Photo: Mr. and Mrs. Kerry with Mr. and Mrs. Assad, during a private dinner at a restaurant in Damascus, 2009.

Enjoying a legitimacy reinforced by his reelection, President Barack Obama is preparing to launch a new foreign policy – drawing the conclusions from the relative economic weakening of the United States, he has renounced the idea of governing the world on his own. US forces continue their departure from Europe and their partial disengagement from the Middle East in order to take up positions around China. From this perspective, he wants to weaken the developing Russo-Chinese alliance at the same time as sharing the burden of the Middle East with Russia. Consequently, he is ready to apply the agreement on Syria which was reached on the 30th June in Geneva - deployment of a UN peace force, composed mainly of troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and maintenance of Bachar el-Assad in power if he is designated by his people.

This new foreign policy is running into strong resistance in Washington. In July, a series of organised leaks to the Press sank the Geneva agreement and forced Kofi Annan to resign. This sabotage seems to have been hatched by a group of senior officers who are unable to accept the end of their dreams of a global empire.

This problem was never evoked during the Presidential campaign, since the two main candidates were in agreement about the change of policy and only disagreed on the manner in which it should be presented.

So Barack Obama waited no longer than the evening of his victory before giving the signal for the start of a purge which has been in cautious preparation for months. The resignation of General David Petraeus from his functions as head of the CIA has been widely publicized, but it was only the appetizer. The heads of many other senior officers are about to roll in the dust.

The purge first affects the Supreme Commander of NATO and Commander of EuCom (Admiral James G. Stravidis), who is at the end of his term, and his scheduled successor (General John R. Allen). It continues with the ex-Commander of AfriCom (General William E. Ward) and the man who has been his successor for a year (General Carter Ham). It will probably also eliminate the chief of the anti-missile shield (General Patrick J. O’Reilly) and still others of lesser importance.

Each time, the senior officers are accused either of sexual misconduct or embezzlement. The US Press has feasted on the sordid details of the sexual triangle which implicates Petraeus, Allen and Petraeus’ biographer, Paula Broadwell, while avoiding any mention of the fact that she is a Lieutenant-Colonel in Military Intelligence. It seems abundantly clear that she was infiltrated into the entourage of the two Generals in order to bring them down.

The purge in Washington was preceded in July by the elimination of the foreign executives who oppose this new policy and who were implicated in the battle of Damascus. Everything went down as if Obama had allowed the clean-up to happen. For example, the premature death of General Omar Suleiman (Egypt), who had come to undergo treatment at a US hospital, or the attack on Prince Bandar ben Sultan (Saudi Arabia), seven days later.

It remains for Barack Obama to compose his new Cabinet by finding men and women who are capable of forcing acceptance of this new policy. He is counting especially on former Democratic candidate for the Presidency and current President of the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, John Kerry. Moscow has already made it clear that his nomination would be welcomed. In particular, Kerry is known as an "admirer of Bachar el-Assad" (The Washington Post) whom he has frequently met in preceding years. [1]

In the event Kerry should be given the State Department, the Department of Defense may be entrusted either to Michèle Flournoy or Ashton Carter, who would continue to apply the current budgetary restrictions.

In the event that Kerry should take over the DoD, the State Department could be given to Susan Rice, a nomination which would be sure to pose certain problems - she was seen to be particulary discourteous when Russia and China opposed their recent vetos, and doesn’t seem to possess the cool head this job requires. And in fact, the Republicans are attempting to block her nomination.

John Brennan, who is known for his particularly unethical and brutal methods, may become the new head of the CIA. He would be tasked with turning the page on the Bush years by liquidating the jihadists who are working for the Agency and dismantling Saudi Arabia, which is of no further use. Failing this, the mission would be offered to Michael Vickers or even Michael Morell, the shadow advisor who was at George W. Bush’s side on a certain 11th September, and who dictated his conduct.

The noted Zionist, but nevertheless pragmatist, Antony Blinken may become head of the United States National Security Council, and could revive the plan he had elaborated at Shepherdstown in 1999 for Bill Clinton - make peace in the Middle East by relying on the Assad family.

But even before the nomination of the new Cabinet, the political about-face has already begun with the resumption of secret negotiations with Teheran. In fact, these new policies require an end to the isolation of Iran, and the recognition of the Islamic Republic as a regional power. The first consequence - the construction of the new gas pipeline has resumed. It will link South Pars, the largest gas field in the world, with Damascus, and then the Mediterranean and Europe - an investment of 10 billion dollars which could not be profitable unless there is lasting peace in the region.

Obama II’s new foreign policy is going to upset the Middle East in 2013, but in the opposite way to that announced by the Western and Gulf media.

Pete Kimberley
Information Clearing House (USA)

[1"For besieged Syrian dictator Assad, only exit may be body bag", by Joby Warrick and Anne Gearan, The Washington Post, 1st August 2012. Also read the pitiful update by Jodi B. Seth, spokeswoman for Senator Kerry : "Why John Kerry tested engagement with Syria", The Washington Post, 5th August 2012.