Headlines emanating from the West regarding Syria’s ongoing war have a common theme – allegations of Syria and Russia’s “ruthless barrage” of the northern region of Idlib.
So often – however – has the US and its allies falsely invoked “humanitarian concern” that these headlines fall on informed and discerning ears who not only reject it, but have cemented in their minds a familiarity with this ploy that will make it all but impossible to use it again on whatever battlefield the US shifts its foreign policy to next.
Like a Broken Record
CBS in its article, “Syrians trapped by Assad’s ruthless Russian-backed barrage in Idlib beg for help,” peddles an all-too-familiar narrative of helpless, innocent civilians in desperate need of “help.” That “help,” of course always comes in the form of US intervention and the eventual, total destruction of the nation as was the case for Libya in 2011.
The article claims:
More than three million people are trapped under a Syrian bombing campaign as Bashar Assad battles to reclaim the last enclave held by rebels in his country. Idlib is the only remaining opposition stronghold after eight grueling years of civil war.
There are no “rebels” or “opposition” in Idlib. There are – however – legions of militants operating under the banners of Al Qaeda, the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), and their various affiliates.
These terrorists are the recipients of foreign arms and support – and many of them are not even themselves Syrian – making CBS’ claims that Syria’s conflict is a “civil war” wholly inaccurate.
Far from Syrian or Russian “propaganda,” the fact that Idlib has been occupied by terrorists and not “rebels” is one admitted by the Western media itself – and a fact admitted to since the region first fell to foreign-armed terrorists.
The Associated Press in its 2015 article titled, “Assad Loses Final Idlib Stronghold to Al Qaeda-led Insurgents,” would report:
After a two-year siege, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and other insurgents on Wednesday captured the one remaining Syrian army air base in Idlib, a development that activists said effectively expelled the last of President Bashar al-Assad’s military from the northwestern province.
The CBS article – like many examples of Western war propaganda – after deceiving readers as to who Syrian forces are fighting in Idlib – makes the case for US intervention, claiming:
In the aftermath, one woman screamed hysterically at a news camera, begging for an American intervention.
“We are getting killed every day,” she cried. “Mr. Trump, please, please stop this!”
But there is no help.
Like many of the West’s narratives, CBS’ story depends on readers believing without any evidence that not only did their “witness” really exist and said what CBS claims they said, but really begged the US to intervene despite seeing what US interventions have done everywhere else in the region over the past two decades.
Extra irony can be drawn from CBS’ reporting – considering that the US itself has carried out airstrikes and drone attacks on Idlib over the years as well.
As another part of the West’s admissions of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations occupying Idlib – there have been reports over the years of the US carrying out airstrikes and drone attacks targeting various leaders of Al Qaeda.
A 2016 Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) article titled, “Pentagon Says It Killed Senior Al-Qaeda Leader,” admitted:
A U.S. drone strike in Syria killed a senior Al-Qaeda leader who once had ties to Osama bin Laden, the Pentagon said on November 2.
The October 17 strike near Idlib killed Haydar Kirkan, who “was intent on plotting and carrying out attacks against the West,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
The Business Insider in another 2016 article titled, “Egyptian al Qaeda leader killed by US drone strike in Idlib, Syria,” would reveal:
Syria’s militant Jabhat Fateh al Sham, formerly the Nusra Front, said on Monday that Egyptian cleric Abu al Faraj al Masri, a prominent member of the militant group, had been killed in a strike by the U.S.-led coalition.
The US – finding Idlib to be a seemingly target-rich environment for Al Qaeda leaders – and by having carried out military operations there itself – not only contradicts its current accusations of Syria and Russia bombing “rebels” and “opposition” groups, but also reveals the US as equally guilty of bombing the population of Idlib – whatever the reason – as it now claims Syria and Russia are.
Despite the best efforts by CBS and others to sell US intervention in Syria at this late juncture – the prospects of US intervention are remote – not only because the lies told by media networks like CBS to justify it have run their course, but also because the US is out of options militarily, politically, economically, and even covertly.
Lacking any coherent, viable proxy force on the ground, the US is left with only a few, equally unattractive options including carrying out its own military campaign against Damascus, or having proxies like Israel or Turkey initiate hostilities it can then join in shortly thereafter.
Russian diplomatic efforts to give Turkey an exit from its involvement in Washington’s apparently failed proxy war appear to be gaining traction. Turkey will remain for the time being teetering between East and West as its economy and special interests within the spheres of business and politics cultivate ties in both directions.
Creating the conditions on the ground – however – that leave little for Ankara to gain from by aiding Washington’s proxy war further is key to having Turkey place both feet down firmly on Damascus and Moscow’s side at least in this regard.
Israel – on the other hand – is an eager proxy who remains committed to provocations including air strikes on Syria, Iraq, and now even Lebanon. Israel is also equally committed to provoking Iran – the primary target of the US-led war in Syria.
Israel’s ability to “invade” Syria – let alone Iran – is nonexistent and its inability to win any war through air power alone was already fully demonstrated in its failed 2006 war with Lebanon. Without a sizable commitment of US forces, “US intervention” or that by its proxies in Syria – or Iran for that matter – is unlikely and were it to happen, not guaranteed to succeed.
The Russian military presence in Syria also greatly complicates US ambitions to escalate hostilities in Syria – and as Russia expands its ties throughout the Middle East – it complicates Washington’s campaign of sowing regional hostilities as well.
Assuming those in Washington are aware of their failure in Syria and their current lack of options, the threat of simply sowing chaos in the region and delaying peace and reconstruction is more likely an attempt to find leverage and force concessions as the conflict reaches its endgame.
The US and its media’s “humanitarian-based” accusations against Syria and Russia will continue despite its growing impotence as a political tool. Thus, the alternative media who helped dull the blade of this tool in the first place, must continue exposing Western disinformation and war propaganda to ensure it remains impotent.
In many ways, complacency and misplaced trust in Washington’s feigned rapprochement with Russia, Syria, and others in the early 2000’s invited the current conflict. Lessons must be learned from how this conflict began and how it is being ended in order to avoid it from ever unfolding again.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.