A recent article from the Guardian by Natalie Nougayrede, former executive editor and managing editor of French newspaper Le Monde, is another blatant attempt by the corporate media to pin all the blame for the Syrian crisis on the Syrian regime, as opposed to other powerful, meddling forces at play in Syria.
Nougayrede’s main thesis is that ISIS cannot be defeated simply through military action in Iraq and Syria or by intelligence operations throughout Europe. ISIS, she claims,
“can be defeated only if the attraction that the militant group exerts on young, confused Sunni Muslims, in the Middle East and elsewhere, is somehow neutralised.”
The “attraction” she refers to is the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. She states quite confidently:
“If Assad stays in power, which seems to be the ultimate goal of recapturing Aleppo, more – not less – radicalisation will ensue; the absence of political transition in Syria will fuel the Sunni anger that ISIS thrives on.”
But there’s just one problem: statements of this kind are the epitome of lazy, pro-corporate media nonsense.
Firstly, it may be the case that Assad’s secular, Alawite regime attracts radical jihadists, but those jihadists have to get their weapons from somewhere. Suppliers of these weapons are the United States, NATO members, and powerful regional players such as Saudi Arabia — and this is no accident. Even the Western-backed so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been dominated by extremists for years, yet the U.S. has known this and still continues to support the Syrian opposition. Further, as the New York Times reported in 2012, the majority of weapons being sent to Syria have ended up in the hands of jihadists.
The U.S.-NATO establishment has asserted that the rise of groups like ISIS was regarded as an unintended consequence, ultimately pinning the blame on the Assad regime. But these assertions are a complete and utter falsity. A classified DIA report predicted the rise of ISIS in 2012, stating:
“If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”
Secondly, Nougayrede conveniently leaves out the fact that ISIS arose out of the U.S.-U.K.-led invasion of Iraq, not out of Assad’s policies within Syria. ISIS was formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, which rose to prominence following the of power left after Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled. Shortly after, when Paul Bremer was put in charge, he dissolved the Iraqi police and military, firing close to 400,000 former servicemen, including high ranking military officials who fought in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. These generals now hold senior ranking positions within ISIS.
If it weren’t for these actions, ISIS wouldn’t exist.
Further, Nougayrede’s calls for Assad to step down are at direct odds with the will of the Syrian people, who, let’s face it, should be the only people to decide who leads them. As Anti-Media has documented, the fact remains that since the conflict erupted in 2011, Assad has held the majority support of his people despite the numerous atrocities he has been accused of conducting, including widespread torture.
The elections in 2014 – which Assad won by a landslide with international observers claiming no violations – demonstrate the majority of Syrians do not want him to step down. One could speculate that although the Assad regime is certainly no picnic, in the face of radical jihadist groups trying to destabilise the country, he may, in fact, be the most moderate choice. This was confirmed even last year when a poll conducted by Le Figaro found over 70 percent of the Syrian people still supported Assad.
Nougayrede also appears to absurdly imply that if Assad were to step down or be forcibly removed from power, terrorism would disappear. As previously stated, there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq until Saddam Hussein was forced out of power and his armed forces were reduced to rubble. There was no major al-Qaeda threat in Libya until the CIA began backing al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels to topple Muammar Gaddafi before misusing a U.N. Security Council Resolution in 2011 to bomb Libya — a rich country that had a high standard of living under Gaddafi — back into the Middle Ages.
There was no al-Qaeda at all before the U.S. and Saudi Arabia invented it to counter the Soviet influence in the Middle East, but the mainstream media conveniently ignores all of these facts while selling another conflict like it’s going out of style.
Haven’t the Syrian people suffered enough?