Imagine an arsonist lighting a building ablaze, then turning around, changing into a firefighter’s uniform, and running back toward it, not with a fire hose but instead, rolling a drum of gasoline in front of him. Would anyone believe that his intentions are to extinguish the blaze? Or would it be obvious that the goal is to compound the fire, so that no matter how much effort is organized against it, it can never be put out – not until everything is destroyed first?
Meet the Arsonists
The United States has been illegally plying the airspace above Syria for over a year. It has been openly arming, funding, and training terrorists along Syria’s borders in Turkey and Jordan, admittedly, for much longer. And before the conflict began in 2011, the United States had conspired as early as 2007, revealed in interviews conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 9-page report “The Redirection,” to destabilize and overthrow the government of Syria through the use of sectarian extremists – more specifically, Al Qaeda – with arms and funds laundered through America’s oldest and stanchest regional ally, Saudi Arabia.
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were that sought the creation of a “Salafist principality,” the DIA report explains:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
It is clear who the arsonists are.
Rolling in Drums of Gasoline to “Fight the Fire”
Nothing about the US’ recent moves have been honest. US policymakers have openly conspired to commit to strategies not aimed at actually fighting ISIS or ending the destructive conflict in Syria they themselves have started, but instead to counter Russia’s attempts to do so, merely under the guise of fighting ISIS, or helping refugees, or virtually any excuse they believe the public might support.
[The US] will increase air operations in northern Syria, particularly in the Turkish border area to cut the flow of foreign fighters, money and materiel coming in to support the Islamic State.
Here, the Washington Post openly admits that support for the Islamic State is flowing out of NATO-member Turkey. It is clear that to stop this “flow,” efforts should be concentrated on the Turkish-Syrian border before supplies and reinforcements reach Syria. It is clear that ISIS is intentionally being allowed to resupply and reinforce its fighting capacity within Syria from NATO territory, specifically to serve as a pretext for wider and more direct Western intervention in Syria itself as was noted in June of 2014 when ISIS first appeared in Iraq.
ISIS represents the drums of gasoline, rolled in by the US intentionally not to extinguish the flames, but to compound them into an inferno greater still.
The Arsonists Seek an Inferno Greater Still
The same Washington Post article would reveal the true intentions of the US and its “boots on the ground” in Syria. While they claim they seek to “fight ISIS,” the truth is far more sinister. Under the pretext of fighting ISIS, these US forces, backing militants armed, trained, and funded by the US and its regional allies, will take and hold territory, effectively fulfilling US policy papers that have long-expressed the desire to “deconstruct” Syria as a secondary means of destroying it as a functioning nation-state if direct regime change was unachievable.
The Washington Post states specifically:
Defeating the Islamic State in Syria, under Obama’s strategy, rests on enabling local Syrian forces not only to beat back Islamic State fighters but to hold freed territory until a new central government, established in Damascus, can take over.
Comparing this recent admission by the Washington Post, predicated on “fighting ISIS,” with plans laid out before the rise of ISIS, reveals that ISIS itself is only one of many in a long line of pretexts used to implement US objectives that were laid out, clearly, before the first shot was even fired during the Syrian crisis.
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.
The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the presence of special forces as well. The approach would benefit from Syria’s open desert terrain which could allow creation of buffer zones that could be monitored for possible signs of enemy attack through a combination of technologies, patrols, and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.
Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal of the outside special forces, he would be likely to lose his air power in ensuing retaliatory strikes by outside forces, depriving his military of one of its few advantages over ISIL. Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.
It is clear that America’s most recent scheme is simply a continuation of its long-standing criminal conspiracy arrayed against Syria and exposed as early as 2007 by Seymour Hersh.
For Russia, it only has the authorization of Syria’s legitimate government to operate within Syrian territory to confront ISIS. Ideally, Russia would want to interdict ISIS supplies and reinforcements before they reached Syrian territory, however, Moscow does not have the cooperation of nations harboring, aiding, and abetting the terrorist organization – namely Turkey and Jordan.
Additionally, Russia has limited leverage over other sponsors of ISIS, including Saudi Arabia whose entire existence is owed to billions in weapons sales from the United States, a ring of US military bases built around it throughout the Persian Gulf to protect it from its ever-increasing number of well-earned regional enemies, and the constant political legitimacy granted to it by the West’s diplomatic and media circles.
The United States however, is based in Turkey. It is based at Incirlik Air Base, and has for several years now, operated along the Turkish-Syrian border – its Central Intelligence Agency providing weapons to terrorists, its special forces carrying out cross-border operations, and its military’s administration of training camps to prepare terrorists before they enter Syrian territory, thus perpetuating the conflict. The United States also holds significant leverage over Saudi Arabia, its political and military support being essential for the regime in Riyadh’s continued existence.
At any moment, should the US truly be interested in extinguishing this fire, it can shut down the Turkish-Syrian border, end Saudi aid to terrorist groups operating in Syria, and end the conflict in weeks, if not days. That it refuses to do so, illustrates the key role it plays in creating and perpetuating it, and more specifically, the creation and perpetuation of the “Islamic State” itself.
Syria and its allies must recognize this fact and formulate a realistic strategy to counter it. Negotiating with state-sponsors of the most appalling terrorist organization to have walked the Earth in recent memory does not seem like a viable option. Instead, Syria and Russia should seek the expansion of their coalition inside Syria, and in particular, in the regions the US seeks to carve out. An initial and overwhelming sized commitment of “peacekeeping troops” from various nations placed along the Turkish-Syrian border would effectively block all efforts by the US to perpetuate this conflict further.
If that is not possible, Syria and Russia must attempt to expand their operations across all of Syria faster than the US can spread chaos.
For now, the US has a handful of special forces serving as tenuous “human shields” for terrorists targeted by Russian and Syrian military operations. These are still vulnerable, and still capable of being turned back. The US, however, will undoubtedly continue to expand its presence in Syria, to a point where it may not be possible to turn them back.
Calling the arsonists out, and removing them before the fire irreversibly takes over the entire structure that is the current nation-state of Syria, may be the only way to prevent Syria from becoming the Levant’s “Libya.” It will also stop a dangerous geopolitical “blitzkrieg” clearly aimed at Tehran, Moscow, and Beijing next.
Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.