With attention diverted to testimony by James Comey, the US attacked Syrian government forces — again — but this time, Damascus warned there would be dire consequences, which could bring about world war.
By Claire Bernish | The Free Thought Project
As if further proof were needed that the U.S. harbors interests having nothing to do with fighting terrorists and the Islamic State in Syria, American troops have attacked Syrian government forces — who were fighting the Islamic State at the time they were attacked.
This bold move inside a sovereign nation against its military — if continued, unfettered — could find the U.S. culpable in provoking the next world war.
Even if the U.S. military wishes to somehow justify attacks on the troops of a sovereign nation inside that nation’s borders, under the premise Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be deposed, firing upon troops actively engaged in thwarting the nefarious terrorist caliphate — considered everyone’s enemy — is, at the very least, counterproductive.
Actions wholly contrary to the War on Terror’s arguably most formidable foe began when the U.S. declared a no-go ‘deconfliction zone’ — inside Syria — and warned the military would attack anyone breaching its boundaries.
On Tuesday — acting without an official declaration of war — the U.S. conducted an airstrike against Syrian Arab Army forces near At Tanf under the guise those troops posed a threat to “partner forces,” garnering the condemnation of both Damascus and its allies, Russia and Iran, in the process.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov railed against the Pentagon on Wednesday, asserting it had carried out “an aggressive act, that violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and — deliberately or not — targeted the forces which are most effective in fighting terrorists on the ground.”
Al Tanf, quite near the Syrian border with Iraq, is of imperative geostrategic importance to the U.S., which of course has heightened military presence on both sides. Reports say Iranian Shi’a forces have been active in the area
Of course, this arbitrary zone declared by the United States has not been recognized by Damascus or Moscow — thus, any so-called breaches would only be on the opinion of the U.S. — yet the Pentagon released a statement, notably calling the demarcated area “agreed upon.”
According to the Department of Defense:
“Despite previous warnings, pro-regime forces entered the agreed-upon deconfliction zone with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, armed technical vehicles and more than 60 soldiers posing a threat to coalition and partner forces based at the At Tanf Garrison.
“The coalition issued several warnings via the deconfliction line before destroying two artillery pieces and an anti-aircraft weapon and damaging a tank, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said.”
However, as the statement continues with a quote from unnamed and thus unverifiable ‘officials,’ a clear conflict in the summation of events as told by Syrian proxy war adversaries becomes startlingly clear:
“The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime or pro-regime forces, but remains ready to defend themselves if pro-regime forces refuse to vacate the deconfliction zone. The coalition calls on all parties in southern Syria to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.”
Moscow recoiled at the very concept of a deconfliction zone, as Lavrov noted,
“I don’t know anything about such zones. This must be some territory, which the coalition unilaterally declared [deconfliction zones] and where it probably believes to have a sole right to take action. We cannot recognize such zones.”
Zero Hedge reports:
“The US strike on Syrian forces came on the same day U.S. and coalition aircraft were busy supporting thousands of Syrian Arab and Kurdish forces assaulting the de-facto Islamic State capital of Raqqa, the terrorist group’s last urban stronghold in what is left of its ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria.
“The Raqqa assault comes even as U.S. officials acknowledge that most of the Islamic State’s leadership has already fled the city for the more isolated Euphrates River valley running from the city east to the Iraqi border. But military planners have stuck with plans drawn up under the Obama administration and continued under President Donald Trump, predicated on the fall of Mosul and Raqqa before launching an effort to push the terror group out of the valley and Deir Ezzor province.
“U.S. officials view the Iranian movement near al Tanf, in the extreme south of Syria, as a probing action to test the U.S.-trained forces there, and possibly act as a blocking force to prevent them from moving north to Deir Ezzor, according to FP. The Syrian regime wants to eventually retake the province, and Iran views the province and the river valley as a vital conduit to maintain influence from Iraq, through Syria and into Lebanon.”
Were fighting ISIS truly the primary agenda, a slight breach of the contentious deconfliction zone by Syrian forces fighting those militants should be considered an acceptable infraction, at least within reason — not an impetus for an airstrike.
