From Iran, Syria and Afghanistan to Ukraine: U.S. Empire Sows Violence and Chaos Yet Again

Dan Kovalik

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart
The center cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…

William Butler Yeats

As I wrote four years ago in 2018 after visiting Iran, there is a battle for civilization taking place. And note how I phrased this: “battle for civilization”; not “battle of civilizations” as many have referred to it.

That is, you have one side of the conflict which is trying to defend civilization, and the other side which is trying to wipe it out. And one might be surprised about how the players line up in this struggle.

In my book, The Plot to Attack Iran (2018), I wrote:

“By design, the United States, through its policy of playing one Middle East country against another and of, at various times, creating, supporting, or just tolerating various terrorist groups, has unleashed indescribable chaos upon the region. This has not only caused untold loss of life and suffering to the people of the region but has also led to the eradication of their history and culture.”

My observation at the time was that Iran continued to have a wealth of historical antiquities, buildings and ruins because the U.S. had not invaded it or otherwise been able to “destabilize” it, as the U.S. has so openly described its designs vis-à-vis so many countries. The U.S. government uses this term so often that we have become inured to it, but what a thing to do—to undermine the peace, security and stability of another nation, that is, to bring chaos. And indeed, the U.S. is an agent of chaos in the world.

A good place to start in looking at the U.S.’s attempts to sow world chaos is the U.S. government’s decision in June 1979 to fund Osama bin Laden and his Mujahadin in Afghanistan with the goal of destroying the secular, socialist state in Afghanistan as well as to draw the Soviet Union into a protracted war there which would fatally undermine that nation.

Both of these goals, of course, were accomplished, as the architect of this plan, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, would later brag. Brzezinski simply laughed off the criticisms that this also had the effect of creating a global “Islamic Fundamentalist” terrorist problem.

Meanwhile, the Mujahadin, while claiming to be Islamist, were in fact Wahhabist—a puritanical sect of Sunni Islam which is known for its intolerance towards those it considers religious heretics.

And thus, the Wahhabists, now represented by such groups as al-Qaeda (of course founded by Bin Laden), ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, etc., are known to rape and brutally kill “non-believers”—such as Christians and other, non-Wahhabist Muslims—and to destroy churches and other religious and historic buildings and artifacts which they deem offensive.

And, it is with these Wahhabists that the U.S. has decided to support in pursuit of world dominance. Lest one doubt this, check out the once-classified U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document of 2012 which states that the goal of the West in Syria was to partner with extremist terrorist groups [e.g., al-Qaeda (“AQI”) and the Islamic State of Iraq (“ISI”)] whose intention was to overthrow the secular and pluralistic government of Bashar al-Assad and to set up a religious Caliphate—that is, a dogmatic, theocratic state which would actively suppress non-Wahhabist religions, whether they be Muslim or Christian—in Syria and possibly in Iraq.

As the DIA explains, this operation in Syria “creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pickets in Mosul and Ramadi and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab World against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

Joe Biden, in 2014, similarly admitted that the Western allies in Syria were working with these radical groups which were terrorizing the country. As Biden stated, “What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad—except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.”

Biden went on, “Now, you think I’m exaggerating? Take a look. Where did all of this go? So now that’s happening, all of a sudden, everybody is awakened because this outfit called ISIL, which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in [eastern] Syria, [and they] work with al-Nusra, who we declared a terrorist group early on. And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them.”

And, as I detailed in Plot to Attack Iran,

[h]ere is but a partial list of the destruction that ISIS . . . has wrought in just Iraq and Syria alone: in Mosul, Iraq, ISIS blew up the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its leaning minaret, trashed the Mosul museum as well as other museums and libraries, and dynamited Christian churches and mosques; in nearby Nineva, an ancient Assyrian city on the outskirts of Mosul, it destroyed many of the ancient ruins and antiquities; in other parts of Iraq, ISIS has destroyed the fourth century Catholic Mar Behnam Monastery, the Mosque of the Prophet Yunus, and the Imam Dur Mausoleum; in Palmyra, Syria, ISIS destroyed ancient Roman ruins, such as the Temple of Baalshamin and the Temple of Baal; and elsewhere in Syria ISIS has destroyed such treasures as the Christian Mar Elian Monastery.

