by JOHN BATCHELOR  29 Sep 2014

On Sixty Minutes, President Barack Obama said that his administration had “underestimated” the rise of the Islamic State. 

Recent history supports a case that the President and his counselors have underestimated the entire crisis of disorder in the Arab world at least since the 2011 Libya intervention.

Libya’s anarchy today is where the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq is headed swiftly. The chaos of the Islamic State is capable of pulling down with it Jordan, Lebanon, the Gulf States and, unless they are ruthlessly lucky, Turkey and Iran, too.

How bad is Libya? Speaking with the Libyan politician Musab al-Abid, 27, representing Tripoli in the Libyan parliament, the House of Representatives, who was in New York last week to plead for help from the United Nations, I learned that the Islamic gunmen of Ansar al-Sharia reign with terror. 

“Ansar al-Sharia control Tripoli,” al-Abid related. “They have done everything bad to us in Tripoli. The situation in Libya, it’s very bad. People killed every day, children being killed. The UN and all the countries still don’t want to help. I don’t know why, to be honest. Before, they helped us. Now, we are in a worse situation than under Gaddafi.”

The remnants of the government have fled to Tobruk and live under threat of abduction or assassination. The national army is outgunned. Electricity, clean water, gasoline, are rare. Smugglers plunder the oil resources. The educated professionals struggle in exile. The state apparatus is impoverished. The population has turned defeatist; as al-Abid reported, “People say we don’t need a democracy, we need a dictator again. And this is a very great problem.”

Libya didn’t fall into this chaos by accident. It was delivered into the arms of the Islamists by Washington and its allies at the United Nations Security Council. My information is that the Obama administration chose a strategy of intervention that combined air strikes on the Gaddafi regime with empowerment of the Islamists, some of whom were ideologues, most of whom were militants.

These Libyan gunmen, who are called Ansar al-Sharia, found it easy to link with the radical Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and the Levant. All of these Islamists share the common vision of the takfiri jihadists, that all must obey their rule or face enslavement and death. When the Moslem Brotherhood politician Mohammed Morsi was elected president of Egypt in 2012, it looked as though the Islamist fever of takfiri jihadism was sweeping the Arab world.

I am told that rather than rebuke the Moslem Brotherhood and their allies, the Obama administration embraced the trend as a liberation movement that was needed to discard the failed strongmen of Arab nationalism, such as President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt or Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. 

When the president and his counselors were presented with facts of the homicides, including the 2012 smuggling of weapons from Libya to Gaza, and the 2013 invasion of Mali, the response was that these were criminal gangs and smugglers, not the true Islamists.

The tragedy of Ambassador Christopher Stevens’s murder in Benghazi in September 2012 was also treated by the administration as a local criminal breakdown, not as a sign of the future.

Today, it is easy to see that the collapse of order at Benghazi that created the conditions for the Stevens attack foreshadowed the collapse of order of the entire state into piracy and terror.

At the UN last week, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Libya a “terrorist powder-keg.”

Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Ageela Saleh, president of the Libyan House of Representatives and head of state, warned, “The international community has either to stand with the elected, legitimate authorities and impose sanctions or say very clearly that the Libyans have to face terrorism alone.”

The Obama administration and the UN Security Council have watched Libya disintegrate these last years and, according to al-Abid, have done nothing significant to challenge the Islamic gunmen of Ansar al-Sharia. 

“They say to us, yes, we will help you, we will try to solve your problem out. We’re not going to leave Libya alone. We’re not going to leave Libya fail. But we heard these things, many times.”

The Obama administration has turned away from Libya and will not revisit the judgment despite the pleas of al-Abid and his president, despite the threat of a failed state on the Mediterranean. 

The Obama administration policy since at least 2011 of treating with the Islamist radicals such as the Moslem Brotherhood and their kindred of Hamas will continue. 

No analysis showing that Ansar al-Sharia of Libya (it’s also in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Egypt, Yemen, Syria) makes common cause with the militants of the Moslem Brothers in Egypt, Jordan, or in exile in Turkey, will turn the Obama administration from its prejudice.

No analysis showing that the Islamic State is a fresh iteration of the same Islamic gunmen of Ansar al-Sharia will persuade the Obama administration that the original error – the original “underestimate” — was in perceiving Islamist militants as liberators while dismissing bloodthirsty events as the work of a few outlaws.

John Batchelor is a novelist (John Calvin Batchelor) as well as the host of the nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show from the iconic 77-WABC, New York City.


I-BOOK | SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?, by Michel Chossudovsky

This I-Book was originally published in February 2012.


GR I-BOOK No.  3

SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

February 2012 (updated June 2012)

 In Part I of the online interactive I-Book, an introductory essay is presented.
Part II examines the nature of the US-NATO-Israel sponsored insurgency, including the recruitment of terrorists and mercenaries. It also includes an examination of a 1957 Anglo-American covert intelligence plan to destabilize Syria and implement “regime change”. The 1957 plan envisaged the triggering of “internal disturbances as well as the mounting of “sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents” by the CIA and MI6.  What this essay suggests is continuity, i.e. today’s Intel. Ops, while more sophisticated than those of the Cold War era, belong to realm of DÉJÀ VU.
Part III examines the complicity of the “international community” focussing respectively on the role of non-governmental organizations, the dynamics within the United Nations Security Council and role of the Arab League, acting on behalf of Washington.
Part IV centers on the insidious role of the corporate media, which has carefully distorted the facts, providing systematically a biased understanding of the causes and consequences of the Syrian crisis.
Part V focuses on the broader military agenda and the process of military escalation in the Middle East.
The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.
A war on Syria could evolve towards a US-NATO military campaign directed against Iran, in which Turkey and Israel would be directly involved. It would also contribute to the ongoing destabilization of Lebanon.
It is crucial to spread the word and break the channels of media disinformation.
A critical and unbiased understanding of what is happening in Syria is of crucial importance in reversing the tide of military escalation towards a broader regional war.
Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal, February 11, 2012

