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THE CIVIL WAR IN SYRIA

DID 300,000 PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE?

A LOOK AT AMERICA'S INTERVENTION
IN A FOREIGN CIVIL WAR

 

The state of Syria was created by British and French imperial forces in 1918.   In a total betrayal of British promises of independence to the Arabs who fought the Turks, Arab independence forces were brutally crushed by France and England and new colonies were created.  Iraq became a colony of Britain.  Syria became a colony of France.

Both Syria and Iraq were totally artificial creations of western imperialism.  Both contained ethnic and religious factions hostile to each other.

In 2011 unrest grew in Syria between these factions.

Unfortunately, America chose to get involved in this emerging civil war.  America's decision had nothing to do with "human rights" or "democracy".   It had  a lot to do with American imperial notions of creating a puppet state in Syria in conjunction with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  It involved taking sides with certain Sunni forces in a civil war against the ruling Shiite government and the Kurdish and Christian population.   Turkey was particularly concerned about crushing any effort of the Kurds in Syria to seek independence.

As in other US interventions efforts were made in Washington to portray American-supported factions as "moderate".   In reality there was nothing moderate about this war, and America became allied with violent Islamic extremists.  Huge military bases were set up in Jordan and Turkey for puppet armies. 

Before the U.S. got involved, this was a conflict with casualties in the 1,000's. Yet now around 300,000 people have died and cultural and archaeological treasures have been lost forever.

This is not to mention that in October 2015, the U.S. bombed out an electrical power plant in Aleppo that provided electricity to 2.5 million Syrians. This raises many questions about who the U.S. is fighting against. If we're fighting to provide human rights for the Syrian people - why are we destroying the infrastructure that is vital to the health and safety of the Syrian people?

As a result of the escalated crisis in Syria, there are now more than 4.2 million refugees fleeing the country. This is roughly the size of the population of Norway.

So the U.S. has inflamed a conflict that may have been ended quickly by the Syrian government, had we chosen not to get involved. And now the situation has turned into a complete disaster. Not only have many died in this conflict, but despite all of America's efforts, Assad still remains in power.   The moderate "Free Syrian Army" is in chaos. In 2014, Islamic extremists backed by America's allies even invaded Iraq. What's worse is that U.S. aid given to Syrian rebels eventually fell into the hands of The Islamic State - a group that is now considered one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world.

 

THE ISLAMIC STATE

The Islamic State (also known as ISIL, ISIS and Daesh) has taken over an incredible swath of territory in a short amount of time. They seized Mosul (Iraq's second largest city) in June of 2014, and still hold control of it today.

In addition, they also hold significant amounts of territory in Northern Iraq and Syria. In September 2014, the director of U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, said the Islamic State controlled much of the Tigris-Euphrates river basin - an area similar in size to the United Kingdom, or about 210,000 sq km (81,000 sq miles). The way in which they seek to spread their territory is through a sort of 'managed savagery' where they commit acts of unimaginable brutality in order to scare and ultimately subdue their enemies.

Outside of Iraq and Syria, they have set up official branches in Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Northern Caucasus. The Islamic State has become globally infamous for their genocide of minorities, their rape and enslavement of young girls, their public crucifixions and beheadings, their destruction of priceless, historical relics as well as their tendency to broadcast such atrocities on popular media sites such as YouTube and Twitter. They have also taken credit for the recent bombings in Paris and Lebanon.

While the United States didn't directly create the Islamic State, they certainly played a role in the evolution of the organization. There was no al-Qaida in Iraq before Bush's invasion of the country. But once the invasion occurred, this created a power vacuum within which extremist groups began to emerge. Eventually al-Qaida established itself in Iraq. In 2006 they created an umbrella organization called Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). ISI was steadily weakened by the U.S. troop surge and the creation of Sahwa (Awakening) councils by Sunni Arab tribesmen who rejected its brutality. However, Baghdadi, a former US detainee, became leader in 2010 and began rebuilding ISI's capabilities. By 2013, it was once again carrying out dozens of attacks a month in Iraq. It had also joined the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, setting up the al-Nusra Front.

In April 2013, Baghdadi announced the merger of his forces in Iraq and Syria and the creation of "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (Isis). The leaders of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda rejected the move, but fighters loyal to Baghdadi split from al-Nusra and helped Isis remain in Syria. By June of 2014, after consolidating its hold over dozens of cities and towns, Isis declared the creation of a caliphate and changed its name to "Islamic State." While the United States didn't finance the Islamic State directly, the group did get arms and support indirectly from 'moderate' rebels that the U.S. supports.

