Guest Post: Obama Is Implementing Plans For War Throughout the Middle East Created 10 Years Ago by the Neocons

By Washington’s Blog

Politico reports:

The U.S. has dramatically ratcheted up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, slapping new sanctions on key companies Wednesday as White House press secretary Jay Carney said the leader is guilty of “heinous actions” and the country would be better off without him.


President Barack Obama and other administration officials have already said publicly that Assad has “lost legitimacy” and must begin the push toward democracy in Syria or step down. A few weeks ago, after months of protests on the streets of Syria and little progress from Assad without explicit U.S. calls for his resignation, administration officials began to consider calling for Assad to step down, CNN said.

The new push from the White House, officials said, will make clear Assad is no longer a credible reformer and should give up his post.

A Nato plan for a post-Gaddaffi Libya – carving up the country, and giving the richest spoils to the UAE – has been leaked.

The U.S. is already at war in Somalia. As the New York Times noted last month: “U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia“.

The U.S. is always trying to justify war against Iran (see this, for example) and Lebanon.

What explains these widespread wars throughout the Middle East?

As American reporter Gareth Porter reported in 2008:

Three weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then-under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.

Feith’s book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing “new regimes” in a series of states…


General Wesley Clark, who commanded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing campaign in the Kosovo war, recalls in his 2003 book Winning Modern Wars being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia [and Lebanon].


When this writer asked Feith . . . which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, “All of them.”


The Defense Department guidance document made it clear that US military aims in regard to those states would go well beyond any ties to terrorism. The document said the Defense Department would also seek to isolate and weaken those states and to “disrupt, damage or destroy” their military capacities – not necessarily limited to weapons of mass destruction (WMD)…

Rumsfeld’s paper was given to the White House only two weeks after Bush had approved a US military operation in Afghanistan directed against bin Laden and the Taliban regime. Despite that decision, Rumsfeld’s proposal called explicitly for postponing indefinitely US airstrikes and the use of ground forces in support of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in order to try to catch bin Laden.

Instead, the Rumsfeld paper argued that the US should target states that had supported anti-Israel forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas.


A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.

Obama is simply carrying out the Neocons’ war plans created right after 9/11 … if not before.

Postscript: The former director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center says that American policy in the Middle East is failing because the U.S. doesn’t believe in democracy.

And security experts – conservative hawks and liberal doves alike – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

Oh well … can’t change policy now, can we?

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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. A reader

    You don’t sound optimistic as Yves on the rule of law in the US of A. Policy of the USA was drafted by a bunch of dishonest intelectuals, dualcitizens of USA and Israel and the so-called merchants of death. Delusion hate and greed Inc.

    It won’t change.

    1. psychohistorian

      I want to humbly disagree, or maybe not even humbly do so.

      We will laugh the global inherited rich out of control of power over our society.

      There are too many good people in the world to stand by and let global genocide occur. Will it happen tomorrow? Unfortunately, not tomorrow, but sooner than many think. The choices are becoming clearer and I hear the screeching of economic brakes everywhere I go. Consumption is going to hew more closer to necessities and this will cause more layoffs, further worsening the fake high UI rates. By Christmas the public pressure should be close to lift off but what the hell do I know.

      1. A reader

        The policy won’t change because the western system of government (the money,the press,judges,president,congress) was built to support it. You mean the western system will collapse by Christmas ? When delusion and greed combines in a dishonest intelectual you won’t be able to change that man as quick as you’d wish.

        All of this will change very slowly, if at all.

        Until TSHTF.

        1. Thomas

          Couldn’t agree more.

          The Neocons already selected current Turkish president (Gul)/primeminister (Erdogan)/ and mullah (Fethullah CIA major operative) as master puppet back in late 1990s when they were upcoming Islamists in secular Turkey to play the good guy (cop) for the Middle East and thus play a role model to the rest of the region.

          That’s why we see Turkey plays bully to Israel to have the scenario more trustworthy in the eyes of the masses..

