Russian military intervention in Syria has troubled many commentators and analysts in the West.
Russia coming to the aid of the beleaguered Syrian government alters the situation, certainly. But to what end, ultimately? And can ‘Syria’ still be ‘saved’…?
Predictable Washington condemnation of Russian military activity in Syria must surely be falling on deaf ears at this point (and basically amounts to “no, don’t attack those terrorists, attack these terrorists only!”).
After almost five years of US insanity in Syria, the US State Department has lost all credibility (and has of course long since lost any semblance of a moral high ground). So while Russia steps in to try to bring an end to an externally-orchestrated crisis that has killed a quarter-of-a-million Syrians and created millions of refugees, prepare to hear a whole lot of hypocritical condemnation and propaganda from the US State Department and various other anti-Assad parties (such as Saudi officials), most of whom have been aiding the armed warfare from the start.
Assad isn’t an angel, and Putin is no hero; but neither Assad nor Putin were the initiators of the War in Syria. The United States and its regional allies have had four years to try to help resolve the crisis and the US approach has never consisted of anything other than either airstrikes or the supply of weapons to jihadists. Remember that Russian diplomacy attempted to bring about peace talks over two years ago, while others were still sending in weapons to rebels and trying to bring about their desired regime-change. This (presently limited) Russian intervention may mark the decisive moment when the planned regime-change operation in Syria fails. If the disastrous regime-changes carried out in Iraq and Libya are anything to go by, this failure to fully overthrow Syria’s government might be considered a blessing. Unless of course the conflict leads to World War III, which is what some are suggesting we’re seeing take shape.
As for accusations that Russia is targeting ‘moderate’ rebels instead of ISIL/Daesh targets? What ‘moderate’ rebels? It has been openly admitted that there are no moderate rebels left in Syria, and that’s assuming there even were any moderates to begin with – a notion that was refuted by many analysts even in the early days. Most of the ‘moderates’ who were initially involved in the uprising defected back to the government’s side once they realised the extent to which the rebellion was a foreign-backed operation. By ‘moderate’ rebels, the US State Department simply means that Russian airstrikes have been hitting the CIA’s small bands of ‘vetted’ fighters.
And yet even after the spectacular failures, the US State Department continues to talk about the enlistment of these fictional ‘moderates’. In a recent post, I mocked the new strategy to create a ‘New Syrian Force’ of so-called ‘moderates’ to fight both ISIL *and* the Syrian regime and was incredulous at the report that this ‘force’ consisted of only 60 fighters; ‘More than that, these 60 jihadists are to receive full, absolute military support from the US, Britain, Turkey and all, and once they are established in their ‘safe zones’, if the Syrian government tries to attack these ‘rebels’, they risk full retaliation from the US-led foreign invasion force! 60 jihadists is all America needs now as an excuse for all out war against Assad and Syria!’
What I hadn’t realised then was that it’s actually even more ludicrous than that, as anyone who saw the recent Senate Armed Services Committee comedy show will have discovered. When asked about the success of the $500m US effort to train ‘moderate’ Syrian forces to fight against ISIL fighters, the answer given as to how many of these ‘moderate’ rebels there are will make you fall off your chair. “We’re talking four or five,” General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, answered. ‘Four or five’?
The Pentagon’s goal was supposedly to train some 5,000 of these ‘moderate’ rebels. ‘Four or five’ is beyond a joke.
But of course it’s more ridiculous even than that; because most of the fighters the United States was supporting originally, including all of the Saudi and Qatari funded jihadists, were either extremist or Al-Qaeda in the first place or subsequently joined the ‘Islamic State’. Those earlier fighters were all sold to us as ‘moderates’ too, but in actual fact some of the most brutal crimes carried out by rebels in the early months of the war (including attacks on Christian towns and locations) were carried about by members of the Free Syrian Army – the so-called ‘moderates’. So the idea that only ‘moderate’ fighters were being supported was always a lie; but now it’s gone beyond a lie and into a pantomime in which a supposed ‘5,000’ or so ‘moderate rebels’ has in fact been revealed as ‘four or five’. The Washington-led policy until now has basically been playing perfectly into the hands of ISIL/Daesh, which only even *exists* because of Washington’s actions in the first place; and the only subsequent strategy has been to try the same thing all over again, only this time with even fewer so-called ‘moderate’ rebels.
It is all beyond a sick joke by now. And the idea that Russian airstrikes are ‘making things worse’ can only be nonsense – things couldn’t *be* any worse than they already are in Syria.
Moreover, while Russia is now being accused of attacking the wrong terrorists, we might do well to remember that the US and its regional allies have already been accused of bombing anti-ISIS fighters in Iraq, with Turkey openly bombing Kurdish anti-ISIS fighters, and even accusations that US airstrikes have been targeting Syrian infrastructure under the guise of attacking ‘ISIS’. Aside from the fact that US drones – if the Pentagon had wished to – could’ve easily taken out the ISIL convoy of American vehicles crossing from Syria into Iraq a year ago, it seems highly unlikely that the United States has been genuinely trying to remove the ISIL/Daesh threat from the region at all, but rather allowing it to play out the purposes it was built for. This is old news by now, which has been covered here before. For example, there were Iraqi accusations of ISIL fighters being directly *aided* by the very parties that claimed to be trying to destroy them, with accusations of British planes carrying weapons for ISIL fighters in Al-Anbar province and US-led coalition planes allegedly air-dropping weapons and supplies *for* ISIL in terrorist-held areas.
