Damascus – from Elijah J. Magnier:
A global war in Syria is taking place between the United States and Russia, entitled “The Humanitarian Situation in Ghouta”, east of the Syrian capital, Damascus. It is a dirty war in which any hit under the belt is permitted and the gloves are off, so that any of the superpowers who openly fight will not visibly accept defeat by the other party.
Yes, there is a humanitarian situation in the eastern Ghouta, as in Kfariya and Al-Fo’a, which have been besieged since the years of war, as was the case in Aleppo and the city of Al-Raqqah. The war is first and foremost taking the lives of civilians who have no refuge and are at the mercy of the insurgent forces: they are the victims of this international conflict whose battleground is Syria and has been for seven long years.
There are tens of thousands of inhabitants in eastern Ghouta, whose population was estimated at 400,000 by the United Nations. It is worth noting that all the statistics provided by the international community – including the United Nations – on all the Syrian cities that the international main stream media launched a “rescue” campaign for, were exaggerated. This was the case for Quseyr, Madaya, Aleppo and many other cities where the “humanitarian campaign” is driven by the larger conflict among the superpowers, their policies and their conflicts of interest.
The Syrian government announced that it had opened – as did the US and the Iraqi government in the cities of Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi, Hawija and others – safe corridors for the exit of civilians before the start of the ground attack. It is worth indicating the difference between the actual battles, and the moral war in Syria and Iraq.
In both Iraq and Syria, the “Islamic state” (ISIS) has become an orphan organisation, therefore it was permitted for the US air strikes to destroy the old city of Mosul as well as obliterating the entire Syrian city of Raqqah, killing large numbers of civilians whose bodies even now still lie under the debris. The US forces can apparently get away with mass killings or total destruction of cities without any fierce media campaign to condemn it, or even react. The world has known throughout history the US’s involvement in their many wars that left hundreds of thousands dead (Afghanistan and Iraq are contemporary examples). It is worth noting that safe corridors were established in Anbar and Salahoddine (Iraq) and Raqqah, where even ISIS didn’t stop civilians from exiting.
However, safe corridors made available by the Syrian government have not resulted in the exit of civilians for the eastern Ghouta inhabitants: militants on the demarcation line with the Syrian Army belong to “Faylaq al-Rahman”(FAR), Ahrar al-Sham (AAS) and “Al-Qaeda” (AQ), while the Army of Islam is in control of Duma north to Salhia south. And Harasta, Zamalek and Ein Tarma are under the control of jihadists (FAR, AAS and AQ) who prevent any civilians from seeking shelter away from al-Ghouta at gunpoint, occasionally shooting at them to stop any attempt to leave the area. It is “natural” for these civilians to be considered as human shields: Al Qaeda and its allies rely heavily on the US campaign and the mainstream media support who appear to have a common goal and objective (to stop civilians from leaving and to keep jihadists in control of al-Ghouta).
The 15-member UN Security Council adopted the resolution 2401 demanded all parties to “cease hostilities for at least 30 days and allow for safe humanitarian convoys to reach besieged locations and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded”. However, it has “excluded al-Qaeda (and ISIS) and all other terrorist groups”, in control of part of al-Ghouta and the city and rural Idlib. Such a cessation of hostility resolution is unrealistic and would doubtfully hold for very long.
The aim of the US is to keep the capital Damascus under constant threat so it is hit by rockets and missiles every day. When this happens, it sends a clear indication to the world that the actual Syrian government cannot protect its population at its capital’s heart.. Therefore, Syria demonstrably does not guarantee the security of any embassy staff or international organisations willing to stay or thinking about restoring ties with the Syrian state. This is the first objective.
The second objective is to maintain the threat to Damascus to prove the failure of all Russian efforts to reach an end to the war through de-escalation and de-conflict zones. US officials described “Sochi” and “Astana” peace talks as a total failure in order to undermine Russia’s effort and initiatives. This is a way to put more pressure on Moscow who is desperate to freeze the war and eliminate al-Qaeda in Syria, its main declared goal this year, as repeatedly announced by the Kremlin officials.
The third objective is to protect al-Qaeda, to keep the spectre of war alive in Syria and to justify the US occupation of north-east Syria because the terrorist threat clearly persists and the presence of US forces in that occupied area is necessary to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS (located in the occupied US region, in the Yarmouk camp south of Damascus and in southern Syria under the auspices and support of Israel).
