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Happy Christmas (War is Over… Almost)

I was packing my luggage, I had to leave, but now I can stay.” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said late Thursday in an interview with Dutch television station NPO2.

It may be a little optimistic to think that after almost five years of fighting, the loss of 250 000 lives, 4 million refugees and millions more internally displaced, the Syrian conflict could be nearing an end, but the events of the last week must at least be seen as cause for hope.

In a sudden and unforeseen series of events US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that Washington will no longer be seeking regime change in Syria and that US F-15 bombers stationed in Turkey are to be removed immediately. In addition Turkey has been ordered to withdraw its troops from Iraq, and a UN Security Council resolution seeking to cut off funding for Islamic State has been adopted by all 15 member nations.

All the major news channels are reporting this as a turning point in the five year long ‘civil war’, with emphasis on a ‘cease fire’ and ‘peace talks’ and the prospect of ‘free and fair elections’ in 2017. As usual much is missing from the western media spin cycle. Conspicuous in its absence has been any mention of Syrian president Bashar al Assad, although Obama couldn’t resist throwing in one last jibe even while backing away with his tail between his legs: “In accordance with this logic we should support tyrants like Bashar al Assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse”, he told a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday.

What has happened to affect such a radical turnaround in US foreign policy when everything seems to have been going swimmingly so far? Could it have anything to do with Russia threatening to expose a cache of unsecured private emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Ash Carter? Or was last week’s revelation of a plan masterminded by Saudi terrorists to take down the world’s 13 root name servers and destroy the global internet a bridge too far? Might it have been the threat to expose information about the Swiss Bank accounts being used by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Nations to finance ISIS that led to this policy backflip? Or was it Turkish MP Eren Erdem’s admission that Islamic State terrorists in Syria received all necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas directly from Turkey and that Assad was probably not behind the chemical attacks at Ghouta after all? Was the destruction by Russian warplanes of 1200 ISIS oil tanker trucks en route to Turkey the final straw?

With the conflated ideas of a despotic tyrant, a fictitious civil war involving armed rebel groups such as al Qaeda and al Nusra playing the part of the ‘moderate’ good guys, and a barbarous death cult called ISIS/ISIL/IS/DAESH starring as the arch villain, it’s little wonder that the western media narrative has become somewhat confused. In the face of this, Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s decision to drop a giant truth bomb on the UN Security Council is a masterstroke, equal parts ultimatum and middle finger salute to Washington and its allies.

The shooting down of a Russian SU-24 over the Syrian border and murder of one of its pilots was clearly a red line for Russia and was never going to go unpunished, but rather than respond with an escalation of military force which would undoubtedly lead to a direct confrontation between the US and Russia, Putin and Lavrov have made a strategically brilliant move, laying bare before the world the ugly truth behind this genocidal coup. Could this be game over for Obama? Russia, Iran and Iraq are of the opinion that only the Syrian people should get to decide who their government will be. I tend to agree.

17 comments

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  1. Anthony Element (@observationpt)

    Obama with “his tail between his legs”?
    You don’t think that’s a tad childish for a serious discussion on international relations?
    Needless to say, I stopped reading at that point.

  2. Ricardo29

    I think that was a metaphor, Obama doesn’t actually have a tail. A small point upon which to jump on a high horse. It certainly seems as if the U.S. might have done some serious backing off if what Stinson writes is correct.

  3. Roswell

    “His tail between his legs” is a saying that I’ve heard at least thousand times before. I really don’t see what’s wrong with using it. Ninety nine per cent of the people on the planet knows what it means.

  4. Andreas

    Some sanity, at last. Long may it last!

  5. mark delmege

    The thing is Roswell some people are still apologists for empire and Obama – forgetting his destruction of one country after another. His lead from behind strategy that has given rise to IS and flooded Europe with a million desperate souls. Would anyone accept this of a Republican President? Not fkn likely – they be marching in the streets against another war monger barbarian from Washington.

  6. brickbob

    The United States have been waging war on countries since the end of WW2, and in the process have killed millions of innocent people, all to satisfy the greed of it’s military industrial complex,this has to stop.

  7. mark delmege

    much earlier brickbob. Philippines 1898 250,000 locals dead in the process… they took over a lot of countries and land that year (outside of north america)

  8. mars08

    Ah… no no no no, mark delmege. You miss the point entirely. Tbe US liberated the Philippines from the Spanish… AND got to show off their fancy Krag rifles!!!!

  9. mark delmege

    na mars it was attempt to move in on China – like all the other colonial powers at the time (and since) as they carved chunks of territory there and in India and whatever else they could from the ‘new world’.

  10. mars08

    But, bbbut, but… liberation and freedom!!! And democracy????

  11. mars08

    I suggest that anyone interested in Russia’s current position watch this video. In it Putin comprehensively demolishes the assumptions made by a BBC reporter…

    https://youtu.be/mq721qGFZxk

  12. Sen Nearly Ile

    confuscius say man with tail between his legs has lost his dog.
    Spot on Anthony, you missed little.

  13. Michael

    What was it that Eisenhower alluded to in his Farewell address (1961)?

    Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    A President is also Commander in Chief – hands tied.

  14. Do Yourself a favour

    @ Anthony Element
    “Needless to say, I stopped reading at that point.”

    Needless? You have a history of that sort of behaviour? Sticking yor fingers in your ears and sticking your tounge out yelling “nyah nyah nyah nyah, not listening” is not only childish, but also why people like you remain willfully ignorant. When people write a sensible article, and it doesnt gel with your idea of the world, instead of offering anything of substance to counter it, you simply turn off, because perhaps youre not able to process it through fear or stupidity. The USA is the biggest cause of terror today, and people like you are part of the problem.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgig1QVU2lY

  15. Pingback: Happy Christmas (War is Over… Almost) – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  16. jim

    USA dropped millions upon millions of bombs on Laos who by the way had no involvement in the Vietnam war, why? and these bombs are still maiming and killing people to-day yet you don’t hear of the Laos people suicide bombing innocents why is this?. And then there’s the Japanese people seems to me that these people must know the violence begets violence, however Americans just keep going with their heads stuck right up their asses.

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