ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Saudi FM Blames Qatari, Turkish Media for “Anti-Riyadh (Truth-Telling) Campaign”

CAIRO (Sputnik) – Qatari and Turkish media have launched a full-scale anti-Riyadh campaign after the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said on Thursday.

“The Turkish and Qatari media have launched a powerful anti-Saudi campaign that is still underway. That is very sad because it is about a crime that is being investigated by judiciary bodies,” Jubeir said at a press conference in Riyadh aired by Al-Arabiya television.

READ MORE: US Sanctions 17 Saudis Including Crown Prince Top Aide Over Khashoggi Killing

He pointed out that those responsible for the death of Khashoggi would be punished in line with the Saudi legislation.

From the minister’s point of view, some parties are trying to politicize the investigation into the murder by leaking various rumours to media.

“It would be better for everyone, if anyone possessing the information, which may clarify the situation, would share it with investigators instead of disseminating these data via media,” the diplomat added.

2 Navy SEAL Team 6 Operators, 2 Marine Raiders Charged For Murdering Army Green Beret For Exposing “Spec Forces Gone Wild In Mali”

 

 [“Petty Officer Antony DeDolph and Chief Petty Officer Adam Cranston Matthews” and 2 unnamed Marine Raiders have been charged with murder of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, in counter-terror operations in Mali.  The SEALs who were under investigation over Melgar’s death had been taking money from a fund used to pay informants, “gathering intelligence on a confluence of capable local militants trending Islamist.” (SEE: Green Beret Discovered SEALs’ Illicit Cash. Then He Was Killed.This follows on the heels of a previous Mali special op gone bad, where 2 Special Operators were killed in a covered-up accident in Mali, involving 2 local prostitutes. (SEE: Special Ops US Commandos Found Dead In Mali With Moroccan Prostitutes ).]

2 Navy SEALs, 2 Marines charged after Green Beret duct-taped and strangled to death

The charges do not allege a specific motive. But the counts filed against the four men range from felony murder to involuntary manslaughter. They also have been charged with hazing.

The Navy has also accused them of obstructing justice after the Green Beret’s death: Officials said the men disposed of alcohol that was kept in quarters shared by sailors and Marines and also lied to Navy commanders and investigators.

The man who died was Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a native of Lubbock, Texas. He had deployed to Afghanistan twice before his death in Bamako, Mali, in June 2017, Army officials said.

The charging documents don’t state why the service members were in Mali. But U.S. Special Forces have been in Africa to support and train local troops in their fight against extremists.

The names of the service members who have been charged are redacted in the charging documents. Beth Baker, a Navy spokeswoman, said the Navy is prohibited at this time from releasing the names of the accused as well as their civilian lawyers. The service members are not in confinement, Baker said.

The two Marines are listed as being part of Special Operations Command. The SEALs belong to the Navy Special Warfare Development Group. The unit is better known as SEAL Team 6, which participated in the May 2011 raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at his compound.

The two SEALs are based in Virginia Beach. A preliminary hearing to review the case against all four service members is scheduled for Dec. 10 at a Navy base in nearby Norfolk. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted the investigation.

U.S. Navy Capt. Jason Salata, a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command, said Thursday that “we honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Melgar.”

“We will not allow allegations or substantiated incidents of misconduct to erode decades of honorable accomplishments by the members of U.S. Special Operations Command.”

Little Bitch “Royal” Has “Hissy-Fit”, Trying To Block UN Resolution On Yemen Slaughter

Saudi crown prince’s ‘fit’ delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

Washington (CNN)Multiple sources tell CNN that a much-anticipated United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and for Saudi Arabia to allow humanitarian aid to reach millions of starving people was “stalled” this week after the resolution’s sponsor, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, met face-to-face with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Two sources said the crown prince “threw a fit” about the resolution. Two other sources with knowledge of the discussion didn’t go so far as to describe the crown prince as angry, though they didn’t deny he was annoyed.
Putting it into more carefully diplomatic terms, one said, “He didn’t like the idea.” According to the other source, the Saudis “have their reservations,” but the source said it remained a courteous discussion.
As part of a British effort to draft a Security Council resolution against the continued fighting and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Hunt flew to Riyadh this week to sit down with bin Salman, who has faced intense criticism and scrutiny over the brazen killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in early October at the hands of officials in his inner circle.