  2. Paul Tioxon

    The power of the 4th branch of government, the military, requires drones, because you can’t get enough people to do the dirty work.

  3. Freude Bud

    While I’m sympathetic to your overall point, your characterization of the Libya plan as “a carve up” with the jewel of the “spoils” going to the UAE is not merited by the article you cite. I can’t find a copy of the 70 page report: I would be obliged if you have a link to it, given that it substantiates your characterization. Tom Coghlan, IIRC, isn’t the most reliable reporter … well-known for pushing the war on Iran is imminent story and whose leaks are often suspected psy-ops by the intelligence agencies.

  4. Paul Tioxon

    Libya all about oil, or central banking?
    By Ellen Brown

    Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank – this before they even had a government. Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal:

    I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences.

    That is the opening of an eye opening article about Libya. It describes a well cared for population with state oil subsidized socialized medicine, education, marriage loans. Oh, yea state subsidized via oil, like Hugo in Venezuela, hmm, let me guess, he is a madman, and yea he must be destroyed because he is a madman, that camped on Donald Trump’s lawn when he last visited the UN. Oh well, easy come easy “he’s a mad man”.

    1. financial matters

      Yes, a very interesting article, actually my first exposure to her and what got me interested in reading her book Web of Debt

      Libya: All About Oil, or All About Banking?

      Wednesday 13 April 2011
      by: Ellen Brown, Truthout

      “”Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

      What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.””

      “”The BIS does to national banking systems what the IMF has done to national monetary regimes. National economies under financial globalization no longer serve national interests.

      … FDI [foreign direct investment] denominated in foreign currencies, mostly dollars, has condemned many national economies into unbalanced development toward export, merely to make dollar-denominated interest payments to FDI, with little net benefit to the domestic economies.””

      “” Libya’s wholly state-owned bank can and does issue the national currency and lend it for state purposes.

      That would explain where Libya gets the money to provide free education and medical care and to issue each young couple $50,000 in interest-free state loans.””

  5. GCL

    I disagree, and the reason is stated by the post author: Rumsfeld and Bush didn’t go after bin Laden because that would have spoiled the setting for prosecuting all those wars on behalf of Israel and the military-industrial complex. Obama on the other hand did go after bin Laden.

    Drone attacks against terrorists are not wars.

    The march to war on Libya was not started by the US but by the Europeans, chiefly among them the French President. Notice how the US pulled back after the initial disarming of air defences and let Europeans bear the brunt of that one – no Republican President would have pulled back.

    Calling for Assad to step down is not a war either, the Syrian people want him out and so do most other countries in the region.

    Washington’s blog usually has a unique and plausible perspective on geopolitical issues, but the story about Obama being an executor of neocon plans is wrong for the reasons I stated above. On foreign policy where Obama does not have to negotiate with Congress, he has made his own mark.

    If Washington’s blog wants to write a story of Obama implementing sinister plans hatched by elites, he need look no further than his failure to take on the banks from the first day he was elected. Obama believed they could deliver a recovery and therefore his reelection, and he chose not to rock the boat. He must be feeling played now that America is facing another recession going into the elections.

    1. Some Bloke from Australia

      “Drone attacks against terrorists are not wars.”

      Nah, that’s right, and if a few civilians get in the way, well, it’s for the greater good and all of that. Lucky we got Americans like you, GCL, to determine what the definition of a terrorist is. It’s not like the Americans have caused any damage anywhere for the last 50 years…

      1. psychohistorian

        Hey Mate

        We don’t all think like that.

        Just because the word imperialism is not spoken in the USA doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      2. optimader

        indeed, wind the tape back to the american revolution.. who were the terrorists?

        is it time for the swedes to roll up the carpet on the “Peace Prize” yet? They seem to be enablers when reviewing the recent history…

    2. Andrew not the Saint

      What a joke…

      “Drone attacks against terrorists are not wars.”

