Another US President has plunged his country deeper into another Middle East military adventure “to take the fight to this terrorist group, for the security of the country and the region and for the entire world”. Worn-out rhetoric aside, what could be the underlying causes for the decision? Radio VR discusses it with Syrian analyst Taleb Ibrahim and US analyst Paul Craig Roberts.
As the US President Barak Obama is defending his case at the UN General Assembly, there’s a growing understanding that another US President, despite his earlier promises, has plunged his country deeper into the fighting which has spread over the Middle East – with no clear-stated goals, or legal basis.
Meanwhile, reports of civilian casualties have started to stream in. According to Al Jazeera Wednesday reporting, 11 civilians, including four children, have already been killed in ‘high precision’ airstrikes; the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the attacks, carried out by Washington and its Arab allies, killed 31 civilians.
In his interview to the RIA Novosti David Swanson, an American journalist described the US airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as illegal, immoral and counterproductive.
Counterproductive or not, that depends on what goals the US actually pursues. Says Taleb Ibrahim, Syrian political analyst based in Damascus:
“The situation here in Syria differs from place to place. Damascus – the capital – is absolutely safe and the people here are watching what is going on around them. Nearby Damascus the Syrian army is making a very great progress. And I have reliable information that it is a matter of short time, not a very long time, that all the areas around Damascus would be seized by the Syrian army.
So, we are optimistic about the capital. But if we look to the west of the capital of Damascus, Israel is intervening heavily and it is helping the militants. Yesterday they shoot down a Syrian bomber which was bombing the al-Nusra Front. And that gives us very clear evidence that Israel is cooperating with the terrorists on the Syrian territory. So, this event is very-very dangerous.
Another issue, in the middle of Syria everything is okay. Homs is under control, especially the very small provinces, Hama in the middle of Syria. The Syrian army was able to seize very large areas which were under the control of al-Nusra Front. We have some problems in Aleppo and in Idlib, but I'm confident that the Syrian army would be able to establish a complete control. The Syrian coast is under control 100%.
The real problem that we have here in Syria is the American intervention. The American intervention is not for doing good things or helping the Syrian state. We deeply believe that the US is using terrorism as a tool for implementing its foreign policy. So, they created the ISIS. Why are they now fighting the ISIS?
If you go back in history, to the 1950’es, they made a coalition which was named CENTO, to seize the Soviet Union. And at that time their excuse was – we must stop communism and communist expansion. Now, it is the same, but instead of communism and communist expansion they are talking about terrorism.
They want to seize this area to make a new alliance in the ME and their target is to seize Russia, and to put their hands on the treasures here, and to establish a real control over the area. We don’t trust the Americans absolutely. They are deceiving the people. They are lying and lying, and lying.
I think the airstrikes which took place inside Syria, couldn’t achieve a very important goal. They could kill less than 100 militants. And as I know from my information on the ground, the Syrian army was killing 100 or 200, or, in some instances, 300 militants by the airstrikes every day. So, why the Americans came at this moment?
I think they have their own agenda and they have the information that the Syrian army is now in an offensive position, it is not in a defensive position and it might be able to seize control of the entire country in a short time period of a few months.
So, now they are intervening and they will remove the ISIL, and instead of it they will put another militant group, which is the Syrian Revolutionaries Front led by Jamal Maroof. It is fundamentalist, it is a branch of Al Qaeda, but the Americans want the Syrian wound to be open forever.
I think the real target of the US is to divide Syria. This is a war against Syria as a state, as a country, as a geographical location, as a society. And I'm deeply convinced that they felt a great regret, when they were withdrawing from Iraq without making any real achievement. So, now they are trying to come into the region again through the gate of terrorism, into Syria and Iraq.
They have their own plan to occupy Syria or some parts of Syria. If you look at the eastern provinces in Syria, especially to the east of Euphrates, it is an operational field for the US and its air force. So, it is very difficult for the Syrian Government to send their bomber aircraft etc to that region without the permission of the US. That means a real occupation of the skies. And on the ground they will, as I told you, send a proxy force, which will fight instead of the Americans.
So, this is a devilish plan to divide Syria and to occupy some parts of it. We mustn’t deceive ourselves, we must fight it and we mustn’t surrender to Americans, because we could defeat the Americans in Iraq and we will defeat them now in Syria. But we need a real help form our allies, especially Russia.
The regional governments, which might be or might not be the allies of the US, are also put at risk by this operation, because the ISIS is not going to surrender easily, the fight could spill over to other countries. So, do you think that the neighboring states could realize the threat and come to support Syria?
Taleb Ibrahim: No, if you talk about regional countries, from the Syrian perspective, the Syrian Government has one ally only – Iran and Hezbollah. And on the international scope we have only Russia and China. But the US has many allies, and what is surprising is who brought Bahrain into this coalition? Bahrain is curbing its people. In Bahrain there is a real revolution, where people are protesting in a peaceful way and not using violence.
Another issue is Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. They are the most important financial resource for ISIL and for Al Qaeda, and all those groups. Who brought them into this coalition?
That indeed means a real plan of the US to wage a new war in the ME, but now they could bring in some allies. Those allies will pay money and will participate in this war against Syria, to make a cover for the US to act inside the Syrian territories.
I think we are now facing a very dark age and we must fight to the end, because the US, Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, Al Qaeda – all of them are in the same coalition. The real coalition is: Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and the US. They are on the same front, we mustn’t deceive ourselves.
The US is used to lying. All the history of the US is the history of lies and deception. They say to you – we are proud that you could deceive the Russians on the ABM treaty. They will say to everybody – we are very proud we could deceive the original people of America.
So, we can’t trust the US and all they are saying is only a propaganda, this is only a cover to occupy the area and to seize it, and to put their hands on the treasures, especially oil and gas”.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant US Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, currently Chairman of The Institute for Political Economy:
“The military security complex in the US absorbs a trillion dollars annually in their budgets. And this is during a period in which the Americans themselves are doing poorly in terms of their economic situation.
There are still people losing their homes. The number of people dependent on public support system, such as food stamps, is the highest in history. There are no good jobs created. When you are spending a trillion dollars on military security activities and people are not doing well, the problem is that you have to have a reason for those activities. And so, a war is always a reason.
And so, the so-called threat from the ISIS or the ISIL is exaggerated, just as the threat of Saddam Hussein was exaggerated, just as the threat of Gaddafi, just as the threat of Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, just as the claim of Assad’s use of chemical weapons and reigning nukes. All these are to keep the money flowing into the military security complex.
Large amounts of this money are recycled in donations for political campaigns to Republicans, to Democrats, to the House, to the Senate, to presidential candidates. And so, that recycling of the military security money, or at least part of them, is important to the political parties. So, that is one of the reasons.
Another reason is that the ISIS is seen as a threat to the American puppet states in the ME. They are seen as a threat to the oil Emirates, to Bahrain, to Saudi Arabia itself. And so, Washington wants to contain that threat.
It is also an excuse for attacking Syria and Washington has not yet given up its idea of overthrowing Assad. It’s now found a new way to do it. It can attack Syria under the pretext of fighting the ISIS. But, of course, the ISIS was created by Washington and sent to Syria to overthrow Assad. The same forces were used by Washington in Libya against Gaddafi.
So, in a sense, this ISIS threat was a creation of Washington. Where Washington stands exactly in its relation with the ISIS at the present time? I don’t know. I don’t know whether it realizes that it’s created something it can’t control, or whether it sees the confusion and chaos, and fighting as beneficial for Washington’s purposes. I don’t know the answer to that”.