How green was my jihad valley
So Washington is now merrily embarking in a remix of the 1980s Afghan jihad -- which, as every grain of sand from the Hindu Kush to Mesopotamia knows, led to that ghostly entity, al-Qaeda, and the subsequent, transformer "war on terror".
The House of Saud and Qatar have institutionalized that motley crew known as the Free Syrian Army as a mercenary outfit; they are now on their payroll, to the tune of $100 million (and counting). Isn't democracy wonderful -- when US-allied Persian Gulf monarchies can buy a mercenary army for peanuts? Isn't it great to be a revolutionary with an assured paycheck?
Maliki can clearly see the writing on the (Sunni) wall. The House of Saud invaded Shi'ite-majority Bahrain to protect the extremely unpopular Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty in power -- their "cousins." Maliki knows that a post-Assad Syria would mean Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis in power -- sprinkled with Salafi-jihadis. In his worst nightmare, Maliki sees this possible dystopian future as an al-Qaeda in Iraq remix on steroids.
So this is what the Istanbul-based "Friends of Syria" bash turned into; a shameless legitimizing - by Arabs allied with the US - of civil war in yet another Arab country. The victims will be average Syrians caught in the crossfire.
There will be no ceasefire. The Assad government accepted the plan. The weaponized "rebels" rejected it. Imagine the Syrian government beginning the "pullback of military concentrations" while swarms of weaponized "rebels" and assorted mercenaries (from Libya, Lebanon and Iraq) keep deploying their torture tactics and launching a barrage of improvised explosive devices.
I landed in Beijing eager to learn more about the upcoming joint Russia-China naval exercise in the Yellow Sea, but instead I was stuck with a Henry Kissinger op-ed in the Washington Post.  Here it is, in Dr K's own words:
"The Arab Spring is widely presented as a regional, youth-led revolution on behalf of liberal democratic principles. Yet Libya is not ruled by such forces; it hardly continues as a state. Neither is Egypt, whose electoral majority (possibly permanent) is overwhelmingly Islamist. Nor do democrats seem to predominate in the Syrian opposition.Well, China scholar Dr K at least got this one right (and in total agreement with Maliki, no less). A full-fledged mercenary army paid for by autocrat Arabs to overthrow an Arab government is pure and simple regime change -- US rhetoric about "democracy" and "freedom" notwithstanding. It's all about classic, imperial divide and rule, profiting from pitting Sunnis against Shi'ites.
"The Arab League consensus on Syria is not shaped by countries previously distinguished by the practice or advocacy of democracy. Rather, it largely reflects the millennium-old conflict between Shi'ite and Sunni and an attempt to reclaim Sunni dominance from a Shi'ite minority. It is also precisely why so many minority groups, such as Druzes, Kurds and Christians, are uneasy about regime change in Syria."
And then my divine roasted duck revealed to me that realpolitik stalwart Dr K is not getting much traction in Washington these days.
1. See here.