Over one million people marched against the Iraq War. So many people said the war in Iraq would be futile and would create more problems in the Middle East. They said it would create a power vacuum which would result in far worse consequences than retaining Saddam Hussein as leader of Iraq. They were right. The Chilcotte Enquiry confirmed what everyone knew from the start and confirmed Tony Blair as the liar that everyone thought he was. The report came too late for the war in Syria but there is no gaurantee that it would have changed anything about what is happening now in the Middle East.
The Documentary Film maker Adam Curtis made a documentary short which many will know as ‘Oh Dearism’, in it he describes the world we live today as confusing by design, we are left in a permanent state of confusion by those in Power to ensure we never really know what’s going on. It couldn’t have been a more accurate picture especially when it comes to Syria.
The U.S was in Syria for over a year claiming to be there to fight ISIS but there was next to zero activity either on the ground or in the air. It was not until Russia joined forces with Assad and released footage of ISIS convoys and bases near oil installations that the U.S then decided to actively engage ISIS. They then also began to release their own footage of ISIS convoys and installations. Suddenly the US was regularly bombing ISIS targets. What had the U.S been doing for the those previous 12 months?
It transpired soon afterwards that the U.S had been funding, supplying and training rebel groups within Syria. These rebel groups in any other circumstances would be considered terror groups but we were told these were moderate groups, ones that were not hostile toward the West. To think that any arms would not reach the extreme groups such as Al Nusra is laughable. Iraq taught us that having western arms and infrastructure on the ground would likely at some point enter the hands of the wrong people such as when ISIS entered Syria using a convoy of U.S jeeps and trucks that had been left behind after the Iraq war. Now the ‘JfS’ a new group formed from the splitting of Al-Nusra in an attempt to Unite rebel groups will almost certainly see western arms enter the hands of former Al Nusra members.
“This is not a civil war in Syria..”
– Madelyn Hoffman, Director, New Jersey Peace Action, speaking at the US Peace Council (Video Below: 16min -18min +)
They promised at the time that the supplying of arms to rebel groups would stop but it continued, openly, and today we know that the US has given air support to rebel groups fighting alongside Turkish troops in the latest fighting on the Turkish/Syrian border.
(Video below: 9th August US Peace Council representatives discuss their independent findings on what is happening on the ground in Syria. They agree. This is no civil war.)
Here we have another oddity. Turkey claims it is fighting ISIS but has also made threats to the YPG, the military arm of the Kurds. If the Kurds move into the area vacated by ISIS then Turkey will target them. On Syrian soil.
(More on the YPG and Turkey here)
This has been backed by the U.S yet the YPG have been one of the few entities that had been defeating ISIS in the early days when the U.S and West had been sat twiddling their thumbs.
Russia themselves have created their own confusion. They stated they would be targeting ISIS in Syria but it quickly transpired that they were also targeting rebel groups aligned to the U.S. It was a recipe for a huge scale war between two world powers but now we know that despite backing different sides it appears that the US is willing to allow Russia to target the rebels provides it steers clear of U.S military interventions. At least for now. In the meantime Russia has been responsible for thousands of deaths in civilian areas. How many of those deaths can be attributed to Russia themselves or the actions of Rebels using the civilians as human shields may never be truly known.
In another development in the last week or so Iran confirmed that they have a presence on the ground in Syria. It had been long suspected but not confirmed officially.
What of Assad himself? It is easy to condemn him. A dictator who rules with an iron fist and crushes rebellion. There is little doubt that Assad is a tyrant and a bully and ultimately a murderer. That though would be all too simple, as we sit here in peaceful nations watching from the outside. Assad is in reality Gadaffi 2.0 and the parallels can be easily drawn.
When the uprising in Syria began it was crushed by Assad. No one on the face of it supports a dictator crushing their own people but what has transpired since that uprising is not a civil war. The rebel groups fighting Assad now are not civilians, the civilians have all left Syria or are trapped between waring factions. The rebel groups would be known here as terrorists. You would expect any leader of any country to attempt to kill off any rebel groups. The only difference is that Assad cares little for collateral damage.
In a region full of warring groups and factions however you have to wonder wether that collateral damage is a necessary evil to retain power. Saddam Hussein kept order also using an iron fist against rebellion and since he was deposed the region has exploded into chaos. It is this historical example as to why Assad may be keen to keep order in his own back yard.
Like Gadaffi, Assad’s rule has produced relative prosperity for some parts of his country. Shopping malls and job creation and ultimately wealth and some freedoms as well as universal healthcare and free education have been afforded to the people that wanted it or were prepared to tow the line of the laws of the land. This is the Syria he wants to preserve and as yet another historical example we can use Libya as an example of what happens when a dictator is removed from power. Instability and infighting. Yet the West wants to remove Assad from Syria. It’s almost as if the West has its own reason for removing these dictators beyond what we are told in the media. We are told it is to free the people of a dictator but when the evidence of success in removing dictators is thin on the ground you have to ask if there is another agenda at play here.
(Ice rink within a shopping mall in Damascus)
The people of these countries may have had it bad in many repspects under the rule of dictators but what comes after the or deposing seems more often than not, disaster for the people.
The West would do well to ask themselves if they think it preferable to have an uprising crushed with limited impact for the country and region as a whole or their country beset by fighting between multiple nations, groups and factions, all intent on having a say on who rules at the end. A country laid to waste and the region destabilised even further, because the latter is exactly what is happening and has happened in Syria.
It is too late now for the players in all of this to back out now and it seems set to continue for some time. Even after any supposed end to this war the ramifications will likely be felt for many decades to come.
One final historical example of this comes in the form of Iraq and Afghanistan. The hundreds and thousands of lives lost in both of these wars would appear to be little benefit to anyone. Iraq is still in politicial turmoil and ISIS remain on the ground. In Afghanistan the Taliban are trying to regain the ground they lost and Instability and bombings reign supreme. This doesn’t even begin to touch on what is happening in Yemen.
When all is said and done you just need to look at what is happening, not listen to what the media is telling you what is happening. Turkey is fighting it’s own battles on Syrian Soil, It shot down a Russian jet and has played the West for its own purposes in regards to the Refugee crisis whilst seemingly at times backing ISIS itself. After all, they spent 3 years doing nothing go tackle ISIS in Syria and only now as the YPG threatens to control part of the border with Turkey/Syria have Turkey intervened. Yet the West continues to back this particular dictator, which is exactly what Erdogan is, a dictator. As long as dictators are friends with the West that’s fine. So it appears. The US is backing terror groups, Russia has its own agenda, the YPG has its own agenda. Every player in Syria seems to have its own agenda and meanwhile the remaining civilians are caught in the crossfire.
Be assured of one thing though. Syria is not a civil war. It never was. This is a proxy war fought for each individuals own interests and as much as it pains me to say, Assad must remain in Power for now at least. Certainly therr must be no ‘unity government’, the West’s solution to all problems in the Middle East.