On The Syria Occupation And The New Face Of Imperialism

in syria •  last month

US forces have attacked the Syrian military, reporting over a hundred deaths. The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is calling the air strike a massacre, a war crime, and a crime against humanity.

The US is an invading, occupying force that is in Syria without the permission of its government, yet it is claiming that the air strike was an act of "self-defense" against an "unprovoked attack" upon the US-backed SDF, a mostly Kurdish militia which had occupied an area of Syrian land. No Americans suffered any injuries or deaths in the attack. The SDF suffered a single reported injury.

It's a bit like saying you broke into someone's house and strangled them from behind with a garotte in self-defense.

Believe it or not, it appears very likely that the US military's latest act of butchery waged upon Middle Easterners on their own land was not about self-defense at all, but about oil. The always insightful Moon of Alabama makes a compelling case that not only is America's version of events full of plot holes, but that the whole thing could very well have been "a trap" to sabotage a local deal that had been made for the SDF to turn over an oil and gas field to the Syrian government in the near future.

This would fit in perfectly with comments Professor Joshua Landis made about the attack, saying that America's plan is to keep Syria weak, poor and divided in order to disadvantage US/Israel/Saudi rivals Iran and Russia. It would also clarify US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's assertion a few weeks ago that thousands of American troops are being kept in Syria to prevent Assad from regaining control of areas that have been liberated from ISIS.

This is what the new imperialism looks like.

When the Russian Federation annexed Crimea in 2014, everyone lost their minds. Countries don't just annex territory from other countries anymore! It's so barbaric! It's so... 20th century.

That's simply not how we do things in the modern world. We don't expand our geopolitical power by blatant land grabs, we expand it with treaties, alliances, intelligence/surveillance deals, trade agreements, corporate contracts, secret pacts, and occupations of key strategic locations under the pretense of fighting terrorism. Like civilized people.

In the old days, an empire would expand itself by invading a weaker territory, killing its people until they gave up, and planting its flag there. We'd change the maps so that everyone could see that the region was now under the control of Rome or the British Crown or Napoleon or whomever, and the power structures would align themselves accordingly. It was all relatively simple and transparent.

The new imperialism doesn't do that. You will never see Syria made into the 51st state.

Since the end of the second World War it has been increasingly taboo for a government to overtly invade a country and add it to that government's official territory, and many international laws were locked into place to reflect that. And yet world power has arguably never been more consolidated than it is right now. The US, the UK, the EU, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Canada, Australia and many other nations tend to march more or less in lockstep with one another on a vast array of subjects ranging from neoliberalism to surveillance to which "regime" is in need of more crushing sanctions on a given day. The alignment isn't perfect, but it's too close to perfect to deny.

Here in Australia we joke about being America's 51st state, but, like Syria, we never will be. We don't need to be. We're already answerable to the same corporatist powers which control the US, so we trot right along into every US war, every US trade deal, and operate as a US intelligence asset just the same as we would if they'd planted the stars and stripes on our capitol buildings and called us Wisconsota. Through military alliance, intelligence alliance, corporatist agreements, and a good old-fashioned coup staged by the CIA and MI6, we transitioned smoothly from subservience under the old form of imperialism to subservience under the new. A whole continent full of McDonald's-eating sheep.

In the new imperialism, countries keep their borders, keep their names, and on paper keep their own sovereign governments as well. Australia remains Australia, Syria remains Syria. But the power dynamics are all bent to funnel toward the favor of the same vast power conglomerate.

You can't see the new empire on a map, so people assume that it isn't there, but the only reason you can't see it on the maps we were trained to read in school is because the new empire isn't in any way limited by geography. It is unconcerned with the little lines drawn between the countries on our plastic classroom globes, or the different colors their manufacturers painted the different nations with. The nationless band of plutocrats who use governments as tools and weapons are not limited by those things. They don't think in those terms. They don't care about land and governments, they care about money, power, and influence. And none of those things are geographically confined.