Sources say Hunt took the draft with him and discussed it with the crown prince, who wanted changes or better yet, no resolution at all. Bin Salman, known in diplomatic circles by his initials, MBS, viewed the pending resolution as weakening the Saudi position in the conflict over Yemen and emboldening its Houthi rebel rivals.

“MBS didn’t like the resolution on principle,” said a source familiar with the Riyadh meeting.
But the message Hunt delivered was a strong one, a fourth source said, and came after he’d consulted with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. “‘This is what Western powers think, and this is what you need to do. What is your plan to stop this?'” Hunt conveyed to the Saudi, according to this source, who added, “He heard what we said.”
In what’s seen as a positive move, the Saudis have now agreed to facilitate Houthi negotiators’ travel to Sweden for talks.
Starving girl who became iconic symbol dies

Hunt left with the understanding that he would work on changes to the resolution with his team, as well as with his counterparts in the US and elsewhere. These allies share concerns that a bad reaction from Saudi Arabia to a strongly worded UN resolution could set back the start of a process to resolve the war in Yemen.
Even so, one of the sources familiar with the Riyadh meeting said Western allies “are not inclined to act on all of MBS’s recommendations.”
At a Security Council meeting on Friday, British Ambassador Karen Pierce said the UK would introduce the new resolution on Monday.
The Department of State and Saudi Arabian Embassy in the US did not respond to requests for comment.
The encounter puts in stark light the efforts of the UK, US and other allies to hold the kingdom’s leadership accountable for serious alleged human rights violations, while still maintaining good working relationships with Saudi Arabia in the volatile region.
The US and UK were the top two arms sellers to Riyadh in 2017, with $5.2 billion and $1.2 billion in sales, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Babies like ghosts

Hunt’s meeting with the crown prince also underscores bin Salman’s resistance to pressure on Yemen, which has become the world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster, as babies, children and adults slowly starve to death.
The three-year conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and its enemies, Iran-backed Houthis, has devastated the country and killed at least 10,000 people. UN experts say the Saudi coalition’s bombings of civilians are potential war crimes. The world body has also said the Saudis’ partial blockade of the country means 18 million people don’t have reliable access to food, creating the conditions for the worst famine in 100 years.
The World Food Program warned Friday that the country is “marching to the brink of starvation.” Its executive director, David Beasley, who just returned from Yemen, told reporters he touched babies who felt like “ghosts” due to starvation.
The UK’s willingness to make changes to the resolution to ease Saudi concerns drew sharp criticism from human rights advocates.
British NGO Save the Children warns that millions of children are at risk of famine in the war in Yemen.

British NGO Save the Children warns that millions of children are at risk of famine in the war in Yemen.
“The Saudi sway over some members of the UN Security Council has become a serious liability,” said Akshaya Kumar, the deputy United Nations director for Human Rights Watch. The UK for months has resisted bringing a UN resolution on Yemen and the US has been loath to criticize Riyadh for the destruction there.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling that the world’s most powerful body has chosen silence for months even as warnings of famine have mounted,” Kumar said. “At this point, vague appeals to ‘all parties’ to improve their behavior won’t work. Any resolution that doesn’t specifically mention the Saudi-led coalition by name and call it out for its role in the carnage in Yemen won’t have the required effect in Riyadh.”
In an effort to win an edge in any negotiations, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly tried to gain a definitive military edge before agreeing to talks. Khashoggi’s killing, tied to bin Salman’s inner circle, put Saudi Arabia on the defensive diplomatically, giving the US and UK an opening to press Riyadh.
In late October, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Pompeo called on all participants in the civil war to agree to a ceasefire “in the next 30 days,” amid criticism of US support for the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict. The administration will likely face greater pressure to restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia and act on Yemen now that midterm elections have given Democrats control of the House of Representatives.
Shrapnel ties US-made bombs to Yemen deaths

