16 Sep Obama (USA) – Assad (Syria) – From friends to foes and back
We probably don’t have to introduce Syria anymore. Since the start of the “civil war” over there almost everybody in the world knows the country at least by hearsay. But we do want to return for a second to the start of that “civil war”, somewhere in March 2011. At that time political islamists, Salafists and other radical Sunnis joined forces to throw over president Bashar al-Assad. Just another variation to the “Arabic Spring”-theme, with the small difference that the “free West” interfered very soon and openly allied with the “rebels”, though everybody could clearly see that these “rebels” were a motley crew and in general shared the ideology which was also popular amongst Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other “friends” of that “free West”.
Still, that “free West” got frightened when an important part of the “rebels” seemed to follow another agenda than throwing over the government of Assad. ISIS (ISIL), nowadays IS, namely was, as was the case with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, mostly interested in setting up a religious dictatorship, not in installing a democracy. After Assad unequivocally won the Syrian presidential elections on June 3 of this year, ISIS started the serious work: settling its own Islamic state on the territory of especially Syria and Iraq. An idea which can’t have come as a surprise for those who, directly or indirectly, provided these “rebels” with money or weapons (in first instance the “free West”), since ISIS was already established in 2003 as a union of al-Qaeda linked organizations aiming “to protect Sunni Iraqis and to defend Islam”. It was only in 2011 that the organization expanded its field of activity to Syria and changed its name from “Islamic State in Iraq” to “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (or “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”).
That the “rebels” of ISIS (in June renamed to IS, Islamic State) only entered Iraq once they had become big in Syria is thus complete nonsense. ISIS arose in Iraq, more specifically in the Iraq occupied by the troops of the Stabilization Force Iraq under control of the United States. So when Obama or his State Secretary John Kerry now tell us that they will attack Syria to get IS with the excuse that “we are going to do what they [the Syrian government] haven’t done”, that is a blatant lie, unless they mean: attacking the (umpteenth) enemy which we have created and armed ourselves.
But there’s more: the US government really is looking for a “legitimate” reason to enter Syria (see this again) and Syria has put forward that that would mean a violation of international rule of law and the UN manifest (which prohibits a violation of the territorial integrity of a UN member state without that country’s permission or without the permission of the UN Security Council, which won’t be obtained since Russia isn’t in agreement with it and Russia has veto power in that UN Security Council), but meanwhile Assad and Obama seem to be cooperating behind the screens.
Behind the screens, indeed, and via a third party (full article here). That third party would obtain intelligence information from the Americans on the movements of IS convoys, meetings, armories and so on and pass that information to the Syrian government, which can use it to attack IS in Syria. The third party remains unknown, but possible candidates are Iraqi intelligence services, Russian or German intermediates or a common headquarters put up in the Kurdish-Iraqi city Erbil. Other sources claim the information is indeed passed to the Syrian government by the Iraqi government and that there was a meeting yesterday between Faleh al-Fayad, the Iraqi national security adviser, and Assad.
That the legitimate governments in Iraq and Syria would be talking to each other would be no more than logic: with IS they clearly have a common enemy which is better handled concerted.
That the US government meanwhile denies talking to the Syrian government on whatever level is explained quite simply by on the one hand the fact that it’s psychologically difficult to claim that the one depicted as the enemy yesterday is now a friend and on the other hand the fact that the IS “rebels” probably are partly sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Qatar (that first country still an ally of the US, that second since 2003 – after moving out of Saudi Arabia – harboring a US military base).
That US troops could enter Syria without meeting real opposition from Syrian government forces is no more than logic – IS is at the Iraqi side of Syria, a side not controlled by the Syrian government – and would actually help the Syrian government in fighting the “rebels”. Those “rebels” would then be attacked from two sides, which would be a pleasant change for the government in Damascus.
Some claim that an invasion by US troops could be ment to capture Damascus between the “rebels” gathered near the Israeli border and the “rebels” and US troops coming from Iraq. We however deem that unlikely since the people coming up with that theory seem to think also that Israel would openly engage itself in the war and forget that the US government will not get international support for effectuating itself a regime change in Damascus.
And then of course there’s the Syrian government: it sees no objection in the possibility that its inland enemies would no longer be supported by the US (though for instance John McCain is still pleading for that), but it tries to make the unofficial cooperation between the US government and the Syrian government official in order not to get shot in the back afterward.
Interesting games being played in Syria … Almost as interesting as the games being played between the rival groups in the free prequel to The Maier-Files 🙂