The U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has also inadvertently played a role. While they also did not directly finance the Islamic State, their determination to see Assad taken down helped get weapons and funds into the hands of extremists. And now the Islamic State poses a threat to the Saudi Kingdom. Compared to other radical groups, the ambitions of IS are much more far reaching. Their ultimate goal is to create a world wide caliphate without borders. So not only does the kingdom face threats from terrorists on its soil, but IS poses a threat to the very core of the kingdom's belief system, as it has roots in a version of Islam — Wahhabism — that is taught in many Saudi schools and mosques.

So what was Washington's solution to the Islamic State threat? Their solution was to spend $500 million to fund 'moderates' in the fight against The Islamic State. The results? Only five people have been trained. So this is a study in complete incompetence of the worst kind.

Ultimately, the American plan to fight Assad by backing Islamic extremist rebels (pretending to be "moderates") has spiraled out of control; somewhat like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.

 

TURKEY'S ROLE IN THE CONFLICT: THEY'VE GIVEN SUPPORT TO THE ISLAMIC STATE AND NOW THEY'RE BOMBING THE KURDS

The situation becomes more complicated considering that America's attack on Assad was launched in conjunction with Turkey. Yet Turkey's own actions in this conflict raise many troubling questions. A U.S. led raid on the compound housing of the Islamic State's chief financial officer produced evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking members of the Islamic State (The Guardian). Islamic State official Abu Sayyaf was responsible for directing the terror army's oil and gas operations in Syria. The Islamic State earns about $US 10 million per month selling oil on black markets. Documents and flash drives seized in the raid revealed clear links between Islamic State officials and Turkey. NATO member Turkey has been long accused of turning a blind eye to the vast smuggling networks of weapons and fighters during the ongoing conflict. Eventually Turkey did end its loose border policy last year, but not before the southern frontier became a transit point for cheap oil, weapons, foreign fighters and pillaged antiquities.

In November, a former Islamic State member told Newsweek that the group was essentially given free reign by Turkey’s army. “ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” the fighter said. “ISIS saw the Turkish army as its ally especially when it came to attacking the Kurds in Syria.”

Yet now Turkey has created a huge problem for itself by allowing the Islamic State to establish a presence so close to their border. The length of Turkey's relationship with the Islamic State has made it difficult for them to crack down on the terrorist group for fear of blow back.

Jonathan Schanzer, a former counterterrorism analyst for the U.S. Treasury Department has stated, “You have a lot of people now that are invested in the business of extremism in Turkey.” Schanzer added, “If you start to challenge that, it raises significant questions of whether” the militants, their benefactors, and other war profiteers would tolerate the crackdown. (Business Insider). When Turkey took the steps to arrest 500 suspected extremists, an Islamic State affiliated suicide bomber killed 32 activists in southeast Turkey.

In July of 2015, Turkey announced plans that it would help to fight the Islamic State. This plan called for creating an 'Islamic State-free zone' that would be controlled by Syrian insurgents. However, after announcing plans to destroy the Islamic State, Turkish forces began an air strike campaign against one of the groups that has been critical in fighting the Islamic State - Turkey began to bomb the Kurds. Since July, Turkey has launched several air strikes against elements of a Kurdish separatist group known as the P.K.K.

When Turkey launched their campaign against the Islamic State, they insisted on some conditions - such as the creation of a Kurdish-free zone in Syria on the Turkish border. In exchange, the U.S. would be allowed to launch military operations against the Islamic State from incirlik Air Base and other bases in Turkey. Because of this agreement, American officials have been careful not to speak out against Turkey in regards to their treatment of the Kurds. In a statement on Twitter, Brett H. McGurk, President Obama’s envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, said, “We fully respect our ally Turkey’s right to self-defense.”

Experts say Turkey eventually agreed to join the fight against the Islamic State because of the threat posed by Kurdish territorial gains. Kurds in the region have long sought the creation of an independent state, an idea that the Turkish government strongly opposes.

Mr. Erdogan has said that Turkey “will never allow the establishment of a new state on our southern frontier in the north of Syria.”

