At the end of my last post on Aleppo, Syria, and the battle to retake the country, I wrote that the chemical attacks were just the start: and that ‘extreme actions are likely, as well as a desperate escalation of propaganda’.
I also suggested that there would be a renewed, escalating push for foreign intervention in Syria to prevent the Assad-led government from reclaiming the country: and that part of the reason for renewed urgency was that the Assad regime and Russia want to finish this business before Neo-Con psychopath Hillary Clinton comes to office and that the war’s foreign sponsors want to prolong the fighting long enough for that to happen.
It is in that context that we should view everything that is happening now.
After the latest round of chemical attacks a few weeks ago (which were widely depicted as a government attack on civilians in Aleppo), the last couple of days has seen another ramping up of the propaganda campaign.
This centers on an alleged letter written by doctors making the same old argument that Syrian government forces are encircling Aleppo in order to kill civilians (rather than to eliminate foreign-backed jihadists and recapture the city).
The letter is being referred to in international media as the ‘Open Letter Of Aleppo Doctors’.
In essence, the statement – addressed directly to Barack Obama – portrays the situation in rebel-held Aleppo as one of beleaguered, innocent civilians being ruthlessly targeted by the evil Syrian regime and its Russian ally. It calls on the United States and the international community to ‘do something’.
There are also calls for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Syria.
The letter complains about the ‘continued US inaction to protect the civilians of Syria’ and ends with a call to arms; ‘We need your action. Prove that you are the friend of Syrians’.
It appears to be a well crafted campaign to provide a fresh pretext for American intervention against the Assad-led government (and by extension, Russia and Iran); and this being despite the Obama/Kerry administration having been working cooperatively with Russia in recent months to establish a ceasefire and peace process.
Accompanying this is the more specific, human story and image serving to focus everyone’s outrage.
A five-year-old boy has become the latest powerful symbol of alleged Syrian state aggression. The child, pictured with a bloodied face and having been pulled from rubble, is being used by worldwide media to amplify the manufactured Aleppo narrative.
The New York Times tells us how ‘Omran Daqneesh, 5, Became a Symbol of Aleppo’s Suffering’
And the accompanying Tweet-storm has also unfolded, maximising the perception of the Syrian state as a barbaric regime indiscriminately murdering civilians. One ‘foreign policy’ expert tweets, deliberately trying to evoke historic atrocities; ‘After the Holocaust, Rwanda & Srebrenica, we promised ‘Never Again’, yet it’s happening everyday in Aleppo #Syria.’
For the record, those of us with decent memories will recall Rwanda and Srebrenica also being deliberately evoked by Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice and the whole gang five years ago when they were trying to convince everyone that Gaddafi’s government was committing ‘massacres’ in Libya. “Preventing another Rwanda or Srebrenica” was in fact one of the direct quotes from the time.
So clearly, this is a concerted multi-media campaign to revive the regime-change and intervention narratives.
Firstly, who are these doctors in Aleppo? Do they exist?
There is actually very little evidence that they do.
Even in reporting this story (and, by the way, The Guardian is generally becoming a disappointment), the Guardian piece adds ‘It has not been possible to verify the names of all the doctors listed in the letter’.
The Guardian, as it happens, was being polite. ‘Leminscat’, posting on Twitter, highlights the very dubious list of doctors’ name attached to the letter – and how some of them are known names of terrorists; and one appears to be the name of a shop in the town.
Concerning the narrative in Aleppo in general, we already talked about this here a few weeks ago and don’t need to go over it again.
Moon of Alabama also examines a key aspect of the propaganda narrative, highlighting how even the term ‘Aleppo’ is being misused and misrepresented. Almost all talk of ‘Aleppo’ being under siege is referring in fact to the eastern part of the city that is under rebel/jihadist control, but tries to present this as ‘Aleppo’ the entire city; when in fact, the western, government-controlled area of Aleppo has about 2 million people living there (as compared to the approximately 40,000 people living in the rebel-held section).
In essence, images, stories and reports from the war-ravaged ghost-town of rebel-held Aleppo are being depicted in mainstream media as the whole of Aleppo and presented as ‘Syria’s most populous city’ being under horrific siege by the government forces.
Basically, we hear about ‘Aleppo’ and its suffering population being under constant assault – instead of the reality, which is the specific parts of Aleppo that are under rebel control.
