Declassified 1986 CIA Report Suggests Longstanding Plans to Destabilize Syria

Declassified 1986 CIA Report Suggests Longstanding Plans to Destabilize Syria

In March 2017, Mintpress News reported on a declassified CIA report that exposes that, contrary to popular belief, the US government has had plans to initiate regime change in Syria as far back as the 1980s. The report is entitled “Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change” and was written by the Foreign Subversion and Instability Center in July 1986. The stated purpose of the document was to analyze, for “purposefully provocative” reasons, scenarios that would the overthrow the Assad regime. Although the conflict in Syria, often referred to by the corporate media as a “civil war,” is often said to have begun in 2011 new information illuminates the twenty-five year history of US efforts to destabilize the country. This newly declassified report elucidates US intentions in Syria and sheds light on the country’s current conflict.

This declassified CIA document is not the first example of evidence that points to US imperialist aims in Syria. A 2006 State Department cable, released by Wikileaks in 2010, revealed that toppling the Syrian government was a high-priority aim of US foreign policy. In 2007, Wesley Clark, a retired US Army General, stated in an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that the US had plans to topple the Syrian government as far back as 2001. The 1986 CIA document, however, clearly points to plans to topple the Assad regime and US complicity in the war that now rages in Syria. The document states that a Sunni-led government in Syria would be most beneficial to the US and suggested that Sunni dissidence would likely set the stage for a civil war. The report goes on to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood, considered by many countries to be a terrorist group, should be considered the best option to lead a Sunni-revolt against the Assad regime, and stated that they would be apart of their long-term goals in Syria. Notably, the Brotherhood is one of the leading forces in the Syrian opposition today and has received over a billion dollars from the US since 2011.

As of April 2017, the corporate media has completely ignored the new revelations that prove that the US has sought to destabilize Syria since the 1980s. Considering that this document exposes US support for, and suggests its complicity in, the incredibly bloody conflict that has raged in Syria for the past seven years it is unsurprising that this story has only been picked up by independent news outlets. The US government has a long history of supporting regime change in countries whose governments are not friendly to US interests no matter the effects that such action would have on innocent civilians—Syria is only one of the most recent examples. 


Whitney Webb, “Newly Declassified CIA Report Exposes Over 25 Years of U.S. Plans to Destabilize Syria,” Mintpress News, March 6, 2017,

Student Researcher: Sierra Shidner (University of California, Davis)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)

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