Image: After years of condemning the Syrian government’s war against extremists at the cost of the civilian population, the US began launching air and missile strikes against “extremists” at the cost of Syria’s civilian population. Mind-bending hypocrisy and the utter circumvention of the very “international law” the US claims to be chief arbiter over marks a dangerous leap toward global anarchy.
Without a UN mandate or even a cohesive narrative, the United States and its regional allies have begun unilaterally bombing targets in Syria. Together with Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – the very sponsors of extremists groups fighting inside of Syria, including the Islamic State, its offshoot al Nusra, and other Al Qaeda aligned factions – the US has opened a new chapter on global anarchy.
Unlike other campaigns of naked military conquest, the US appears to have foregone the facade of UN approval, moral or legal justification, and has instead applied a scatter-shot strategy of proposing multiple pretexts for its aggression – all equally implausible, many contradictory – hoping at least one will stick.
After much hand-wringing and complaining about Russia’s actions in Ukraine – citing the violation of “international norms” and international law, the US has itself has clearly violated all the rules it has hypocritically held the rest of the world to under threat of sanctions, subversion, and outright military force. Without so much as a fig leaf of legality or legitimacy, and with criminal regimes as its partners, the US has committed the ultimate act of undermining the so-called “international order” it itself poses as creator of and arbiter over.
Such reckless abandonment and unprecedented illegitimacy signifies that this “international order” may have already collapsed. Just as Adolf Hitler abandoned the facade of “national defense” in his conquest of Europe, the United States has now dispensed with international consensus and international “rule of law” in its pursuit of global hegemony.
What unfolds next will be a zero sum contest between the West’s naked imperial conquest and those caught up in its path. The time for appealing to international law is over as America drags the world into yet another dark age of global anarchy.
Beheading non-believers in public squares, oppressing women, homosexuals, and other minority groups, and peddling a backwards perversion of Islam all sound like the hallmarks of the so-called “Islamic State” or ISIS as it is also known as. But in fact, they are also the hallmarks of America’s premier ally in the current alleged fight against ISIS’ global spanning terror operation – Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi Arabia was the chief intermediary between extremist groups across the Middle East and Washington in a nearly decade long conspiracy to violently overthrow the governments of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran with a regional mercenary army.
Alongside Saudi Arabia is Qatar. Both nations are ruled by unelected despots posing as monarchies. Contest to their power is met with brutal suppression and death. In fact, America’s partnership with the Persian Gulf despots at the beginning of the Syrian conflict should have been one of the first clues that the fighting had nothing to do with fostering democracy or freedom – two concepts that do not exist in either Riyadh or Doha – and all to do with regime change and regional hegemony.
Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, despite feigned tensions, have converging agendas – overthrowing the government of Syria, destroying Hezbollah in Lebanon, and containing, destabilizing, and overthrowing the government of Iran. To this end, they and the United States, along with Israel and Turkey, have conspired to, and demonstrably have armed and funded Al Qaeda’s various factions across the region since at least as early as 2007. America’s creation and use of Al Qaeda goes back much further, to at least the 1980’s when it used the terrorist organization to wage proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh would warn the world in a 9-page report published by the New Yorker of the conspiracy against Iran and Syria. In a report titled, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” Hersh would report (emphasis added):
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
It is abundantly clear that these “Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant version of Islam” and that are “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” have led the fighting against Syria since 2011, and through the rise of groups like Al Nusra and ISIS, constitute the verbatim fulfillment of Hersh’s prophetic warning.
For the very sponsors of ISIS to pose as a unilateral global force that can invade a nation’s sovereignty at will, bomb and kill militants, government troops, and civilians alike with utter impunity, in a quest to undo terrorists organizations of their own creation, is the work of a true “Axis of Evil.” That the West continues to condemn the Syrian government as a “brutal dictatorship” for fighting terrorists and killing civilians in the process, all while it now “fights terrorists” and is killing Syrian civilians in the process – plumbs new depths in utter, unhinged hypocrisy.
The “Moderates” Are the Terrorists
One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.
Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”
Harakat Hazm is the rule, not the exception. The US has been directly arming and funding terrorists fighting alongside Al Nusra – an offshoot of ISIS – and ISIS itself. As Hersh revealed, the plan from the beginning was the bolster such groups to fight Washington, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and Doha’s proxy war against Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah.
As a side note, the “plot” alluded to in the Daily Beast’s headline is one of many pretexts used by the US to justify its recent violation of Syria’s sovereignty and its total circumvention of international law. The plot was called “specific” and “imminent”but Pentagon officials were unable to narrow down the target to even a single continent. As with all claims the US makes, zero evidence was provided, nor any convincing, specific details.
Israel, Turkey, and US – Three Front War on Syria
That the goal is in fact crushing Iran’s arc of influence across the Middle East, not defeating “terrorists” or fostering “democracy,” goes far in explaining Israel’s posture along its border with Syria. Having claimed to have shot down a Syrian warplane in the west just as the US began bombing Syrian territory in the east, Israel has consistently used the conflict as an excuse to pick apart the Syrian government and its military. With terrorists hailing from Al Nusra along its borders – Israel is clearly harboring and protecting them with extraterritorial attacks just as Turkey has done in the north and the US will begin doing in the east.
Far from conjecture, the goal of opening a multi-front war with Syria has been the stated agenda of Western policymakers for years. In 2012, the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution in their “Middle East Memo #21” “Assessing Options for Regime Change” stated specifically (emphasis added):
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
It is clear that for years, the West and its regional allies have pursued a singular agenda, with only the rhetorical cover used to sell it to the public changing as one facade collapsed after another. The most tenuous facade of all is America’s current campaign against its own ISIS mercenaries – conveniently opening up a third front in the east to join Turkey and Israel’s provocations to the north and west respectively.
What will follow is the permanent operation of US and terrorist forces everywhere from Raqqa to Aleppo, leaving it up to Damascus to tempt provoking a direct war against itself by attempting to attack terrorists protected by US airpower, special forces, and other assets deployed to the region.
Restoring Global Sanity
Countering this will be difficult but not impossible. Syria and its allies have an opportunity to fill the geostrategic void currently in the east and negate the need for America’s presence. Having sufficiently built up the menace of its own terrorist mercenaries, the US has done the rhetorical heavy-lifting to justify the creation of a joint Syrian-Iraqi-Iranian-Russian-Chinese effort to neutralize ISIS and its affiliates. By placing joint military forces on the ground in eastern Syria where the West is unwilling to do so, will force the US to either withdraw, or once again change its narrative in mid fight – a move that Washington’s crumbling legitimacy may not survive.
The West must be made to pay for its streak of global anarchy. Its inability to follow its own rules expose it as an irresponsible shareholder in an “international order” or its own creation. This “international order” itself is a demonstrable failure, and in all truth, a facade in and of itself. For Syria and its allies, they possess the military and political resources to confront this threat directly. For the general public, we possess the socioeconomic resources to permanently boycott and replace with local alternatives all of the immense corporate-financier interests that lurk behind the West’s global agenda. The unwarranted influence and power the West wields is a result of our collective, incremental patronage of their corporations, institutions, and organizations. Undoing this unwarranted influence will require our collective and incremental divestment from what is in reality, international disorder.
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Contributed by Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer Report.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.