America’s self inflicted wound

A report argues interestingly that Syria is the self inflicted wound of the United States, “On Aug. 16, Syrian regime aircraft bombed a vegetable market in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, slaughtering over 100 Syrian civilians and wounding some 300 more. Many of the victims were children; it was one of the deadliest airstrikes of a brutal war. This is far from the first regime-committed atrocity in a Damascus suburb: Exactly two years ago today, Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched a chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, which killed hundreds. In the case of the Douma attack, President Barack Obama’s administration reacted with its usual pantomime of outrage: strong verbal condemnation, condolences for the families of victims, and a plea that the international community “do more to enable a genuine political transition in Syria.” A genuine political transition in Syria, however, is not right around the corner. Yet every airstrike by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is fueling radicalization in the Syrian here and now. The only clear winner in the Douma abomination was the pseudo “caliph” of the so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a hardened criminal who recruits followers courtesy of the Iranian-sponsored Assad regime’s atrocities and Western complacency. Iran and Assad know exactly what they are doing by bolstering this evil. The West, meanwhile, is complacently unresponsive”.

The writer goes on to make the point that “For Obama, who has said that his goal is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” an organistion known variously as the Islamic State, ISIL, ISIS, and Daesh, Assad’s atrocities ought to provoke a reaction that extends beyond the same tired rhetoric. They do not. This is because Iran — the object of the administration’s courtship — is fully enabling the mass homicide strategy of its Syrian client”.

He mentions that “In its single-minded pursuit of a nuclear agreement with Iran, the Obama administration adopted a Syria policy rich in rhetoric and empty of substantive action. Until June 2014, when the Islamic State used its bases in Syria to overrun much of Iraq, the administration could use the indifference of the U.S. and European publics to Syria’s agony to duck the fact that Assad had continuously undermined the White House’s credibility — ignoring the president’s loose talk about how Assad had lost legitimacy and the chemical “red lines” that ought not be crossed”.

The author goes on to note that “The Islamic State became the Assad regime’s enemy of choice; an adversary that would supplement regime attacks on nationalist rebels, only engaging regime forces in combat when they sat atop something they wanted, such as an oil field, a military base replete with weapons stockpiles, or a town filled with priceless antiquities. This symbiotic relationship enabled the Islamic State to sweep through much of Iraq in June 2014, pulling American combat aviation and ground forces back into Mesopotamia and the Levant. Iranian fingerprints were all over the Assad regime’s scorched-earth policies, which enabled this catastrophe. In a diplomatic tactic designed to advance the nuclear talks, the Obama administration pretended that Washington and Tehran were essentially on the same page with respect to the Islamic State. But they were not, and they are not”.

He concludes “Syrians who mourn for the dead and dying of Douma cry out to the civilised world for protection. To ignore their pleas risks consigning them to the “caliph.” Western leaders may be shamefully unmoved by the moral case to protect Syrian civilians, but they should at least be motivated by the fact that winning the war against the Islamic State requires making it harder for Assad and Iran to aid and comfort the enemy. Doing so might also help persuade a sufficient number of senators and congressmen to sustain the Iran nuclear agreement, for which so many Syrians have involuntarily paid such a high price”.


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