How Obama and the Pentagon Worked with Al Qaeda to Murder Christians in Syria
"Are we the baddies?"
Note: This is the second article in our series on American foreign policy. The first was on America’s policy toward Rhodesian and South Africa; read it here.
When you think of Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, what do you think of? Perhaps the purported “chemical attack” used to justify United States support of the Islamist militants in his country. Or perhaps the Kurds, the descendants of the Armenian genocide perpetrators1, whom he was allegedly oppressing and so a group which America “had" to support? Or perhaps the “barrel bombs” he allegedly rained down on innocent civilians across Syria?
Well, most of what you know about Assad is a lie spread by a regime that seemed intent, as shown by its support of Islamist rebels, on killing Christians in his country: the Obama Administration.
The Lies the Regime Told You about the Syrian Civil War
Much as with the Rhodesian Bush War, discussed in the first article in this series, the truth about Assad and Syria is a good bit different than the regime in power would have you believe. On one hand, Assad might be a brutal dictator, just as Ian Smith was the preferred candidate of white Rhodesians. But, also like Ian Smith, Assad is also the man who maintained order in a region afflicted by chaos. Beyond just maintaining order, he defended a minority population under siege by Islamists: the Christians,2 a group almost wiped out despite being there since Biblical times.3
Most of the stories the regime and its media apparatchiks spread about Syria at the height of the civil war were false.
The Chemical Attack That Probably Wasn’t
Take the alleged chemical weapon attacks on Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus. Did Assad really drop chemical weapons on civilians in his capital city? Probably not.
That attack was likely either a false flag or irresponsible and made-up reporting perpetrated by the “moderate rebels" (more on them later) for the purpose of getting the West to bomb Syrian government positions, a lie which was4 then spread by Bellingcat, a group with known ties to the CIA.5 Here’s what a journalist for The Intercept, the first journalist allowed in by the Assad government, had to say about the situation:6
The second man I came across, a laconic 20-year-old local nurse called Anas Sobheha, told me that he had seen everything. At around 7 p.m. that April evening, he said, a child of about 6 years old was brought into the hospital. His face had turned blue. “He had asthma, and there’d been a fire at his home, and the smoke had made it worse. And they thought it was a chemical attack,” Sobheha said. There were a lot of wounded people around, but Sobheha had given the boy some medicine and he had gotten better quickly. All the same, his family had elected to stay at the hospital, feeling safer in the fortified location. About 20 minutes later, Sobheha said, one of the White Helmet workers came in holding a baby and screaming about a chemical attack “and everyone starts freaking out, thinking about chemical weapons, but there was only this child, and he’d just inhaled smoke from a fire.” The White Helmet was desperate for staff to help, and chaos ensued — a man sitting in the facility with his brother grabbed the hose “and started throwing water on everyone inside.” There were around four people filming these events, Sobheha remembered, but the problem wasn’t chemicals: “The cases that came here were suffocation from smoke, and most of them were children.” The baby went back to his house, he laughed, “and he’s in Douma today.”
As we talked, several Syrian soldiers joined the conversation, just as interested in his testimony as I was. Sobheha’s words were also being translated by a minder from the Syrian Information Ministry, whose staffers report to higher-ups on who foreign journalists talk to and what they say. Clearly, Sobheha wasn’t speaking entirely freely. Nonetheless, he wasn’t shy of apportioning blame to the Syrian army (and when I contacted him later via WhatsApp from London he assured me that he’d told me the whole truth). Most of the deaths that day had already happened before the supposed chemical attacks, he told me. At about 4 p.m., he remembered, scores of people arrived at the emergency ward injured and bleeding. When I prodded him about the people who had allegedly been killed by chemical weapons that day, he flinched in exasperation. Two hundred and seventy people had been killed on April 6 and 7, according to the data kept by his improvised hospital, women and children as well as fighters, their numbers collected by the rebels, and “most of the injured and bleeding they came here.” What had killed them? “Mostly rockets.”
Nothing conclusive about the attack was ever proven. Some locals said they smelled chemicals like chlorine, but, as mentioned above, that doesn't appear to have been the case in reality. Perhaps the Syrian government did use chemical weapons. In some of the alleged incidents, factors point to that being possible.7
But believing that the Syrian government used gas bombs requires a string of assumptions that look unlikely on their own and still more unlikely together. To believe the official story about the gas attack, first one must believe that Assad would gas an area from which the rebels had already agreed to retreat,8 meaning there was no advantage to him by doing so. Then one would also have to believe that he would play right into the hands of the American warmongers at a time when Russia was providing enough aid to keep his government afloat and so his survival was assured. Further, there is the fact that dropping gas would have provided little to no tactical advantage9 and put the Syrian government, by giving the US a pretext10 for a bombing campaign, at a decided strategic disadvantage.