So now Turkey is more actively targeting the Kurdish fighters of the P.K.K than they are the Islamic State.  In Turkey’s recent roundup of 1,300 people it identified as terrorism suspects, 137 of those arrested were linked to the Islamic State and 847 were linked to the P.K.K. At the same time, Turkey bombed P.K.K. positions in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, claiming that the militants could attack Turkish areas from across the border. (The New York Times)

 

SHOULD THE U.S. SUPPORT TURKEY'S PROPOSED NO FLY ZONE? SHOULD THE U.S. AIR FORCE BACK A TURKISH INVASION?

TURKEY SHOOTS DOWN RUSSIAN PLANE

After Turkey joined the fight against the Islamic State, they also began to call for a no-fly zone, or buffer zone along the border. Hillary Clinton has adamantly supported this development. Yet the trouble with a no fly zone is that it must be enforced. Given the fact that the Russian air force is in the airspace over Syria, an incident in the region between Turkey and Russia could lead to an escalation of Cold War proportions.

Recently such an incident has taken place. Turkey shot down a Russian warplane with claims that the jet entered Turkish air space. The decision to shoot down the jet was taken directly by the Turkish Prime Minister. Putin says that the Russian warplane was (0.6 miles) inside the Syrian border when it was hit. The jet fighter crashed just inside of Syria, south of the Turkish border, where Russian and Syrian planes have been targeting rebel fighters (specifically in this case, Turkmen fighters).

Putin states that the Russian warplane was carrying out strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria, and posed no threat to Turkey. The downing was “a stab in the back, carried out by accomplices of terrorists,” Putin said at a televised meeting with the king of Jordan. “Today’s tragic incident will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.”

Who are these Turkmen fighters? The Turkmen are ethnic Turks who live in Syria. They are mainly concentrated in the north, in the Turkmen Mountain area in Latakia close to the Turkish border, as well as in Aleppo, Idlib, Homs, Tartus and the Damascus region. Their brigade in Latakia Province, the Jabal al-Turkman Brigade, was formed in 2013 and comprises 12 armed units. Its Second Coastal Division was formed in early 2015 and is closely affiliated with the Western-backed rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).

What is troubling is that another group associated with the FSA, a Syrian rebel group known as the First Coastal Division, used a U.S. made missile to destroy a Russian helicopter that was searching for the pilots of the downed warplane.

So such an event could not only have troubling implications for Russia and Turkey, but could potentially start up another Cold War between Russia and the United States.

 

DO WE WANT PEACE IN SYRIA?

IT'S TIME TO SUPPORT A VALUE AMERICA CLAIMS TO PROMOTE - IT'S TIME TO SUPPORT A DEMOCRATIC SOLUTION FOR SYRIA

Can America hope to wage two different wars in the same territory at once? No. This is a study in failure. Obama has also refused to put boots on the ground in order to deal with The Islamic State, and instead has commenced with a bombing campaign that has done little - if next to nothing to damage our enemies. For every member of The Islamic State we may kill this way, we also kill countless innocents in the process. Waging a war from the sky is not a precise way to hunt down and kill our enemies. Bombing campaigns unleash wide scale destruction and often destroy the infrastructure of the states we are trying to 'help.'

So the United States is acting against the interests of the Syrian people. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Syrians (55%) support Assad (The Guardian). Does the U.S. have the right to oppose the will of the Syrian people? Absolutely not.

If we dislodge Assad, what could very possibly happen is that The Islamic State could march in and take over. Do we want this group to have complete control over Syria? That would be a nightmare scenario. Or this could turn into a civil war that would go on for decades. This is not to mention that this has become a complicated geopolitical affair where Russia, China and Iran are supporting Assad, while there are more than ten different militias fighting one another as often as they fight Assad. So the U.S. would no longer just be fighting Assad - but would also be attacking the interests of super powers like Russia and China.

It is time for America to end their war against the Syrian people. The first priority of the U.S. military should be the destruction of the Islamic State. And what to do in regards to Assad? We should leave that matter to the Syrian people. Let the Syrian people decide who their leader should be through democratic means. If necessary, an internationally supervised plebiscite could help the people of Syria decide their own future.


ENDING THE WAR AGAINST ASSAD

A U.S. BILL IN CONGRESS TO END THE WAR AGAINST ASSAD

H.R.4108 To Prohibit The Use of Funds for The Provision of Assistance to Syrian Opposition Groups and Individuals

Sponsors: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Austin Scott.

The two sponsors have said the following about the conflict:

"Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be," Austin was quoted as saying.

