Michael's Dispatches

Syria Coverage

2 Comments

Published: 09 November 2013

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died already in the Syrian Civil War with no end in sight.

Myriad outsiders have become involved with foreign fighters from around the world, including from the United States and Europe. More recently, President Obama threatened to go to war with Syria.

image001-1000US Patriot Missiles at Gazianthep, Turkey. (US Army photo.)

Estimates of refugees vary from 2.5 million to 9 million.  Many have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Africa, and to Europe.

Though I publicly opposed US military intervention for various reasons, the refugee issue cannot be ignored forever.

image003-1000Possibility of wider war is palpable. (US Army photo, Gazianthep.)

People are suffering immensely and the floodgates are open.  There are reports of unaccompanied children among the refugees.  What became of their parents is known only to the children, if they know.

Huge numbers of refugees are living in tents.  With winter fast approaching, life will soon go from terrible to worse.

image005-1000US Air Force loads supplies for Syrian refugees. (USAF photo.)

The humanitarian crisis leads directly to political crisis, and the growing possibility of broadened war that can include US allies such as Turkey.  Israel has been bombing targets in Syria.  Saudi Arabia and others are involved in military aid, adding fuel to the inferno.

Iran and Russia are deeply involved.

The UN requested a stunning $5.1 billion for Syria aid.  This growing crisis is of massive significance.  Be assured that if this continues unabated, the United States and Europe will be neck deep in mud that makes Afghanistan look like a training exercise.

Other countries such as Lebanon are being destabilized.  If they fall into war, this can go like a fission reaction: more refugees create more instability, which creates more refugees.  Already there are more refugees than interested nations are prepared to handle.

image007-1000US Air Force bringing aid to Syrian Refugees. (USAF photo.)

My contacts say there are important aspects being ignored by the mainstream.  Please recall that in 2006, I was far ahead of the MSM pack with the reality of the direction of the Afghanistan war.

On the ground information and analysis is crucial. But there is little of that from any corner.

“Think-tanking” from Washington is problematic at best.

Recently, one of the most influential think-tanks, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), was leading the charge for Syrian intervention, using a lady named "Dr." Elizabeth O’Bagy as their Syria expert.

Dr. O’Bagy was lauded and cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain as a Syria expert whose opinion was of grave importance.  ISW had been at the center of much of our war planning in Iraq and Afghanistan and I would see the principals in high level places on a frequent basis.  We often sat in the same rooms with the same generals.

With Dr. O’Bagy on the ISW staff, and with her PhD from Georgetown, and her known Syria expertise, O’Bagy had a voice that people wanted to hear.

Dr. O’Bagy’s expert advice was being heard by millions of people on major networks and in major papers.  Everybody “in the know” realizes that ISW work reaches successive Presidents.  The influence of ISW cannot be understated.  Dr. O’Bagy and ISW were helping to march us to war.

But there was a problem: Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy had no PhD.

O’Bagy was not a Syria expert.

image009-1000British Royal Air Force “Reaper” drone over Afghanistan: four Hellfire missiles and two 500lb smart bombs. (Photo Michael Yon.)

Dr. O’Bagy is a fraud.  She made it up whole cloth.

ISW and the highest levels of the US Government lapped it up.  I cancelled my subscription to ISW analysis.  A piece of their influence vanished.  Senator McCain then hired O’Bagy.

War and millions of people are at stake.  We are being deceived again.  We need truth.

I will fly to Turkey in 12 hours for an investigative journey to spend time with Syrians who recently were inside, and to ask locals what the influx of refugees means for their own lives.  Numerous people are standing by to meet and begin.  I waited until the last moment to request funding to insure that the pieces were in place before launching.

I need $8,000 for an initial look.  That is a far cry from the billions more we soon will be paying.  We need more eyes and ears paying closer attention.

As normal, more funding means I can do more work.  Healthy funding in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places, helped me to operate for years and to produce books and many hundreds of dispatches that reached millions of people around the world.

The US economy is tight and so this is ill timing to ask for support.  Yet war does not care.  War is like a hurricane that is always in season.  It comes when it is ready.  Even $10 is great.  If the funding is sufficient, I will endure to look at the crucial countries such as Israel.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vid Beldavs · 4 years ago
    The only thing being decided on the battlefield is that more and more Syrians are being killed, displaced and left homeless. Saudi efforts to arm rebels in Syria are pointless. The consequences of this problem will affect the entire region for generations to come. The longer this problem is allowed to continue, the greater the danger to Saudi Arabia and others in the region. The international community has the responsibility, before millions die, to end this conflict and to create a process whereby the people of Syria can decide their own future through the ballot box.
    With one third of the population displaced and the rest living in fear perhaps the momentum towards peace that began with agreement by the Assad regime to destruction of all of its chemical weapons should continue to include all conventional weapons as well. Mr. Assad can be given the choice, if he wishes to be a candidate in a possible future election, he should agree that his armed forces should be placed under UN command with no command authority from him but with guarantees for his safety and assurances that he would be a legitimate candidate in an election planned as soon as practically possible. Stable regions need to be reinforced with UN peacekeepers. Rebel forces should be given the opportunity to be integrated in other units under UN command. Those that oppose such integration into the international peacekeeping force would be not only the enemies of the Syrian people, but of the international order itself. Anyone supplying weapons to such hostile forces would be acting against the UN and Syria and should face sanctions and punishment.
    Two weeks before it happened it was generally assumed unthinkable that Assad would agree to the destruction of all chemical weapons. Perhaps Mr. Assad as a rational person can also do the unthinkable to save his country and people and turn his military over to the UN.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    hercdriver · 4 years ago
    The UN screws up everything it touches. The thought that Assad would surrender military control is a fantasy. There is no easy solution to this war, particularly given all the players involved. Obama is supporting the rebels with arms. He is just stirring the pot. Putting US boots on the ground in this chaotic situation would be pure insanity. Some problems have no solution. The Syrian war certainly appears to fall in to that category.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Vid Beldavs · 4 years ago
      I believe there is a solution. What is needed in this situation is the right convincer present at the negotiations leading up to Geneva 2. Everyone loses if there is no solution including the Saudis and Russia. The only winners would be those seeking total destruction of the Western World. This is not a goal of Assad, the Saudis or of Putin or certainly not of the US. Putin may still harbor the illusion that if he arms Assad well enought the time that has been bought with the destruction of the chemical weapons may lead to victory on the battlefield. If he no longer believed in victory, he would put pressure on Assad. Is it necessary for millions to die to build the convincing argument?

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