Last week US President Obama waived military aid restrictions for “foreign forces” and others in Syria. When hopes were raised for an end to the Syrian conflict following the recapture of most of eastern Aleppo, the US is pouring more petrol on the fire.
Now, we can question as to whether this will make a massive difference on the ground as we know the US and its allies have already been backing “foreign forces” in Syria. However, at least it shows people who may have had their doubts, as to what Washington’s game is. Namely, to prolong the agony for the people of Syria for as long as it can. The attitude is: “If we cannot topple Assad, then we’ll damn well make sure we’ll keep his country burning.” And all this – lest we forget- brought to us by an American President who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The truth is that every time there’s been a real chance of an end to the conflict in Syria, Uncle Sam has stepped in to sabotage it.
Members of the Syrian opposition who wanted to participate in democratic politics under Syria’s new constitution were deliberately sidelined. Instead, the US and their pro-regime-change allies backed radical militants who wanted the violent overthrow of the country’s government. In March 2012, a six-point peace plan to end the conflict (then just over a year old) was put forward by the Arab League and the UN. The Syrian government was reported to have accepted the so-called Kofi Annan plan, and the initiative also got thumbs up from opposition figures in Syria. So what did ‘Fireman’ Uncle Sam and his allies do? Yes, that’s right: They poured more petrol onto the fire at a time when the blaze could have been extinguished.
“Within days of Annan’s peace plan gaining a positive response from both sides in late March, the imperial powers openly pledged, for the first time, millions of dollars for the Free Syrian Army; for military equipment, to provide salaries to its soldiers and to bribe government forces to defect. In other words, terrified that the civil war is starting to die down, they are setting about institutionalizing it”, wrote Dan Glazebrook in Al-Ahram Weekly.
Just imagine if the Annan peace plan had succeeded in 2012. How many Syrians, now dead, would still be alive?
However, Washington only wanted to escalate the conflict – not to end it.
It was a similar story in the Balkan wars in the 1990s. The 1992 Lisbon agreement provided for the peaceful division of an independent Bosnia. But, US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman urged Alija Izetbegovic to renege on his acceptance of the deal telling him “If you don’t like it, why sign it.”
Result: a brutal war in Bosnia in which many thousands of people lost their lives including around 8,000 at Srebrenica. Again, it could all have been avoided if the US had genuinely wanted peace. Instead, the US set fire to Bosnia and then blamed the Serbs.
Seven years later, the State Department was at it again, deliberately preventing a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Kosovo, a conflict which – as in Syria and Bosnia – they had done much to ignite in the first place. Horrified that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was ready to accept international peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and therefore deprive NATO of a pretext for bombing his country, the US and the UK added an Appendix to the document at Rambouillet allowing for NATO’s military occupation of Yugoslavia, which they knew Milosevic could not possibly agree.
Later, Lord Gilbert, a UK Minister for Defence Procurement, admitted: “I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in NATO at that time. I think the terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable: how could he possibly accept them? It was quite deliberate.”
In Afghanistan, the US has spent decades in making sure that peace does not prevail. For most of the 80s, the Soviet leadership was looking to withdraw its forces from the country and negotiate a peace deal. In their book “Cold War,” Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing, note how Yuri Andropov, Soviet leader from 1982-1984, offered a timetable for withdrawal if the US (and Pakistan) stopped supplying the anti-government Mujahedeen and a government similar to the one in power in Kabul stayed in place. “From the archives, we know that the Soviets were trying to disengage honorably, leaving behind a friendly regime in Kabul,” say Isaacs and Downing. However, the US “concentrated instead on supplying arms to the Mujahedeen and on letting the Soviet Union ‘bleed’.”
Even after the Soviet Union formally signed up to withdrawal in accords in 1988, the US was still pumping arms into the country. “A long civil war dragged on for years,” note Isaacs and Downing.
And still drags on to this day. In his farewell speech in 2014, Afghanistan’s outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who had come to power following the US-led invasion of his country in 2001, blamed the US for the fact that his country was still at war. “One of the reasons was that the Americans did not want peace because they had their own agenda and objective,” Karzai said. He warned the new Afghan government to be “extra cautious in its dealings with the West.”
Across the world, as I detailed here, the US has fought consistently against the peace.
As a foreign policy, it’s hard to think of a more devilish one than starting fires and then doing everything to stop those fires being put out. But of course, while it is bad news for the ordinary people on the ground, it is good news for the arms manufacturers and those who want certain strategically important countries kept permanently weakened.
The question is: Will things change under Trump, whom only last week pledged “We will stop trying racing to topple regimes” and that the policy of ‘intervene and chaos’ would come to an end?
Perhaps it’s just words, but some, clearly, are worried that there will be a shift. You don’t have to be a Trump supporter to acknowledge that the US ‘Deep State’ and much of the establishment media is doing all it can to de-legitimize his election win.
And you’d be very naïve indeed to think that they’re doing this because of things he said about women.
By Neil Clark