20.10.2017 Author: Valery Kulikov

Washington is Keen to Derail the Syrian Peace Process


Washington’s continued desire to disrupt the ongoing peace process in Syria should come as no surprise. Judging by US policy in Syria, most analysts argue that the West is going after Syria’s rich oil fields by taking advantage of local Kurdish communities as well as preventing Damascus from establishing control over several key border crossings with Iraq . As it’s been noted by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif at this point in time Washington has clearly no interest in its so-called “war on terror.”

Unsurprisingly, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has also questioned Washington’s intentions of destroying ISIS in Syria, since this goal appears at odds with Washington’s actual actions geopolitically. According to Sergei Ryabkov, the recent death of Russia’s Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov in Deir ez-Zor was largely the result of a two-faced US policy in Syria.

At the very end of September, the top brass of the Russian General Staff accused US intelligence services of staging an offensive, using Jabhat al-Nusra militants within the deescalation zone established in Idlib. This offensive resulted in a total of 29 Russian military police personnel finding themselves surrounded. They were later relieved by a special joint task group consisting of elite Syrian and Russian soldiers. According to the chief of the Russian Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff, Sergey Rudsky, the offensive was initiated by US special services in an attempt to disrupt the successful offensive of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor. Although no details were provided by General Rudskoy, it was nevertheless made clear that the US was suspected of handing over “sensitive details” about the location of Syrian and Russian troops in Idlib. The West may argue that such data was transferred to one of the groups classified as “moderate opposition” with close ties to extremist groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra.

Many Western media sources have already admitted Washington’s double dealing in Syria. In particular, such revelations can be found in Foreign Policy magazine which would note:

The US Department of Defense is reportedly still funneling billions of dollars’ worth of Soviet-era weaponry to anti-Islamic State groups in Syria, with questionable oversight. In a joint report published Tuesday, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) allege that the Pentagon has given up to $2.2 billion worth of weapons to groups like the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

The report cited by Foreign Policy notes that the Pentagon started this weapon transfer program in September 2015 under President Obama. By May of this year, it had already spent more than 700 million dollars on AK-47 automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, mortars, and other weapons and ammunition. It would also add that more than 900 million dollars had been allocated for use up to 2022, while the Trump administration demanded a 600 million dollar increase in funding to sponsor similar activities. This brings the grand total of  Pentagon spending on its so-called Syrian allies to 2.2 billion dollars.

Additionally, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has released details regarding ongoing negotiations between the Pentagon and the Georgian Defense Ministry on the purchase of Soviet-made weapons for its subsequent transfer to the Syrian opposition. It should be noted that such negotiations were reported for the first time by opposition TV company Rustavi-2, which has ties to former Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili.

The above listed investigations can partially explain why military experts find sophisticated night vision goggles (NVG) on the bodies of dead terrorists liquidated over the course of recent battles for Deir ez-Zor. It has been established now that ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra snipers are using NVG designed by Russian engineers. At the same time, it should be noted that exporting similar NVG devices is strictly forbidden in the United States. Only Washington’s closest allies can obtain permission from the Pentagon but only after a number of involved procedures for approval and upon providing guarantees that such devices will under no circumstance fall into the hands of third parties. However, these restrictive measures are being successfully bypassed by the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies by purchasing NVG devices in Eastern Europe.

At the same time, media sources would note that video and photographic evidence from areas of ISIS control near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor recently published by Russia’s Ministry of Defense made things very clear for many high-ranking officials in the Pentagon. The US fictional fight against terrorist militants dissolved into thin air. American special forces appeared located without any defenses in close proximity to ISIS militants without any incidents. It makes it evident that far from combating ISIS militants, the US military appears to be working in tandem with them, despite even the US media portraying the militant group as brutal, dangerous purveyors of terrorism and atrocities.

Yet further evidence testifying to Washington’s attempts to sabotage the peace process in Syria has been released by the Russian Defense Ministry that would provide details about an incursion of well over 600 militants into the southern zone of deescalation in Syria at the beginning of October, without any interference or intervention on the part of US coalition forces, including no humanitarian aid offered to affected members of the local population. The militants have covered almost 200 miles without any form of resistance from US military forces.

In fact, one should not be surprised at US behavior in its approach towards well recognized terrorist organizations, since it’s no secret who created the al-Qaeda and helped nurture the Taliban in Afghanistan in the first place. So the ongoing support Washington has been providing to ISIS is no mere anomaly or accident, but yet another step in Washington’s long-standing use of and support for terrorism.

It’s thus not enough to defeat terrorist organizations operating in Syria to reach a peace agreement, it is also imperative to overcome the resistance that Washington has given in the actual war on terrorism.

Valeriy Kulikov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”