The definition of regime change is the replacement of one government by another by use of military force. US involvement in altering or replacing foreign governments has entailed both overt and covert actions.
In the sequel to The Syrian, one of my characters reveals through her diary entries the extent to which not just the Obama administration but Bush’s before him have so underhandedly pushed to effect regime change in Syria and Iraq before that.
George W. Bush used the language of civilian protection in 2003 to conduct a war of aggression against Iraq. His war broke Iraq’s infrastructure and state institutions and made a mockery of humanitarian intervention. The number of dead in Iraq since 2003 has reached approximately 500,000. This figure doesn’t count the US-driven sanctions on Iraq prior to the invasion that led to the death of half-a-million children, to which Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to the UN, commented: “We think the price was worth it.”
Hillary Clinton called for a no-fly zone in Syria even though it would have likely lead to war with Russia. A no-fly zone is a coercive appropriation of the partial airspace of a sovereign country. It is the arbitrary creation of a demilitarized zone in the sky to prevent belligerent powers from flying in that air space. Her no-fly policy over Libya, when she was Secretary of State, cost 50,000 civilians their lives. In Syria, the “belligerent power,” ironically, would be the internationally recognized legitimate Syrian government and its legitimate ally, Russia.
In her final debate, Clinton said: “I will continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria. It would help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees.”
Despite calls for a non-fly zone Barack Obama has resisted such measures. Instead, through the CIA’s John Brennan, he fed weapons, training and billions of dollars to so-called “moderate” rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists. In early November, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press of November 13, 2016, the US lost three of its Army Special Forces who were working for the CIA training al-Qaeda fighters on the Syrian-Jordanian border.
On October 28, the New York Times published an astonishing conclusion about an aspect of the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria, though gently and benevolently worded. The Times indicated that it was being felt that Obama had insufficiently armed the “moderate opposition,” so that in Aleppo it had “no choice” but to partner with al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra) to fight off Putin and Assad. At the same time, Reuters noted that the Obama administration had formerly considered arming the “moderates” with anti-air missiles but was constrained by the fear that such weapons would fall in the hands of “extremists.” Such reports suggest the absurdity of launching a War on Terror that results in fighting a War with Terrorists.
According to the Washington Post, the day after Donald Trump became President-elect, Barak Obama, in an about face, ordered the Pentagon to find and kill the leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria that the administration had largely given free reign until now and who have been at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government. That shift is likely to accelerate once President-elect Donald Trump takes office…possibly in direct cooperation with Moscow. Also, the US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control took action this week to disrupt Al-Nusra Front’s military, recruitment and financing operations. These actions mark a major change in US policy. Nusra will from now on be on the run not only from Russian and Syrian attacks but also from the intelligence and military capabilities of the United States. The Pentagon will now wage war on Al-Qaeda in Syria just as the Russians are doing. This comes after five years of nearly unlimited US support for Al-Qaeda and its so-called “moderate” Syrian affiliates, resulting in half a million dead and millions of refugees.
Russia and Syria will welcome the new Obama policies should they come to fruition on the ground. However we may feel about the morality of governments in Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq, one thing is clear: they did not launch the war on Iraq, opening the door to all the crimes that followed from that original crime. It is time to decide whether we want to live with things as they are or change them. And we must begin by changing them at home. President Obama is apparently trying to do just that.
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