Washington’s Hypocrisy — Russia Invades Ukraine: Bad. US Invades Syria: Good

August 21st, 2023 - by Washington Liberals

US forces have invaded Syria and seized the country’s oil.

The Hypocrisy of the US Criticizing Russia
While Invading and Seizing Syrian Territory
Washington Liberals

(June 4, 2023) — In this YouTube video — “US Building ANOTHER Illegal Military Base in Syria” —, Jimmy Dore ridicules US hypocritical criticism of Russia’s invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine, when the US continues to occupy a third of the sovereign nation of Syria.

Jimmy Dore is sort of like a left-wing Rush Limbaugh or Tucker Carlson. But many things he says are accurate. The YouTube video summary says: “Unbeknownst to most Americans, the US military is currently occupying a third of the nation of Syria and, based on recent news, it looks like the US won’t be leaving any time soon. That’s because the military is reportedly building a new military base in Syria’s northern province of Raqqa. Jimmy and Americans’ Comedian Kurt Metzger discuss the US military’s ongoing occupation of Syria and the sheer hypocrisy of doing so while criticizing Russia for invading Ukraine.”’

Dore mentions a base in Raqqa. Washington moves to revive Islamist militia in northern Syria: Report by The Cradle (a Beirut blog) says:

According to a 20 December report released by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, the US is currently attempting to rebuild Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa (Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade) – a former Islamist militia opposed to Damascus….. the plan aims to compromise Russian efforts at mediation between the SDF and Turkiye by “pulling the rug out from under” Moscow’s proposition to Ankara. Russia’s proposition calls for a pullback of the Kurdish militia and the deployment of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along the Syrian-Turkish border…..

Essentially, the rebuilding of the Raqqa-based militant group serves the US “desire to prevent any Russian or Syrian governmental attempt to advance towards the strongholds of American influence,” Al-Akhbar said in a newer report released on 22 December.

Washington’s scheme to revive the group comes as the US is continually attempting to strengthen the foothold of its occupation in Syria, particularly in the city of Raqqa, where they have been planning to construct a new military base.

On 15 December, US lawmakers introduced the Countering Assad’s Proliferation Trafficking And Garnering Of Narcotics Act (CAPTAGON Act), which aims to expand Washington’s draconian Caesar Act sanction policy against Damascus, but this time under the pretext of combating the country’s drug trade.

For what it’s worth, the Iranian Mehr News Agency article US forces prepare to build 1st military base in Syria’s Raqqa says “The London-based Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR) has reported on its website that the US forces are preparing for announcing their first military base in Al-Raqqa, after having withdrawn from the province over three years, during “peace Spring” operation in 2019.”

To be clear, in order for the US to be occupying a third of Syria, it must have, in some sense, invaded it. And one often hears the complaint that if Ukraine negotiates a peace deal with Russia now, it will legitimatize Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory. But, the status quo legitimatizes US occupation of Syria, and the US helped overthrow governments in Yugoslavia and, of course, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (via proxies) all over South America.

Dore shows a video clip of Donald Trump saying about Syria “We’re keeping the oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil.” But it’s unclear whether anything Trump says has any validity.

Dore then shows a video clip of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dana Stroul saying, “The United States still had compelling forms of leverage on the table to shape an outcome that was more conducive and protective of US interests. And we identified four. So the first one was the one third of Syrian territory that was owned via the US military with its local partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces…. And that one third of Syria is the resource-rich, the economic powerhouse of Syria.”

According to a report in The New Arab, “The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group will build a new base in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa, sources close to a coalition partner force have said.”

Dore mentions the “crippling economic sanctions” that a recent Quincy Institute panel also discussed. Despite the devastating earthquake. The Quincy panelists acknowledged that the Syrian people are suffering terribly from the sanctions, while the Syrian leadership continue to live in luxury, But the US is unlikely to remove them, lest it allow Syria to rebuild and lest it hand Assad, Iran, and Russia a victory.

Interestingly, Dore quotes an antiwar.com article that says, “ISIS also holds no significant territory, and the Syrian government and its allies would continue to fight the remnants of the terror group if the US withdrew.” It’s all confusing. We’re allying with extremist Islamic groups and dealing with multiple players: the Syrian government, various Islamic groups, Kurds, Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

While the Arab countries want to make peace with Syria — witness the recent Arab peace deal with Syria, brokered by China — the US wants to continue to weaken Syria and its allies Iran and Russia.

Dore says the US is the “world’s terrorist and whatever you say about Putin, you have to say a thousand times about the United States. Because that’s how propagandized you are. You think Putin is a worse war criminal than George Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Donald Trump….. And if you’re for this Ukraine war, you’re a sucker.” I wouldn’t phrase it so harshly.

A look at the US military mission in Syria and its dangers says the US helped create the SDF (from Kurds):
On any given day there are at least 900 US forces in Syria, along with an undisclosed number of contractors. 

US special operations forces also move in and out of the country, but are usually in small teams and are not included in the official count. They are trying to prevent any comeback by the Islamic State group, which swept through Iraq and Syria in 2014, taking control of large swaths of territory. … US forces advise and assist the SDF, including in securing the detention facilities, and they also conduct counterterror missions against the Islamic State group and other al-Qaida-affiliated militants, and carry out strikes on Iran-backed militias that have attacked US facilities.”

Al Jazeera says “In addition to the SDF, the US has covertly armed and trained Syrian opposition forces, although that was severely reduced in 2017, and limited only to groups directly fighting ISIL.” And it says, “The Syrian government has constantly expressed its opposition to the US role in Syria, and demanded US forces withdraw.”

Newsweek’s article Syria Demands an End to America’s Last ‘Forever War’ from April 4, 2023 discusses the issue of US presence in Syria:

New questions surrounding the US deployment in Syria have also been raised in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The US has led international efforts to condemn the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine as illegal and to arm Ukrainian forces fighting to oust them from the country.

Asked about the application of international law to the US presence in Syria, [White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John] Kirby told Newsweek that “we’ve talked about this for, regrettably, now several years” and defended the current US policy.

“They are there under appropriate legal authorities to defend American national security interests and the president has requisite legal authority to have them there,” Kirby said. “And that hasn’t changed.”

There are now at least 14 US military bases inside Syria.

It’s fair to say that US backed and armed forces (SDF) that control territory and we still have a significant presence of troops, though less than five years ago. Whether the US presence rises to the level of “occupying the country” is unclear. But one has to ask: who gave the US permission to station any troops in a sovereign foreign nation?

By the way, according to NPR, some US troops are still in Iraq.

Rep. Adam Smith (personal communication) downplays the presence of US troops in Syria, saying that they’re few in number and Dana Stroul’s quote was from 2019. Her views don’t reflect the current situation, he said. But, according to the Department of Defense, “Souls is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East. In this role, she leads the development of US Department of Defense Policy and Strategy for Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.”

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