      But the “terrorists” are clearly war targets in the eyes of the US Govt and Pentagon. How can you claim that it’s not a war? Is it because nobody on the US side can get killed?

      And it was the Europeans, not the US starting the war? Just like in Vietnam? Last time I checked the US was supposed to be a sovereign country that can decide which wars it wants to wage.

      I think what we have here is yet another “it’s not Obama’s fault” drone. Luckily this breed of thinking slowly seems to be getting extinct.

    3. Externality

      Back when everyone in DC thought the Libyan War would be short and glorious, the Obama administration did its best to claim credit for pushing the war through the UN and overcoming European objections. From the NY Times:

      “Hillary [Clinton] and [Ambassador to the UN] Susan Rice were key parts of this story because Hillary got the Arab buy-in and Susan worked the U.N. to get a 10-to-5 vote, which is no easy thing,” said Brian Katulis, a national security expert with the Center for American Progress, a liberal group with close ties to the administration. This “puts the United States in a much stronger position because they’ve got the international support that makes this more like the 1991 gulf war than the 2003 Iraq war.”


      [Susan Rice] already had [a tougher resolution] ready — drawn up the week before, just in case, officials said. Besides asking for an expanded military campaign, Ms. Rice loaded up the resolution with other items on the American wish list, including the authorization to use force to back an arms embargo against Libya. “We knew it would be a heavy lift to get any resolution through; our view was we might as well get as much as we could,” Ms. Rice said in a telephone interview.

      On Wednesday at the Security Council, Russia put forward a competing resolution, calling for a cease-fire — well short of what the United States wanted. But the French, who had been trying to get a straight no-fly resolution through, switched to back the tougher American wording. And they “put it in blue” ink — U.N. code for calling for a vote.

      (emphasis added)

      In other words, the Obama administration got a stronger resolution than France or Russia wanted, and secured the support of the Arab League and much of the UNSC. So much for the revisionist meme that a reluctant Obama administration was dragged along by bellicose Europeans.

    4. Crazy Horse

      “Drone attacks are not wars” No, they are political assassinations, illegal under US & International law. Obama’s score so far is estimated at 2,500, including 65 or 70 suspected “terrorist operatives.”

  6. Externality

    In their 2004 book, An End to Evil, neocons David Frum and Richard Perle set out a foreign policy agenda that included attacking, either directly or through proxies, Libya, Syria, Iran, and North Korea; abandoning the Arab-Israeli peace process and telling the Palestinians to accept to their dispossession; and threatening Saudi Arabia with a Shiite uprising.

    While Salon pronounced Frum and Perle’s agenda dead in 2004, it has come back to life during the Obama administration. Either directly or through proxies, the Obama administration is trying to bring down the Libyan, Syrian, and Iranian governments; the Arab-Israeli peace process is dead and Israel continues to expand into the Occupied Territories; and the US and South Korea have repeatedly tried to justify or provoke a war with North Korea.

    Equally worrisome is the way that Obama is enacting the domestic policy agenda set forth in their book. Homeland Security’s ubiquitous “See Something, Say Something” campaign, for example, is modeled after a program that the Bush administration canceled and which the authors wanted brought back. Obama, ignoring the civil rights concerns that vexed the Bush administration, both reinstated and greatly expanded it.

    We are also steadily progressing toward the national identification card and real time ID system that the authors wanted in their book. The Real ID act, which effectively creates a national ID card system administered by the states and which was bitterly opposed under the Bush Administration, has been quietly implemented by a growing number of states during the Obama administration. Obama’s “Secure Communities” program allows Homeland Security access to biometric and other information collected by local police. DHS recently announced that it is irrelevant whether state or local governments object, Homeland Security will collect the information regardless. At the same time, the government is supporting efforts to allow officers to collect fingerprints , iris scans , and ID swipes in the field.

    1. Middle Seaman

      I did read End of Evil, but if the authors did write when the comment states, they are basically insane. You cannot even start a war with Syria, which more than a million men standing military. And Syrian soldiers are not Iraqi soldiers; they are tough and will fight. If you add Iran you commit suicide. Asking any people, Palestinians included, to give up their dreams is 19th century thinking. It will never work and it shouldn’t.

      Political philosophy notwithstanding, both Frum and Perle are quite intelligent people; did they really say it?

      1. Externality

        Here are some excerpts that I transcribed from Google Books:

        If all our problems were as easy as Syria, the war on terror would have ended a year ago. Here is a regime that is surrounded by US and allied forces; that depends on fuel on oil exports from Iraq; and whose economy is a pitiful shambles. Really, there is only one question to ask about Syria: Why have we put up with it as long as we have?

        Our policy toward Syria should be stern and uncompromising. We should interdict the movement of weapons from Iran to Syria by air and sea. We should halt the flow of oil to Syria from Iraq. We should avail ourselves of the right of hot pursuit to follow suspected terrorists from Iraq into Syria….

        [lengthy list of demands such as the Assad family stepping down and Syria no longer criticizing Israel that Syria would have to meet to avoid this and to get Western aid.]

        We doubt that Bashir Assad will welcome these requests. Under the circumstances, though, it should not be impossible to convince him that the consequences of refusing them will be far graver for him than the consequences of acquiescing.

        An End to Evil, pp. 97-98 (emphasis added)


        On page 180, the authors mention the idea of “raid[ing] Syria to retrieve or destroy weapons of mass destruction that may have been sent there by Saddam Hussein for safekeeping.”

        On page 231, the authors discuss how the US might have to violate the UN Charter’s restrictions on military force in to retaliate against Syria for its support of Hezbollah.

      2. Externality

        Three additional points:

        1. The book came out in early 2004, so, in their opinion, “[i]f all our problems were as easy as Syria, the war on terror would have ended” in early 2003.

        2. The Salon review that I linked to also concluded that the Frum and Perle wanted to the US prepare for an invasion of Syria.

        3. In my opinion, the authors’ list of demands was so extensive as to make it impossible for the Assads, or even a successor government, to voluntarily comply and avoid being sanctioned, quarantined, and/or invaded by US forces seeking WMDs, chasing terrorists, and looking for Hezbollah members.

        Assad would not have stepped down voluntarily. Nor would any likely successor government have met their demands and voluntarily opened their economy to the West, agreed to prevent “incitement against Israel,” rounded up Hezbollah and turned its some of its members over to the US, rounded up Iraqi Baath party members and turned them over to the US, and voluntarily left Lebanon.

        The authors’ conditions — like a similar neocon and liberal interventionist demarche to Serbia in 1999 — were so onerous as to guarantee, not prevent, a war.

  7. Norman

    All bets are off, especially the ranch! Wonderful times we live in, where the human political mind here still lives in the 20th century, but the internet in the 21st century has made obsolete the keeping anything secrete. Explains the direction “O” is going, without doing so. Hold onto your shorts, the ride is starting to get bumpy, sides will have to be taken out of necessity of survival, take the blinders off, put the rose colored glasses away, choose wisely, remember, keep your powder dry and wait until you see the whites of their eyes!

  8. frobn

    It’s not that I don’t believe this is actually has been planned out, it’s that the wars will be stopped short as the effects of peak oil take hold. The US will need to prioritize its use of the miliary to get its (un)fair share of oil, thus limiting how many wars it can involved in and may involve us in wars that we have not anticipated.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Interesting scoop on AIPAC’s still secret donor base:

      On it’s now very narrow donor base, “it is America that should now be deeply worried that AIPAC is catering to drastically fewer — and possibly much more extreme — voices.”

      AIPAC should in fact register as a foreign agency rather than “a domestic American lobby and ‘social welfare’ organization.” But the “US” Congress would have to follow suit.

      This quote really popped out; it should be shocking but is not:

      “Two former AIPAC officials narrowly escaped a long-awaited espionage prosecution, which was mysteriously tossed out by the Obama administration in 2009 after years of pre-trial escalation.”

