"Do Something" in Syria?

by Berry Friesen (September 7, 2015)

The mainstream media are using the refugee crisis in Europe to bring front-and-center the question of whether NATO-linked nations should “do something” about Syria.

The displacement of the Syrian people began in the fall of 2011 when the effort to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad began.  Why the mainstream media now have begun paying attention to those displaced isn’t clear.  It may simply be that the refugee crisis has reached a tipping point.

But I suspect something more sinister is afoot: those plotting the demise of the Assad government have pushed the plight of refugees into the headlines because they want to frame an expanded military intervention as another “responsibility-to-protect” rescue mission.  They expect popular opinion in Europe, Canada and the U.S. will support an escalation of the war in Syria if presented in such a guise, even though escalation was soundly rejected by popular opinion only two years ago.

As we may recall, the 2011 NATO attack of Libya was framed as a "responsibility-to-protect" mission to save innocent civilians.

Also like Libya, an expanded attack on Syria would likely consist of air support for al-Qaeda-linked forces on the ground.  In fact, former CIA director General David Petraeus proposed something very close to that just a couple of days before the refugee crisis hit the headlines.

Of course, those ground forces wouldn't be called al-Qaeda; they will go by other names (Ahrar al-Sham or al-Nusra) and the alleged purpose of working with them will be the defeat of the Islamic State.  But we shouldn’t be confused by the rhetoric or by the various names.  Each of the major Salafist groups active in Syria today (including the Islamic State) has received years of significant financial, material and logistical support from the USA-led network of nations. To one degree or another, they all are proxy armies of the West.

Syria’s disintegration is often “explained” in Western circles as a result of Assad’s brutal governance and a multi-year drought that caused many rural people to abandon farming and move to the cities. Both of those assertions are true and each helps explain the civil unrest across Syria during the spring and summer of 2011.  But as an explanation for what has happened since then, they are highly misleading.

Syria tipped decisively into violence (and then war) when during street demonstrations, unknown snipers murdered civilian police officers.

The identity of those snipers has never been established, just as the snipers who played similar roles during civil unrest in Ukraine, Egypt and Thailand have never been identified. President Assad said the snipers acted on behalf of “external forces” who wanted to destabilize Syria. I believe him.

After all, in the years since those attacks, Syria has been invaded by mercenaries from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Turkey, Libya, the countries of Europe and central Asia, even China.  That’s right; it’s not so much a civil war as an invasion.

In significant part, those mercenaries have been equipped with arms transferred from Libya by the CIA; trained in Turkish and Jordanian camps staffed by Western personnel; paid with funds donated by citizens of the Gulf States; supplied by trucks that pass freely across the Turkish border; protected by air cover from Turkey and Israel; cared for when injured by medical personnel in Turkey and Israel; and informed by satellite intelligence furnished by the USA.

Now, with the heartbreak of Syria front and center in the news, we may be reaching what has long been the core objective:  the dismemberment of Syria with pieces of its territory awarded to neighboring Turkey, the Islamic State, Jordan and Israel.  All that stands in the way is uncertainty about what Russia might still do to prevent this.

In short, the US-led intervention in Syria began in 2011; it is the cause of the Syrian refugee crisis. Next time you see that photo of the drowned Syrian toddler who washed up on the beach at a spot where a news photographer happened to be taking pictures, remember who caused his death.

(Much more could and should be said.  One excellent and well-documented source is "The Refugee Crisis Isn't the Real Problem" by Steven Chovanec; another is "The Obama Two-Step on Syria" by Ajamu Baraka.)