What Most Syrians See of Their War

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Eric Zuesse

Here is a video of what most Syrians are seeing and experiencing of the war, and it’s titled “Living in the crosshairs, May 29th 2016 ENG SUBS” (the “ENG SUBS” means “English subtitles”).

It refers to attackers being the “Free Syrian Army” (who were founded by Riad al-Asaad, no relation to Bashar al-Assad — and spelled and pronounced differently — and he was a proponent of a fundamentalist Sunni Syrian constitution). It also refers to (and shows victims of) the “canisters” which the FSA is firing westward, from the Aleppo city area that the FSA controls, into the city’s “Midan District,” which is controlled by the Syrian government.

The FSA is America’s chosen group of fighters (Barack Obama’s terms for them are ‘the moderate opposition’ and ‘moderate rebels’, but they’re just the people that the U.S. government overtly back — not back covertly like Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda and some other groups). All these groups are trying to overthrow the Syrian government, and, though they often cooperate with one-another, like with Al Qaeda in Syria (called “Al Nusra”), and ISIS (also called “ISIL” and “Daesh”), the groups also occasionally attack each other, because each of the groups is trying to increase its territory and wants to emerge victorious to control all of Syria, or of as much of Syria as possible, in the final settlement.

Virtually all members of each one of these groups are jihadists, but different foreign countries are backing different ones of these groups, and America’s preferred group happens to be the FSA — the group that’s firing these “canisters.”

At 1:46 in the video, the flag of the “Sultan Murad Faction” is being flown; at 1:50  it’s the flag of Al Nusra. So, this time the groups are all working together, because of their shared goal of conquering the Syrian government in the Midan District, which they’ve apparently just done here, at least for the time being. The Sultan Murad group are backed by Turkey (which, under Erdogan, has become a fundamentalist-Sunni country, like the Arab monarchies are, but without the oil). Al Qaeda is mainly backed by the Sauds, U.S. allies against Assad.

Each of these groups is bankrolled by somewhat different financial interests, but all of those interests are united in their desire to overthrow the non-sectarian government that has been ruling in Syria, and that the U.S. CIA has been trying, ever since 1949, to overthrow and replace by a fundamentalist Sunni government (which will favor the fundamentalist-Sunni Sauds, our allies). Though the majority of Syrians have always supported a non-sectarian Syria, various factions of Sunni Islam in fundamentalist-Sunni foreign countries have (especially after the severe 2007-2010 drought in Syria, and the consequent intense “Arab Spring” anti-government movement in Syria during 2011) supplied weapons and fighters to jihadists to overthrow Assad, and they also finance propaganda to recruit jihadists from all around the world, to fight in Syria and maybe become heavenly martyrs in this ‘holy war’ or jihad, against the ‘infidel’ non-sectarian Syrian government, which, moreover, is led by the Shiite Bashar al-Assad — and all Shiites should be killed, according to such fundamentalist Sunni teachings (which originate in, and are led by, Saudi Arabia).

The United States is allied here actually with the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and with their friends the Thani family who own Qatar, and also with their friends the Sabah family who own Kuwait, and also with the six royal families who own UAE; and all of these fundamentalist-Sunni royal families are aiming to supply their oil and gas, and pipelines for oil and gas, selling into the world’s largest energy-market, Europe. Those pipelines would be built through Syria, which is the reason why the U.S. and its Gulf-state allies want to take Syria over, or at least to conquer enough of a strip through what today is Syria, so as to enable construction of these pipelines into Europe.

Whereas America’s goal in this is mainly to strangle Russia, which is the biggest current supplier of oil and gas into the European market, the main goal of the royal Arab families is to expand their markets, to grab a bigger share of Europe’s energy sales. Pipelined oil and gas tends to be cheaper and therefore more cost-competitive than trucked or shipped oil and gas; so, this is a “pipeline war,” to expand markets.

That’s what the Syrian war is all about. Whereas for America it’s to conquer Russia; for the Arab royals, it’s to supply a bigger share of Europe’s energy-imports. For Turkey, it’s to grab a share of the oil-sales stolen by these jihadists, oil from Iraq and Syria, and also to serve within NATO as the agents of royal Arab families, a bridge between NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council. That bridge is a valuable and profitable function to fulfill.

