Now that Russia has begun launching air strikes in Syria, the West’s hypocrisy is soaring to new levels and the anti-Russian propaganda machine is in full gear.
The same American intelligence sources that could barely identify credible ISIS targets, let alone provide proof of the allied air campaign’s success, are now suddenly able to give us detailed information on Russian air strikes?
Of course, the United States claims the Russian military has either missed its targets and killed civilians or is bombing the good Syrian rebels instead of ISIS. The hypocrisy is that, while the U.S. chastises the evil Russian pilots for alleged collateral damage in Syria, there is irrefutable proof that a U.S. air strike against a civilian hospital in Afghanistan left many dead and wounded.
On Oct. 3, a U.S. air force C-130 Spectre gunship made a total of five lethal passes over the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, pummelling the structure with automatic cannon fire that resulted in the deaths of 22 staff and patients. As there were remnants of Taliban fighting forces in the area, the U.S. military simply put the tragedy down to the old “fog of war.” Obviously, the Americans don’t cut their Russian counterparts that same slack.
As for Russia bombing the “moderate” Syrian opposition instead of ISIS, this seems rather preposterous given how difficult it has been for the U.S.-led allies to find “moderate” Syrian rebels worthy of our support.
Despite the greatest hopes and desires of U.S. planners, no credible “moderate” armed opposition to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has yet been found. Surprise, surprise! When law and order breaks down into armed conflict, it is the extremists who come to the fore. Moderates tend to flee the fighting for the safety of themselves and their families, while zealots and criminals take up weapons.
Unlike the West, which has only been clear in its opposition of ISIS, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been open about the fact that his planes will be bombing in support of Assad.
Russia — and before it, the Soviet Union — has long enjoyed close ties with Assad and his father, who ruled Syria before his son. The Russian military base in Tartus is Russia’s only foothold in the Mediterranean and therefore of vital strategic interest.
While the West may want Assad gone, his removal without a viable alternative would certainly create another violent anarchy like we created in Libya. Russia’s plan to restore Assad’s authority by defeating his opposition — including ISIS — is at least one that could lead to an eventual transition from Assad rule.
The notion of creating another absolute power vacuum overrun with Islamic extremists is not a plan at all.
For all the talk by the U.S. about supporting freedom and democracy across the Middle East, there was no such American support for the Arab Spring movement when it hit Bahrain in 2011. When the Shiite majority rose up in protest against the Sunni minority and the royal family, the U.S. quietly turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabian security forces entering Bahrain to brutally suppress the protests.
After all, the U.S. has a major Persian Gulf naval base in Bahrain, and there was no way it was about to let Iranian-influenced Bahrain Shiites gain control of that country — even if they are in the majority.
Another bit of irony concerns the Americans’ apparent glee in reporting that a couple of Russian-built cruise missiles had gone off course and landed in Iran instead of Syria. This reminded me of similar incidents in March 2003 during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Then, it was U.S.-built Tomahawk missiles that were going astray, landing in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The fact is that no matter how precise modern munitions may be, they are not failsafe. Air campaigns will kill innocent civilians, which is why it is important to have a clear objective and an identifiable strategic goal in place before employing such lethal force.
Russia knows Assad is a devil, but he is a devil they know. Canada, on the other hand, is simply bombing against ISIS but not for anybody, and with no idea of what a final “victory” will look like.
No plan is not a good plan.