The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Humanitarian Buffer Zones in Syria — How misinformation obscures the Israel lobby’s influence on U.S. foreign policy

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 15, 2012

A recent Russia Today report offers an insight into how misinformation on the internet helps to obscure the influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. In an October 11 report on the widening Syria conflict, the Russian television channel’s website cited an interview with an independent journalist regarding news of the establishment of so-called humanitarian buffer zones on Syrian territory. According to the RT report, citing Nile Bowie, the idea originated with “US hawks”:

“The US think-tank – the Brookings Institute – in March 2012 published a report entitled ‘Assessing Regime Change Options in Syria,’ where they specifically cite the creation of a buffer zone or a humanitarian corridor as a means to base certain rebel groups in the region [and] to project force towards the Syrian government in an attempt to topple it. So that appears to be what is playing out at the moment.”

The facts above are basically correct. There is, however, a crucial omission. The report in question — actually entitled “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” — was the work of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. The Saban Center was established in 2002 when Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban pledged nearly $13 million to the Brookings Institution. As Saban told an Israeli conference in 2010, establishing think tanks — along with making donations to political parties and controlling media outlets — is one of “three ways to be influential in American politics.” The billionaire’s sole motivation for wanting to influence policy in Washington is no secret. “I’m a one-issue guy,” Saban famously told the New York Times, “and my issue is Israel.”

It’s also worth noting that at least one of the co-authors of “Saving Syria” appears to share Haim Saban’s overriding concern for Israel. In 2006, Kenneth Pollack, currently director of the Saban Center, was mentioned in the indictment against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman as one of the government officials who provided classified information on Iran to the then AIPAC employees charged with espionage.

Nile Bowie’s omission of the Israeli source of the regime change proposals for Syria appears to have been unintentional though. As recently as September 24, the Kuala Lumpur-based American journalist wrote about the pro-Israel connections of U.S. groups supporting the Malaysian opposition. So how did he miss the equally blatant Israeli connection behind the Saban Center’s blueprint for regime change in Damascus?

Bowie most likely learned of the Brookings report from “an alternative news blog based in Bangkok, Thailand covering geopolitics.” Run by a former U.S. marine by the name of Tony Cartalucci, the Land Destroyer blog (the second of ten sites linked to by Bowie’s blog) has written about “Assessing Options for Regime Change” perhaps more often than any other source. One of those pieces posted on October 3 entitled “Turkey Attempts to Trigger War Vs. Syria” even features an image of the Saban Center’s “Saving Syria.” The caption underneath the image, however, reads:

The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.

Apart from the Saban Center logo in the image, there is no mention of the pro-Israel think tank in the piece. While a site search for “Brookings” yields eight pages of results, there appears to be only one post that refers to the “Saban Center.” A search for “Haim Saban” yields no results.

In short, as long as people continue to trust dubious “alternative” sources of news such as Land Destroyer Report, the key role of the Israel lobby in pushing regime change from Damascus to Kuala Lumpur will remain obscure.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses

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  1. Lan Destroyer certainly doesn’t minimize the Lobby’s influence.

    Dick Fitzgerald

    October 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm

  2. […]… […]

  3. Israel lobby pushing Syrian regime change to weaken Iran (see additional links after Stephen Sniegoski article):


    Syrian series



    October 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

  4. Dick Fitzgerald,

    How do you reconcile “Lan Destroyer certainly doesn’t minimize the Lobby’s influence” with Cartalucci’s consistent pattern of obscuring the work of the pro-Israel Saban Center behind the “corporate” Brookings Institute?

    Maidhc Ó Cathail

    October 15, 2012 at 2:26 am

  5. Tony Cartalucci, like Webster Tarpley and Alex Jones, are the PRIMARY tools of Zionist coverup and censorship by omission. It is the main reason why Cartalucci refuses to date the ongoing attack and overthrow attempts of Syria to before 2007. He is well aware that revealing the continuous efforts to depose Assad pre-2007 would UNEQUIVOCABLY – and in extremely well documented fashion – indict the Zionist lobby. Cartalucci, like most others, ignore the first Arab Spring under the neocon cabal. They were then and still are, the MAIN drivers to destroy Syria and remodel the region. But Cartalucci has repeatedly written in his pieces that “Israeli is unfairly scapegoated and blamed for events in the m.e.” ‘Bout fell off my chair when I read that one… His refusal to expose the real perps makes him just as much a gatekeeper as the “truthers” who screech that 9/11 is inside job, and point the finger at all the usual suspects, except the most obvious one – Israel. Cartalucci is another disinfo agent.

    Sayan, Inc

    October 15, 2012 at 4:27 am

  6. Mitt Romney pushing neocon war for Israel agenda vs Syria & Iran:

    Ron Paul vs the neoconned GOP warmongers!:


    October 15, 2012 at 9:28 am

  7. James Morris mentioned the neocon ‘Clean Break’ ( war for Israel agenda in the youtube of his Press TV linked above!


    October 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

  8. Since we are on the subject ( My favorite for that matter) of the phony revolutions and who’s really pushing for them, and since it does look a bit murky. Could it be the CIA and why the hell are France and England playing ball are questions to be asked.

    Let us try to find one country that ONLY Israel wants to go after and let’s try to find in some of the sanctions something that will show us that the Israelis are using these phony revolutions as a means to obtain their goals. Which really are a general regime change in the middle east.

    IRAN is the place to look. We all know Israel is behind the push for war with Iran. I don’t think anyone questions that. But lets try to find the kosher finger in the phony revolution business too. We go to page 72 of the HR 1905 bill.
    The article can be found here:

    The bill can be found here:

    (a) REQUIREMENT.—The Office of Foreign Assets Control,
    in consultation with the Department of State, shall
    establish an expedited process for the consideration of complete
    requests for authorization to engage in human rights-
    , humanitarian-, or democracy-related activities relating to
    Iran that are submitted by—
    (1) entities receiving funds from the Department
    of State to engage in the proposed activity;
    (2) the Broadcasting Board of Governors; and
    (3) other appropriate agencies of the United
    States Government.

    Well there it is, Israel direct role and their know how in “phony revolutions”

    Don’t forget that the MEK HAS been desisted as a terrorist organization. I’m sure they be getting lots of money from the NED now.

    Saur Ben Zvi

    October 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

  9. Haim Saban is mentioned in the following blog entry by former Israeli (and anti-Zionist Jewish contact) Gilad Atzmon whose ‘The Wandering Who’ book is a must read as well!:

    Connecting the Zionist Dots by Gilad Atzmon:

    Haim Saban, the Israeli-American, multibillionaire media mogul offers the answer. The New Yorker reported this week that at a conference last fall, Saban described his pro-Israeli formula, outlining “three ways to be influential in American politics…make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”


    October 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm

  10. […]… […]

  11. […] the influence of certain Brookings Institution policy papers on US Middle East policy, he crucially omits the fact that these papers were invariably published by Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle […]

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