Syria: The Vultures Are Circling

The way she talks, one would think Hillary Clinton is the commander-in-chief of the Syrian rebels:

"The Obama administration is weighing its options for more direct involvement in the Syrian civil war if the rebels opposing the Assad regime can wrest enough control to create a safe haven for themselves, U.S. officials said.

"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says it’s only a matter of time before the rebels have enough territory and organization to create such areas. ‘More and more territory is being taken,’ Clinton said this week. ‘It will eventually result in a safe haven inside Syria, which will then provide a base for further actions by the opposition.’"

There is Gen. Hillary, Amazonian warrior-goddess, directing her Hellions to take this town, seize that territory, and get on with "further actions" – such an inspiring sight for feminists and warmongers the world over! At last, a woman who can muster as much blood-lust as any man! So what are these "further actions" our Secretary of State anticipates with ill-concealed glee?

According to a briefing by the BND to the German Diet, Al Qaeda has pulled off "around 90" terrorist attacks in Syria since the fighting began. And their success isn’t limited to suicide bombings: their anti-Christian terror campaign is taking off by leaps and bounds. Der Spiegel reports:

"There had been many warnings that the Khouri family wouldn’t talk. ‘They won’t say a word — they’re too scared,’ predicted the mayor of Qa, a small market town in northeastern Lebanon where the Khouris are staying. ‘They won’t even open their door for journalists,’ said another person, who had contacted the family on behalf of a non-governmental organization.

"Somehow, though, the interview was arranged in the end. Reserved and halting, the women described what happened to their husbands, brothers and nephews back in their hometown of Qusayr in Syria. They were killed by Syrian rebel fighters, the women said — murdered because they were Christians, people who in the eyes of radical Islamist freedom fighters have no place in the new Syria."

Kind of reminds me of another Clintonian production – Waco. There, too, Christians were slaughtered as the whole world watched, sending a message unmistakable in its ominous implications. Unfortunately for the Khouris of this world, the fashion in Washington isn’t defending Christians where they face persecution, but Muslims – well now, that’s a different matter.

This taking up of Islam’s cause is highly selective: only Sunnis need apply. The Sunni "turn" was initiated by George W. Bush at the height of the Iraq war and taken up by the Obamaites with a vengeance. The dumping of Hosni Mubarak, the Libyan operation, and now Syria have taken this strategy to its "logical" conclusion: a de facto alliance with Al Qaeda.

When a suicide bomber blasted the Syrian Defense Minister into the next world, along with Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law and several other top officials, the US refused to condemn the act – a terrorist attack almost certainly carried out by jihadists close to bin Laden’s boys, if not Al Qaeda itself.

One of the big criticisms of the Iraq war was that, prior to the US invasion, Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq, and bin Laden had no links to Saddam’s regime — this in spite of the efforts of an entire mini-industry to create one where none existed. Syria is replicating this well-known history, while the very people who invoked it to criticize a Republican administration are following in the Bush’s footsteps.

Yet the Obamaites are going several steps beyond anything the Bushies ever imagined: their attempt to hijack the "Arab Spring" and cultivate "moderate" Islamists, including the various national sections of the Muslim Brotherhood, has turned into an aggressive military campaign to topple governments from the shores of Tripoli to those of the Persian Gulf – and some conservatives are balking. They began asking questions when Washington and its NATO allies bankrolled the Libyan Islamists, and now that Al Qaeda is acting as the fighting vanguard of Hillary’s Hellions in Syria, they are beginning to ask some of the right questions, such as: what role does Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, play in this tilt toward the Brotherhood in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere?

That a flake like Michele Bachmann is raising this question doesn’t invalidate the need for an answer. Andrew McCarthy, writing in National Review online, links Abedin’s mother, Saleha Abedin, a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, to two organizations run by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s chief jurist and an ardent advocate of suicide bombings. The Sheikh has a regular program on Al Jazeera, which is run by the ultra-conservative Qatari emirate, where he commands a substantial audience, one highly receptive to his message that the murderers of Jews and American soldiers will be amply rewarded by Allah.

The Qaradawi-State Department connection is nothing new: he was our go-between during the Obama administration’s efforts to negotiate with the Taliban. Did Abedin use her family connections to recruit Qaradawi for the job? And, by the way, what exactly has been Abedin’s role in turning the administration toward a de facto alliance with radical Islamists in their efforts to topple Assad – and take Tehran? These are entirely legitimate questions that a lot more people than Rep. Bachmann and her fellow McCarthyites over at National Review ought to be asking.