The UK Foreign Office said in a statement that Hunt’s trip, which also included meetings with the United Arab Emirates and Yemeni leaders, “helped improve understanding on steps that would lead to a cessation of hostilities. The Foreign Secretary had constructive discussions on pathways to achieve de-escalation and reduce tensions, and was clear that both sides would need to play their part in the confidence-building measures.”
The fourth source familiar with Hunt’s discussions said the foreign secretary was in the region “to talk about a full sweep of issues in relation to Yemen” and as a result, also visited the UAE, a core member of the Saudi coalition.
Hunt also spoke to the Saudi crown prince about the country’s standoff with Qatar and about the need for accountability in Khashoggi’s killing. On Thursday, the Saudi Public Prosecutor’s Office charged 11 people and sentenced five to death for the Virginia resident’s killing.
One source with knowledge of the discussion between Hunt and the crown prince told CNN that such a meeting, between a British foreign secretary and the Saudi de facto head of state, is unusual; that based on diplomatic protocols, the foreign secretary would normally meet with a lower-level counterpart to talk over a pending action.

‘Reality on the ground’

The fourth source familiar with Hunt’s meeting said the Saudis “have their reservations” about the resolution, “but it’s a tool to get both sides to come to the table. And it does need to reflect the reality on the ground.”
One source with knowledge of discussions says the US has not been shying away from supporting the resolution, and that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has been enthusiastic about getting something done.
The source said others in the US administration don’t seem to be as willing as Haley to forcefully call out Saudi Arabia in this way.
But MBS’s serious pushback to a potential statement by the UN Security Council — merely a resolution calling for humanitarian aid and stopping the fighting — also shows that such moves have an impact at the highest level of Saudi government.
“The Saudis are hugely sensitive — ultra, ultra sensitive — to international perceptions,” a diplomatic source told CNN. “They hate criticism. And MBS brings a whole new level of paranoia about this.”

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered killing of Khashoggi

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s killing: reports

WASHINGTON – The CIA has concluded in an assessment that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the Associated Press and Washington Post.

The assessment comes weeks after the Saudi government admitted Khashoggi, a fierce critic of the royal family, was killed in its Turkish consulate at the hands of interrogators. Saudi officials, however, denied that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved or aware of the killing.

The CIA reached its conclusions on intelligence, including phone calls between the crown prince’s brother, Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, and Khashoggi, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed officials.

The Post reported the CIA had evidence showing Khalid told Khashoggi he should visit the Saudi’s consulate in Istanbul, the location where Khashoggi was killed and dismembered.

Khalid denied having any recent communications with Khashoggi, saying in a statement from an Embassy spokesperson that the last time he’d communicated with the columnist was in October of 2017.

Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان

@kbsalsaud

Unfortunately the @washingtonpost did not print our full response. This is a serious accusation and should not be left to anonymous sources. Our full response was the following:

6,134 people are talking about this

“The claims in this purported assessment is false,” the statement read. “We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations.”

The Trump administration this week sanctioned individuals for their alleged role in the killing, but the intelligence officials’ conclusion bolsters efforts in Congress for a harsher U.S. response.

Major Mainstream News Player–L.A. TIMES–Recognizes That Nat. News Has Devolved Into Propaganda

President Donald Trump speaks during a conference supporting veterans and military families through partnership at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

The “P” word.

It’s a pivotal part of the story on Donald Trump’s camera-lit path to the White House. The media, of course, rarely if ever uttered the taboo term on air, even as demonstrators shouted it at cameras during women’s marches and scrawled it across protest signs they brandished outside the White House.

But here we are, two years in, tiptoeing around The Word That Cannot Be Said. Let’s just call it what it is: Propaganda.

The state-sponsored spread of deliberate misinformation is not a “half-truth,” “distortion of reality” or “the president’s loose relationship with the facts,” as many a mainstream news correspondent and pundit have said. It’s also not “a bold truth” or simply “The Truth” as many voices on the right have asserted.

The doctored “karate-chop” video of CNN’s Jim Acosta allegedly manhandling a White House intern at a press conference, posted by press secretary Sarah Sanders last week, was not a matter of differing perspectives, dueling truths or conflicting political beliefs. Nor were the White House transcripts of public meetings where Trump’s flubs were mysteriously omitted, altered presidential approval ratings posted by Don Jr. before the midterms or the cropped photo that Sean Spicer insisted was proof of the biggest inaugural crowd ever. “Period!”