On the other hand, to believe it was either all made up or a false flag, one would simply have to believe that the intelligence services that lied about WMDs in Iraq11 as a pretext for war would do the same in Syria, with similarly deadly results for the Christian populations of those countries.12
Again, it’s possible the gas attack happened. But it is certainly true that “chemical warfare” provided little advantage, if any, to the Syrian government and was the prime worry with which the American regime tried to rally the public behind a new forever war in Syria.13
Barrel Bombs and the Media Blitzkrieg
The same sort of story can be told about the other facets of the civil war: a tragic event, such as a bomb killing numerous civilians, was used to portray the government in a negative light before the dust had settled and without taking context into account.
Another prime example of that is the “barrel bombs” the government forces used to attack rebel positions.14 Those barrel bombs were large metal containers, such as pipes or oil drums, which were filled with explosives and shrapnel and then dropped on enemy positions. They were cheap and unsophisticated enough that the government could use its existing resources to fabricate them, but also unguided and somewhat crude and so not as precise as a laser- or GPS-guided bomb.15
According to the media,16 the use of such weapons was a war crime only slightly less evil than the chemical weapons incidents. Indictments on Assad poured in from the United States under Obama, despite the fact that American and British bombing campaigns killed hundreds of thousands of Axis civilians,17 American chemical warfare (Agent Orange)18 and unguided bombing in Vietnam killed tens of thousands at the time19 and is still reaping the butcher’s bill,20 and that the Obama drone warfare strategy was prone to blowing up wedding parties in Pakistan and Afghanistan.21
The point isn’t that the US shouldn't bomb, but rather that collateral damage is attendant with aerial bombing and so criticizing Assad for doing something NATO did in a far bloodier way is beyond hypocrisy and certainly misleading. Barrel bombs were crudely constructed bombs used for bombing enemy positions, nothing more or less, not the weapons of civilian terror the regime media would have you believe.
The “Moderate Rebels”: The Biggest Lie of All
By far the biggest lie of the conflict, however, is that the rebels against whom Assad was fighting were “moderate.” That’s anything but the case.22 Rather, outside Syrian government control, ISIS was a genocidal Islamist group in control of one region of the country, the communist Kurds23 were in control of another, and a coalition24 of the Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabat al Nusra was in control of the remainder.
ISIS needs no introduction. From its beheading videos to the parade of horrors it was known for, everyone knows it to be evil incarnate. The other two groups, particularly the FSA/JAN coalition, do.
The Kurds in Syria controlled a northern sliver of the country and were, at least compared to ISIS, less awful. They are also, however, closely affiliated with a communist terrorist25 group called the PKK26, which assassinates government officials inside Turkey. The Kurds in the region are also the descendants of those who gleefully conducted the Armenian genocide,27 murdering hundreds of thousands of Christians in cold blood. Needless to say, Obama supported this group.28
The FSA was the so-called “moderate” rebel group in Syria. Or, at least, that’s how the Obama officials in the White House and Pentagon portrayed them when outrageous sums were spent to equip and train them. That’s not the case; whatever the FSA started as, it quickly made its peace with the openly Islamist groups like Jabat al Nusra29 and proceeded to make life a living hell for ordinary Syrians as its coalition partners attempted to genocide the Christians in the country. Here’s how Darryl Cooper describes what life was like under the US-backed rebels and of what evil elements those groups were composed30:
Young Muslim men from all over the world were trained and armed by America and its allies, then sent to take part in the ongoing destruction of Syria. It was immediately apparent that the only significant anti-Assad forces in the country were jihadists of the worst kind, and virtually all of the weapons, supplies, and personnel we sent ended up in their hands. US military personnel remained critical of this mode of warfare. In an interview on the War Nerd podcast, former Army Special Forces soldier Jack Murphy said that US military trainers eventually come near to mutiny over being forced to arm and train the Muslim extremists being sent to them by the CIA. Bashar al-Assad is not a man most of us would want as a neighbor, but the plain reality during the Syrian war was that all of the country’s Christians, Druze, and even many Sunni Muslims who feared the jihadists, were living under his protection in the Alawite-controlled portion of the country. By the time the Russians and Iranians rode to the rescue, our pet jihadists had advanced to the outskirts of Damascus, and were on video announcing their plans to wipe out the infidels (in case there was any confusion after witnessing their sectarian purges on the way to the capital). In one such video, the leader of a group that received direct support from the US and our allies was heard lamenting that God would surely punish the Muslims for not eliminating the Alawites sooner. Survivors of the short-lived jihadist regimes in cities like Aleppo report helplessly cowering in fear as roving gangs of armed foreigners invaded their homes in search of their valuables and their daughters. It is one thing to invade a country. It is an entirely different level of atrocity to send a bunch of unregulated foreign extremists hopped up on Captagon to do the job.
And the natural result of our backing was just what anyone with a brain would have predicted. America’s proxies beheaded children,31 ate the hearts of their enemies,32 and tried to wipe out the Christians.33
Obama’s Attempt to Murder Syria’s Christians
If you send hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth34 of weapons to bloodthirsty al Qaeda Islamists for the second time,35 after the first ended in 9/11,36 you’re responsible for what they do with that aid. Like handing a loaded gun to a toddler, you might not know quite what will happen, but the fact that it will end poorly should be clear from the start and is your fault.
