In recent months, each passing day has brought the United States closer to a confrontation with Russia in the Syrian battle arena.
Most recently, the U.S. shot down an Iranian-made drone over the al-Tanf region. This latest escalation comes on the heels of a warning from Russia that the Russian military will treat American aircraft as potential targets. Russia’s warning came in response to the U.S. military’s decision to shoot down a Syrian warplane barely three days ago and follows a number of strikes on Iranian-backed troops operating under the banner of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
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For those who defend America’s actions, this is the precedent they are setting.
For example, New Zealand’s former Prime Minister John Key once stated that there were al-Qaeda trained operatives on the ground in New Zealand, yet if a country such as Iran (one of ISIS’ most effective enemies) decided to bomb New Zealand, set up a base of its own, and then turn its missiles on the New Zealand government, most people would be outraged (and rightly so).
Yet this is what the United States is doing in Syria – and nobody is talking about it.
Barely hours after the latest provocative measure from the United States, which amounted to a flagrant act of war against both Syria and Iran, the top headlines on CNN ranged from North Korea to Trump’s approval rating (now down to 36 percent) to an accusation that Steve Bannon fat-shamed Sean Spicer.
At the same time, the New York Times is still crying wolf over disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and promulgating the Russia-gate scandal as fervently as possible, even as Russia and the United States are set to wage war against each other in the Syrian desert.
Fox News has also gone for the North-Korean angle, setting the stage for yet another conflict between the United States and a purportedly nuclear-armed state, conveniently ignoring the actual hot war taking place in Syria right now. At the time of this article’s writing, there was only a single mention of Syria on Fox News’ home page, and it cited a military official claiming Iran is the problem, not Russia.
Reuters only has one story regarding Syria on its home page, and its headlines are dominated by a number of other stories — mainly local congressional elections. This format is more or less similar to the present Guardian headlines.
If you lived in New Zealand and relied on the New Zealand Herald, you wouldn’t even realize that two nuclear powers are on the brink of war in Syria or in the Korean Peninsula, as the home page is dominated by sports, lifestyle tips, and not much else.
I haven’t covered all of the major newspapers – but take your pick. The others will likely be no different.
Yet when Donald Trump ordered air strikes on a Syrian government airbase in April of this year, the media went into a frenzy as the world watched the events with more or less 9/11-style horror (or awe, depending on your level of indifference towards acts of war).
However, as we soon came to learn, this Trump-ordered strike was barely worth the piece of chocolate cake Trump was eating when he gave the go-ahead to his military generals to proceed with the launch.
The Russian Ministry of Defense claims only 23 of the 59 missiles launched actually struck their target in what Russia perceived to be an inefficient and “poor” strike. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also stated that U.S. policy remains unchanged, highlighting that it was, indeed, a one-time strike. Less than a day after Trump’s missile launch, the Syrian airbase Trump targeted was up and running again as normal, bombing terrorist positions in areas around Homs, Syria.
Further, the U.S. actually gave Russia – Syria’s staunchest backer – prior notice of the strike before it was launched. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement that the so-called “deconfliction” channel the U.S. and Russia set up in Syria was used to disclose the strike to the Russian side.
“U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield,” Davis said at the time.
This is the strike the media decided to amplify – the one that was essentially devoid of all meaning and effect. The strikes that directly shoot down Syrian government aircraft, kill its militiamen with very little warning, and provoke Russia to respond with an equally aggressive show of force are completely downplayed by the mainstream media, as evidenced above in the analysis of the various newspapers.
Hardly anyone is talking about these events on social media, the mainstream media, or any form of media. Even when we alert the public every day about these events, some keyboard warriors appear to complain we are sounding the alarm too often.
Though we do not intend to over-hype these developments, the United States is striking two Russian allies inside a country that Russia is also bombing with complete polar opposite interests and intentions. The U.S. is furthering its strategy towards gaining control over a vitally strategic area that Russia is already bombing in full preparation for the ultimate showdown between all of the players involved, including ISIS.