They were all cases of purposefully manufactured narratives, disseminated from the highest levels of government, sometimes with the help of adversary nations, to sway public opinion, quash dissenting voices and consolidate power.

I know, it’s not half as fun as Kellyanne Conway’s wacky spiel on alternative facts or just Trump being Trump. In fact, it’s associated with some of the uglier chapters of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Propaganda is something most of us read about in history class and wondered how people were so easily duped. Certainly they saw through such obvious attempts to manipulate? Its use dates back well before Nazi Germany and Cold War Russia and stretches up to present-day China, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. It arrives in the form of fake Facebook accounts created abroad and meant to influence our elections, or surveillance video from a Turkish embassy where Saudi operatives sought to cover up a murder by posing as their victim.

It’s the mark of a country we never wanted to be: a nation that divides its own people and pits them against one another. And it never ends well.

Democracy relies on people being informed…A society [with] their own set of facts is absolutely devastating.–Stephan Lewandowsky, cognitive scientist

“On page one of any political science textbook it will say that democracy relies on people being informed about the issues so they can have a debate and make a decision,” Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist who studies the persistence and spread of misinformation, told the BBC shortly after Trump’s inauguration. “Having a large number of people in a society who are misinformed and have their own set of facts is absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with.”

No wonder fabrications from the Oval Office are often viewed as singular events or anomalies caused by an outsider who crashed Washington rather than age-old propaganda. It’s too frightening to admit the calls are coming from inside the house.

Orwellian state messaging has even permeated the TV series we binge for entertainment. Shall we be terrified by “The Man in the High Castle” or “The Handmaid’s Tale” tonight, honey? We’ve also been desensitized by reality TV, the modern-day answer to the documentary, where scripted moments of drama are an acceptable and almost expected part of serialized “reality.”

Take Trump’s old show “The Apprentice,” where the bankruptcy-prone son of a real estate mogul was reimagined into a self-made billionaire. The lines between fantasy and reality weren’t just blurred by “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett, they were erased entirely and redrawn by some of television’s best alchemists.

It was all fun and games and great ratings until someone got elected to office.

With such deep cultural references as “You’re Fired!” permeating American society, it’s no wonder the idea of propaganda seems like a relic from the paranoid 1950s or a cruel fate meant for other countries with fist-shaking Ayatollahs or military strongmen. We’ll stick with Rosie the Riveter, thanks, a nostalgic symbol of the domestic war effort. She smiled on the factory floor while assembling deadly munitions. What could be cuter? And please don’t say Flo, the perky Progressive Insurance lady.

'Mission accomplished'
President Bush stands in front of the now-famous “Mission accomplished” banner on May 1, 2003. Stephen Jaffe / AFP/Getty Images

There’s of course nothing new about politicians evangelizing their version of events or extolling their successes. George W. Bush gave the “mission accomplished” thumbs up shortly after the U.S. invaded Baghdad, though the mission was predicated on faulty intel and the war would drag on for over a decade. Barack Obama graciously accepted the Noble Peace Prize as the drone strikes he ordered killed civilians in Pakistan.

War propaganda is as old as, well, war. And hard spin is used just as frequently to influence in diplomatic times. Leaders must always look like leaders. But perhaps you’ve heard: This presidency isn’t like the others.

In July when speaking to a group of veterans in Kansas City about his distrust of the media, Trump said it plainly: “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

He couldn’t have been more truthful, at least in that instance.

The altered Acosta video, which appeared to have been uploaded by Sanders from the conspiracy-minded website InfoWars to her Twitter feed, was used to justify banning the CNN correspondent from future press briefings, and now CNN is suing. No word yet if Final Cut Pro will be hired as the next press secretary.

The crowd
This pair of photos shows a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, above, on Jan. 20, 2009, and President Donald Trump, below, on Jan. 20, 2017.. Associated Press

That wasn’t the only clumsy attempt at recasting a moment already witnessed by millions. Recently released government documents acquired through a Freedom of Information request confirmed what many suspected following Trump’s first days in the White House. The Guardian reported that “a government photographer edited official pictures of the inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger” after a request by Trump “who was angered by images showing his audience was smaller than Barack Obama’s in 2009.”

