Wednesday, 15 January, 2020

Syria; Another Victim of U.S Miscalculation in International Policies

By: Catarina Sampaio

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, asserted that there are now 4,013,000 Syrian refugees outside their homeland, and another 7.6 million as internal refugees from the war raging there since 2011. Over a quarter million are refugees in Europe while the rest spread across the Middle East, most of them in Lebanon and Jordan. The sum of 11.6 million refugees cover likely 50% of Syria’s population. But what happened to Syria; the heart of Arab world with 2500 years of culture and the progenitor of Arab nationalism?
With Bashar Assad ruling the country, the Bush administration, encouraged by Israel, toyed with the idea of toppling Syria’s Assad regime but it backed down as smart minds in Washington asked “who would the U.S get to replace the existing government?” Syria’s main opposition came from the outlawed, underground Muslim Brotherhood the same group backing Egypt’s Morsi and most feared by Saudi Sheiks. Washington wanted no part of the Muslim Brothers in Syria. Better choice would be Assad, who quietly cooperated with Washington in spite of being backed by Iran.
But in 2009-2010, Washington changed policy. As anti-Iranian war fever in the US mounted, the plan was to isolate Iran prior to its being attacked. White House demanded that Damascus renounce its alliance with Iran and in response Syria refused to cut its vital ties to Tehran. So Syria was marked for regime change and Assad would meet the same grisly fate as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Khadafy.
In spring, 2011, anti-Assad guerillas, armed and trained in Jordan by CIA, infiltrated from Lebanon into southern Syria at Derna. The city was a hotbed of anti-government agitation. More US proxy rebels infiltrated across the Lebanese border while British and French Special Forces joined the rebels. Saudi Arabia provided the financing.
France, former colonial ruler of Syria and Lebanon, was particularly interested in re-asserting its influence in the Levant and the oil-rich Gulf states. Israel was convinced that overthrowing the Assad regime in Damascus would isolate its two main enemies, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, leaving the latter vulnerable to a new Israel attack.
A propaganda blitz was unleashed against Syria’s President Assad, the mild-mannered, former London-trained ophthalmologist which was now branded as the butcher of the Middle East. This was nonsense. The Assad regime had some very tough, nasty senior figures before, but certainly no worse or more brutal than many other American Mideast allies like Egypt, Iraq, Algeria or Morocco. But now he was the America’s new Mideast devil and the object of western-engineered regime change.
“America’s Salafists” were the cutting edge of Washington’s grand Mideast strategy, developed during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to divided and rule by turning Sunni Muslims and Shia against one another. Results in Iraq were spectacular. The idea was to do the same again in Syria, where a minority Shia regime ruled a sullen, restive Sunni majority.
The result is the destruction of Syria by civil war. The entire nation has become piecemeal of warring groups similar to Germany during the 30 Year’s War of the 1600’s. Salafi jihadists fight al-Qaida-aligned jihadists who fight ISIS forces who fight Kurdish militias, French, Turkish and British Special Forces are deep in the fray. The 10% population of Syrian Christians are backing the Assad government.
The massacres and butchery in Syria is exceptional in the Middle East. The carnage even exceeds many horrors of 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war. Beautiful Aleppo and many other cities, towns and villages in Syria are tore apart.
The U.S “Iran Isolation” project failed due to underestimating Iranian local power in the region. Iran reached the historic nuclear deal today. Iranian negotiators and advisors say that they dealt Iranian national interest in order to maintain stability in the region in the negotiations. Iranian FM told that the country is ready for any cooperation against extremism. Iran military forces are engaged in war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But Syria has been largely destroyed, joining Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia and other victims of U.S failed projects. Refugees spread around the region, extremism empowered in form of ISIS and repowered Al-Qaeda while other groups join them daily from different parts of the world. French, British, Saudis and many others who flamed the disaster now are experiencing fear as non-state extremist groups spark here and there.

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