Those might just be accusations – they might not be true; but the fact is that Syria has simply become a playground for the various powers to attack whoever they want and pursue their own agendas – and along with Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Britain and France, I also include Assad, Iran and Russia on that list. The only difference is that Russia, aside from serving its own interests, is committed to preserving the existence of a government in Syria and ultimately averting the Libya or Iraq style instability that will occur if the government falls; whereas the US/Saudi-led strategy simply seeks the downfall of the government, no matter the cost and regardless of whether the ‘Islamic State’ is able to further expand and prosper. To say that Bashar Assad is the ‘lesser of two evils’ is an understatement; even between Assad and the United States’ insane Middle-East policy, Assad would still be the lesser of two evils.
One has to wonder if anyone other than the Syrian Army and Hezbollah actually been trying to fight ISIS/Daesh in any meaningful way. ISIL – armed and funded by the United States and the Saudi-led Gulf States in the first instance – has actually expanded its territory since US-led airstrikes began a year ago. ISIL, along with the Al-Qaeda affiliates and other groups, were simply a geo-political ground-army in the operation to force a regime-change in Syria; just as Al-Qaeda was the ground-army in the operation to topple the government of Libya in 2011. It was a policy based on the 2010 Unconventional Warfare Manual of the US Military, and furthering the interests of the Zionist ‘Greater Israel’ plan for the Middle East and the Saudi-based Wahhabist/Salafist sectarian proxy war against the spread of Iranian/Shia influence.
In fact, leaked documents exist to prove that the Western powers, the Gulf States and Turkey were *trying* to create an extremist (Salafist) ‘Islamic State’ in the region all along – for the very purposes of toppling the Syrian government.
In which case the so-called ‘Islamic State’ we now have in Syria and Iraq might not have been an unforeseen by-product at all, but the desired outcome. The same may have been planned for Northern Africa via the importing of Al-Qaeda and ISIS into Libya; and bringing to mind Gaddafi’s complaints to Washington in 2011, when he expressed utter bafflement that Washington, London and Paris were attacking him when he was trying to fight off an Al-Qaeda-led takeover of Libyan cities (see more here).
In regard to the Zionist ‘Yinon Plan’, the goal was always to carve-up the Middle East into smaller states, re-drawing the borders and maps; which is precisely what the US plan for a post-Assad Syria is, and this is also precisely the agenda that the so-called ‘Islamic State’ has been aiding so well in its spread across Syria and Iraq.
The real objection to Russia’s intervention is that it is threatening to blow away the established strategy for the US ‘End Game’ in Syria. Aside from the ‘Yinon Plan’, that end-game is also based on the policy paper recently put together by the rather infamous US foreign-policy think-tank, the ‘Brookings Institution’ (which was crucially involved in drawing up the Neo-Con plans for the Iraq invasion). The paper is titled ‘Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country’ and is covered in more detail in this older post.
But the basic plan was to create those long-desired ‘buffer zones’ for the protection of US-backed ‘moderate’ rebels (all five of them, I guess) and then to occupy areas of Syria with US special forces and to justify a nationwide “no-fly-zone” if and when Syrian government forces attempted to retake these ‘safe zones’. And of course any Syrian government attempt to violate that no-fly zone or the ‘buffer zones’ would justify full retaliation against the Assad government and inevitable regime-change. Russian intervention, however, may now thwart that plan.
It might be too little too late in humanitarian terms, and may even be too little too late in strategic terms; it is unlikely that Syria can now be ‘put back together’, so to speak, given that it has already been carved up into different zones of influence. The country and the society as it once was has been destroyed, probably beyond repair, just as is the case with Iraq.
But Russia’s move may at least thwart the bloody rush to the finish line for the original conspirators and their proxy terrorists. A month or so ago it certainly seemed as if the remnants of the Assad regime was on its last legs and the inevitable regime-change was on the horizon; things might be different now. The Assad regime and the Syrian state might survive. But even if it does, it might only survive as a shadow of what it might’ve been had Syria been left alone; it’s difficult to see a subsequent Assad-led government being much more than a Russian or Iranian client state in the region, rather than the strong, independent government/state it once was. It is also difficult to imagine any kind of Syrian national unity anymore.
But if it has come to this, it is because the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the other governments that orchestrated the flow of terrorism into Syria were unwilling to negotiate or compromise with the Syrian government when they had the chance and were instead utterly, unwaveringly committed to supporting the armed warfare and were unwilling to accept anything less than absolute regime-change. That had been the strategy in Libya too, where Gaddafi had made six separate offers to negotiate an agreement and had even offered to leave the country, only for NATO and the Western governments to refuse him time and time again (see more here), until eventually he was murdered and Libya spiraled into chaos. Assad simply cannot leave; no leader can depart in those kinds of circumstances and with that level of chaos and terrorism going on all over the country and with no alternative arrangement for government in place.
Russian intervention in Syria may be the only thing that prevents Syria becoming a second Libya; because it is shockingly clear that the United States and its allies have no concept of what is supposed to happen after Assad is gone and an enormous power vacuum is left to exist in the rubble and ruin of the once proud, stable nation.
As a result, American, British, French and other leaders, along with Saudi and Turkish officials, are left standing around like a bewildered comedy act that has just died a death on stage and has realised that no one in the crowd is laughing anymore.