Again, the Bush administration took the lead in this strategic turn, forging links with Jundallah, a Sunni terrorist organization operating out of Iranian Baluchistan, but since it was Seymour Hersh reporting on this, the Andrew McCarthys of this world turned the other way. Now that the Sunni strategy is being taken to its bizarre albeit entirely "logical" conclusion in Libya and Syria, however, our professional Islamophobes – previously solidly in the neocon camp – are about to defect.

The usual neocon suspects have issued a letter endorsing Hillary’s "safe zones" initiatives, anticipating the next step in our ever-escalating involvement in the Syrian civil war: the signers include Karl Rove, as well as a few "liberal" shills like Paul Berman, tired old Shachtmanites like Joshua Muravchik, and a whole platoon of mini-neocons you never heard of. Yet the actually existing conservative movement is going to have a really hard time swallowing this one: do we really want to ally with the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their fan club in order to take out Iran?

It’s no accident it was John McCain, the Senate’s most vociferous warmonger, who rose to defend Abedin on the Senate floor, where he disdained "a few vague and unsubstantiated charges." Yet there is nothing vague about the charges: indeed, they are very specific. Saleha Abedin belongs to an organization with links to individuals who advocate suicide bombings and promote a hateful ideology: and, no, it’s not a distant relative, it’s Huma’s mother, not to mention her brother.

If the United States is now engaged in a relentless campaign to provoke a devastating internal conflict in the Muslim world – one that pits fanatical Sunnis is a war of annihilation against Shi’ites, Christians, Alawites, and other "heretics" – then McCain is all in favor of it, and he is certainly eager to defend its advocates in the State Department from having to answer any inconvenient questions.

This has nothing to do with "Islamophobia," and everything to do with the War Party’s latest scheme, which is to play the Sunni card for all it’s worth. If we let them play it, the consequences for the Middle East — and the world — will be nothing less than catastrophic. The neocons know what side they’re, but the question is: do the rest of us?

I see Richard Seymour, the blogosphere’s pet Trotskyist, has come out for the Syrian rebels: the antiwar movement, he writes, is "understandably" suspicious of an uprising that has "made in Washington" stamped all over it, but, hey, it’s really a "peoples revolution," and those bad old American imperialists are just trying to "hijack" it. "It isn’t clear" that the "non-interventionist" faction of the Syrian opposition has been "marginalized" just yet, avers Comrade Seymour – I suppose we’ll have to wait for Al Qaeda to knock them off, just like they’re knocking off the Christians, the Alawites, and anyone else who looks at them cross-eyed.

There’s a sea-change in the air when the Andrew McCarthys descry an American administration’s war machinations and the Richard Seymours hail US-supported "insurgents" as "liberators." Remember this happened during the Clinton era, when the left supported the Balkan war of "liberation" in which we were on the same side as Al Qaeda – and conservatives balked. When the Republican-dominated House of Representatives threatened to withhold funding from Bill’s Balkan adventure, neocon grand strategist Bill Kristol threatened to leave the GOP.

Maybe this time he’ll carry out his threat. Kristol and his neocon comrades can issue all the letters they want, but it’ll be a cold day in Hell before grassroots conservatives will support the modern equivalent of the Hitler-Stalin Pact – a grand alliance between Washington and the world’s radical Islamists. It doesn’t matter that the Israel Firsters are demanding they get in line and join the anti-Iranian popular front: any decent self-respecting conservative has to draw the line somewhere.

As the Obama administration launches a campaign to extend the Empire to include most of what we used to call the "Near East" and North Africa, they’ll get no serious opposition from the left. Even the supposedly "far" left, exemplified by Seymour – a member of the British Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyist organization — have given up their "anti-imperialist" position in favor of the identity politics that have grown up where the old Marxism used to thrive. Muslims, you see, are an Oppressed Minority, at least in the West, and therefore they must be championed internationally, no matter what the cost to reason or a long anti-imperialist tradition.

What this means is that us anti-interventionists will be more isolated than ever, politically, with the "left" in Hillary’s apron pocket and the neocons in firm control of the Republican party machinery. As the vultures circle over Syria, it won’t be long before they descend to make their kill. When they do, only a very few on the "far" left and the paleocon-libertarian right will be warning of the disaster looming just down the road a bit: it’s the Clinton years all over again.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].