West loses moral ground on Syria

Reason Wafawarova On Thursday
While it may be too early to make a solid prediction of the return of the Cold War, it can hardly be in dispute that a multi-polar world is shaping up with events happening in Syria.

Russia’s entry into the military extravaganza in Syria has been dramatic, shunting Western allies aside, and literally taking global leadership in what the West has for many years described as the international struggle against terrorism and extremism, dating back to the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Russia has emphatically drawn the line in the sand against the regime change agenda in Syria, and there is no meaningful counter force against that position, except for hapless rants of disapproval from the likes of David Cameron.

The hypocrisy of Washington and its allies over events in Syria has been breathtakingly phenomenal in recent times. There has been a lot of howling in response to Russia’s military intervention, mostly baseless and laughable, especially to the politically literate world of today.

It is hard to understand how Washington can point a moral finger at the supposed excesses of Russia, while at the same time siding with kleptocratic dictatorship in Saudi Arabia — a place where people are still being publicly flogged for consuming alcohol.

The noise in support of Erdogan’s opportunism in Turkey makes Washington and her allies look comical from an international relations perspective.

Russia has basically been viewed as a criminal state for allegedly murdering the airspace belonging to Turkey, and the outcry over this enormous violation of international law has gone all the way to high heavens.

The straying of Russian warplanes into Turkey’s airspace is supposed to be a more egregious war crime than the ritual killing of innocent children happening in the name of Israeli expansionism, and it is a greater sin than Washington’s bombing of a clearly marked hospital in Afghanistan.

Russia stands accused of killing “moderate rebels” in Syria, whatever that means.

Russia is in Syria in support of the legitimate government of that country, a perfectly legal position by the UN Charter.

In the Syrian context, the so-called moderate rebels are simply al-Qaeda affiliates; just like the Benghazi rebels of Libya were during Gaddafi’s time.

To Syrians the Western-backed “moderate rebels” are Jahbat al-Nusra — that Saudi and Turkish backed, trained and financed Army of Conquest.

For almost a year, Washington has been encroaching into Syrian airspace at will and without apology. Russian fighter planes stray into Turkey’s airspace once, and Washington has no hesitation giving the Russians a thorough lecture on international law.

Britain’s Cameron publicly goes into paroxysms of indignation.

We know the uprising in Libya was elevated by the West to a noble revolution, and so was the one in Syria. There was no evidence of popular support for what the Benghazi rebels were doing in Libya, and there is no evidence of popular support for what the reactionary rebels are doing in Syria.

The aftermath of the Libyan invasion by NATO fighter aircraft tells the whole story of how unpopular the Benghazi rebels were. We know they became the darlings of the West.

The truth of the matter is that after Tunisia and Egypt, the Arab Spring ran out of steam, and even the propelling of the myth by the West could not make Libya a success story.

The disastrous adventure in Syria just goes to show how the whole concept of the Arab Spring has fizzled out into nothingness.

From 2011 the Arab world was thrown into a counter revolutionary process, as exemplified by the pitiful state of the post-Gaddafi era in Libya.

The West rushed to use the flux of the Arab Spring as a cover to pursue the regime change agenda in the Middle East, and most certainly Syria has backfired.

The biggest tragedy of this unintelligent adventure is that it opened the gates of hell in the Middle East, creating the Frankenstein’s monster of ISIS. Russia appears like the only power on this planet with the ability to vanquish the deadly prowess of ISIS, doing in two weeks what Washington and her allies failed to do in over a year.

Many people were initially fooled into cheering counter-revolution for revolution, as we were all swept into this line of thinking that said Libya and Syria were a direct continuation of Egypt and Tunisia.

While the fall of Mubarak could was unmistakably a revolutionary act by the people of Egypt, the same cannot be said about events in Libya and Syria.

We all know about Fukuyama’s discredited end of history hypothesis, and how it led the United States to run with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) dream. After September 11, George W. Bush and his cronies like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz gave impetus to this strategy when Bush infamously proclaimed: “you are either with us or with the terrorists.”

George W. Bush brought the golden age of Pax Americana, and Washington began to actively practice the unipolarity that the hawks had long since coveted.

