02.03.2021 Author: Vladimir Danilov

Biden Digs Up the Hatchet

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Just one month has passed since the newly elected, 46th US President started his tenure in the White House, and he has clearly shown that his foreign policy strategy for the next four years is by no means dovish. Demonstratively renouncing the “era of the previous Republican president”, which was, incidentally, marked by the fact that Donald Trump was the only US president over the past thirty years who did not start any new wars, Joe Biden decided from his very first days to plunge the US – and the entire world – into the cold world of armed confrontation, something that was a trademark for the 44th US president, Democrat Barack Obama.

It is worth recalling how right when Barack Obama was about to leave office The American Conservative gave an objective assessment for this president (with whom Joe Biden had worked on the same team) who had undeservedly won the Nobel Peace Prize, emphasizing his particular love for the use of brute military force abroad: “Obama [is] … the only president to spend his entire tenure presiding over foreign wars… [T]he US has bombed at least half a dozen countries on his watch, and his administration has assisted other governments in laying waste to one of the poorest countries on earth.” According to Airwars data for that period, during 2014-2016 alone the United States carried out more than 9,600 air raids in Iraq, and about 5,000 in Syria, with dozens of thousands of civilians killed. And in the United States itself, many people died because of Obama’s policies, and therefore it was with good reason that WorldNetDaily back then emphasized that “Obama has been blithely watching coffins float by his entire presidency”.

Having understood from the example set by the 44th President of the United States that the Nobel Peace Prize can be won for efforts that are anything but peaceful, Joe Biden, using a specially chosen slogan: “America is Back”, in his very first days in office started to “intimidate” Russia and China, trying to show everyone “who is in charge in the world”.

Long-suffering Syria (primarily at the hands of the United States itself!) was chosen as the starting point of the “Biden-style” war saga, where the United States launched an airstrike on February 25 on an facility that may have belonged to the Iranian military. According to the American side, the airstrike was a response to a series of attacks that were carried out on US targets in Iraq.

As Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs John Kirby said, the United States executed precision strikes against targets run by pro-Iranian forces in Syria located along the border zone with Iraq. According to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the US military allowed the Iraqi side to “develop intelligence” for the operation, and encouraged them to do so. At the same time, Austin stressed that cooperation on the part of the Iraqi side greatly helped to clarify their goals. F-15 fighter jets were involved in executing the US strikes. In its report on Washington’s operation, Reuters emphasized that the order to launch the airstrike was personally given by the head of the White House, Joe Biden.

According to the monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least three trucks with weapons and ammunition were destroyed in a strike by the US air force in eastern Syria, and at least 17 militants were killed. The militants themselves announced that one person was killed, and that several others suffered minor injuries. The Washington Post also reported on the deaths of people as a result of this airstrike, stressing that before this occurred no US representatives had spoken about the eliminating terrorists, or that civilians could have died because of this airstrike.

This strike in Syria by the US Air Force is being fiercely debated in international circles. What was highlighted in particular was that, clearly guided by the “pieces of silver” from the US military-industrial complex that brought Biden to power, the new master in the White House used this attack on Iranian militias on Syrian territory in an obvious attempt to placate Israel and the Gulf countries, which are afraid of the new American administration sliding towards a pro-Iranian position.

There was emphasis placed on how the consequences of these actions by Washington could be an escalation of military confrontation across the region. Among other risks, what also stands out is the failure of process charted out to normalize relations between Washington and Tehran on the nuclear deal.

In the telephone conversations between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad that took place immediately after the US airstrike on the Syrian-Iraqi border, the ministers pointed out the need for the West to adhere to the UN Security Council resolution on Syria, respect the sovereignty and independence of the Arab republic, and not to lend support to terrorist groups. In addition, they stressed their commitment to process settling the situation in Syria as agreed upon during the talks in Astana.  The airstrikes that the US Air Force carried out in Syrian territory near the border with Iraq are a manifestation of “American aggression”, the state-run TV channel Al-Ikhbariyah Syria emphasizes. The Syrian government-run TV channel Al-Surya stressed that “the United States took aggressive action against Syria, attacking ground targets in the eastern Deir ez-Zor Governorate”.

As the chair of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev pointed out, despite the fact that four states are involved in the situation – the United States, Iraq, Iran, and Syria – the United States is the only one overtly using military force, in violation of international law. According to him, the American authorities are again assigning themselves the right to “conduct an investigation, pass sentence, and execute it out of court”.

Discussing the airstrike on Syria carried out by the United States under the leadership of Democrat Joe Biden, even American observers (in particular, the conservative FOX News channel) highlight that his predecessor, Donald Trump, was criticized for taking the same actions by Jen Psaki, the current White House press secretary. For example, users pointed to Psaki’s Twitter post after the 2017 airstrikes, where she questioned the legitimacy of the attacks and stressed that Syria is a sovereign state, even if President Bashar al-Assad is a “brutal dictator”.

After the most recent airstrike, Psaki’s remarks were cited by both social media users and politicians in the United States. For example, Muslim House Representative Ilhan Omar posted a short response to an old Psaki tweet: “Good question.”

Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 


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