U.S. trying to oust Assad by any means possible, aims for compliant Syria
Editors note: Prominent Chicago- based anti-war activist Joe Iosbaker is in route to Damascus, Syria where he will participate in a delegation of observers for the Syrian election’s. Fight Back! will publish commentary by Iosbaker as we receive it.
Beirut, Lebanon – In a front page story, May 30, headlined “Foreign Jihadis in Syria Pose Risk to West,” the New York Times reports that the U.S. and the UK are concerned about the blowback from the U.S./NATO war on Syria. Hundreds of sectarian fighters have been recruited from the UK and France, and according to the U.S. government, 70 from the US. The article describes efforts by Al Qaeda groups to prepare these recruits to “strike back home.”
In President Obama’s speech at West Point this week, he announced plans for increasing U.S. support for “moderates” among the Free Syrian Army (FSA). This is another effort to get their war in Syria on course. But this aid to so-called moderates is for public relations in the West. The FSA is not a unified, disciplined army. It is well known that weapons provided to a ‘moderate’ reactionary force today end up in the hands of the most brutal of the sectarian forces tomorrow.
The most successful armies fighting to overthrow Syria’s government are those of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Fighters tired of losing will join them. In the fall, the largest of the brigades linked to the U.S.-supported Syrian National Council crossed over and announced they would be affiliating with the Nusra Front.
To spell it out, the U.S. support of the ‘moderates’ won’t achieve the stated objective of countering the influence of sectarians. So what is the real objective of the White House?
Ousting Assad by any means
For three years, the U.S. has funded foreign-led, foreign-dominated armies in Syria. U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been responsible for most of the direct aid and delivered most of the weapons. The U.S. began directly providing small arms and other battlefield equipment in the summer of 2013, but was involved from the outset in vetting the forces that the Qataris were backing.
In the U.S., the Obama administration and the mainstream media stick to the mantra that the U.S. allies operate independent of Washington. This is a pretty weak story. Over a year ago, the New York Times revealed that back in 2011, the CIA had been in the Qatari cabinet meetings where the decisions were being made about which of the Syrian fighters to arm. More than that, the Gulf States and Turkey would never have made those moves if the U.S. hadn’t given them the OK.
The monarchies in the Gulf States have supplied several billion dollars worth of arms, not just to any of the fighters arrayed against the Syrian Arab Army; they have especially backed the most sectarian of those. Saudi Arabia is the main backer of those linked to Al Qaeda. If Washington truly wanted that stopped, how could the Saudi’s have continued it? The tail doesn’t wag the dog.
New rhetoric, unchanged U.S. objective
Increased U.S. training of the ‘moderates’ in the FSA has two purposes. The main goal of everything the U.S. is doing in Syria is to get a government that is compliant with U.S. and Israeli wishes. They have decided that President Assad must go.
But the problems with the jihadists are something that the U.S. has to address. The imperialists have to be concerned that the fighters will move against targets other than Assad – Israel, for example. Or returning to the U.S. or the UK. This is a public relations problem, as well as a military matter.
But bad PR won’t stop the U.S. from their course: using any means necessary to achieve their objective in Syria. The anti-war movement must build the movement against the U.S. war of intervention in Syria. We have our work cut out for us.