While 9/11 comes across as the historic tragedy it was for ordinary Americans, the hawks in Washington have regarded it as a golden opportunity — a starting pistol for the pretext required to reduce the entire world to some chase-board upon which regimes that dare to resist US hegemony can be removed at will.

Today the Pax Americana dream has become humanity’s nightmare.

The world has been dragged down the dark alley of unremitting conflict, barbarism, chaos, and the people of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have suffered in proportions of a biblical nature.

The stable and prosperous economy of Libya was destroyed to nothing in a matter of days; millions of people have been displaced by US-led wars, we have been made to normalise the brutalisation of the people of Afghanistan.

After 14 years of the ravaging of that country, we have come to this point where news on Afghanistan has become just anther thing on television.

We are reminded to write in equal measure against Russian imperialism in Syria if we are objective analysts, as the intervention has been termed by pro-Washington advocates.

Without dismissing the covert intentions of the Russian rulers, one has to admit that Moscow’s military intervention in Syria is at the official request of the internationally recognised sovereign government of that country.

To the majority of the Syrians the Russian intervention has been seen as the beacon sanity in a country where Western-sponsored madness has wrecked a once very stable community.

To these people the salvation of Syria lies in the pushing back of the reactionary forces that have caused a ruinous and endless war, with the backing of Washington, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

The risk in making observations relating to the moral blameworthiness of the West in the Syrian crisis is being labelled a supporter of Bashir al-Assad the butcher.

We cannot without fear of repercussions be with the Syrian people who in their millions have stood by Assad, and who have refused to be part of a sponsored uprising disguised as a national revolution.

There are many Syrians who are in full support of a political transition and democratic reforms, but they also understand the current conflict is not going to bring for them this kind of transition. There is something grossly hypocritical in the moral high ground the West has claimed in its criticism of Russia’s military intervention in Syria.

In fact the West is gradually realising that Moscow’s strategy is the panacea for the crisis, as many neutral observers have pointed out.

The world knows fully well that Washington is in no position to cast moral stones at Moscow in light of recent revelations. There is the shameful tragedy of the bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and the embarrassing Drone Papers leaks published by the Intercept recently. The harm to America’s global reputation is unmistakable.

The Intercept has claimed the US drone operations in Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan involve deliberate targeting of suspects slated for assassination, and such machinations have been highlighted as virtual crimes against humanity.

It is hard to imagine why the Russians should be blamed for doing something that has an apparent appearance of some good justification for someone dealing with US drones operating in Syrian airspace. Not many people are impressed by the drone tragedies of the US that have been experienced in other countries anyway.

Apart from moral shortcomings, Washington has done a shoddy military job in Syria anyway. Its strategy for dealing with the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group has been pathetically ineffective.

In the face of the Russian strategy, the joke behind the yearlong grand Western military intervention has been exposed.

The Pentagon’s military strategy has been hopelessly incoherent, and the Obama administration foreign policy has been rendered puerile. Putin is cleverly playing off the Obama foreign policy, which includes a pro-Iranian stance, a subtle alienation of Israel, a pro-Iraq policy, and a very weak air campaign designed to attract more attention than success.

The attempts by the West to reinterpret United Nations ground rules have been rather laughable. The bias in the United Nations Charter is to support a sitting government; making Russia’s claims that Western strikes in Syria are illegal a little credible, and the demonising of Russia’s military actions suspicious.

Juxtaposing Russia’s actions and the West’s support for the mishmash opponents of Assad is quite telling. You have on the one hand an officially invited foreign army aiding a legitimately sitting government, and on the other an uninvited coalition of hostile foreign armies supporting fractious factions of Syrian rebels, including the terrorist ISIS.

If the Obama administration wants to maintain any influence in this conflict, it has to completely reassess its priorities.

Opposing Putin will get the US nowhere. The Obama administration must recognise how the game has already changed. The approach to counter-insurgency that the US has followed for over a decade has now been overtaken by events.

No doubt about it, Putin has now put his marker down as player and kingmaker in the Middle East, and it does not look like stopping him will be an easy task.

• Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

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