The millions of refugees that are being produced by this war, many of whom are fleeing to Europe, are just the results, basically, of this land-clearing operation in Syria, to get rid of the people who are supporting the current Syrian government, which is allied with Russia, instead of with the U.S. and its allies.

So: those “canisters” are intended to terrify enough Syrians to flee, so that (it’s hoped) enough land can be cleared of population, in order for the desired pipelines to be built.

And Syrians know this. Consequently, not only are the various jihadist groups despised by from two-thirds to around 80% of the Syrian public, but at least 55% of Syrians would vote for Bashar al-Assad to be the country’s leader, in any free and fair election — and Obama knows this, which is the reason why he has strenuously opposed democracy in Syria, and even Ban ki-Moon has (though very quietly) condemned Obama’s position that rejects democracy in Syria. Furthermore, the Syrian people overwhelmingly (by 82%, to be exact) cite the U.S. as being the main source of the immense suffering they face.

In other words: terrorizing the population is good, not bad, from the standpoint of the U.S. and its allies — and many Syrians know this. But the few anti-Assad fighters who loathe ISIS and who have been praised by the U.S. government don’t necessarily know or understand this. The few anti-Assad fighters who, for whatever reason (be it that they’re competing against ISIS, or maybe even that they genuinely detest ISIS) have tried to help the U.S. CIA against ISIS, have even been stunned to find the U.S. government uninterested. It doesn’t make sense to them.

To clear the land, terror is good, not bad; the CIA mustn’t get in the way, and they don’t. It’s one reason why those FSA fighters who had taken seriously the U.S. government’s anti-ISIS rhetoric, have, in many cases, subsequently become disillusioned, and cooperate now with al-Nusra and other such groups, which are only marginally less extremist than ISIS is. At least ISIS isn’t lying to them, like the U.S. government does.

Since the European governments are allied with the U.S., those governments are torn about what to do with the refugees that the U.S.-and-allied operation is producing (and is intended to produce). At least up till now, far more Europeans hate the refugees than hate the U.S. government, and so the problem is merely a political annoyance to EU leaders, not yet a cause for breakup of the Western Alliance (European countries’ alliance with the U.S. government), which still seems strong, and which is still strongly supported by Europeans (including even by the ones who hate these refugees — refugees who are result of that very alliance, which they support).

Though this land-clearing operation creates a nuisance in Europe, it’s far more than that, a life-and-death matter, in Syria. For Arab aristocracies, it’s being done mainly for business (it’s not about ideology, except Sunni versus Shia); but for America’s aristocracy, it’s mainly for power: conquering Russia, by getting rid of Russia’s allies, surrounding Russia, then going in for the kill — unless the Russian government first submits and posts a white flag of surrender (in which case the West will take over Russia’s oil and gas etc., ‘peacefully’).

Perhaps the Western Alliance will continue as it is. But maybe it won’t. For the millions of Syrians in the midst of the hell that Washington and its allies are causing there, a lot might depend on whether it will continue as it is. Without the Western Alliance, the foreign jihadists who are destroying their country would have to leave. Those jihadists are utterly dependent upon the support of Barack Obama, King Saud, Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel, and the other leaders of the Western Alliance. None of those leaders can continue this ongoing invasion of Syria, without the continuing support of their Western comrades. The destruction of Syria is a team-effort. But maybe the team will fall apart before it can achieve the type of victory that’s required for real ‘success’. Which side will give up this war first?

One thing’s for sure: What Syrians see of their war is not going to endear them to The West. And this also means: it’s not going to endear them to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States. Will it endear them to the EU? Certainly not if the EU turns them away as refugees. However, if the EU separates from the U.S., then maybe, just maybe, there can emerge favorable relations between Europe and the secular Arabs who have long constituted the majority of Syrians. The problem for them has been the U.S. government and the fundamentalist Sunni Arab royal families. The question then is: Will Europeans continue to be allied with them? Or, if not, then how soon will the Western Alliance break up?

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • Baby_Jesus

    The common people in every country are the ones who are paying the price of imperialist endeavors, whether or not they are aware of it. The entire situation is just simple tribalism on a grand scale. The value of human life remains negotiable, this is our problem. Just what is required to wake people up? Catastrophe doesn’t seem to do the trick. Maybe those in Japan who lived through August 1945 have the answer.