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Syria Coverage

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Published: 09 November 2013

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died already in the Syrian Civil War with no end in sight.

Myriad outsiders have become involved with foreign fighters from around the world, including from the United States and Europe. More recently, President Obama threatened to go to war with Syria.

US Patriot Missiles at Gazianthep, Turkey. (US Army photo.)

Estimates of refugees vary from 2.5 million to 9 million.  Many have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Africa, and to Europe.

Though I publicly opposed US military intervention for various reasons, the refugee issue cannot be ignored forever.

image003-1000Possibility of wider war is palpable. (US Army photo, Gazianthep.)

People are suffering immensely and the floodgates are open.  There are reports of unaccompanied children among the refugees.  What became of their parents is known only to the children, if they know.

Huge numbers of refugees are living in tents.  With winter fast approaching, life will soon go from terrible to worse.

image005-1000US Air Force loads supplies for Syrian refugees. (USAF photo.)

The humanitarian crisis leads directly to political crisis, and the growing possibility of broadened war that can include US allies such as Turkey.  Israel has been bombing targets in Syria.  Saudi Arabia and others are involved in military aid, adding fuel to the inferno.

Iran and Russia are deeply involved.

The UN requested a stunning $5.1 billion for Syria aid.  This growing crisis is of massive significance.  Be assured that if this continues unabated, the United States and Europe will be neck deep in mud that makes Afghanistan look like a training exercise.

Other countries such as Lebanon are being destabilized.  If they fall into war, this can go like a fission reaction: more refugees create more instability, which creates more refugees.  Already there are more refugees than interested nations are prepared to handle.

image007-1000US Air Force bringing aid to Syrian Refugees. (USAF photo.)

My contacts say there are important aspects being ignored by the mainstream.  Please recall that in 2006, I was far ahead of the MSM pack with the reality of the direction of the Afghanistan war.

On the ground information and analysis is crucial. But there is little of that from any corner.

“Think-tanking” from Washington is problematic at best.

Recently, one of the most influential think-tanks, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), was leading the charge for Syrian intervention, using a lady named “Dr.” Elizabeth O’Bagy as their Syria expert.

Dr. O’Bagy was lauded and cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain as a Syria expert whose opinion was of grave importance.  ISW had been at the center of much of our war planning in Iraq and Afghanistan and I would see the principals in high level places on a frequent basis.  We often sat in the same rooms with the same generals.

With Dr. O’Bagy on the ISW staff, and with her PhD from Georgetown, and her known Syria expertise, O’Bagy had a voice that people wanted to hear.

Dr. O’Bagy’s expert advice was being heard by millions of people on major networks and in major papers.  Everybody “in the know” realizes that ISW work reaches successive Presidents.  The influence of ISW cannot be understated.  Dr. O’Bagy and ISW were helping to march us to war.

But there was a problem: Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy had no PhD.

O’Bagy was not a Syria expert.

image009-1000British Royal Air Force “Reaper” drone over Afghanistan: four Hellfire missiles and two 500lb smart bombs. (Photo Michael Yon.)

Dr. O’Bagy is a fraud.  She made it up whole cloth.

ISW and the highest levels of the US Government lapped it up.  I cancelled my subscription to ISW analysis.  A piece of their influence vanished.  Senator McCain then hired O’Bagy.

War and millions of people are at stake.  We are being deceived again.  We need truth.

I will fly to Turkey in 12 hours for an investigative journey to spend time with Syrians who recently were inside, and to ask locals what the influx of refugees means for their own lives.  Numerous people are standing by to meet and begin.  I waited until the last moment to request funding to insure that the pieces were in place before launching.

I need $8,000 for an initial look.  That is a far cry from the billions more we soon will be paying.  We need more eyes and ears paying closer attention.

As normal, more funding means I can do more work.  Healthy funding in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places, helped me to operate for years and to produce books and many hundreds of dispatches that reached millions of people around the world.

The US economy is tight and so this is ill timing to ask for support.  Yet war does not care.  War is like a hurricane that is always in season.  It comes when it is ready.  Even $10 is great.  If the funding is sufficient, I will endure to look at the crucial countries such as Israel.

This campaign is not a big promotion where donors receive t-shirts and widgets for various levels of support.  We are talking about war, not t-shirts.  This is about the work and digging for answers.  The stakes are tremendous.

Folks who have seen my work over the years know that I will bring home the good, the bad and the ugly, and will publish quality material.

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Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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