by Darius Shahtahmasebi
When a magician is showing you a magic trick with his or her right hand, you should always watch what the left hand is doing. When it comes to times of war, one should always be skeptical of a government beating the war drum against another government or entity. Ask yourself: Why now, why this entity, and what is at stake?
A good example of this can be seen in Africa. Since 1998, close to 6 million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to fighting over mineral resources, many of which are used in cell phones around the world. This barely receives a mention in the corporate news. In contrast, we were told that Libya, the country with the highest standard of living out of any country in Africa, needed to be bombed in a “humanitarian intervention” to prevent a massacre that may or may not have ever occurred. Although there are clear differences in the style of conflict that besieged the two nations, the fact is the U.S government and media prioritized one over the other based on geopolitical concerns.
For example, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails confirmed the notion that Libya was destroyed in 2011 not out of humanitarian efforts, but in part because Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi intended to tie Libya’s oil supply with its gold supply and create a unified African currency that would challenge the financial markets’ current power structure.
“Discussing Western reporting of the Syrian war, veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn recently noted ‘fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War.’ Professor Piers Robinson, Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at the University of Sheffield, concurs, arguing ‘We must now seriously entertain the possibility that the war in Syria has involved similar, if not greater, levels of manipulation and propaganda than that which occurred in the case of the 2003 Iraq War.’”
A good example of a leak that should have been headline news across the world (but wasn’t) is leaked audio of former Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with Syrian opposition groups in September of last year. Kerry admitted to these groups that the U.S. knew ISIS (also known as Daesh, ISIL) was gaining momentum in Syria, and the U.S., in turn, hoped this would bring Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table. Yet in 2014, the Obama administration told us the U.S. would be conducting operations in Syria with the express intent of “degrading and destroying” ISIS — not using the terror groups for leverage against the country’s leader they have long sought to topple.
Nevertheless, according to Kerry, their plans for ISIS and the Syrian government were foiled by Russia, which intervened overtly in the Syrian conflict in 2015 to bolster Assad.
In 2012, a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report predicted the rise of ISIS, something actively encouraged by the U.S. establishment. The report stated:
“If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”
In October of 2012, the New York Times reported that “[M]ost of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists…according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.”
Again, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails show she was well aware that these arms supplies were directly benefiting ISIS. One leaked document from the former secretary of state reads:
“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” [emphasis added]
According to four-star General Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander, he unofficially received a memo that detailed a plan the Pentagon adopted shortly after 9/11 to topple the governments of seven countries, Syria included.
According to more documents released by Wikileaks, the U.S. establishment wanted to provoke Assad to overreact to the threat of violent extremists crossing the border into Syria, similar to what was done to Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s. A cable leaked by Wikileaks dated December 2006, authored by William Roebuck, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Damascus at the time, stated:
“We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.” [emphasis added]
It is also worth noting that a secret intelligence report has revealed that in 1983, the U.S. was urging Saddam Hussein to go to war with Hafez al-Assad, Assad’s father, over a mere pipeline dispute.
Clearly, if the mainstream media were dedicated to the truth of the Syrian conflict, they would present these facts more frequently to detract from the simplified narrative of “Assad and Russia = bad; Syrian rebels = good” they have promulgated since 2011.
However, it is only through alternative forms of media and ongoing leaks that certain sections of the public are even aware of these issues, as independent media tends to highlight these glaring stories as opposed to glossing over them momentarily.
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