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Why the Focus on Regime Change in Syria Undermines Effort to Defeat ISIS and Prolongs the War

The war in Syria is one of the latest disasters produced from the United States’ interventionist foreign policy, focused on regime change to install governments in unstable nations that favor the interests of the United States and our allies. Much of what the mainstream media has reported, information often reverberated from second hand sources, in Syria is false or manipulated to serve this political agenda of regime change.

“These organizations are relying on Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which is based in Coventry, UK, and is one man. They’re relying on compromised groups like the White Helmets. The White Helmets were founded in 2013 by a British Ex-Military Officer. They have been funded to the tune of $100 million by the U.S., UK, Europe and other states. They report to be rescuing civilians in Eastern Aleppo and Idlib, yet no one in Eastern Aleppo has heard of them. And I say no one bearing in mind that now 95% of these areas in Eastern Aleppo are liberated.  The White Helmets report to be neutral, yet they can be found carrying guns and standing over the bodies of Syrian soldiers. And their video footage actually contains children who have been recycled in different reports,” Canadian Journalist Eva Bartlett told a Norwegian journalist in response to a question about mainstream media’s false reporting during a Syrian Mission Press Conference held by the United Nations. The White Helmets have been pushingfor a controversial no-fly zone in Syria, which Hillary Clinton revealed in Wikileaks emails would kill many Syrian civilians, contrary to claims it would protect them. “They are not credible. The SOHR is not credible. Unnamed activists are not credible. Once or twice maybe, but every time, not credible. So, your sources on the ground, you don’t have them.”

Reuters recently reported that rebel forces in Aleppo reached a deal with US and Russia that would grant them and their families safe passage out of Aleppo, though Russia denied the existence of the deal.

Many Democrats criticized the Bush Administration for their interventionist foreign policies after public opinion toward the Iraq War shifted in opposition. But establishment pro-war Democratshave remained silent as President Obama has progressed similar devastating policies in Syria. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party, catalyzed by Bernie Sanders’presidential campaign, has elevated anti-war sentiments in opposition to such foreign policies that sacrifice peace and national security, creating vacuums for terrorism to thrive, in exchange for imperialistic privileges.

On December 8, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act to stop the flow of weapons from the United States Government that has been, directly or indirectly, providing support for terrorist groups, most notably in Syria where the United States Government has been perpetuating warfare in the region as part of a proxy war in the Middle East.

“If you or I gave money, weapons or support to Al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the US government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of Al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard said during her introduction of the bill. “The CIA has long been supporting a group called Fursan al Haqq, providing them with salaries, weapons and support, including surface to air missiles. This group is cooperating with and fighting alongside an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group trying to overthrow the Syrian government. The Levant Front is another so-called moderate umbrella group of Syrian opposition fighters. Over the past year, the United States has been working with Turkey to give this group intelligence support and other forms of military assistance. This group has joined forces with Al-Qaeda’s offshoot group in Syria.”

In June, the New York Times reported CIA weapons supplied to Syrian rebels were making their way onto the black market as the CIA has little control over the rebel groups they arm, fund, and train.

“The problem is that none of the states involved in Iraq and Syria, including the United States and its allies, has so far treated ISIS as its primary foe,” wrote Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, in an op-ed for Project Syndicate. Sachs added the United States’ priority in Syria is overthrowing Assad. “The US attempt to fight a two-front war against both Assad and ISIS has failed. Whenever Assad has been weakened, Sunni jihadists, including ISIS and al-Nusra Front, have filled the vacuum.”

In March, the Los Angeles Times reported Syrian militias funded by the Pentagon and the CIA were fighting one another, another example of how little control U.S. Intelligence agencies have over the groups they have financed and trained. These unintended consequences have served as a recipe for perpetual war in the Middle East provoked by the constant meddling by the United States.

“There is no doubt that Assad is a brutal dictator, but common sense tells us that if we want to defeat ISIS and other Islamist extremist groups, we need to immediately end the illegal and counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad,” added Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in a press release outlining her foreign policy on Syria, which is predicated on establishing peace in the region rather than the political proxy war that has been pursued by the United States government over the past few years, which has only served to create more chaos in the region. “We must focus our efforts one-pointedly on defeating ISIS, as well as al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) and other jihadist groups who have declared war on the United States. If we were to end our war against the Syrian government of Assad, then and only then will it be possible for us to defeat ISIS and these other extremist groups.”

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Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

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