He called the correction “fake news,” a phrase that Trump seems to have brought into the lexicon to muddy the waters.

Trump propaganda is of course reflected and fed by his unofficial media wing, Fox News. It’s a back-and-forth feeding frenzy that’s become so acceptable at the network that even two of its star hosts campaigned on stage alongside the president at political rallies.

So many ethical lines have been crossed in the past two years, it’s doubtful anyone — let alone Sean Hannity — can locate where the defining boundaries of “normal” used to be.

There are a few who can see through the gentle euphemisms — namely, the old guard who remember a time when Russia was the enemy, presidents showed their tax returns and Gold Star families were honored by their country’s Commander in Chief. Military analyst Ralph Peters, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, left Fox News but not before stating: “With the rise of Donald Trump, Fox did become a destructive propaganda machine. And I don’t do propaganda for anyone.”

Still, the slow drip of repeated terms like “fake news” wears a groove that’s hard to get out of, even when the real fake news is coming from the White House and undermining democratic institutions critical to our nation’s health. And let’s not forget the sharpest tool of all: fear. Beware of caravans, Nancy Pelosi, transgender bathrooms, black women journalists, yadda, yadda.

Many in the media must have expected Trump to develop from a reality-show ringleader to a world leader when they used non-corrosive terms like “distortions” and “half-truths” while correcting his 2017-era falsehoods.

But by his second year in office, even the euphemisms got tired. Now several mainstream journalists use the L-word: lie.

Perhaps the “P-word” is next.

lorraine.ali@latimes.com

@lorraineali

Trump Reportedly Explores Option of Letting Turkey Kill US Resident Gulen, As Bribe To Forget Saudi Murder of Khashoggi

 

Fethullah Gülen. Photo: Matt Smith/picture alliance via Getty Image

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Marco Rubio wrote that Donald Trump’s brand of nationalism is not a creed that subordinates enlightenment values to zero-sum tribalism — as French president Emmanuel Macron had recently suggested. Rather, the Florida senator argued that the president’s nationalistic ethos was rooted in his deep appreciation for America’s “identity as a nation committed to the idea that all people are created equal, with a God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

There are more than a few problems with the thesis that Donald Trump only puts “America First” because America does the same for the concept of universal human rights. But an especially conspicuous one is that the president disdains the concept of human rights more than he reveres his fellow Americans.

Or so Trump’s handling of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder would suggest. From the moment the Turkish government revealed that Saudi agents had killed a Washington Post columnist — and legal U.S. resident — in Istanbul, the American president made it clear that he viewed the murder as less of a moral atrocity than a PR headache.

Trump’s first response to Turkey’s revelation was to demand that the public give his friends in Riyadh the presumption of innocence. His second was to allow that, if the Saudis did in fact murder and dismember a U.S.-based journalist, “it would not be a positive” — but nevertheless insisted that the American government couldn’t respond too harshly to such an offense because the Saudis are “spending $110 billion on [American] military equipment” (and those arms sales must be protected at all costs).

Now, with Khashoggi’s death buried beneath the ruins of a thousand subsequent news cycles, Trump has (reportedly) shifted his focus away from offering Riyadh constructive criticism on its lackluster cover-up, and toward getting Turkish president Recep Erdogan to let bygones be bygones.

More specifically, the president is reportedly trying to persuade Erdogan to forgive the Saudis for murdering a U.S. resident who was critical of their government by helping Erdogan imprison (and, in all probability, murder) a U.S. resident who was critical of the Turkish government.

As NBC News reports:

The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests.

Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.

 

… They said the White House specifically wanted details about Gulen’s residency status in the U.S. Gulen has a Green Card, according to two people familiar with the matter. He has been living in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s.

Career officials at the agencies pushed back on the White House requests, the U.S. officials and people briefed on the requests said.

“At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the process.

Erdogan has accused Gülen (without any substantial evidence) of masterminding the failed 2016 coup attempt against his government. Last year, Erdogan vowed to behead the “traitors” who had attempted to depose him. Thus, there is little doubt that to expel Gülen to Turkey would be to put the longtime Keystone State resident, and charter-school entrepreneur, in mortal danger.

To review: In order to help an Islamist theocracy get away with executing one American immigrant, Trump is (reportedly) trying to find a legal rationale for letting another (much less totalitarian) Islamist theocracy execute a different American immigrant.

If this is true, then it seems safe to say, contra Rubio, that Trump is less of an American nationalist who harbors a deep commitment to human rights than an American solipsist who is ready and willing to abet crimes against humanity if he believes that he stands to benefit personally from doing so.

US State Dept. Whitewashing Pentagon’s Dirty History Creating ISIS

[ISIS is Al-Qaeda In Iraq, rebranded within the confines of US Prison Camp Bucca, near Basra, Iraq, where all of the primary leaders of ISIS were held…a prison referred to by the guards as “jihadi university“.  
ISIS is a creation of Obama/Hillary, who assigned the job to Bandar bin Sultan, Emir of Qatar,  CIA, MI-6, and Mossad.]

[What Is the Truth About ISIS?]

In this file photo, Islamic State group militants hold up their flag as they patrol in a commandeered Iraqi military vehicle in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq © AP Photo / File

US State Department Claims Daesh Was Created to ‘Protect People’ From Assad

Damascus and its allies have repeatedly accused Washington of waging a phony war on the jihadists, and of providing various forms of covert support for terrorists operating on Syrian territory.

The Syrian government is directly responsible for creating Daesh (ISIS)*, US special representative for Syria engagement James Jeffrey has alleged.

“The Syrian regime produced ISIS,” the diplomat said, speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday. “The elements of ISIS in the hundreds, probably, saw an opportunity in the total breakdown of civil society and of the upsurge of violence as the population rose up against the Assad regime, and the Assad regime, rather than try to negotiate or try to find any kind of solution, unleashed massive violence against its own population.”

“That created a space for ISIS to recruit people; to protect people to some degree, ironic as it sounds, from the depredations of the Assad regime; and very soon, ISIS had an army of 35,000 troops and had seized big chunks of both Iraq and Syria,” Jeffrey said.

Later in the press conference, Jeffrey appeared to contradict himself, recalling that al-Qaeda in Iraq, the direct precursor to Daesh, was actually started in Iraq.

“ISIS’s predecessor under the same leader, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi, al-Qaeda in Iraq, was almost completely defeated when I was in Iraq…But it was able to regenerate itself because there was no long-term strategy in either Syria or Iraq, but particularly in Iraq at the time, because that’s where we were focused on, to ensure the enduring defeat of these elements,” the diplomat said.

Daesh’s predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), was formed in 2004, soon after the US invasion of Iraq, which caused the country to descend into chaos as a number of terrorist groups, warlords and militia groups waged guerrilla warfare against the central administration, US forces, and each other for control of their territories.

No US Aid for Reconstruction

Calling Syria a “pariah” state, Jeffrey stressed that neither Washington nor “most of the rest of the international community that typically provides reconstruction funds” would do so “until we see a great deal more progress” in Syria.

Earlier this year, Syrian President Bashar Assad estimated that Syria’s reconstruction could cost up to $400 billion and take 10-15 years to complete.

US Will Stay in Syria After Daesh is Gone

Noting that the US and its allies expect Daesh’s holdings in Syria to be mopped up “in a few months'” time, Jeffrey admitted that the US military presence also supports other, “secondary” goals, including countering alleged Iranian “malign activities” and demonstrating a US “interest in achieving a political solution by the various ways we have, not just diplomatic but security and military, through economic tools and other assets that we have and that we’re deploying in this conflict”.

Accusing Iran of “contributing greatly” to Daesh’s rise in 2013 and 2014, the US diplomat said that any resolution to the conflict will require their withdrawal. “Technically, the Syrian government invited them in; we expect the Syrian government to ask them to leave.”Damascus has repeatedly urged US forces to end their illegal presence in Syria, and have alleged that the US anti-Daesh mission was never about fighting terrorism.

* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.