I witnessed this type of destruction first-hand in Syria where I visited twice last year. Of particular note, I visited Christian towns in Syria, such as Homs and Maaloula (one of the few cities in the world that still speaks Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ) that were the victims of the Free Syria Army’s attempt to wipe out Christianity there.

The Free Syria Army, which the CIA backed, we were told, was a “moderate rebel” group deserving of our support.  But meanwhile, the FSA terrorized these towns in Syria, and others like it, where they kidnapped nuns, killed priests and destroyed ancient Christian relics. You might be surprised to learn, as I was, that, in addition to the Syrian armed forces, it was Hezbollah which helped to defeat the FSA’s assault on these Christian towns. And, ultimately, it was Russia of course which played the biggest role in defeating the terrorist assault upon Syria.

It is against this backdrop that many Russians view their current standoff with the U.S. That is, they fear that the U.S.’s open attempts to destabilize Russia—by, for example, the U.S.’s support for extremist forces (i.e., neo-Nazis) in Ukraine—will result in the same sort of destruction of Russia’s nationhood, society and culture as countries like Syria and Iraq have suffered.

Lest there be any doubt that destabilization has indeed been the aim of the U.S. with regard to Russia, and specifically in regard to its use of Ukraine against Russia, check out the very telling 2019 report of the Rand Corporation—a long-time defense contractor called upon to advise the U.S. on how to carry out its policy goals. In this report, entitled “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia: Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options,” one of the many tactics listed is “Providing lethal aid to Ukraine” in order to “exploit Russia’s greatest point of external vulnerability.” This looks a lot like the U.S.’s Afghanistan strategy from the 1970s and 1980s all over again, and many Russians fear the same terrible impacts, and for good reason.

Indeed, it is quite telling that hundreds of the jihadists the West backed in Syria, and who have been contained in the Syrian province of Idlib, are pouring into Ukraine to support the battle against Russia.

As one news report explains, this makes total sense: “Radical Islamic terrorists in Idlib/Syria are among those foreigners seeking to reach Ukraine to fight the Russians.  Radical Islam is a political ideology that has been called Islamo-fascist, and shares commonalities with the Nazi militias in Ukraine.  Both the Nazis in Ukraine and the terrorists in Idlib are fighting the Russians. The terrorists in Idlib have devised a plan to send fighters to Ukraine, while also fighting the Russians in Idlib, thus hitting Russia on two battlefronts.”

Again, judging what these groups have done elsewhere, the Russians fear of being the victim of a nihilistic project of destruction are not without rational basis. It is my belief, which I have come to over many years, and after traveling to places like Syria, Iran and Lebanon, that the U.S. and its allies are a force for chaos and destruction in the world.

I think that this is, in fact, a premise against which it is hard to argue. I believe that the conflict in Ukraine must be judged in the context of the chaos that the U.S. has intentionally decided to loose upon the world.

Daniel Kovalik graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1993. He then served as in-house counsel for the United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO (USW) until 2019.

While with the USW, he worked on Alien Tort Claims Act cases against The Coca-Cola Company, Drummond and Occidental Petroleum—cases arising out of egregious human rights abuses in Colombia.

The Christian Science Monitor, referring to his work defending Colombian unionists under threat of assassination, described Mr. Kovalik as “one of the most prominent defenders of Colombian workers in the United States.”

Mr. Kovalik received the David W. Mills Mentoring Fellowship from Stanford University School of Law and was the recipient of the Project Censored Award for his article exposing the unprecedented killing of trade unionists in Colombia.

He has written extensively on the issue of international human rights and U.S. foreign policy for the Huffington Post and Counterpunch and has lectured throughout the world on these subjects. He is the author of several books including The Plot To Overthrow Venezuela, How The US Is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil, which includes a Foreword by Oliver Stone.

Daniel can be reached at