The West’s false narrative on Syria

28 Dec

Yesterday in CounterPunch, under the header, Trump’s Big Pullout, Chandra Muzaffar wrote:

If we … turn to the situation in Syria, we would realise that the US role in combating terrorism was limited. The Syrian Army, with the backing of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian militias and the Russian military were primarily responsible for the defeat of the multitude of terrorist outfits in the country between 2012 and 2017. Indeed, there is more than enough evidence to show that some of the more prominent terrorist outfits were in different times and in different circumstances aided and abetted by institutions and organisations associated with the US, Britain and France and countries in the region such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. They provided financial assistance, military training and critical intelligence, apart from establishing regional and global networks to buttress the activities of the terrorists.

Viewed against this backdrop, the end of the US military operation in Syria may well accelerate efforts within the country to bring about much needed constitutional and political reforms which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had tried to initiate in 2001. In formulating these reforms, he will have to work closely with his allies, Iran and Russia. But at the end of the day it is the Syrian people themselves who will determine the destiny of their historically and culturally rich nation.

Suppressing the independence and sovereignty of the Syrian nation — and not combatting terrorism – was the real reason behind the active intervention and involvement of numerous actors from within and without the region in the 7 year Syrian conflict. Simply put, the aim was to oust Bashar, the protector of Syrian sovereignty, to achieve regime change in pursuit of the US-Israeli agenda of perpetuating their hegemony.

The day before, on Boxing Day and also writing in CounterPunch, a piece by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers ran under the header We Can End the US War on Syria. Commenting on Democrat and Pentagon fury over Trump’s announced (and limited) pullout, it includes this:

Trump is being fought because the US has a long history of trying to control Syria dating back to the 1940s.  CIA documents from 1986 describe how the US could remove the Assad family.
While the bulk of destruction of Syria occurred during the Obama administration, plans for the current war and overthrowing Assad date back to the George W. Bush administration. A State Department cable, “Influencing the SARG In The End Of 2006”, examines strategies to bring about regime change in Syria.

Neither analysis is especially detailed and both are flawed, Muzaffar’s more than Zeese’s and Flowers’, by insufficient attention to the details of any pull out. For that, see the assessments by Stephen Gowans in what’s left? and Julia Kassem in CounterPunch. Both are referenced in my recent post, Four Takes on Trump’s Syria pullout.

But both are worth reading as correctives to widespread misperceptions that the West, led as ever by the USA, has any progressive role to play in Syria.


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