by Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook:
A 2012 US policy paper admittedly sought to “bleed” the Syrian government, and with it the Syrian people. Today in Syria, the consequences of America’s depraved foreign policy is being blamed by Western special interests on the very victims it targeted.
From the beginning of Syria’s conflict the United States presented to the world its unyielding ultimatum that the government in Damascus be deposed and replaced by a government headed by the armed militants the US cultivated before the conflict and has armed and funded throughout its now seven year course.
US demands of regime change in Syria were not exclusive to the current conflict. Syria was upon US President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” announced after the attacks on September 11, 2001 despite Syria playing no role in the attacks and in fact being one of the principal nations waging war on Al Qaeda and its many affiliates – including its predecessor the Muslim Brotherhood – stretching back to the 1980s when the US itself was arming and funding the terrorist organization’s members in Afghanistan.
US Intentionally Fuels Syria’s Conflict
Today, regions in Syria under government control now enjoy peace and security unseen since the conflict broke out in 2011. This includes Syria’s largest city of Aleppo which was invaded by Al Qaeda-linked militant groups crossing over Syria’s border from NATO member Turkey beginning in 2012.
Construction vehicles are replacing tanks in Aleppo. After years of occupation by terrorist groups, Aleppo was finally liberated, with reconstruction now underway. Peace and security was restored to Aleppo not through any initiative led by the United Nations, or Western states like the US, UK, or other NATO members, but instead by joint Syrian-Russian-Iranian military operations conducted in direct defiance of Western demands terrorist enclaves remain intact.
Reflecting the security Syria’s government still is able to offer the Syrian people versus regions still ravaged by Western-backed militants is the fact that the vast majority of displaced Syrians reside in government-held territory.
This is revealed in a 2017 UN report titled, “UNHCR seeing significant returns of internally displaced amid Syria’s continuing conflict,” which states (emphasis added):
Aid agencies estimate that more than 440,000 internally displaced people have returned to their homes in Syria during the first six months of this year. In parallel, UNHCR has monitored over 31,000 Syrian refugees returning from neighbouring countries so far in 2017. Since 2015, some 260,000 refugees have spontaneously returned to Syria, primarily from Turkey into northern Syria.
The main factors influencing decisions for refugees to return self-assisted mostly to Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus and to other governorates are primarily linked to seeking out family members, checking on property, and, in some cases, a real or perceived improvement in security conditions in parts of the country.
It should be noted that Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Damascus all fall under the control of the current Syrian government. Regions still occupied by terrorists – particularly Idlib in northern Syria – are omitted from the report.
It’s clear that if the United States’ agenda in Syria was a humanitarian one, it would be assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to improve security conditions across the country. Instead, the US actively works to undermine such efforts – intentionally creating and perpetuating conditions to jeopardize security and induce continued human suffering.
A map of Syria’s current conflict reveals that violence continues solely in areas the West and its regional partners remain committed in. This includes NATO-member Turkey whose ongoing invasion and destruction of Syria’s northern countryside aimed at Afrin goes unmentioned in UN proceedings. It also includes America’s continued, uninvited occupation of eastern Syria.
While the US has claimed its purpose for occupying eastern Syria was to “defeat” the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), Washington’s own Defense Intelligence Agency revealed in a leaked memo in 2012 that ISIS’ initial creation was specifically desired by the US and its allies as a means of isolating the Syrian government.
The 2012 memo (PDF) would state specifically that:
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).
The DIA memo would also explain who these “supporting powers” are:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
With ISIS now mostly defeated in both Syria and Iraq, the US has used multiple and increasingly strained narratives to explain why it not only remains in Syria illegally, but why it is seeking to even expand its presence there. This includes claims it must “provide a bulwark against Iranian influence,” according to the Guardian. Such pretexts stand at face value as contradictory, with Iranian influence having played a central role in America’s desire to create ISIS in the first place, and ISIS’ defeat at the hands of a Syrian-Russian-Iranian coalition.
Eastern Ghouta, located east of Damascus, also remains as a pocket of enduring violence owed solely to US efforts to impede Syrian efforts to liberate the area from terrorist occupation and restore the same order the rest of Damascus enjoys. Observers of the Syrian conflict can draw identical parallels between US propaganda aimed at impeding Aleppo’s liberation in 2016 and current efforts to prolong violence in Eastern Ghouta.
US Policy in Syria: Bleed It
Concluding that Washington’s policy in Syria is to intentionally prolong human suffering for as long as possible is not merely a matter of superficially assessing its current actions – it is stated as US policy throughout policy papers for the last several years.
As early as 2012 when speedy US-backed regime change had clearly failed and a more protracted conflict had begun, prominent US policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, would publish a policy paper titled, “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change.”
The paper would state (emphasis added):
The United States might still arm the opposition even knowing they will probably never have sufficient power, on their own, to dislodge the Asad network. Washington might choose to do so simply in the belief that at least providing an oppressed people with some ability to resist their oppressors is better than doing nothing at all, even if the support provided has little chance of turning defeat into victory.
Alternatively, the United States might calculate that it is still worthwhile to pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.
The paper not only openly admits US intervention in Syria has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns but rather “keeping a regional adversary weak,” it specifically recommends prolonging the conditions under which a humanitarian crisis will only expand, and for as long as possible.
The US intentionally backing an “opposition” that has no chance of overturning the Syrian government equates to intentionally and maliciously prolonging a deadly conflict and all the horrors that accompany it. The Brookings paper specifically suggesting the US “bleed” the Syrian government is done with full knowledge of the cost in human suffering that “bleeding” would undoubtedly incur.
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