That’s the case in Syria. Backed up by lies in the press and from the “WMDs in Iraq” Intelligence Agencies about everything from gas attacks to barrel bombs, the Obama Administration went as far as it could go without declaring war to bring down the Assad regime, the protector of Christians in the country.37
Once word was given, the Pentagon and Intelligence Agencies went all out to arm the evildoers. America handed arms to “moderate” rebels, who then quickly handed the equipment over38 to their Jabat al Nusra (what Al Qaeda in Syria was called) allies. The CIA39 and the Pentagon40 set up competing camps in the desert to arm and train those “moderate” rebels, and the rebels promptly took their guns and training to Jabat al Nusra41 and like groups. After being armed and trained at America’s expense, they then fought each other42 when not killing Christians.
And kill Christians they did. From the beginning, the “moderate” rebels Obama insisted on backing murdered Christians whenever they could get their hands on them. For example, in 2013, dozens of Christians were murdered at a checkpoint in cold blood by American-armed Jabat al Nusra.43 The much-maligned Syrian government then launched a counteroffensive to drive the Christian-killing rebels out of the area, thus rescuing the survivors.44
That was a pattern that, with all the endless variation that comes alongside a decades-long internecine struggle, more or less repeated itself: Christians would be attacked by the Islamists that the Obama Administration was supporting, and then the Assad-led Syrian government would step in to protect those Christians, often alongside its Russian allies.
The “moderate” rebels and their Jabat al Nusra allies kidnapped nuns,45 threatened to wipe out Christian towns,46 and generally did their best to wipe out the Christians. As the Hudson Institute reported:47
And, today, the Christians — the Sunday people — are paying a terrible price for their faith. Particularly in Egypt and in Syria, where virtually no Jews remain, stories of assaults on Christian homes and businesses; wanton destruction of churches; the disappearance, rape, and murder of women; mob-driven atrocities against women, men, and children; and the murder of priests and pastors are reported nearly every day.”
At first it was reported that much of the abuse of Christians was imposed by al-Qaeda affiliated jihadis who stormed into Syria in hopes of overthrowing Assad. However, it was later rumored that some of the attacks were at the hand of the more moderate rebel forces. Were they, too, killing or otherwise forcing Christians off their property and seizing it for their own use? It also was reported that some factions were attacking children in order to drive the parents away. Meanwhile, in the town of Sadad, north of Damascus, some 40 Christians were massacred, allegedly by Al-Qaeda.
Syriac Orthodox archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh’s appeal was poignant: “We have shouted to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort: We ask everyone to pray for us.”
Of course, the Obama Administration did nothing of the sort. It didn’t help the Christians, or even stop supplying their attackers with arms. Instead, it just poured more weapons and money into the waiting hands of Islamist rebels bent on murdering Christians.
As Obama and his cronies in the CIA and Pentagon seemingly did their best to murder the Christians, Assad stepped up and protected them. Assad ransomed the kidnapped nuns,48 sent army units to defend and recapture the Christian villages,49 and generally worked to defend the Christians. In so doing, did what the West refused to do. 50
Meanwhile, our “allies” in Turkey helped the rebels murder Christians, as the Hudson Insitute also reported, saying:51
Meanwhile, in mid-March, the Armenian Christian town of Kessab in Northern Syria was attacked by al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists and 2500+ residents had to flee for their lives. Turkish forces were accused of turning a blind eye to the attackers as the jihadis swarmed across the nearby border. Kessab’s three churches were desecrated; much of the town was damaged or destroyed.
“Are We The Baddies?”
So, like with the white genocide America supported in Southern Africa,52 there was a genocide of Christians in Syria and the United States was responsible. We gave their murderers the guns with which they were killed, and the fact that there are Christians still alive in Syria is to the credit of Assad and Putin, not America.
The sad fact of US foreign policy, if not illuminated by the article on Rhodesia and this one, is clear: as the famous sketch goes, we’re the baddies. Here’s how Cooper described it:53
What we did to Syria was rather like if the Russians armed, trained, and funded a bunch of KKK, neo-Nazi, insert-bad-guy-here militias to overthrow the US government, and on their way to Washington, DC they stopped to genocide or enslave all the blacks, Jews and other minorities they encountered. This is a filthy way to fight, but our foreign policy establishment has become addicted to it. Time and again, the regime has empowered violent, often genocidal, groups and individuals, set them like mad dogs on a targeted regime, and then denied knowledge and responsibility when, as in Afghanistan, and Libya, and Syria, the dogs turned around to bite their owner. In the 1980s, we worked with Colombian drug lords to equip and train savage militias to use against socialist and communist groups in Central America. In Ukraine, we lent our support to *actual* fascist and Nazi organizations to pick up the slack when the organic Maidan protests seemed to be losing steam, and they obliged by firing rifles at both protesters and police to initiate a massacre that caused the deaths of almost 50 people.
https://www2.cbn.com/news/world/assad-promises-protect-syrian-christians; https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/2017-04-16/ty-article/.premium/anti-assad-you-are-supporting-the-murder-of-christians/0000017f-dbb1-d3a5-af7f-fbbfff2f0000; https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/mid-easts-christians-intro