On Monday the former director of the CIA, Michael Morell , told Charlie Rose of CBS News that he favors supporting jihadi terrorists and killing Russians in Syria.
He said after the invasion and during the occupation of Iraq, the Iranians killed Americans. “When we were in Iraq, the Iranians were giving weapons to the Shi’a militia, who were killing American soldiers,” he insisted.
“The Iranians were making us pay a price. We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price.”
Morell said paying a price in Syria would necessitate killing Russians.
Omitted from the discussion is the fact the Iraqi resistance made the U.S. military pay a price. Both Sunnis and Shias participated in the resistance. The largest and most active elements of the resistance were Sunni and included the Iraqi National Islamic Resistance, the National Front for the Liberation of Iraq, the Iraqi Resistance Islamic Front, and a number of smaller, less organized groups. Ba’thist factions also participated, including Saddam’s Fedayeen and al-Awdah.
The Shia resistance was comprised primarily of the al-Mahdi Army led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Another Shiite group, the Imam Ali Bin-Abi-Talib Jihadi Brigades, targeted occupation forces in Al-Najaf and Karbala. The Imam Ali Mosque in Al-Najaf and the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala are considered two of the holiest sites of Shia Islam.
In 2003, the US military destroyed much of Karbala as it fought the al-Mahdi, a fact virtually ignored by the media in the United States. The following year, the U.S. military invaded Al-Najaf and fought pitched battles with the Shia militia.
Morell also failed to mention that the government of Syria formally requested military support from Iran. In February, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said military advisers were sent to Syria at the request of the Damascus government.
Prior to talks with President Obama last September, Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S., Saudi, and Gulf Emirate involvement in Syria is illegal. “In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” he told CBS News and PBS.
The Syrian conflict was initiated by the U.S. and its Arab partners in March of 2011. It has thus far claimed the lives of nearly a half million people, left close to two million injured, and displaced 6.36 million people.
Morell’s remarks reveal the frustration of the U.S. as Syrian, Russian, and Iranian troops regain territory captured by U.S. and Gulf Emirate-backed jihadi fighters, including the Islamic State.
The former CIA director is, in essence, calling for a repeat of the CIA-sponsored conflict against Russia in Afghanistan. According to another former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, the agency supported the Afghan Mujahideen six months before the Soviet intervention in the country in 1979.
“That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap,” President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski , told the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998.
“The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”
Michael Morell would like to see a repeat of that humiliating defeat in Syria.
Russia, however, is far less likely to take the bait this time around.