President Trump announced recently that US troops would be leaving Syria, setting off a firestorm of criticism across the political spectrum and echoed by the corporate media.
In the middle of this barrage of negative publicity it’s useful to examine the history of the Syrian conflict, where the facts of the US involvement are slowly coming to light.
That the US and its regional partners, including Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, utilized Al Qaeda and ISIS to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar Assad is not something the bi-partisan political establishment and their corporate media handmaidens want to discuss. As a result, the American people remain largely ignorant of this dirty foreign policy secret.
In fact, the progressive hero Barak Obama signed a presidential finding (Operation Timber Sycamore) calling on the CIA to work with Saudi Arabia (the paymasters) to overthrow Assad. Obama, seeking to avoid strong US public opposition to yet another Middle-Eastern conflict with US troops on the ground, chose to back jihadists instead.
In a little noticed foreign policy speech, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made the case for arming the anti-Assad opposition in Syria. “In a conflict like this,” she said, “the hard men with the guns are going to be the more likely actors in any political transition than those on the outside just talking.”
How ISIS overran large swaths of territory in northeastern Syria and established its de facto capital Raqqa is scarcely understood, let alone discussed by Western media. That is largely because the real story is so inconvenient to the established narrative of the Syrian conflict, where Assad is blamed for every atrocity. However, the documented evidence firmly established the success of ISIS as a byproduct of the semi-covert American program to arm the so-called moderate rebels.
A classified Defense Intelligence Agency memo distributed across Obama administration channels in August of 2012 warned that jihadist forces emanating from Iraq aimed to exploit the security vacuum opened up by the US-backed proxy war to establish a “Salafist principality in eastern Syria” — an “Islamic State,” in the exact words of the memo.
Referring to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s Syrian affiliate by its name, al-Nusra, before Western media ever had, the DIA emphasized the close ties the group had fostered with Syria’s so-called moderate rebels: “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition to Assad’s regime from the beginning because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.”
The memo was authored under the watch of then-Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was convicted this year of failing to register as a foreign agent of Turkey (not Russia). Predictably, the document was ignored across the board by the political establishment and corporate media. Meanwhile, heavy weapons were flowing out of the U.S. Incirlik air base in Turkey and into the hands of Sunni terrorists across the Syrian border.
For anyone paying attention, the story of the US support for Al-Qaeda and ISIS as a means to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad was always hiding in plain sight. Think about it. How did ISIS gain such power and presence in a world where an all-powerful U.S. military and surveillance system which can read license plates from space but couldn’t find convoys of Toyota pickup trucks moving terrorists into Syria?
In my opinion, Syria was the neocons response to the failure of the invasion of Iraq that perversely strengthened their arch-enemy Iran. It was to be their masterstroke regime change operation that would advance every major U.S., Israeli and Saudi objective while thoroughly destabilizing the Levant and setting the stage for wiping out Iran and eventually Russia.
But, of course, they fucked it up leaving a destroyed country and a pile of corpses. However, thanks to the Russian intervention, Syrian forces have largely prevailed and the country is slowly returning to normalcy, with Christmas being celebrated in many parts of the country for the first time since the start of the civil war.
Back in the USA, the irony of the establishment criticism of Trump’s foreign policy apostasy is that the very same people who are now criticizing the president were responsible for the invasion of Iraq, which all of the disasters in the Middle-East stem from. Neoconservatism, it seems, never dies. It just mutates constantly to find new ways to intervene, to perpetuate forever wars, and to utilize monsters to carry out barbaric policies.
As we contemplate this latest US effort to utilize the “hard men with guns” we would do well to reread Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where the creature Dr. Frankenstein created eventually broke free from his control and began acting like the monster he was.