"I don't think Assad should be removed," Gabbard told CNN. "If Assad is removed and overthrown, ISIL, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, these Islamic extremist groups will walk straight in and take over all of Syria… they will be even stronger."

OFFICIAL WEBSITES

Tulsi Gabbard's Official Website

Austin Scott's Official Website

PRESS RELEASE

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Austin Scott Introduce Legislation to End Illegal U.S. War to Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad

RELATED NEWS STORIES

US Congressmen to Obama: Forget Assad, Fight ISIL (Sputnik News, 11-21-15)

President Al-Assad Interview: “From the Very First Day, We Were Determined to Fight Terrorism” (Global Research, 11-20-15)

Calling off America's Bombs (Common Dreams: Jeffrey Sachs, 9-5-13) Even though this article is from 2013, it is a great article for explaining the background of the war.


U.S. BOMBS CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE

Putin Cites US Bombing Attack on Aleppo Power Station as “Strange” (Veteran's Today, 10-13-15)

As Russia Bombs ISIS, US Bombs Syrian Civilian Power Stations (Activist Post, 10-13-15)

Why Is the US Silently Bombing Syria's Electricity Network? (Russia Insider, 10-20-15)


GROWING TENSIONS WITH RUSSIA

'Shooting down of jet could be game changer for Russia and Turkey' (DW, 11-24-15)

America versus Russia: Who Are the Real Supporters of International Terrorism? (Global Research, 11-12-15)


THE ISLAMIC STATE

The Management of Savagery (PDF): The book published in 2004 that explains much of The Islamic State's ideology and acts of cruelty

ISIL and the West: A clash of savageries (Aljazeera, 11-19-15)

The Islamic State's Dream: A Post-Paris "Clash of Civilizations" (Truth-Out, 11-19-15)

Links between Turkey and ISIS are now ‘undeniable’ (Global Research, 11-19-15)

VIDEO: Manufacturing Terror: How Saudi Arabia Helped Create Islamic State (Truthdig, 11-16-15)

Exclusive: 50 Spies Say ISIS Intelligence Was Cooked (The Daily Beast, 9-9-15)

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq (The Guardian, 6-3-15)

What ISIS Really Wants (The Atlantic, March 2015)

ISIS Is Proof of the Failed "War on Terror" (Common Dreams, 2-25-15)


SYRIAN REFUGEES

Photographer captures haunting images of Syria's lost children (Mashable, 10-2-15)

The Arab world’s wealthiest nations are doing next to nothing for Syria’s refugees (The Washington Post, 9-4-15)

If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will? (The Independent, 9-3-15)

Heartbreaking Images of Drowned Refugee Boy Requires Humanity Take Action (Revolution News, 9-2-15)


THE KURDS

Turkey’s New ‘War on Terror’ Mainly Targets Kurds (Video) (Truth-Dig, 7-27-15)

Kurdish forces besiege Isis fighters in Kobani after massacre of civilians (The Guardian, 6-26-15)

The Peshmerga, the West's Best Defense Against the Islamic State (Huffington Post, 6-9-15)

Why Turkey Won't Help The Kurds Under ISIS Siege Right Next To Them (Business Insider, 10-9-14)

US could easily verify massacre of Kurdish civilians in Syria if they wanted (RT, 8-16-13)


THE BRAVE KURDISH WOMEN FIGHTING ISIS

A Tribute to the Brave Kurdish Women Fighting ISIS (Underground Web World)

Hero Ibrahim Ahmad: The original female Peshmerga (Aljazeera, 10-29-15)

Photographer lives with and interviews YPJ women (PRI, 4-28-15)

Meet the Women Taking the Battle to ISIS (TIME, 4-2-15)

The Kurdish women fighting ISIS (CNN, 3-12-15)

‘Sisters in arms’: Kurdish women fighters ready ‘to send ISIS to hell’ (VIDEO) (RT, 10-10-14)

The Kurdish female fighters bringing the fight to IS (BBC, 9-5-14)


TURKEY

Turkish Whistleblowers Corroborate Story on False Flag Sarin Attack in Syria (Global Research, 10-23-15)

Hersh Vindicated? Turkish Whistleblowers Corroborate Story on False Flag Sarin Attack in Syria (Counter Punch, 10-23-15)

Why Turkey Won't Help The Kurds Under ISIS Siege Right Next To Them (Business Insider, 10-9-14)