When the Syrian war first escalated, I remember seeing the photograph of a grizzled, greying man shot dead inside an old pickup truck. The window is rolled down and he is slumped back; blood had dripped from his wounds down the outside of the door, dried out and turned brown in the hot sun. Apparently on his way to work this innocent victim of the early Syrian warwas caught in a sudden Jihadi attack on his town.
For what reason did this man, like so many others, have to die? His death was absurd, pointless, tragic. For me, the image of the murdered man symbolises the dangerous theatre of the absurd that Syria has become, where its people are menaced by forces beyond their ability to control… except by armed resistance.
It was during the summer of 2012 when a major attack was launched on Damascus to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. His defence minister, Dawoud Abdallah Rajiha, along with other senior officials, were assassinated in a bomb attack in a supposedly secure government building. The situation looked bad. Assad’s government seemed on the brink of collapse.
We learned what kind of a leader and a man President Assad was in that grim summer of 2012. He could easily have accepted western summons to leave Damascus. He is a physician, with a speciality in ophthalmology. He could have gone back to practicing medicine and left Syria to the tender mercies of Jihadists running amuck with foreign support.
Assad did not take that easy way out. He stayed in Damascus, shared the dangers of his people and led the resistance against the foreign backed Takfiri foreign militias. Had Damascus fallen, he would surely have forfeited his life. He is now the main leader of the Syrian resistance against the Jihadists, which is why the United States and its satellites are so determined to drive him from power.
The conflict in Syria, which is often called a civil war, is not a civil war at all. It is a proxy war of aggression, brokered, bankrolled, and led by the United States, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, amongst others, with the intention of destroying the Assad government and breaking up Syria. It is not the first time that the United States has attempted to overthrow a Middle Eastern government which did not suit its interests. Sometimes this work has been undertaken clandestinely, and sometimes openly in wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Syria was supposed to be the target of a clandestine operation, not open military aggression, but the US government has been unable to overthrow President Assad. This was a surprise to Washington. «His days are numbered», US officials boasted at the beginning of the Jihadi war, «he should go while the getting is good.» Three years later, Assad and his people still fight on.
The US government took advantage of economic difficulties and bad harvests in Syria to stir up an «Arab Spring». «We’re backing democracy», says Barack Obama. «Airstrike democracy», Vladimir Putin, derisively replied. There are many US airstrikes in the Middle East, but no democracy. Whatever genuine protest movement existed in Syria in the early days, it has long since disappeared, hijacked by foreign interventionists. After the US and NATO destruction of once prosperous, independent Libya, the Jihadists moved on with NATO clandestine assistance, like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to Syria and Iraq where they have strongly implanted themselves as the Islamic state (IS). They could not have done so in Syria without strong backing from the United States, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel.
You can’t conduct major military operations, as IS and its affiliates are doing in Syria and Iraq, without massive logistic, material, and financial support. The Turkish border has been a major crossing point and Turkey, a sanctuary for the Jihadi movement. There are no definite open source figures on who exactly is fighting against the Syrian government, but it is not a Syrian movement. Large numbers of foreign Jihadists are involved, with estimates of up to 70,000, coming from all points of the unhappy Muslim world. These are not simply dissatisfied young men looking for kicks, money, and a chance at martyrdom; by all accounts many are experienced soldiers capable of seizing and holding territory. It takes time, training, guns, tanks, trucks, supply lines, hospitals, and a lot of money, to create such military formations. All this comes from the United States and its vassals. These actions constitute aggression against a legitimate state fighting for survival.
In order to hide the US involvement in brokering and backing the Jihadi movement in Syria, a massive Mainstream Media campaign has been undertaken to present Assad as a bloodthirsty, vicious, «barrel-bombing» dictator, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of his compatriots. It is the usual Orwellian inversion of reality. It is Assad, the Syrian Arab Army, and various Syrian (and Kurdish) militias which are holding the line against a Jihadi barbarian invasion.
The American people are generally not known for high levels of political acumen, but I wonder what they would think, if they finally realised that their government is backing and bankrolling Jihadi terrorists. Even one of their own, a retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, has told Al Jazeerah that the US government made a «wilful decision» to create and back IS. To divert attention from US collusion, Pot calls Kettle black: the evil doer brazenly accuses his targeted victim of evil. It’s an old US stratagem.
Hezbollah has intervened to support the Syrian government, for it knows, obviously, that Lebanon cannot survive if the IS takes Damascus. This point was underlined by the recent suicide bombing attack in Beirut. What do they think they are doing in Washington? Have they not learned any lessons from the «blowback» of an earlier generation of their Frankenstein monsters? No, they have not. After Beirut, Jihadi terrorists have struck again in Paris.
Iran is reported to be offering military assistance to the Syrian government to fight IS on what scale is not clear. And Russia has sent fighter jets to support the Syrian Arab Army and its allied forces. This action has exposed US support of so-called Jihadi «moderates»; Washington has accused Russia of bombing them. Saudi, US, French, British diplomats, the usual gang, are circulating a UN committee motion of condemnation of Russia and Iran for attacking the «moderate opposition» in Syria. Is there any limit to the absurd and the preposterous? There is no «moderate» opposition fighting against the Syrian government. They are Salafist Jihadists, affiliates whatever they call themselves and they have many names, of the same lot of IS serial killers and cannibals. They are cut from the same cloth, weaved by the United States and its vassals. The «moderate» opposition is another Orwellian invention to hide Washington’s support for the murder and mayhem in Syria. When they [the west] are hit by the Jihadis, it’s terrorism, observes President Assad, when they hit us, it’s «revolution, freedom, democracy and human rights.» Let’s call a spade a spade.
