One thing you didn’t hear during the presidential debates was any questions about why the United States and its allies are involved in an undeclared war against the government of Syria. That’s right: not efforts to “end the violence there,” as the public is told, but rather stoking the violence, as a means of ejecting the long-running Assad regime.
As we’ve noted here at WhoWhatWhy again and again, the effort to remove first Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and now Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as the urgency to isolate and pressure the Iranian regime, have little if anything to do with the publicly-stated reasons.
Now, while all attention has been on the presidential race, events have continued to unfold in Syria to little public attention. Here’s a roundup of things you probably didn’t hear over the past month or two:
First, we have the fact that the United States has increasingly abandoned any pretense at principally being peacemakers. New York Times:
The United States indicated…that it was undertaking its most aggressive attempt yet to reshape the Syrian opposition, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton dismissing the current leadership as a bunch of out-of-touch exiles who should be replaced with a group more representative of the fighters on the ground…..Consider that: “We’ve made it clear” about what will go on regarding a sovereign country. Truly astonishing, and the most the media will do is report these statements as the normal and rational pronouncements of responsible US officials.
“We’ve made it clear that the S.N.C. can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the Syrian National Council. It can participate, she added, “but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”
Clinton, on a trip to Croatia, also told reporters: “There has to be representation of those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom.”
While Hillary Clinton was so concerned about Syrians trying to obtain their freedom from their dictatorial government, the US ally Bahrain has banned all protests due to “repeated abuse” of freedom of speech. And a Bahraini has been sentenced to six months in jail for insulting the King in a tweet. None of this upsets the US government.
And in China, a café owner has been given an eight-year sentence for online messages that criticized the Chinese government and proposed that an opposition party be established.
So at a minimum, the US government is very, very selective about where it “supports democracy” and where it does not (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other oil-rich or strategic and cooperative Gulf states.).
The evidence suggests that prevailing forces in Washington are far more rational than they’re given credit for being. Thus, when administration spokespeople mention “national security interests” in the Middle East, they mean just that. They may also mention democracy, and women’s rights, and human rights, but any advances on those fronts are merely a welcome byproduct if they happen to be achieved in the places where the US is ostensibly on the side of reformist forces seeking to overthrow the established order.
The national security interests are (ready?)—oil for your car, beryllium for your insulation, lithium for your computer battery. That sort of thing. So….your government really is looking after your interests. It’s just that the details are better left… unmentioned. Of course, such a policy focus also benefits the corporations that fund political campaigns, so everyone gains, everyone here, at least, in the short run, at least. The messy side of war, all that death and destruction, is left to historical retrospectives.
Let’s Talk Turkey
Meanwhile, NATO announced it would protect Turkey against Syria. What it didn’t mention is that Syria is not attacking Turkey. In fact, Turkey is simply the surrogate for the US and Western allies in the effort to overthrow Assad. So, Turkey is constantly provoking Syria and trying to make it out to be an aggressor, which is preposterous on its face as the Syrian regime devotes all of its efforts internally—to its own survival. Disinformation of the most time-tested sort.
As part of its total cooperation in this charade, Turkey forced down a Syrian commercial jetliner, and announced that it had impounded Russian munitions found on board that were intended for the regime in Damascus. To be sure, Turkey is impacted by the thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing across its border, and by the unsettling of Kurdish populations in the region. But it is the agitation against the Syrian government that is causing the regional instability in the first place. Also, it’s hard to understand the justification for blocking Russian arms shipments to a standing government in the area seeking to defend itself when Turkey has purchased billions in armaments from the United States, ostensibly for the same purpose.