In an agreement with Damascus, Russia, Iran, and Turkey signed an agreement for multiple “de-escalation” zones in Syria — not the U.S.’ deconfliction zone — in which firm truces are to be in effect. However, Reuters did not make apparent with any certainty whether or not Moscow had actually signed that agreement.
“This approach was agreed to by Syria,” Lavrov noted. “We consider illegitimate any unilateral declaration of ‘deconfliction zones’ not endorsed by Damascus. We hope the coalition will adhere to the agreement it has reached with us, which states that the de-escalation zones must be agreed to in detail by all stakeholders.”
As Iranian state-run Press TV paraphrased Lavrov’s statement, “He added that the Syrian troops who had been attacked in the US airstrike had been attempting to protect a route between Syria and Iraq which Daesh was trying to destroy. He stressed that the US attack resulted in what Daesh was seeking to achieve.”
Whether the U.S. is fighting terrorists — or simply bequeathing them an upper hand — seems apparent to most of the non-Western world.
Such imbroglios have marred the supposed shared goals by all parties fighting this multi-faceted conflict and its offshoot proxy wars. While all sides — unironically, including various iterations of the terrorist group, al-Qaeda, whose fighters have been puppeteered by the U.S. to ultimately topple Assad — continue fighting Daesh, their political grudge matches inch us ever closer to full-scale conflict, as in world war.
Evincing this dance around the line of acceptability, Reuters reported Wednesday, “A military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad threatened on Wednesday to hit U.S. positions in Syria, warning its ‘self-restraint’ over U.S. air strikes would end if Washington crossed ‘red lines.’”
“America knows well that the blood of the sons of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army, and its allies is not cheap, and the capacity to strike their positions in Syria, and their surroundings, is available when circumstances will it,” the statement from the pro-Assad alliance asserted, adding those attacks would employ “different missile and military systems, in the light of the deployment of American forces in the region […]
“This will not last if America goes further, and crosses the red lines.”
Propaganda and reports from any side in this conflict must be considered in light of other statements — each side will naturally justify its actions in preservation of individual goals.
But to claim publicly the penultimate goal of combating terrorists of the Islamic State — terrorism, in general — while then carrying out an airstrike against albeit adversarial troops fighting Daesh seems disingenuous, at best, and provocative, at least.
In the global War on Terror, additionally encompassing proxy wars — Syria’s secondary battles between the United States and both Russia and Iran, for instance — muddy the waters significantly, arguably making fighting terrorism take a back seat at times when direct action would be prudent.
As in the case of the United States bombing Syrian forces engaging the Islamic State.
The U.S. can declare an arbitrary deconfliction zone ‘til the cows come home, but if the other parties to the conflict fail to recognize its existence, that zone inside a sovereign nation — especially when defended militarily — is both illegal and could be considered an invasion or act of aggression.
Extenuating circumstances, entangled details, and innumerable complications aside, it is of paramount importance to understand the War on Terror never primarily sought to quash terrorism.
Declaring war on a tactic or concept, by design, pompously aggrandizes any agenda the Pentagon could manifest — while writing a blank check to permit U.S. actions appearing to have the semblance of fighting terrorism to proceed without hindrance.
Can it be said the U.S. actively fights the Islamic State in Syria? Absolutely.
But destroying adversarial troops attempting to do the same belies the true motive — controlling geostrategically-important areas and forcefully opposing the Syrian government and, ultimately, deposing Assad and controlling the region with governments and militaries favorable to other hegemonic ends.
With overbearing propaganda citing terrorism as the world’s enemy, the U.S. has instead deflected ethical responsibility to uphold that mission — choosing instead to thrust the War on Terror as a reason to undertake aggressive, illegal, counterproductive, imperialist, and generally reckless actions throughout the Middle East — including the training, arming, and funding of actual terrorist groups.
One time-tested axiom indeed exists for a solid reason: ‘You can’t fight fire with fire’ — the United States empire cannot claim with believability to desire fighting terrorism … and then employ terrorists using terrorism to meet that goal.
For the Liberty Report, Dr. Ron Paul discussed the same hypocritical, diametrically opposed narratives and actions by the Pentagon against its proxy adversaries — and the folly with which these acts could lead the world into another war: