If anyone was wondering just what caused such an abysmal set of public relations performances by State Department spokesman Mark Toner over the last few months regarding the nature of the “opposition” in Syria and the difference between “moderate” terrorists and “extremist” terrorists, the answer is simple – Toner was given an impossible task which, even under the smallest amount of criticism and questioning, was destined to fall apart.
Indeed, the idea that Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam were somehow “moderate” in any way or separate from ISIS and al-Nusra is and always has been a complete farce. Toner’s display was thus a result of trying to promote a lie that is easily disproven. In the State Department’s defense, convincing Americans of an easily disproven lie has been a relatively easy task throughout the past few decades. This time, however, the alternative press has let the cat out of the bag; and even a relatively small conglomeration of unrelated alt news organizations has dismantled a patently absurd falsehood promoted by the U.S. government.
But if this lie was hanging by a thread when Toner was sweating bullets and dancing about like a frightened clown, Skull and Bones John Kerry has officially snapped it. Despite his constant assertion that Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are completely different from al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and ISIS (even if there is some harmless “commingling”), Kerry has now admitted that these groups are one and the same.
In a conversation with Walter Isaacson held in front of an audience on June 28, 2016 at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado and, interestingly enough, recorded by the U.S. State Department, Kerry demolished the entire basis for support and protection of “moderate” elements of the “opposition” in Syria.
Everybody knows the threat. We’ve all awakened to the news that I just announced to you. How many times have you awakened to it? Vicious attacks perpetrated by a lone wolf or by a group, inspired on the internet or otherwise. From Orlando to San Bernardino to the Philippines and Bali, we’ve seen pictures and we’ve heard testimony of shocking crimes committed by al-Qaida, by Boko Haram, by Jaysh al-Islam, by Ahrar al-Sham, by al-Shabaab, Daesh, other groups against innocent civilians, against journalists, and against teachers particularly.
But the most important thing, frankly, is seeing if we can reach an understanding with the Russians about how to, number one, deal with Daesh and al-Nusrah. Al-Nusrah is the other group there – Jabhat al-Nusrah. They are a designated terrorist group by the United Nations. And there are a couple of subgroups underneath the two designated – Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusrah – Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham particularly – who brush off and fight with that – alongside these other two sometimes to fight the Assad regime.
So Kerry first admits that his “moderate” rebels are indeed guilty of heinous atrocities that, at the very least, puts them in the same category as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and ISIS. He admits that these atrocities were aimed at civilians, journalists, and teachers among others but all non-combatants. Secondly, Kerry openly admits that Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are nothing more than “sub groups” of al-Nusra and ISIS. Not only does he admit that the groups fight together but that they are inextricably linked together. These statements, while true, stand entirely in opposition to the Western narrative that has been propagated throughout the mainstream media and the halls of Western governments.
What’s The Difference Between The “Moderate” Ahrar al-Sham And The “Extreme” ISIS?
So what’s the big difference between the “moderate” terrorists and the extremist terrorists running rampant in Syria today? At one time, we were told there were no terrorists at all. Then, we were told terrorists were indeed present but that there were also moderate, secular, democracy-loving freedom fighters in the country. Now, after the nature of the so-called “rebels” has been revealed ad infinitum by the alternative and independent press, it is admitted that the “fighters” in Syria are terrorists but, apparently, some are moderate and some are extreme.
Of course, they all have the same goal of Sharia. They all hate minorities, Christians, Alawites, Shiites, etc. They all torture. They all rape. We could go on and on. In the world of the West’s “rebels,” there is not one shred of difference between any of the armed groups fighting against the secular Syrian government besides the names they call themselves.
Still, we are told there are clear differences and that the U.S. State Department knows just what they are. Only, they aren’t telling the American people. Or the Russians. Or the Syrians. Or anybody. The “moderate” terrorists are thus a very mysterious force, a group of which we may speak but also one that never shows itself.