Moreover, it has been fairly well established by now that these aren’t the famed (or fictional) ‘moderate rebels’ that are holding those parts of Aleppo.
A number of international media outlets constantly portray the rebels in Aleppo as moderates and even noble freedom fighters, while also painting an almost romantic/heroic image of the city’s trapped civilian population being tirelessly defended by the besieged rebels against regime brutality. In fact, the picture painted by Amnesty International suggests that al-Nusra and the ‘Aleppo Conquest coalition‘ has subjected the population to a brutal form of Wahhabist Sharia Law: which is hardly surprising, given the hardline Salafist make-up of most of the jihadist groups that have been internationally funded and supported to tear up Syria.
Most international media was silent when, months ago, some 40 Wahhabi preachers from Saudi Arabia were reported to have arrived in Aleppo to inspire local fighters to keep up the good fight. Wahhabi preachers arriving in rebel-held Syria, offering counsel to al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda), Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaish al- Islam… and all of this is ‘moderate’ behaviour, apparently.
But this of course has been largely the nature of the ‘Syrian Civil War’ for years: foreign orchestraters of jihadist militias consisting largely of Chechens, Saudis, Europeans, Iraqis, and other foreign fighters, all funded and supplied from abroad.
The ‘Aleppo Doctors’ call for Obama to ‘do something’ might or might not be answered immediately.
If it is answered, it probably won’t be by the Obama administration.
Obama, with only months left of his presidency, might not be so inclined to commit to a more forceful intervention; which he has generally been trying to avoid. The best option would be for those authors of the letter to wait a while longer and call on Hillary Clinton to ‘do something’ instead: she would, we can suspect, be much more willing and ready to throw American military power to oust Assad.
Their problem is that Syrian government forces, with Russian, Iranian (and now Chinese) support, may successfully end the war in Syria before the change in US presidency: by which point, the regime change strategy will be yesterday’s news.
But should the Syria crisis be successfully extended into a Hillary presidency, she would have plenty of support for justifying a military intervention in Syria to remove the Assad government and dismantle the Syrian state (as per Libya and Iraq, and as she herself was calling for during her management of the State Department).
There are all of these Neo-Con, regime-change hawks who’ve had to embarrassingly step back behind the curtain and hold their tongues as Libya has fallen apart, ISIS has gotten out of control, Western resolve for Syria regime-change has diminished, and Russian intervention has changed the entire paradigm.
But when Obama has stepped out of the picture, all of those characters and advocates will reemerge around Hillary and try to salvage some kind of justification for forced regime change.
It is already happening, in preparation for Obama’s departure.
Former Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford – and one of the early facilitators/architects of the armed insurgency in Syria – has recently appeared on CNN, attacking President Obama’s Syria policy. Ford, who was involved in implementing the uprising against the Assad government in 2011 and who was also deeply involved in establishing the Shia ‘death squads’ in Iraq (and exacerbating the sectarian conflict in post-war Iraq), has criticised Obama for focusing on attacking ISIS instead of dealing with the Syrian government. He has called for a much more forceful policy against Assad.
A psychopathic former CIA director, Michael Morell (who published an op-ed in the New York Times titled, ‘I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton’) recently appeared in a bizarre interview with veteran interviewer Charlie Rose, in which he advocated covertly killing Russians and Iranians involved in operations against ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria. “We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price in Syria,” he says, clearly advocating that regime-change is still the holy grail.
We are told that Hillary Clinton herself ‘plans to order a full review of the United States’ strategy in Syria as one of her first priorities if elected President.’
According to reports, ‘One of her foreign policy advisers, Jeremy Bash, said she would seek to end Bashar al-Assad’s “murderous” regime despite waning political will to oust the autocratic Syrian President. He said dealing with Syria would be Ms Clinton’s “first key task” if elected and she would work to get President Assad “out of there”.
If so, Hillary can earn the distinction of having personally seen to the downfalls of both Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Bashar Assad in Syria.
Michele Flournoy, “the woman expected to run the Pentagon under Hillary Clinton,” has also advocated force being used to remove Assad from Syria. She has advocated for “sending more American troops into combat against ISIS and the Assad regime than the Obama administration has been willing to commit.”
It is therefore crystal clear that the Syrian government needs to finish all of this before the end of the year. Which is why the regime-change propaganda war is going into overdrive: every step the Syrian state takes towards recapturing Aleppo from the jihadist militias will mean a new anti-Assad propaganda exercise across international media.