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Russian intervention in Syria caught Washington off guard, showing up President Obama and exposing his support of Jihadi terrorists he claims to be fighting. The ineffectual US bombing campaign against IS during the last year is a charade, blowing up a few bulldozers here and there and lots of sand to make it look like the United States is fighting the IS when really it turns a blind eye to their attacks on the Syrian government. The US ally, Turkey, has an open border to supply IS, and it has threatened Kurdish forces in northern Syria, if they attempt to close off the Turkish supply corridor. Indeed, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, reinforced by the results of allegedly rigged recent elections, has menaced Russia with dire consequences for its Syrian intervention. Obama has sent special forces to Kurdish Syria purportedly to help the Kurds fight IS. Is this a pretext and a first step to US military escalation? There are people in Washington demanding «boots on the ground» in Syria. At the same time the US has sent air to air combat aircraft to Turkey to protect it against «Russian aggression», whilst the Turks threaten the Syrian Kurds (supported by US special forces) and back IS in northern Syria. Russia is reported to have set up anti-aircraft missile batteries in northern Syria to protect its dispositions there, against who is left unsaid, but almost certainly against a possible US (or Turkish) surprise attack.
Can the Syrian theatre of the absurd become any more absurd or any more dangerous? Yes, it can. The United States accused Russia of bombing non-existent hospitals in Syria, shortly after US warplanes destroyed a real hospital in Afghanistan. Pipsqueak Qatar, an IS financier, recently threatened military intervention against Syria, and Saudi Arabia continues to supply and bankroll IS, not to mention its pursuit of a war of aggression against Yemen. Neither Qatar nor Saudi Arabia are «democracies», by the way, far from it, though they are US «allies». The Saudi absolute monarchy recently insisted on democratic elections in Syria, though Assad might well win such elections and so the unelected, privileged Saudi princes insist he cannot stand as a candidate. All these absurdities might have been largely concealed if only the IS had not implanted itself in Iraq and declared the founding of a new Islamic caliphate. IS could have had a free hand in Syria, and US clandestine support of the Jihadi movement would have remained largely unnoticed.
Do not expect the United States to atone for its escalating international violence. The US Deep State will not forgive President Putin for exposing their bloody hands in the Syrian war. The other day the Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter, said that he expects that Russia will soon sustain casualties fighting the Jihadi barbarians. It is almost as though he was gloating in anticipation of spilled Russian blood. The Russian government and no doubt most Russians were incensed. Is the United States or its Saudi vassals sending MANPADS, antiaircraft weapons, to the Jihadists, to shoot down Russian aircraft? Would that surprise anyone? Mr Carter, do you think that Russia does not have contingency plans for such an eventuality?
Everyone says the United States and Russia have a common interest in fighting Salafist Jihadism. But this is untrue. The Jihadists are US hired guns, mercenaries, goons, and have been ever since the US intervention in Afghanistan against the USSR. The United States will certainly direct their Jihadi mercenaries toward Russia’s southern frontiers if they are not destroyed in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Can they be destroyed? Not unless the United States changes course, and there is little indication that it will. Moreover, who will discourage the Saudi quartermasters of the Jihadi movement? Every time there is a report of some modest US-Russia cooperation against IS, US government anti-Russian hostility erupts again. Either such reports are wishful thinking, Americans trying to excuse the inexcusable conduct of their government, or President Obama has not got firm control of his subordinates, or he does and is throwing dust in everyone’s eyes.
Reports to the contrary notwithstanding, the United States appears to be «doubling down» to obstruct Russian efforts against the Salafi Jihadists in Syria. Secretary Carter said recently that Russia and China are challenging «the principled international order.» Carter really meant US world hegemony because Washington speaks only for itself and its vassals, and that’s not the world. Secretary of State John Kerry claims that the rise of the IS in Syria is Assad’s fault and that Assad has to go. That’s a matter for Syrians to decide, Mr Kerry, and you are not Syrian. It’s more theatre of the absurd and buffoon Pot calling Kettle black. The stream of Orwellian newspeak flows like sewer effluent in ever greater volume out of Washington. If US policy is being formulated based on an upside down reality, then worse is yet to come in the Middle East and indeed in the wider world.
As if to underline this point, Jihadi terrorists went on a killing spree in Paris on Friday (13 November). This is the same violence, perpetrated by the same groups, which occurs in Syria every day. Who were the Paris assassins? Were they «moderates» previously bankrolled, trained, and armed by the United States or indeed by France? The Jihadi terrorists are like scorpions, President Assad observed back in 2013. You can’t keep them in your pocket and pull them out whenever you want to attack a government you don’t like. The scorpion, he said, «can unexpectedly sting you at any time.» It has too in Beirut and Paris. Assad did not say it in so many words, but the United States has long pursued a policy of using scorpions against its enemies. Innocents will get stung, they say in Washington, shedding crocodile tears: it’s unavoidable «collateral damage».
What madness has overcome the US Deep State? The so-called Defence Department, acting like a bully whose dominion over the school yard has been challenged, actually seems to want a confrontation with Russia in Syria to re-establish its reputation and save its Jihadi allies. As if their recent provocations against China are not enough, US officials should be careful, very careful what they wish for.