Originally appeared at MoonOfAlabama
In February the U.S. and Russia agreed upon a ceasefire in Syria. Al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat a-Nusra) and the Islamic State were explicitly excluded from it. In April al-Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and a number of U.S. supported “moderate rebels” attackedSyrian government forces south of Aleppo. They broke the ceasefire and Syrian government forces, after taking heavy losses, responded.
The Russian government has since urged the U.S. to push its proxy forces to re-accept the ceasefire. It demands, rightfully, that the U.S. supported “moderates” separate themselves from al-Qaeda so that al-Qaeda can be attacked without further collateral damage. The U.S. rejects that so far claiming that the rebels are too “intermingled” with al-Qaeda. A separation is thereby not possible, it says. At the same time it demands that Russia and Syria refrain from attacking al-Qaeda because that would hit those “moderates” that fall under the ceasefire.
That is hogwash and clearly designed to protect al-Qaeda. After months of pledging with the U.S., Russia finally said so and relaunched attacks against the “intermingled” groups.
Now suddenly the U.S. is seeing the light and is offering military cooperation against al-Qaeda in Syria. That is – if you believe this rumor of a new U.S. “offer”, reported, suspiciously, by a wannabe neocon writer on the Washington Post opinion pages:
The Obama administration has proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against some terrorists in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing U.S.-supported rebels.The United States transmitted the text of the proposed agreement to the Russian government on Monday after weeks of negotiations and internal Obama administration deliberations, an administration official told me. The crux of the deal is a U.S. promise to join forces with the Russian air force to share targeting and coordinate an expanded bombing campaign against Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, which is primarily fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The deal is allegedly supported by Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. That is somewhat curious. Kerry is the one who demanded a harsher line against Syria and Russia and was the point man in accusing the Russian of bombing the al-Qaeda associated “moderates”.
In exchange [for some cooperation], the Russians would agree to pressure the Assad regime to stop bombing certain Syrian rebel groups the United States does not consider terrorists. The United States would not give Russia the exact locations of these groups, under the proposal, but would specify geographic zones that would be safe from the Assad regime’s aerial assaults.
“Specify geographic zones” without specifics is pretty much nonsense. No one will take such an offer serious. What if the zone is specified as “Idleb governate” or “east Aleppo” or some other wide area where al-Qaeda and the rebels live and fight side by side? The Russians and Syrian would get practically nothing but they would have to stop attack those who attack them?
Even the hawkish former U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, says that this idea is bullshit:
There’s not enough reliable intelligence to distinguish Jabhat al-Nusra targets from the other rebel groups they often live near, Ford said. And even if the Syrians agreed not to bomb certain zones, there would be no way to stop Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups from moving around to adjust.
Moscow and Damascus will laugh at such an “offer”.
The U.S. is indeed protecting al-Qaeda because al-Qaeda, not U.S. supported “moderates, is the only force which keeps the Syrian government side from winning. The Zionist lobby confirms this:
Because most Jabhat al-Nusra fighters are fighting Assad, if the plan succeeds, Assad will be in a much better position. Meanwhile, the other Sunni Arab groups that are left fighting Assad will be in a much weaker position, said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The strategy could allow Assad to capture Aleppo, which would be a huge victory for his side in the civil war.“If the U.S. and Russia open up on Jabhat al-Nusra, that changes the dynamics on the ground in Aleppo and Idlib,” he said. “It would definitely benefit the Assad regime …”
The plan, if it was correctly “leaked” to the WaPo author, is nothing but additional delaying and obfuscation. The U.S. has no interest in ending the fighting in Syria. It wants to keep the conflict going as long as possible to “bleed” Syrian, Iran and Russia as much as it can.
The Russian government should finally accept that and end the conflict by solely military means.