David Hearst writes: US Secretary of State John Kerry came close to revealing his true thoughts when he was accosted by two Syrian aid workers at a reception in London after the collapse of the Geneva talks last week.
The Syrians accused him of doing nothing to protect civilians from the onslaught they are facing in Aleppo. Kerry replied: “Don’t blame me – go and blame your opposition,” laying the fault for the government’s offensive on the opposition walking out of the talks.
Kerry got flustered in the encounter: “What do you want me to do? Go to war with Russia? Is that what you want?” the aid worker said Kerry told her. Kerry then anticipated three months of bombing during which time “the opposition will be decimated”.
Kerry’s off-mic encounter deviated significantly from the official line which was that Russia and Iran had offered Washington a ceasefire. Kerry’s remarks differed also from the State Department mantra that the brutality of Assad against the Syrian people had helped foster the growth of the Islamic State group. Apparently now, Syrians who resisted Assad’s brutality were responsible for the barrel bombs being dropped on them.
After multiple avowals that Assad’s army was on the point of collapse and the ill-fated CIA training programmes, Syrian rebels are being sold down the river by the country that urged them to rise up five years ago.
The Deraa protests started peacefully. To that everyone attests. Four factors turned those protests into an armed uprising: the brutality of the regime’s response, Assad’s decision to release Jihadis from Sednaya Prison, an act which “Islamised” the opposition, the Libyan intervention, and the intervention of foreign powers – Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The scenes today on the Turkish border are a direct consequence of Obama’s “intervention-lite” in Syria – a drip feed of weapons – but only 16 bullets per fighter per month. The Free Syrian Army has reportedly stopped receiving weapons for four months. In Libya, Obama boasted he was leading from behind. In Syria he is now wringing his hands from behind. [Continue reading…]