Of course, there are groups that the United States admits are brutal killers but somehow rationalizes to the public that they are “our” brutal killers. The U.S. can, at times, be forced to admit that the groups it supports as “freedom fighters” have committed atrocities, rapes, murders, torture, and establishment of Islamic theocracy upon unwilling inhabitants. Essentially, the U.S. can admit (when pressured) that these groups have the same ideology as ISIS, although the State Department will never say these exact words.
Thus, it is clear that any designation of terrorist groups as “extremist” or “moderate” is obviously based on political motivation and geopolitical designs, not the nature or action of the terrorist group in question. If that were the case, then Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, and other groups would easily be listed as terrorist organizations that would subsequently not be covered under the “ceasefire” agreement. After all, there is no distinguishing characteristic that sets these groups apart from ISIS or Nusra other than a name.
But when the Russians attempted to remove these groups from the list of non-protected terrorists in Syria (terrorists protected at the insistence of the West), the United States, Britain, France, and Ukraine rushed to their rescue and blocked the Russian proposal. This is, of course, despite the fact that both of these groups, which make up around half of the “Syrian opposition forces” thanks to Western name changes, have repeatedly worked together with Nusra and ISIS forces. Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham have both worked so closely with ISIS and Nusra that the groups themselves are virtually interchangeable. Nevertheless, the U.S. is only digging its own international public relations grave with its refusal to designate known and obvious terrorists as precisely that, particularly when it has launched campaigns of destruction and death across the world on the basis of allegedly “fighting terror.”
The Russians have now forced the Western nations to admit that, despite their rhetoric, terrorist organizations are doing their bidding and have never truly been the targets of NATO forces. While the Western public remains entirely befuddled as to the nature of the crisis in Syria (many do not even know there is a Syrian crisis) Western propaganda has created such a complex and distorted view of the situation that any newcomer or casual observer would find it incredibly difficult to navigate through the lies and deceit.
For the rest of the world, however, much of that propaganda is ridiculous and transparent and, for that reason as well as many others, the United States and NATO are losing more and more credibility by the day.
Thus, we have Kerry admitting that Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are terrorists equal to ISIS and Nusra but refusing to bomb or allow anyone else to bomb them.
Vanessa Beeley, an excellent Syria researcher who has not only produced incredibly informative articles but who has also repeatedly embarrassed reported death squad organizer and former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, has written extensively on the nature of various groups operating on the ground in Syria, including Ahrar al-Sham.
In her article entitled “Syria: John Kerry Torpedoes US Ahrar Al Sham ‘Moderate Rebel’ Status,” she writes,
Ahrar al Sham as a stand-alone “moderate” US backed group has been responsible for some of the most hideous ethnic cleansing of Syria’s minorities. It has mercilessly and brutally terrorised the Shia villages of Kafarya and Foua, placing them under partial siege since 2011 and full siege since March 2015.
Over 1700 civilians, many women and children, have been massacred by these self-proclaimed “free men of the Levant” and Kafarya and Foua continues to suffer daily shelling and sniping. I was told by a resident of al Foua that Ahrar al Sham do not even behave like Muslims, the bodies of their own dead are put on display to drive fear into the hearts of the villagers already starving and imprisoned.
The UN has failed to deliver humanitarian aid to Kafarya and Foua on numerous occasions deterred by the threat of the Ahrar al Sham checkpoints which are considered too serious a security risk.
In May 2016, Ahrar al Sham massacred scores of Alawite villagers in Al Zara and kidnapped others. Claims that they did not harm anyone who did not resist were cited by Reuters and other western media outlets but witness and survivor statements told a different story. One photo that circulated after this horrifying mass murder showed Ahrar al Sham fighters standing over the dismembered and bloodied corpses of women.
Ahrar al Sham made no effort to deny this image, they merely stated that these women had taken up arms and as such were legitimate victims of their bloodlust, a claim seemingly endorsed by western media pundits who staunchly stood by their “moderate” killers.
“Strangers came to our village. Most of them were foreigners, we understood that they weren’t from Syria from the way they looked. They attacked our village, many were killed. My brother is among the dead, his children were wounded. They killed entire families,” said Ahmad Muhammad al Qasem.