  9. annoyed liberal

    at our current trajectory the absolutely only way that the wars will stop is if the USA goes to war against Iran and we decisively get our asses spanked.

    apparently fighting to a draw in two wars against insurgents with IEDs and AK-47 (with no air force, no navy, no tanks, no satellites) isn’t enough to convince the intelligensia that military force is pointless against an asymmetric enemy.

    1. Susan the other

      The US can’t go to war against Iran without the draft. Iran has a standing army of 3 million troops. Probably all trained. But it it doesn’t equate with VIetnam. Because guerilla warfare is easy in the jungle. Not on the barren landforms of Iran. So Iran would have to face a short and brutal war too. Iran doesn’t want war any more than we do. Sometimes I look at it and think that Iran was always the goal but instead of just going for it, we danced all around it, hitting every neighboring, poor and disorganized country and spending more money than if we had just “gone in.” And while we were over there we economized and whacked Lybia. What have we accomplished? Besides turmoil. So the plan, by elimination, must be to embargo and strangle Iran slowly.

  10. steelhead23

    one does wonder when the U.S. will stop being a proxy for Israel and SA. Jimmy Carter did this nation a massive disservice when he declared that any attack against oil-rich countries in the Middle East was an attack on U.S. interests and would be met with military force. Before he dies, he should publicly refute the so-called Carter Doctrine. It stands as a dark tarnish on his legacy.

  11. Jersey Girl

    The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.

    The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America’s role in the world.

    William Kristol, Chairman

    Check out who the principles are

    They set the case for these wars in 1997 and left it out, hiding in plain sight, for all to see here:

  12. curlydan

    So what should be the U.S. govt’s response to what’s happening in Syria–“it’s bad, but are hands are tied”?

    The U.S. govt is greedy and will want change plus their “guy” plus their banking system. War would stretch a wary and weary U.S. electorate too far at this point.

  13. Cedric Regula

    “A Nato plan for a post-Gaddaffi Libya – carving up the country, and giving the richest spoils to the UAE – has been leaked.”

    I thought UAE already was the richest per capita country in the world. Or doesn’t that matter anymore?

  14. Bernard

    “the Center for American Progress, a liberal group with close ties to the administration”? not in my book. a conservative right wing in my opinion. and if Hillary is involved, how much more proof do you need to see how Right wing Hillary is.

    gees. the lies just go on and on.

  15. deft

    I first heard of these plans in 1979 after a mid-level speaker from the Pentagon at a public lecture discussed plans laid in reaction to the oil crisis at the University of New Mexico.

  16. Jon H

    “A Nato plan for a post-Gaddaffi Libya – carving up the country, and giving the richest spoils to the UAE – has been leaked.”

    Your link utterly fails to substantiate your claim.

    Typical Washington, frothing at the mouth. How many of your doom-laden predictions fail to materialize?

  17. Doug Terpstra

    Politico: “President Barack Obama [Mr. Pot] . . . said publicly that [Mr. kettle] Assad has “lost legitimacy” and must begin the push toward democracy in Syria or step down . . . [Mr. Kettle] is no longer a credible reformer and should give up his post.”

  18. Tangurena

    I’m reminded of an interview by General Clark:

    >I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

    >So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

    Syria: Enemy of Israel.
    Lebanon: Enemy of Israel.
    Libya: Currently attacking. Enemy of Israel.
    Iraq: Currently attacking. Enemy of Israel. World’s second largest reserves of light crude oil. Attack required by Left Behind.
    Iran: Enemy of Israel. World’s largest reserves of light crude oil.
    Somalia: Attack required by Left Behind.
    Sudan: Attack required by Left Behind.

  19. Tommy Tutone

    Certainly, Obama does not believe in Democracy. The only way his crackpot economics can work is through dictatorial power that could overcome reality for a while. So this is the “Hope & Change” we so desperately wanted? The further enrichment of the elite through non-stop war? War as a distraction to the people, a classic and dog eared ploy.

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