So they're content to control a few strategic locations in Syria to wage a disruption campaign against rivals of the empire. They don't need to annex Syria in order to do that, or even oust Assad. They're not interested in the country, they're interested in the nonlocalized new empire. They'll control a few oil fields, secure a few shady alliances, unleash a few terrorist armies, all to funnel more and more power into the new empire, one contract at a time. Corporations and banks are not limited by national borders, and neither are the oligarchs who own them.

Nations and governments don't exist anymore. Not in the sense that they used to, anyway. The notion of meaningfully separate, sovereign governments is at this time a fairy tale told to the masses to keep us from realizing that we're all being thrown into the gears of an exploitative threshing machine that only exists to feed the avaricious agendas of a few ruling elites.

This has all been made possible by an ongoing war on the societal concept of sovereignty. Our concept of sovereignty is now so weakened that a powerful government can get away with invading another country and claiming "self defense" when it kills the people there, so weakened that constant domestic surveillance by secretive and unaccountable intelligence agencies is now considered normal, so weakened that the public will ferociously defend a police officer that guns down a civilian who reached for his wallet a little too fast.

If society found some way to restore sovereignty to nations, governments, and above all to human beings, the ecocidal, omnicidal new empire which depends upon blurred lines and ignored boundaries would be unable to survive. And that would be great, in my opinion.

Thanks for reading! My daily articles are entirely reader-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, bookmarking my website, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  Trending

Caitlin, thanks for the good work. Glad I found your stuff a couple of months ago. I’m still trying to find my way around Steemit. I understand blockchain like a giraffe understands a refrigerator. But here I am. Someday maybe I’ll figure it out. Here is a brief musing on Syria. May they be shown mercy.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict I’ve seen a number of explanations as to why the United States, while not directly declaring war, supported the Syrian rebels in their bid to oust Assad. The first was the simple minded one that Assad is a bad guy (undefined) and, like Saddam, he must go. The second was an even more nebulous one - somehow Syria had gotten on a list created by neocon types back in the nineties. And it took the US until the 2010's to begin messing with them after Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria had their turn in the barrel. Then there was the more specific cause regarding oil pipeline rights with Assad supposedly denying the US the ability to run a strategic pipeline through Syria. Instead he favored a Russian one. And last, but not least, there is the old general purpose cause of Israel fomenting mayhem in its neighboring countries, for the simple purpose of weakening them through destabilization, in order to reduce their ability to threaten Israel.

So which is it to be? One, some, all of the above? The grim fact is that the status quo in Syria doesn’t seem like a satisfactory answer to any of the causes, except perhaps the last. But this may just be serendipity for Israel (I’m not advocating this, just trying to keep my balance). As things stand, the answer to the question, who won?, is not at all clear. And whether the US stays or pulls out, it makes little difference to the lack of resolution of the question. Syria is a broken nation, and will be so for a long time.

So perhaps this was the goal and it has been achieved. Perhaps you could even say that Syria drew the short straw and got its name on the naughty list. And its proximity to lots of oil was the clincher. The US, as currently configured politically and militarily, needs war like a crackhead needs crack. If it wasn’t Syria, it would be some other benighted hellhole. The US, and by this I mean its governing classes, cannot imagine itself not being at war. War is a bionic appendage, like Robocop has. It has had it so long it is part of its body image. It would get phantom pain if it was removed.

Certainly, globalist forces, Israel, banks, the MIC, the security state all connect into this pathology. But at the center of it all the US self-identifies as Mars, the god of war. It knows no other way. And please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that the US is not culpable, that it has no agency. Absolutely not. Neither is it futile to try to influence affairs in Syria by means of journalism or political protest. These are absolutely necessary and laudable.

We must face the fact that the US has the war disease, and it is in denial about it. And there is no obvious cure or way to put it in remission. Yet that is what must happen. While we do our best to remedy some of the symptoms, like Syria, we must also diligently try to find out a way to uproot and destroy this belligerent malady. Healing must come from within, while not forgetting the outward manifestations. I have no answer for this. But there is a small hope. Who could have imagined a year ago that Hollywood would have been brought to its knees by the exposure of its system of sexual exploitation? And it happened in an instant. Surely there is hope that someone or some event could hold up a mirror to the US and finally it could see its ravaged, war-pox ridden face, and realize just how diseased it is. Such things can happen.


