Why Now? US Airstrikes on Syria
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by Cherneyy Koshka and Oriana P.
The recent US intervention in the form of airstrikes has drawn much criticism from many sides and for different reasons.
The “anti-imperialist”, no intervention, “Hands Off Syria” - crowd obviously condemns it on the grounds that war is never the answer and that you can’t trust the US government. While both statements may be true they fail to offer an alternative or even a glimmer of a solution regarding the war machine Assad has unleashed on his own people. They have also been completely deaf to the pleas for help from the Syrian people.
The criticism on the US airstrikes from the people who are actually involved or from those who have been following the situation more closely has been much more nuanced.
A STATEMENT BY SYRIAN REVOLUTION CO-ORDINATIONS ON INTERNATIONAL STRIKES LED BY AMERICA AND SUPPORTED BY SOME ISLAMIC AND ARAB STATES
“In the Name of God Most Gracious and Most Merciful
Our country has been in great distress and lately the forces of what is called “International Coalition” decided to strike Islam and Muslims under the pretext of fighting “terrorism”. The coalition warplanes raided Syrian territory and targeted indiscriminately free fighters and civilians under the pretext of fighting ISIS.
They shelled Syrian cities paying no attention to children, women, or the elderly in a way revealing their real intentions toward the great Syrian revolution as western countries and traitor Arab countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Arab Emirates.
This coalition basically turned a blind eye to all the crimes Assad’s regime has been committing for four years. Assad’ regime is the one that has killed more than 200 thousands of Syrian people in all means (shelling them, burning them, starving them, slaughtering them, gassing them,….). It targeted Ghouta with chemical weapons killing more than 1500 persons.
Assad’s regime displaced hundreds of thousands of Syrian people, and made all Syrians subject to the worst kind of terrorism including the detainees who were kept in Assad security branches and tortured to death.
We, a big number of revolution co-ordinations and revolutionary parties and groups in Damascus, Damascus Suburbs, and different areas in Syria, declare that we are against the International Coalition strikes against Syrian territory. If there is terrorism in Syria that should be fought, it is the terrorism of “Bashar Assad” and his gang.
We also declare that we are against targeting many free fighters, who showed courage and strength in battle fields, stood up for justice, fought corruption, completely followed decisions of courts created and agreed upon by all fighting brigades in Syria.
Maaloula nuns and what they said about how well they were treated by free fighters is a good evidence of their ethics, way of treating people and ideology.
In the end, we stress that this coalition and its military operations on Syrian territory serve only Assad’s regime and make no good to Syrian people. Countries in the coalition spent four years holding conferences and meetings without making any real procedure to stop bloodshed or Assad from killing his own people with help of some western countries, Hezbolla and Iranian militia.
(And Allah has full power and control over His affairs; but most among mankind do not know)
One important point that has been raised over and over again is that any kind of intervention is a little too late. Claims have been made this situation wouldn't exist if the world had reacted sooner.
“I think the US, the whole solution of Syria is in their hands.
Number one, they could pressure the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution under Chapter 7 to authorize military action for violations of human rights in Syria just like they did in the past with many different countries.
Number two, they could pressure regional countries, countries like Iran and Russia, to stop funding Bashar Al-Assad with all kinds of weapons.
Number three, they should start supporting the opposition, the moderate opposition who are fighting extremists like ISIS, who are fighting Bashar Al-Assad.
That’s why we reached this level of chaos in Syria, because the US would not interfere, because the US would not arm and support moderate Syrian opposition.”
It’s also the wrong kind of intervention. Airstrikes are too dangerous because Daesh (ISIS) is spread through civilian areas. Alternatives are “boots on the ground”, although this option is not supported by the FSA, a long asked for No Fly Zone, and the arming of the Syrian rebels and Kurds, who know the region and who know how to defeat IS if given the proper weapons. Obama has promised and pledged these arms and support but so far most of it was just talk, much like his “red line’ threat regarding the use of chemical weapons by Assad.
The recent reports have shown that the targets of the US air strikes are problematic. It seems they have attacked areas that are not under the control of Daesh such as Idleb and Aleppo and instead have struck buildings belonging to Al-Nusra and FSA.
ANA PRESS Exclusive report: After Effects of Attacks Against ISIL in Aleppo
The video is an exclusive report put together by ANA PRESS Staff who made their way to numerous areas in Aleppo to witness the effects of the recent attacks that began as an international coalition against the likes of ISIL (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) the focus here is on the front lines and what effect this is having on little attention and effort now going their way in addition to locals fleeing numerous areas due to an escalation of offensive by regime forces just after the attacks on ISIL.
Even the strikes in the Daesh stronghold Raqqa are questionable because many have fled their headquarters in the city for rural areas leaving the FSA captives and activists in their prisons and subject to the attacks.
When focusing on the ins and outs of US intervention it is easy to miss the elephant in the room: the Syrian regime under dictator Bashar Al-Assad, who is not only responsible for most of the overwhelming damage done to his country and his people but also for the growth of Daesh. Shaikh Hassan Abboud in his last interview said about ISIS (Daesh):
- Not Islamic;
- Supported directly or indirectly by the Assad regime;
- Trained by the head of Iran's Republican Guards;
- Using Islam as a Trojan horse; and
- Conceived and funded by supporters of Assad
At the beginning of the Syrian Revolution Assad freed all the extremists from his prisons leaving the moderate and peaceful activists and civilians. The clashes between ISIS and Assad's forces have been kept to a minimum, somehow their areas and buildings are never under attack from the regime and their phone lines are always in working order.
ISIS is Assad’s favorite “enemy”: brutal extremism to feed the Islamophobia in the West, a distraction from his own atrocities, and he gets to play the confusion game by calling all opposition ‘rebels’, including ISIS, even though all the rebel factions have been fighting them.
Activists online have begun to strike back at this blatant disregard of recognizing Assad as the real terrorist and are flying under the hashtag #ItISassadStupid
These US air strikes are a perfect opportunity to make him look like a hero when he positions himself to be the hardliner against the “Islamic Threat”. They also form a perfect cover for his continued bombing of civilians. However, in his bid to line up with the US intervention against ISIS it is hard to continue the “anti-imperialist” narrative that he is that power that stands up against US imperialism.
What the US and the international community need to focus on is the removal of Assad. As the September 19 Friday slogan from the Syrian Revolution stated:
“An End To Assad is An End to ISIS”
Focusing on ISIS will only make Assad stronger and will ensure the continuation of the genocide in Syria. The Syrian people are now under attack from Assad with support from Iran and Russia; from ISIS; and from the US and in that order. From a humanitarian standpoint the solution seems obvious however political will is, as usual, hard to come by.
In the meantime the Syrian people are being attacked from all sides while the international community plays hide and seek with geo-political theory games.
The Syrian Army has bombed us. The Lebanese Army has bombed us. The Iraqi Army has bombed us. The Israeli Army has bombed us. And now the American, Bahraini, Qatari, Saudi, And Emirati Armies have bombed us.
The Americans decided to test out the F-22 for the first time ever on us, and the Emiratis decided to to give their first female pilot a test run on us.
Don't worry about the Syrian population, it's not like we're human or anything. We're just "collateral damage".
The Friday slogan from 09/26/14 keenly illustrates the point that the Syrian people are fed up with being the victims or international games at their expense:
"Civilians do not need any more International Murderers"
"He who wants to target terrorism, should know that the address of terrorists is known.. it's the presidential palace... civilians are already victims of this terrorist and they don't need more killers to kill them!"
Activists seem to have a point. The target is wrong and it's long overdue.