A “Humanitarian War” on Syria? Military Escalation. Towards a Broader Middle East-Central Asian War?- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-09
The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) directed against Syria.
VIDEO: US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention” in Syria: Towards a Regional War?Latest report now available on GRTV
- by Michel Chossudovsky, Nile Bowie – 2012-06-08 [*]

Covert Operations:
US-NATO-Israel Support to an Armed Insurgency 
SYRIA: CIA-MI6 Intel Ops and Sabotage
- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2012-02-07
DÉJÀ VU? “The CIA is prepared, and MI6 will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria,… [using] capabilitites in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.” (Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington, 1957)
The Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria: Recruiting Jihadists to Wage NATO’s “Humanitarian Wars”  
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-02
The objective of this armed insurrection is to trigger the response of the police and armed forces, with a view to justifying a “humanitarian” military intervention by NATO
VIDEO: Death Squads in Syria Part of Intelligence Operation
New interview now on GRTV
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-18
The Pentagon’s “Salvador Option”: The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria  
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-16
Recent developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist “freedom fighters” covertly supported, trained and equipped by foreign powers.
NATO and Turkey Support Armed Rebels in Syria. Campaign to Recruit Muslim “Freedom Fighters”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-15
VIDEO: NATO Recruiting Jihadists to Syria
New interview now on GRTV
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-19
Building a Justification to Wage War. NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect”
The Roles of the United Nations, The Arab League and the NGOs
Libya Déjà Vu in Syria: Using Human Rights Organizations to Launch Wars- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-11-20
Syria and the Russia-China Veto: Towards a Break Point at the UN Security Council?  
- by Carla Stea – 2012-02-08
How the Arab League Has Become a Tool of Western Imperialism  
- by Finian Cunningham – 2012-02-09
VIDEO: Arab League Gives Green Light to US-NATO to Intervene in Syria  
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-11-13
SYRIA. TEXT OF LEAKED ARAB LEAGUE MISSION REPORT Report Reveals Media Lies Regarding Syria  
Commentary by Michel Chossudovsky
- 2012-02-01
VIDEO: SYRIA: Armed Opposition Groups Supported by “Foreign Powers”
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-02-03
The Media Disinformation Campaign
VIDEO: Skeptical on Syria: ‘Media reports framed & manipulated’
Watch now on GRTV
- by James Corbett – 2011-08-31
Syria Regime Change PR in High Gear: More ‘Newborn Baby Slaughter’ Propaganda  
- by Patrick Henningsen – 2012-02-09
Media Lies Used to Provide a Pretext for Another “Humanitarian War”: Protest in Syria: Who Counts the Dead?  
- by Julie Lévesque – 2011-11-25
The reliance of the mainstream media on information emanating from anonymous groups provides a biased understanding of the Syrian protests
Media Lies: Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad Sets ABC News Senior Propagandist Barbra Walters Straight.  
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2011-12-12
Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media  
Assad’s popularity, Arab League observers, US military involvement: all distorted in the west’s propaganda war
- by Jonathan Steele – 2012-01-18
Media Manipulation and the Drums of War: How Media is used to Whip the Nation into Wartime Frenzy  
Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War
- by James Corbett – 2012-01-03
Syria and the Broader War
The Destabilization of Syria and the Broader Middle East War- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-06-17
If a military operation were to be launched against Syria, Israel would in all likelihood also be involved, leading to a process of escalation
Syria: The West’s Strategic Gateway For Global Military Supremacy
- by Rick Rozoff – 2011-11-15
The March to War: Iran and the Strategic Encirclement of Syria and Lebanon
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-12-24
 Obama’s Secret Letter to Tehran: Is the War against Iran On Hold? “The Road to Tehran Goes through Damascus”  
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2012-01-20
VIDEO: A NATO Intervention in Syria would Engulf the Entire Middle East Central Asian Region
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-04
Beating the Drums of a Broader Middle East War  
Israel, Syria, and Lebanon Prepare the “Home Fronts”
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2008-05-07
Israel, Syria, and Lebanon Prepare the “Home Fronts”. The Levant could be the starting point of a major international conflict, with global ramifications, which could quickly spin out of control.

War Propaganda and The Massacre of Innocent Civilians [*]
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-05-30
US military doctrine envisages the central role of “massive casualty producing events” in which innocent civilians are killed. The killings are carried out as part of a covert operation. The enemy is blamed for the resulting atrocities.
Armed rebels murdered “entire Alawi families” in village of Taldo in Houla
- by John Rosenthal – 2012-06-10
- by Thierry Meyssan – 2012-06-09
“Humanitarian War Criminals” in High Office: Was the Houla Massacre Ordered by the Western Military Alliance?  
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-06-11
Who is behind these rebel groups? What is the precise nature of the relationship between the FSA and the Western military alliance? What is the command structure? What is the nature of this diabolical covert operation? Who ordered these atrocities against the Syrian people?
“The desolation of Homs and the war of information “: the Words of a Greek-Catholic Bishop
- by Vatican News (Agenzia Fides) – 2012-06-04
Detailed Investigation
- by Marat Musin – 2012-06-01
The terrorists were not pro-government shabbiha militia as conveyed, in chorus, by the mainstream media, they were in large part mercenaries and professional killers operating under the auspices of the self-proclaimed Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Latest report now available on GRTV
- by Michel Chossudovsky, Nile Bowie – 2012-06-08