent.

In any circumstance, they use the media to publish fabricated news, lies and biased information to get the public in line with their political motives, aiming at achieving their agendas. In many cases, the US has used the media to distort facts in regard to its foreign policy action in the Middle East.

Not so long ago, US corporate media played an integral role in fueling the Iraq War in 2003. It had no doubts that the Bush administration went to war because they wanted to strengthen the credibility and influence of America in the Middle East to reassert its position as an un-challengeable hegemon after the 9/11 attack.

But they distorted the facts surrounding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and terrorist harboring as invasion rationale. It was published by many Western media coverage outlets, particularly the US media, to disseminate to the public. In the weeks leading up to the illegal invasion, nearly three-quarters of the American public believed the lie promoted in that moment. Then, the US-led military coalition, which included their allies, invaded Iraq. After the invasion was done, the truth was revealed that there were no such WMDs.

Another prime example comes from the war against Qaddafi of Libya. Media distortion and manipulation were used to start the war against Libya. To gain support for the invasion and aggression, which is part of the traditional tactics the US and NATO have followed, perception management was overtly employed through well-known US media agencies and other Western mainstream news.

After The Financial Times, for instance, reported that Libyan military jets attacked civilian protesters, US and EU officials hardly condemned Qaddafi’s regime and took military action. Truly, there was no piece of video evidence proving the attack, and the report turned out to be false. Libyan military planes only got involved later on during the conflict when they missioned to bomb ammunition depots to prevent the rebels from getting arms, after the media claims were made about jets firing on protesters.

There was no doubt that reports were distorted. To some critics of the US military actions in foreign countries, it is undoubtedly conclusive that there have been lies and distortions involved in wars the US has fought in. The most recent example could be Syria and its imaginary chemical attacks on its own people.

It is even more interesting that the US uses media not only to manufacture the public consent of its domestic citizens in association with wars in foreign countries, as mentioned above, but also employs it as fact distortion in international affairs outside of America.

As the world order is moving to multi-polarity, and the Islamic Asian civilization is being realized, particularly by Iran’s growing economic and political development, the competition between the status quo dominant US and Iran has continuously been obvious in recent years.

The current confrontation amid the unresolved economic terrorism has certainly demonstrated this fact. Concerning this, the US has used as many tactics as possible to contain challenger Iran in international issues, regionally and globally.

As a superpower with dominant power in global media, the US will inevitably continue to use the media to manufacture public consent regarding domestic and international affairs. There is no doubt that the US corporate media, to an extent, will play a complimentary role in its foreign policy approach in publishing false ideas and news, creating concepts and framing theories that favor its own interests, and not the ones that serve regional peace and global stability.

Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

August 12, 2019
Image result for Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

There’s a good reason the presidential hopeful met with Assad, but the media doesn’t want to talk about it.

Scott RITTER

It was eight minutes of hell for Kamala Harris. Onstage at the second Democratic debate in Michigan, Harris was subjected to a blistering assault on her record as a California prosecutor at the hands of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Afterwards, Harris was asked about Gabbard’s attack by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Listen,” she replied, “I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches. She has embraced and been an apologist for him in the way she refuses to call him a war criminal. I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously, so I’m prepared to move on.”

Harris was referring to a controversial four-day visit by Gabbard to Syria in early January 2017, during which she met with Assad. While Gabbard’s performance during the debate was stellar (her name was the most searched of all the Democratic candidates), Harris’s jab regarding Assad seemed like all the mainstream media wanted to talk about.

“When sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian asked Gabbard, “do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people? Why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”

Following six months of strenuous pre-deployment training, Tulsi Gabbard deployed to Iraq in early 2005 as part of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, an all-National Guard/Reserve unit. She and the rest of the 29th Support Battalion were deployed to Camp Anaconda, a sprawling U.S. facility situated on the grounds of Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad. At the time, Camp Anaconda was under such frequent attack by insurgent mortar fire that it had acquired the nickname “Mortaritaville,” a play on a Jimmy Buffet song of a similar title.

Mortar and rocket attacks became an ever-present reality for the young Hawaiian soldier.

