In Full Sunlight: US Double-Dealing in Syria

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Saturday, 02 July 2016

The US-led War on Terror runs on double standards and lies. And the game goes on, particularly in Syria.

According to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, several Western nations, including Australia, have been directly, albeit secretly, asking his government for security cooperation to deal with various terror groups.

In an interview this week with Australia's SBS Network, President Assad said, "They attack us politically and then they send officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security. They only repeat what the United States want them to say.”

We have seen this all before; it should be oddly familiar:

1-The comments aren’t a complete shock, as several Western media reports to this effect have been making the rounds throughout the war, suggesting that the Pentagon has been using allies as a back-channel to receive intelligence about ISIL and Al-Qaeda from the Syrian government. This policy of double-dealing is likely not to sit well with Saudi Arabia and its regional cohorts, which have argued that the focus of the war should be fighting the Syrian government and not ISIL.

2-Despite their direct, but secret demands from the Syrian government for information about ISIL and Al-Qaeda, the US policy to divide terror groups into the two camps of "moderate" and "extremist" still rails against Syria. In the meantime, by making ISIL go viral, Washington and its regional cohorts are only helping them accomplish their sadistic goals, including partition of Iraq and Syrian onto ethnic-sectarian lines. Mind you, the regime changers won't lose any sleep over this - if it ever happens.

3-The Iranian, Syrian, Russian and Hezbollah military advisors and fighters killed in the Real War on Terror are characterised in the US media as "human shields" and "regime supporters", and blamed for their own deaths based on the unfortunate coincidence of their geographical location or government policy. Some right-wing pundits even go so far as to justify the terror attacks because they are assumed to be aimed at "evil" Syrian government and its allies. Nor does the White House interrupt every news broadcast to publicly condemn the "moderate" terrorist attacks in Syria and laud the counter-terror efforts by the coalition of Iran, Syria, Russia, and Hezbollah.

4-More strikingly, when Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition massacres civilians in Yemen, it never goes viral, and President Obama doesn't apologize, yet alone barely even acknowledge the tragedy. Instead, he keeps blaming every single civilian death in Syria on the government in Damascus. These all demonstrate the extent to which the US is willing to disobey all legal and moral conventions to achieve its political goals, all in the name of fighting terror.

5-Do American lives matter more than Lebanese, Iranian, Syrian, Russian, and Yemeni ones? Are these not, too, “heinous, evil, vile acts”? Perhaps the knee-jerk Islamophobia ignores the crucial context for the tragic deaths of Muslim fighters. But what about Russian troops, who are not Muslims? Also ignored is the fact that the "moderate" terrorists are now "admittedly" ISIL and Al-Qaeda allies.

6-To deny that Syria and its people have been and are the victims of terrorism for five years is an outrage. To add insult to injury by labelling the Syrian government a sponsor of state terrorism because of political considerations is just cruel.

7-US double standards on terrorism point to an awkward mindset among American politicians. They refuse to agree on a single definition. Terrorism is even defined differently within different government departments.

In order to understand America's position on terrorism, it is necessary to look at the definition used by the State Department. For the State Department, terrorism is perpetrated by non-state entities, involves the premeditated use of violence, is committed against non-combatant targets, and has political aims. Given these four requirements, the attacks carried out by ISIL and Al-Qaeda in Damascus cannot be categorised as terrorism, because they target government troops and security forces rather than so-called non-combatants.

That said, terrorism is terrorism. It cannot be "moderate" or "extremist". It is a crime against humanity. Counterterrorism requires effective international cooperation in an open, honest and direct manner too. For the sake of global anti-terror campaigns, the US must stop this unwelcome practice in full sunlight. The many victims of foreign-backed terrorism there may never see justice carried out by those responsible. But their suffering is the same as that felt by Americans after such terror attacks on their soil. The least the US government can do is admit that, and stop using terrorism as a propaganda tool for its own convenience.

Likewise, Washington should let go of its double-dealing too, i.e., dividing terror groups and aiding and fighting them all at the same time as the main tactic in the campaign of subversion and interference. This way, all parties involved in the war could get far better results from their counterterrorism efforts. For the heck of it, the military planners in Washington who show complete indifference to Iranian, Syrian, Russian and Lebanese lives, could even claim some credit for "helping" Syria win the War on Terror, where America's aggression runs from weaponising various terror groups, embargo, propaganda, isolation, and military invasion to the use of “propagandistic approach” to terrorism.

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