Guest Post by Tony Cartalucci
As the US begins token airstrikes on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border , the fighting capacity of the “Islamic State” or “ISIS,” has seen no visible setbacks. This is because ISIS is in fact the very proxy mercenaries intentionally created to fight the West’s proxy war against Iran and its arc of influence stretching from neighboring Iraq, through Syria, and into Lebanon.
As early as 2007 – a full 4 years before the 2011 “Arab Spring” would begin – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article titled, “ The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism? ” would warn specifically (emphasis added):
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.After the West’s flooding of the region with billions of dollars worth of weapons, equipment, vehicles, training, and cash for the purpose of bolstering “moderate rebels,” what has emerged is precisely the “extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam” and are “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” Hersh warned about in 2007. The West has thus far otherwise failed to explain who else besides extremists could have received the aid, or who is funding extremists above and beyond the collective support provided by the US, Europe, and the West’s Middle Eastern partners, that have allowed these extremists to dominate the battlefield so decisively.
Now the US claims it must raise another army of “moderate” ground troops to augment its aerial bombardment of “ISIS.” But in reality, attacks on phantom enemies in the desert serve the singular purpose of creating a no-fly zone and no-drive zone for Syria’s military , preventing the final annihilation of the West’s terrorist mercenaries in Syrian territory and in fact giving them a second chance to finally march on the gates of Damascus with US airpower in tow.
For all intents and purposes, the US through its airstrikes has carved out a de facto buffer zone protected by US airpower. The ground troops it seeks to deploy “against ISIS” are intended instead for Damascus, the overthrow of the Syrian government, and the handover of Syria to sectarian warlords for the same genocidal conflagration still being suffered in Libya after a similar “intervention” by the US and its NATO allies.
Turning the Tables
Despite this diabolical, criminal conspiracy unfolding before the world’s eyes – a verbatim repeat of the crimes against humanity committed by NATO in Libya – there still exists an opportunity to turn the tables on the West, using its propaganda and the precedents it has set against it and its insidious agenda.
While in all actuality ISIS and other extremist factions already constitute the ground component of the West’s campaign against Damascus, now enjoying sanctuary under the cover of US airpower, the general public neither knows this, nor would ever accept this should they find out. The rhetorical hysteria surrounding the “awesome threat” ISIS suddenly poses to the world still has considerable momentum.
In a move of geopolitical redirection, Syria’s allies can cite that “awesome threat” of ISIS as impetus for their own actions in Syria – and more specifically – an overt, wide-ranging, arming, training, and funding regiment for forces already on the ground, already guaranteed not to be extremists, and the only legitimate force in Syrian territory - the Syrian Arab Army .
The Syrian Arab Army or More “Moderates?” – A Clear Choice
Indeed, the biggest quandary facing the West’s next attempt to overthrow Syria is the creation of its “ground force.” These troops would by necessity need to be indeed “moderates,” and not simply “more moderate” than the bogeymen Western propaganda has created under the name “ISIS.” Already, terrorists factions confirmed to have been armed with heavy weapons by the US have condemned airstrikes on ISIS and have openly admitted they fight alongside and within the ranks of Al Qaeda itself.
The Daily Beast would report in its article, “ Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say ,” that (emphasis added):
One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime. The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.
Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”Harakat Hazm is the rule, not the exception. Beyond the nebulous title “moderates,” the West has thus far failed to name any of these actual groups – because they do not exist. Weapons and cash it is pouring into Syria have ended up “alongside” Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra front and ISIS, just as groups like Harakat Hazm have.
Russia, China, and Iran have an opportunity to cite the Syrian Arab Army as the most capable and appropriate force in the region with which to fight ISIS - a task the Syrian Arab Army has been demonstrably doing since at least 2011 . It was the US State Department itself that stated in their official designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization that Al Qaeda and other hardcore sectarian terrorists had been fighting the Syrian government, spearheading the violence in Syria since the conflict began in 2011.
The US State Department’s official press statement titled, “ Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq ,” stated explicitly that:
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.It is no stretch then to characterize Syria’s conflict as one between a secular government and a menagerie of foreign-backed sectarian extremists. Without even mentioning these extremists’ foreign sponsors, Syria’s allies can use the current hysteria created by the Western media itself to offer overt and wide-ranging military and political support to the Syrian government and above all, the Syrian people. Beyond the buffer zone the West is struggling tactically, strategically, and politically to establish and maintain, will be a Syrian nation-state backed with the resources necessary to stop further aggression in its tracks and roll back the terrorist hordes the West is clearly perpetuating within Syria’s borders and all along them.
The US is Not the Only Nation Entitled to “Defend” Itself Against ISIS
The US appears to believe it is entitled to unilaterally attack, invade, and even occupy nations to “defend” itself against supposed threats. In the case of Syria, it is clear that after multiple failed attempts to sell regime change under the pretext of supporting “democracy,” multiple manufactured “humanitarian” pretexts, and the threat of “chemical weapons ,” neutralizing ISIS is simply the latest excuse in a long line of verified, increasingly desperate lies being used to advance the West’s agenda in the Middle East.
Russia - threatened explicitly by ISIS terrorists - and China are both demonstrably facing sectarian extremists within their own borders – many of whom are directly linked to Al Qaeda. Both could easily make a case for assisting the Syrian government in eliminating the “ISIS threat.” Moscow and Beijing – and many others – could argue that clearly the West’s strategy of arming “moderates” has failed, and their latest plan to arm and train between 5,000-15,000 more is a disaster in the making.
Instead, the secular nation-state of Syria should be given the resources and support it needs to finally bury the threat of extremism it itself has warned the world of since the West began disingenuously both stoking and perpetuating the conflict in 2011. If the West can unilaterally begin military operations within a sovereign nation and without a mandate from either Syria or the UN, surely Syria’s allies can offer substantial and overt material and political support if given Damascus’ approval.
For the so-called “moderates” – if any in fact exist – an opportunity to join the Syrian government in its fight and broker a truce with government forces could be an attractive alternative to the zero-sum and zero-gain scenario Washington has planned for Syrians on both sides of the conflict.
A Syrian soldier needs only look at the current state of Libya to understand the necessity to continue fighting on, and any genuine rebels there may be can do likewise, understanding the ploy against their own nation they have been used and abused for, and the ignoble end their fight is leading toward.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this first appeared.