Hillary Clinton wants her pipeline to be the one that wins. Her greed and megalomania know no bounds


Yes, someone has been bringing the hope, check out judge Anna calling it out and going toe to to with the people (UN France/Rothschild) who actually are responsible for the US Armada getting it's paycheck.


Thank god we have you to shed light on the truth. Thank you so much for this important work. I hate to think how many people have been misled by the official US intel PR agencies known as CNN, MSNBC, BBC, ABC etc etc!


No doubt this author is doing important work. Though she is not alone. Check out Democracy Now, David Barsamian's alternative radio. Chomksy. The late Edward Said to start.

If society found some way to restore sovereignty to nations, governments, and above all to human beings...

Get rid of central banking....the basis of all these evils. A concentration of power (money)

Very good post. ( I read quickly)


Banks are a great start, but to prevent the cycle from starting all over again we'd need to eliminate all forms of unaccountable concentration of power, which unfortunately the entire world's economy is based off of.


All the unaccountable concentrations are the banks, in various guises. It all starts and stops with them...


I think we agree; could you elaborate? For example, where do you consider someone like Jeff Bezos, with his massive fortune, to be in that chain?

F24Debate FRANCE 24 Debate tweeted @ 07 Feb 2018 - 19:26 UTC

"The United States wants to keep Syria weak and poor" @joshua_landis
#F24Debate @France24_en #syria #russiatwitter.com/i/web/status/9…

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

I saw a guy (in fact many guys) who get personally insulted just because someone disagrees with the mainstream narrative about something like the Syrian Civil War, even if your motives are entirely pure and presented in a civil way. Hopefully the rational, sympathetic parts of our brains will win out over the tribalistic, irrational, violent parts. You're doing great things for the world!


Oh don't worry, when they finally snap out of it, not only will they not admit that they were duped, they will also bombard you with all the sorrow of the aftermath after it's too late!

An extraordinarily salient description of geopolitics today.

I am extremely alarmed at this evolution of the Syrian conflict. That such flimsy justifications for direct US military involvement are being essayed indicates to me that further escalation is definitely on the table.

That is a terrible disappoint to me, as I had thought that the rapid defeat of ISIS during Trump's first year indicated this war would soon end. It no longer appears even a little bit likely that I was right.

"You can't see the new empire on a map, so people assume that it isn't there, but the only reason you can't see it on the maps we were trained to read in school is because the new empire isn't in any way limited by geography. It is unconcerned with the little lines drawn between the countries on our plastic classroom globes, or the different colors their manufacturers painted the different nations with. The nationless band of plutocrats who use governments as tools and weapons are not limited by those things. They don't think in those terms. They don't care about land and governments, they care about money, power, and influence. And none of those things are geographically confined."

Rather than being irrelevant, national borders and institutions are being co-opted as weapons against the peoples therein. The solution to this isn't nationalism, but agorism, and the obviation of the weapon states represent to freedom.

I sure am glad I followed you. If I hadn't, I'd have missed this post, which I consider seminal.



what happens when USA has meddled in a foreign policy.
During WWII CocaCola set up shop in Germany under the guise of 'Fanta'
Mc Donalds, Pepsi, Kellogs, KFC, and every other brand that serves 'food' that is bad for anyones health but surprisingly good for the wallet of a Elite Corporate fat cat, THOSE companies roll in.
They BUY BUILDINGS, they take market share, they make people sick.
Then the pharma comes along to provide 'fake health'.

So happy to see you here @caitlinjohnstone WELCOME, welcome, welcome. Steemit and any other uncensored sites are the now the present and future for true journalism and journalistic commentary. :) !!!

Ita amazing that the two best anti system people i know of. Namely you and Julian Assange. Are both australian. There is definetely a rebelious streak in you guys.

Hi I am new to steemit follow my blogs and upvote me..☺☺☺

Yes so true I have seen the last video before an its no surprise to me but show it to some Sheeple and the don't accept it.

We are waking slowly and the Hundredth monkey is nearing haha, let hope it wake before they invade Iran :) 💯🐒