Saturday, 9 September 2017

Syrian war is ending – and Assad has won


According to Robert Fisk writing in the Independent a couple of days ago, the Syrian war is ending – and Assad has won.

This is good news for Russia, Iran, but most of all for Syrians who want peace. It's bad news for Turkey, the Saudis and the Saudis' de facto ally, Israel, who prefer ISIS and a failed state to a victory for Assad. It is not such bad news for Qatar who are now on reasonable terms with Iran.

The journalists have told us since the war began and even after Russia intervened that the regime could not win, but journalists only know what people they trust tell them. Alistair

Crooke, a maverick ex-MI6 man who is an expert on the region, was one of the very few to predict this outcome as soon as Russia sent planes to help Assad. His prediction was sneered at.

I hadn't read Crooke's writing for years until today, but he has a very interesting analysis here.

He quotes General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe:

“In 1991, [Paul Wolfowitz] was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy … And I had gone to see him (…)
“And I said, ‘Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.’
“And he said: ‘Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn is that we can use our military in the region—in the Middle East—and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes—Syria, Iran, Iraq—before the next great superpower comes on, to challenge us.’”

Crooke sees the Neo-Cons in Washington as very anxious after the end of the Cold War to prevent the isolationist ideas of Pat Buchanan and the palaeo-conservatives from being ascendant. They wanted instead to protect the position of Israel in the Middle East. To do so, they wanted to overthrow the Baathist regimes in Iraq and Syria which were hostile to Israel.

If Crooke's analysis is true, the Islamists were originally encouraged by the Americans and Saudis. What is certain is that both the overthrowing of Saddam, and inevitable coming to power of the Shia majority in Iraq, and the war against the Baathists in Syria encouraged the Islamists and ISIS.

How fortunate that Hillary Clinton is not U.S. President, to prolong the war for years pointlessly and cruelly. How lucky that Boris Johnson, who would like to do so, cannot. Donald Trump was elected, with Pat Buchanan's warm support, to replace Obama's indecisive foreign policy and Neo-con ideas with an America First policy.

We shall see if Trump keeps any of his promises or just gives jobs to his family and leaves the defence establishment to run things.

Once the war ends, let's send all the migrants home. Except we know none will be sent back against their will.

Though half a million have returned to Syria voluntarily, according to the UN, which proves that it is safe to do so.

Incidentally Angela Merkel, who has an election to win, today said that refugees were to stop going back to their countries on holidays. Apparently many are doing so and it has reached the attention of the German press, which docile though it is about the Government's immigration policy, thinks this is a but much.

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