They perpetrated a massacre,” said another villager, Munzer Qasem. “I heard of two or three entire families killed. Abu Naval’s family was killed. He was an old man and was killed together with his daughters. They were slaughtered in their own house.” ~ Syrian Free Press
Ahrar al Sham were also implicated in the mass suicide bombing, May 2016, that claimed the lives of over a hundred civilians and severely injured many more in the coastal towns of Jableh and Tartous that are also refuge to huge numbers of internally displaced Syrian refugees. The western and gulf media was quick to claim ISIS responsibility for the attacks but local residents and TV Channels informed us that Ahrar al Sham had already taken responsibility.
The western protection of its assets was again demonstrated by its eagerness to distance these crimes and mass murder of civilians from its terrorist forces operating under the Ahrar al Sham umbrella.
Ahrar al Sham has been complicit in a multitude of crimes against humanity in Syria, according to many it is actually even more brutal than ISIS in its extremism and targeting and ethnic cleansing of minorities such as the Alawites and Shia muslims. The US defense of Ahrar al Sham as a “moderate opposition” and its platforming of Ahrar al Shams desire for an Islamic state has underpinned their “regime change” policy in Syria.
The Western media immediately rushed to implement some “damage control” for Kerry’s gaffe and to continue the narrative of the existence of a “moderate” opposition in Syria, claiming that Kerry must have made a mistake and “accidentally” named Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham as “subgroups” of Nusra and ISIS. However, the fact is that there never has been a difference between these organizations and this reality has been exposed time and time again in growing numbers of outlets in the alternative and independent media.
As Tony Cartalucci wrote in his article, “In Syria, There Are No Moderates,”
. . . . . there were never, nor are there any “moderates” operating in Syria. The West has intentionally armed and funded Al Qaeda and other sectarian extremists since as early as 2007 in preparation for an engineered sectarian bloodbath serving US-Saudi-Israeli interests. This latest bid to portray the terrorists operating along and within Syria’s borders as “divided” along extremists/moderate lines is a ploy to justify the continued flow of Western cash and arms into Syria to perpetuate the conflict, as well as create conditions along Syria’s borders with which Western partners, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, can justify direct military intervention.
Indeed, even the New York Times has been forced to admit that there are, as Cartalucci expertly argues in his article, no moderates in the ranks of the Syrian death squads. As Ben Hubbard writes,
In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, rebels aligned with Al Qaeda control the power plant, run the bakeries and head a court that applies Islamic law. Elsewhere, they have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.
Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.
Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of. [emphasis added]
So now that Kerry has admitted his lie in front of the world, what is to be done? Are we to continue to with the same policy of arming proxy terrorists to overthrow a democratically elected president in the name of democracy? The ruling class will no doubt soldier on despite having outed themselves via the elongated mouth of John Kerry.
For that reason the American people – facilitated by the alternative and independent media – must begin to not only resist these machinations but to make some demands of their own. First, we must demand an immediate secession of hostilities with Syria. All funds, arms, intelligence, training, and assistance to proxy terrorists or any other “opposition” groups in Syria must be stopped and a normalization of relations with the Syrian government must be established. Assistance should be provided to the Syrian government in the form of satellite intelligence, etc. in order to facilitate the mopping up of terror on Syrian soil. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel must also be pressured to do likewise with the latter two nations being pressured to seal their borders with Syria. A subsequent plan of investment in the rebuilding and modernization of Syrian infrastructure must then be launched by Western nations using the credit of a nationalized Federal Reserve (or requisite seized national bank) which could be adapted to provide material for rebuilding, modernizing, and developing Syrian infrastructure as opposed to money where possible in order to avoid corruption and misallocation of funds.
The unjust and immoral war on Syria has gone on long enough and every narrative peddled by the United States, the West, NATO, GCC, and Israel has been systematically dismantled. Syrians and Americans are in no need of any new narratives. We are in need of peace, stability, human rights, and living standards that are worthy of the 21st century.