FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Syrian Policy

by

“Assad’s days are numbered” – President Obama, February 2012

Living in denial is the easiest way to avoid hard truths, but it’s a horrible way for a government to conduct foreign policy. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry recently scoffed at the elections in Syria, calling them “meaningless.” The U.S. media obediently agreed, while the rest of the world drew a much more realistic opinion. It’s true that an election during an ongoing conflict isn’t ideal for democracy, but the deeper truths exposed by the election were completely ignored by the U.S. government and media.

Interestingly, few governments or media outlets doubted the Syrian election was fair for those who were able to vote. There were no large-scale allegations of fraud, and the numbers announced by the government were not seriously contested.

The results of the election weren’t a surprise to anyone familiar with Syrian domestic politics. Russian Television points out the two most obvious reasons Assad’s victory was assured:

1) The president never lost the support of his core constituencies — the Syrian armed forces, the government and business elite, the major cities, the minorities (Christians, Druze, Alawites, Shia, etc.) and secular Sunni (most of the 3 million members of the Baath Party are Sunni).

2) The opposition was fundamentally unable to present a cohesive front and a common political platform — this includes both domestic and external opponents — let alone rally behind a single candidate.

While ignoring these clear truths, John Kerry attempted to justify his characterization of the election as “meaningless,” by adding “…you can’t have an election where millions of your people don’t even have an ability to vote.”

Kerry’s point, although true, would hold greater weight if not for the fact that the Syrian Government controls all but one major city in Syria. Most of the Syrian rebel strength is in the less populated rural areas.

Therefore, it’s quite meaningful that 73 percent of eligible voters went to the polls and that 88 percent of them voted for Assad. Eleven out of 15 million apparently voted. And although one could likely poke further holes in the electoral process, the general sentiment in Syria found expression, the meaning of which was accepted by most of the world.

Equally meaningful was the huge voter turnout in neighboring countries, though especially Lebanon and Jordan, where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees voted at the Syrian embassy overwhelmingly in favor of Assad.  Of course this fact directly contradicts the longstanding lie that these refugees were all “victims of Assad.”

In fact, Syrian citizens around the world voted at their embassies, overwhelmingly for Assad. This didn’t make the U.S. media think twice about their strict anti-Assad narrative. Ignorance is bliss. The media had a similarly muted attitude when thousands of pro-Assad Syrian protesters across the U.S. attended anti-war protests in response to Obama’s plan to bomb Syria.

Perhaps the deepest truth the Syrian elections exposed is that, were it not for the U.S. and its allies, the war in Syria would have long ago ended, and tens of thousands of lives spared. Millions of refugees would not be homeless.

It’s now very clear that the motor force of war in Syria has long been orchestrated from the outside. The people on the inside want peace. The media has long acknowledged that Obama’s CIA has led regional allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, etc., against the Syrian government, by funneling guns and training foreign fighters. Without this the rebels would have been crushed long ago.

Ultimately the elections proved that the catastrophic war in Syria is not the will of the Syrian people. Many likely voted in favor of Assad simply to show the world that they don’t support the rebels — that they want an immediate end to the insane war that has nearly destroyed an entire nation.

Will Obama listen? Not likely. John Kerry’s blathering about the election was out of sync with most of the world, but in line with the Obama administration’s consistently out of touch perspective about the situation in Syria.

Stunningly, when the official spokeswoman for Obama’s State Department, Jen Pskai was recently asked if the administration still believes that Assad’s “days are numbered,” she responded by saying  “yes we do.” Being in denial too long can resemble psychosis.

Obama also recently re-enforced his failed Syria policy in his big speech at the West Point military academy, where he said he would “…ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators.”

To “ramp up” support for the Syrian rebels at this point means only one thing; that much more blood is about to be spilled. And for what?

Obama’s West Point plan to “arm the Syrian moderates” is the same worn-out “strategy” that Obama has used since 2011 to justify his support of cash, arms, and training to the Syrian rebels, which has artificially lengthened the Syrian catastrophe while directly resulting in a the revival of Islamic extremism and terrorism in the region.

Ironically, Obama’s West Point speech also mentioned a plan to create a $5 billion dollar regional anti-terrorism fund, no doubt a way to “legally” funnel more money to further target the Assad government while creating yet more terrorists in the process.

It was also revealed recently that Obama is now supplying rebel groups with sophisticated anti-tank missile launchers, ensuring that blood will flow more freely. By continuing down this policy that the Syrian people have clearly rejected, Obama is proving that he cares nothing for democracy nor for the lives of the people in Syria. Nor does he care about the will of the American people: In a 2013 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center “70% of Americans oppose arming the Syrian rebels.”

The number is likely much higher now.

At home and abroad Obama’s Syrian policy has been condemned as a failure, yet he shows no signs of stopping, even after most Syrians voted for peace. This is the same peace that Americans and the rest of the world demand.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com 

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

More articles by:
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail