The U.S.’s #1 Priority is to Mend Russian Relations Part 2 – Syria
A brief summary of Syria’s recent history leading up to the Arab Spring. The Ba’ath movement took over leadership in Syria after a coup in 1963. This event marked its independence. Since then Syria’s standard of living has risen. The country’s life expectancy increased by 17 years, infant mortality improved from 132 deaths per 1,000 live births to 17.9, primary school enrollment improved to almost 100 percent of males and 85 percent of females and the adult population literacy rate increased dramatically.
Syria was an independent country with a centrally planned economy. They did not rely on Western economic assistance. Syria was able to improve it’s living conditions and economy largely from aid by the Soviet Union, Iraq and China. Strike one.
In 1979, Syria’s was added to the State Department’s Sponsors of Terrorism list. Primarily due to its support to Lebanese Hezbollah and continued relationship with Iran. It also aided the Palestinian people and their resistance in Israel and maintained close economic relations with Russia. Strike two!
The Soviet Union provided Syria with millions of dollars in loans to build its infrastructure including the Tabqa dam. The dam also enabled irrigation throughout the Syrian countryside and electricity to many parts of the country. Soviet technicians have worked on several infrastructure project. China has invested millions of dollars in Syria to modernize the country’s oil and gas infrastructure. Strike three!
In 2011 Syria became part of “Arab Spring” uprisings. Protests in Syria began after two dictators, in Tunisia and Egypt, had stepped down in a response to the pro-democracy demonstrations in their countries. Syrian protesters peacefully opposed the arrest and mistreatment of a group of young people accused of writing anti-Assad graffiti.
An International Crisis Group reported that Assad first response to protests was to release some of the political prisoners and instructed his officials “to pay greater attention to citizen complaints,” His attempts to pacify the protests were not effective. They were followed by a show of force and an increased usage of censorship. By the end of April, the situation grew out of his control. The Syrian government deployed troops into the streets to battle with the Syrian civilians. Civilians were killed and battle lines were cast. However, due to foreign interventions and the influx of multiple factions with various motives, the battle lines became unclear.
The Western media represented the Syrian civil war as a “battle for democracy”. The truth is somewhat different. It is a complex situation and has become a battleground for many causes. Including: a war for Syria to remain a sovereign nation: a Sunni caliphate involving several different versions of Wahhabism: a battle for Sunni Islamic dominance between ISIS and various Al-Qaida terrorist organization such as Nusra Front, the “Islamic Front,” the “Islamic Liberation Front,” and the “Ahfad al-Rasoul Brigades: a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia: a Kurdish war for existence against Isis, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq: and just maybe a Turkish attempt to gain back influence that it once held during the Ottoman Empire days.
One could argue that Syrian Civil War has grown into one of the worst humanitarian crisis since the World War 2. Over a quarter million killed, roughly the same number wounded or missing, and half of Syria’s 22 million population displaced from their homes. Syria has become the largest battlefield of Sunni-Shia sectarianism clashes the world has ever seen. The results of this war will probably have implications for the future boundaries of the Middle East.
Russia has intervened on behalf of the Syrian loyalists (Assad) and the United States has intervened on behalf of the “moderate” rebels. The U.S. has “tried” to help only certain rebels, providing arms and training to “vetted” moderate rebel groups. The term “Moderate rebels” is an oxymoron.
This contradiction of U.S. goals has confused the media and the US citizens. America wants Assad to go but we are also fighting ISIS, one of the strongest anti-Assad forces in Syria. The U.S. position defies the adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” or does it? How was ISIS formed and how did it grow from a handful of radicals to 100,000 international members? Maybe that question needs to be directed to our allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and then Secretary of State Clinton. The same money sources that funded ISIS “donated” funds to the Clinton Foundation.
Russia’s approach is less sensitive to the differences among rebel groups. Russia has made it clear that it opposes all of them. In September 2015, at the U.N. General Assembly Vladimir Putin made an offer to the United States. He proposed for U.S.-Russian to fly joint airstrikes against the Islamic State and associated jihadists. Putin described his plan to be “similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of parties willing to stand firm against those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind.” However, the demonization of Vladimir Putin was well underway and his offer was spurned by Western leaders.
Russia began its military intervention in late September 2015 without the United States. Putin and motives were clear, destroy the rebels, all of them. The Russia’s intervention seriously reversed the jihadists’ advances in Syria.
The US understood why Russia intervened. Secretary of State Kerry said “The reason Russia came in is because ISIL [another acronym for Islamic State] was getting stronger, Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus, and that’s why Russia came in because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad,” he said in the leaked discussion. Kerry’s comment suggests that the U.S. was willing to risk Islamic State and its jihadist allies gaining power in order to oust Assad.
However, the US. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S., rather than seriously fight Islamic State in Syria, was ready to use the growing strength of the jihadists to pressure Assad to resign, just as outlined in the Defense Intelligence Agency document. “We thought however we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate, but instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”
The West has been further infuriated by Putin’s rhetoric. Putin on French TV stated: “Remember what Libya or Iraq looked like before these countries and their organizations were destroyed as states by our Western partners’ forces? … These states showed no signs of terrorism. They were not a threat for Paris, for the Cote d’Azur, for Belgium, for Russia, or for the United States. Now, they are the source of terrorist threats. Our goal is to prevent the same from happening in Syria.”
Now it is Hillary Clinton and the neocons plan to continued to push for a military intervention in Syria in order to promote regime change in Syria. In the most recent presidential debate Clinton declared, “I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria … not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians”.
I am baffled that her statement was not challenged. I get angry at how the Clintons hide their motives under the disguise of humanitarian acts. From Kosovo, to Haiti the Clinton and their foundation, 6% of the money raised going to actual humanitarian efforts, continually deceive the public for personal gain. A “no-fly zone and safe havens sound like good humanitarian acts but they are Acts of War. Both of these strategies require “boots on the ground” to invade, capture and the military control of land in a sovereign country.
For what reason do we need to “gain leverage over Syria and the Russians”? The “democratically” elected Assad, whether you agree with his regime or not, is trying to preserve the sovereignty of his country. Russia is in Syria at the invitation of Assad. If Assad fall who will fill the void of power? Moderate rebels, how did that work out in Libya? ISIS and the Wahhabism caliphate or some other group that makes ISIS and the “moderates” look tame?
The winds of war are blowing, especially in Ukraine and in Syria. Is it due to “Russian aggression” or the military posturing of NATO and the U.S.? WW3 may be closer than expected. The two leading candidates for presidents are not non-interventionist. Hillary is a “war hawk” and Trump’s position is unclear. Where have you gone Ron Paul?