The motivation for the US leadership’s strange proclamation in December of 2018 that al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria had been defeated, must remain a mystery. A few days later this bizarre allusion to any form of peaceful outcome in Syria was reversed, and the US maintains major air bases in al Tanf and Manbij, and in eastern Syria.
For strategic political reasons, Iran hysteria has now been invoked by the west to serve as cover for renewed provocations in Syria, covertly by the US, to continue its regime change efforts in Syria. A side US benefit to these provocations —as underwritten by the US CIA — is to entangle Russian forces in a long war of attrition there. (More on that later)
Today, acting US Ambassador to the UN Jonathan Cohen demanded that the UN abandon its Committee for Syria, while proposing a cease fire and election that will be completely unworkable and impossible to achieve. Indeed, Cohen’s rant about the committee is almost as bizarre as Trump’s proclamation that Syria had been cleared of ISIS fighters in 2018.
While the US proposes such unworkable demands as Cohen’s, it occupies parts of Syria (Manbij/al Tanf, and the Northeast) and refuses to leave, proving that the United States only hopes for Syrian regime change… not any peaceful resolution there.
Another example, the reason the United States will not engage in any pact with Russia and Turkey to disarm Idlib and secure Northwestern Syria for peaceful purposes, is the same reason Syria fell into anarchy and chaos in the first place: the US still hopes for regime change there.
While the US claims that it regularly bombs ISIS positions and al Qaeda related terror groups in Syria, no publicly available US military report exists anywhere to specifically address or confirm those claims.
US military operations in the region are secret and not publicized or revealed at any level, and there is absolutely no evidence that the United States is ‘fighting terror’ in Syria at all… quite the contrary.
In fact, along with its historic support for terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US not only protects terrorists in al Tanf and the YPG in the Northeast the United States actively aids and abets a new al Qaeda takfiri group in Syria, Horas ad-Deen
Just like in Afghanistan, US leaders believe they have entrapped Russia in Syria. Predictably, Russia gets this too. On June 25th Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev met with Bolton and an Israeli minister to discuss the Syrian situation.
According to Patrushev,”We understand Israel’s concerns and we want the existing threats to be eliminated so that Israel’s security be ensured, and this is very important for us. At the same time, we should remember that other regional states also have their national interests. If we do not see, know and take them into account, I doubt that we will be able to achieve a particular result.”
And, “(We) stated the need to unite efforts to destroy all terrorists remaining in Syria. They called for immediate suppression of the access of terrorists to chemical warfare agents and their precursors, as well as to prevent chemical provocations,”
Shrouded in diplomatic language, Patrushev’s comments certainly signal Russia’s growing concern about getting bogged down militarily in Syria.
Now let’s explore a few of the terror groups in Syria that the US aids in support of Syrian regime change:
Leader: Major Jamil al-Saleh
The United States has backed Jaysh al-Izza primarily with US weaponry, although the terrorist militia has been known to use a variety of weapons from varied sources. TOW is a wire guided American ATGM originally designed by Hughes and is now produced by Raytheon.
Jaish al-Izzaconsists of 1,500+ fighters operating near Hama, led by General Commander Major Jamil al-Saleh, a well-known ISIS shill. This is the militia that featured al Qaeda operative Abdel-Basset al-Sarout as an icon, who was mourned by the western major media as a hero of the revolution, when in fact he was a cold-blooded killer and ISIS sympathizer. US-backed Jaish al-Izza was one of the first groups to be targeted by Russian air strikes in 2015.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) formerly Jabhat al-Nusra or al-Nusra Front
Leader: Abu Muhammad al-Jolani aka Abu Mohammad al-Julani aka Ahmed Hussein al-Shar’a
Like Jaish al-Izza, al-Nusra (Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham or HTS) captured or acquired US ATGM’s such as the BGM-71, originally supplied by the United States to allegedly ‘moderate’ anti-Assad rebels.
Al Nusra (now HTS) also captured US weaponry including military vehicles, American ATGM’s, machine guns, and ammunition early on, from the US-backed Syrian Rebel Front (now disbanded).
Due to the opaque nature of the region in which HTS operates, it is unclear whether Saudi or the US CIA has supplied weapons directly to HTS as well, although well-qualified sources insist that both entities have done so.
Ferhat Abdi Sahin aka Mazlum Kobane and the SDF
Admittedly, with the help of US firepower, the SDF has done much to rid the Kurdish (northeast) region and Raqqah of ISIS. However, the SDF’s leader Mazlum Kobane has openly stated that the YPG will continue to destabilize Syria and hold the Syrian government hostage.
The Turkish government considers that the United States has armed the YPG and protects them– which it does via a series of air bases – the basis for much friction between the US and Turkey.
And the situation the Syrian government now faces in Idlib, is not much different than what the US and YPG faced in Raqqah.
But this time, the terrorists– sponsored by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in the Northwest — have nowhere to go.
So, while terrorist offensives around Daraa, Hama, Idlib and even Manbij rage — and continue to enforce the US-Israeli-Saudi desire for regime change in Syria – the new Iran tensions provide useful cover for the continuing US-Saudi and Israeli agenda to topple Assad.’
Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: The Road to War” (sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Empire By Terror” (Duran, Strategika51 contributor) antiwar activist and monetary system historian.