“Sometimes,” Gabbard told the Honolulu Advertiser, “we can go for days with no alarm siren going off, no attacks, and sometimes there can be many in one day…sometimes the attacks are so far away you can’t hear the explosion; other times so close that the ground and sky just seem to shake from the impact.” The feeling of helplessness was palpable: “all you can really do,” Gabbard said, “is say a silent prayer that you and your buddies are unharmed.”

While Charlie Med, as her unit was known, came through the deployment unscathed, 18 members of the 29th Brigade Combat Team were killed in Iraq, and scores more were wounded.

“Every single day,” Tulsi Gabbard reminded her fellow Americans during the second Democratic debate in July, “I saw the high cost of war.”

The 29th Brigade Combat Team was deployed in Iraq at a time when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was engaged in an all-out war with U.S. forces. The casualties that Gabbard and her comrades endured were a result of “the fight that is ongoing every day in Iraq against these insurgent terrorists”; these losses, she noted, “we have felt in Hawai’i.” War for Tulsi Gabbard and her fellow soldiers wasn’t an abstraction, but an ever-present, horrible reality.

Gabbard returned from her year-long deployment a decorated combat veteran, having earned commendations and the coveted Combat Medic Badge for her service. Gabbard went on to graduate from Officer Candidate School and was trained as a Military Police Officer. Later she completed a second tour of duty in the Iraq theater, commanding a Military Police Company stationed in Kuwait.

For Gabbard, the road to Damascus began with her initial deployment to Iraq and continued through her 2009 deployment to Kuwait. Having enlisted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Gabbard instead found herself engaged in a “regime change” war in Iraq predicated on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. It then continued through the halls of Congress, following Gabbard’s successful bid for office in 2011. From her position as a member of the Armed Services Committee, she watched as the al-Qaeda enemy she’d fought in Iraq morphed into ISIS and spread its influence into Syria.

Over the next few years, Gabbard saw how the Obama administration began, in her words,

“funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda” in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS,” Gabbard declared via Twitter, “we would be thrown in jail. Why does our gov get a free pass on this?”

For someone who watched her fellow soldiers die fighting al-Qaeda in 2005, the Obama policy of supporting terrorists, whether directly or indirectly, as part of a new regime change war against Syria was a betrayal of that sacrifice.

A vocal supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, Gabbard opposed Hillary Clinton’s more hawkish policies on Syria. Following Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, she continued to flaunt the rules of political expediency, taking a meeting with the president-elect in order to discuss Syria and the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda. “I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now,” Gabbard noted at the time, “before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

In January 2017, Tulsi embarked on her fateful visit to Syria. As she told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview after her return, she hadn’t planned on meeting with the Syrian president. When the opportunity presented itself, however, Gabbard stated that she went

“because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that’s exactly what we talked about.”

“Obviously,” Tapper stated in response, “Bashar al-Assad is responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced during this five-year long civil war. Did you have any compunctions about meeting with somebody like that, giving him any sort of enhanced credibility because a member of the United States Congress would meet with someone like that?”

“Whatever you think about President Assad,” Tulsi replied, “the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.”

In the aftermath of President Trump’s three meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Tulsi’s observations don’t seem quite as controversial. But at the time she was lambasted by her colleagues in Congress for ostensibly giving credence to Assad, whom they labeled a “brutal dictator.”

If the U.S. succeeded in overthrowing Assad, Tulsi knew, the very terrorists she’d fought against in Iraq would end up ruling Syria. Meeting with Assad to discuss the prospects of defeating a common enemy was the most meaningful way she could honor the service and sacrifice of her fellow soldiers. That the mainstream media and detractors like Kamala Harris don’t get this only underscores the deep divide between those like Tulsi Gabbard, who have served in combat, and those who have not.

Gabbard’s performances in the first two Democratic debates were strong, but it remains an open question as to whether she will qualify for the third debate in September. At a time when she should be campaigning hard to secure a spot on that debate stage, however, she’s instead taking a two-week break to fulfill her annual training requirement as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard.

Kamala Harris and the other Democratic candidates would do well to take note of the following reality—if the U.S. goes to war in Syria, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere, Tulsi alone among her colleagues could be called upon to serve on the front line.

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take note.

theamericanconservative.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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