The United States will not leave the north-east of Syria (contrary to what President Donald Trump claimed, he who has lost all credibility): Trump managed to register over 2000 false promises in the first year of his presence at the White House. There are US airports and military bases that no one in the world can force the US to leave or impose conditions on, nor rules on their presence (as is the case in nearby Turkey and Iraq).
In addition, information indicates that Israeli jets have landed several times at these US airports in the Syrian occupied area, a territory about four times the size of neighbouring Lebanon. Israel has the best air force in the Middle East and its air force is concentrated on a very small area, representing an easy target for Iran and Hezbollah missiles in the event of a war. Therefore, US bases among Syrian Kurds constitute a protection, a guarantee and a strategic starting point for Israel from which its air force can hit any target in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, or conduct any intelligence operation it wishes in nearby foreign countries.
In Iraq, the “Popular Mobilisation Units” (PMU) reject the US presence in different bases in the country. These units – according to high ranking sources within the PMU – have surface-to-air missiles that can hit any US military jet during take-off or landing if these stay in Mesopotamia for very long.
So Iraq may not be the best place for the US forces to establish military bases in, in compared to north-east Syria where no rules can restrict Washington and where everything is permitted in “occupied territory”. The same apparent immunity is valid for Turkey, one of the main NATO members, that sees in the US support of the Kurds of Kobani, al-Hasakah, and Deir al-Zour a threat to its national security.
The fourth objective is the presence of oil and gas in vast quantities (almost 11% to 12% of the total Syrian energy resources) in the occupied Syrian north-east territory (47% in al-Badiya, 38% on the Syrian coast, 2% in Aleppo and 2% in the non occupied Golan area). This provides great resources for the area, which is home to less than 10 percent of Syrian Arabs and Kurds but represents around 24 percent of Syria’s geographical area.
Thus, America does not need a huge budget to revitalize the region but only to build military bases and airports and offer possibilities for US oil companies to exploit oil and gas in that part of Syria. In the guise of “domestic requirements” (the Kurdish and Arab tribes of the area) to rebuild local infrastructure and respond to resident’s needs, the US national income can be boosted, meeting Donald Trump’s ever present financial obsession.
America has given warmth to the Cold War with Russia through the Eastern Ghouta. It is indifferent to United Nations’ calls to stop destroying Raqqah, and it has struck down international resolutions that have not been necessary since the establishment of the United Nations. So it is not a question of “saving al Ghouta”, it is a “cold war” declaration on Russia.
US forces control today a vast territory in Syria that it could not dream of controlling for more than 50 years. Washington has initially used the pretext of its presence to “block the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut corridor”. This corridor is open despite the US presence in al-Tanf, Hasaka and Deir al-Zour. Today, the US and its allies consider – throwing ashes in all our eyes – Iran is “the greatest and only danger to the Middle East and perhaps the world” solely to deflect the attention from its occupation of Syria.
Washington says “Iran is contributing to internally displacing the Syrian population in Al-Ghouta” when the Syrian army alone is participating in this battle and more than 1,700 families return to Zabadani (5,000 families are expected to return in less than a month when reconstruction of their homes is concluded) as part of the national reconciliation programme.
In eastern Ghouta, tens of thousands or even several hundred thousand besieged civilians are being subjected to bombing and siege. On the other hand, a few million in Damascus are being bombed daily by jihadists from al-Ghouta. Russia has demanded a halt to the war in Syria, conditional on the withdrawal of all foreign forces that are disapproved by the central government, to end the war in Ghouta and Syria in general. This demand is impossible to implement because the US and Turkey are occupying Syria and do not want to leave it now or in the near future. They would rather divide it.
Al-Ghouta is rumoured to be the last battle by the opposition and its stronghold, making it one of the most important US cards to play and stab Russia with if it agrees to comply with international and mainstream media pressure.
Russia has corrupted the master plan of the West, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Syria, preventing Takfiris from occupying not only Damascus but also from reaching Beirut (Lebanon). This explains why the US finds it impossible to surrender even if its objective, to overthrow the Syrian government, has failed. It has brought back the “cold war atmosphere”, and it will certainly oppress the Middle East at least until the end of the forthcoming summer, which will be hot.
Proof reading: Maurice Brasher
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