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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Cesspool of Hypocrisy

If there were a hypocrisy meter, the Obama administration surely would have achieved unprecedented numbers in recent weeks. With the Putin government announcing and swiftly executing military action in Syria, the US government and its NATO allies went apoplectic, accusing the Russians of destabilizing the Middle East, increasing the threat of terrorism, adding to homelessness, and risking the widening of the war. Of course any sane observer knows that the US has already destabilized the Middle East, fomented terrorism, brought on mass homelessness, and dramatically widened the war, while causing hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The Obama administration and its hyper-patriotic opposition within the ruling class are most indignant because Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Russian Federation have signed a mutual assistance accord that mounts a real anti-extremist front in the wars raging in Syria and Iraq. Irony of ironies, US meddling in the Middle East has brought two former intransigent enemies-- Iran and Iraq-- together. To the shock of US Geo-political schemers, a client state-- Iraq-- dares to defy its sponsor-- the US-- in forging this agreement. Iran and Russia, both squeezed extortionately by the vise of US/EU sanctions, have defied the school yard bullies to support the Syrian government.
Responding to recent Russian bombings of targets in Syria, Obama denounced the Russian moves as a “recipe for disaster.” No one in the administration has explained how Syria-- or Iraq, Libya, Yemen, or Afghanistan-- could be a bigger disaster.
Obama has accused the Russians of not discriminating between ISIS (ISIL) and the other opponents of the Assad government. He maintains that the Russians are supporting Assad rather than the anti-ISIS effort. At the same time, the US government concedes that the CIA has armed its own surrogates with sophisticated anti-tank weapons (TOW missiles) only useful against Assad's tanks and not ISIS. Hypocrisy!
While Obama maintains a fictitious difference between good and bad elements within the “opposition” and an expressed abhorrence of the violence, the opposition has achieved a “rare” unity in refusing to even attend meetings to discuss negotiations organized by the United Nations, according to the Associated Press. The AP story (Russia Launches New Wave of Air Raids in Syria, Targets IS Posts, Albert Aji and Jim Heintz, 10-04-15) goes on to acknowledge that the Syrian Opposition Coalition statement “was signed by the Salafist-jihadist Ahrar al-Sham as well as some of the rebel units that have received training and weapons from the United States and its allies.” Just how this motley united front of accused “terrorist” organizations and supposed moderates will offer a better life to Syrians after Assad has never been explained by the US government. Skeptics would, with justification, fear a repeat of the Libyan tragedy.
Equipped with the short memory and stunted imagination typical of US journalists, few have reflected upon the telling origins of the Syrian civil war. Of course the official account requires a massive dose of gullibility. It spins a tale of dedicated democrats who, foiled by the Assad government in their peaceful demonstrations, take up arms in a matter of months, even weeks, in 2011. No one in the media questions how this amorphous mass of private citizens is shaped up, armed, and led, in such a short span, against a sophisticated modern military and government security forces. Despite the miraculous appearance of arms from the late Muammar Gaddafi's destabilized Libya, despite the appearance of foreign fighters, US journalists found no cause to look for the hidden hands.
Instead, journalists continue to churn out copy that carefully follows the US/NATO line on all Middle Eastern matters. Consider the aptly named Liz Sly who slyly pumps out dispatches through the Washington Post that resemble rewrites of State Department releases. As with her equally discredited colleagues Judith Miller and Brian Williams, there seems to be no journalistic sins that warrant her consignment to journalistic hell. Sly infamously disseminated the fabricated story “Gay Girl in Damascus”:
On June 7, 2011 she wrote 'Gay Girl in Damascus' Blogger Detained, a news article that merged claims from a blog post with what appeared to be independently gathered facts in a way that suggested that youthful, attractive Syrian-American, Amina Arraf, was grabbed off the street along with 10,000 other Damascus citizens by the evil Assad forces. On June 8, the Washington Post retracted the story and on June 10, a 40-year-old US citizen confessed that the person, the story, and the blog were a hoax that he concocted. (ZZ's blog)
Of course perpetrating a hoax has not stopped Sly from advancing her career. On October 1, 2015, Sly (along with Andrew Roth) wrote from Beirut a story appearing in the Washington Post:
The expanding Russian involvement in Syria threatened to further complicate efforts to secure a negotiated settlement to the 4-year-old war at a time when the influx of refugees into Europe and the endurance of the Islamic State is focusing world attention on the unrelenting bloodshed in Syria.
Negotiated settlement? The “rebels” steadfastly refuse to even discuss a UN-sponsored meeting about negotiations as reported by the Associated Press. How does Russian involvement threaten something that only exists in the mind of Liz Sly?
As for refugees, Sly had previously written a fantastic, tortured story of how refugees in Lebanon voting absentee and en masse for Assad were actually coerced from afar by the nefarious Assad. This wild disparagement of Syrian refugees' sentiments for Assad reveals profoundly Sly's lack of understanding of the roots of the conflict and her determination to view the refugee crisis through the lens of State Department policy goals and not compassion.
Following the lead of US policy makers, Sly and her colleague denounce the Russian bombing targets:
Some of the towns struck are strongholds of a recently formed coalition, Jaish al-Fateh, or Army of Conquest, that includes the Syrian al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra alongside an assortment of Islamist and moderate factions. Among them was a mosque in the northern Idlib town of Jisr al-Shugour, whose capture by the rebel coalition in April underscored the growing threat to the regime.
But notice how she concedes that Russian planes target a coalition-- a diverse ideological “assortment”-- of combatants, a concession that al-Qaida cooperates with the so-called moderates. Surely this acknowledges that the anti-Assad movement is a snake pit of opportunists. And the Russians are to be faulted for not asking for a show of hands within the Army of Conquest?
In light of the recent criminal bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan, a murderous act that NO journalist in the West can lay at the US's doorstep without preceding the fact with a host of mealy-mouthed “alleged,” “suspected,” or “charged” disclaimers, isn't it hypocritical that Sly so easily and assuredly blames the Russians for blowing up a mosque?
Roy Gutman at McClatchy (10-3-15) reports that the Kurds, the only reliable fighters against ISIS, support the Russian effort in Syria: “'We want Russia to provide us air support as well as weapons in our fight against the ISIL militants,' a YPG commander, Sipan Hemo, was quoted as telling the Russian Sputnik news portal. 'We can organize an effective cooperation with Russia on the issue'... Some analysts speculated that the YPG was interested in Russian support because Moscow was unlikely to respond to Turkey's worries that the Kurds' success would fuel a push for independence among its own Kurdish minority.”
Similarly, Iraq's Shiite militia welcome the Russian engagement. The Washington Post reports (10-05-15): “...Iraq's most powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militias said Monday they would welcome Russian airstrikes on IS in the country and accused the U.S. of failing to act decisively against the hardline group.”
As they have in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and so many other countries, US and NATO meddling in Syria has unleashed destructive forces further destabilizing the Middle East.
Sadly, the forthcoming US Presidential elections promise no respite from this cesspool of hypocrisy. All the Republican candidates separate themselves from the administration by advocating more military intervention.
Hilary Clinton, similarly, appeals to the war mongers by advocating a no-fly zone over Syria-- an act that would strengthen ISIS and the Islamists by weakening Assad.
And Bernie Sanders evades the issue.
Zoltan Zigedy

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