With all its current sabre rattling against Russia, Washington is in fact risking WWIII by threatening to unilaterally impose a no-fly zone over Aleppo and go after the Syrian army. It is absolutely insane, but sadly true that the US is acting as savior for the extremist Jihadists holed up in east Aleppo, conveniently labeled as “rebels,” thus putting a brush of legitimacy on them.
This hypocritical madness has been exposed by a number of US pundits, including Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at Watson Institute For International Affairs. Kinzer in a thoughtful column in Boston Globe has sharply criticized the US mainstream media’s misleading reports on Aleppo. Unfortunately, that is a sad truth and even seasoned international reporters such as Christiane Amanpour have given a lending hand to this hypocrisy by comparing Aleppo with Bosnia, thus overlooking the fundamental differences.
But, the problem with Kinzer’s analysis is that he ignores the primary role of the US government giving misleading cues to the media, which then sheepishly echoes the misinformation, whereby the extremist al-Qaeda terrorists are cast in shining lights as “freedom fighters” and “rebels,” thus overlooking their atrocious record of atrocities, including hitting a primary school and killing a half dozen children most recently, and portraying Russia and Syria as the true villains.
Clearly, this a cold-war style Manichean misrepresentation of reality aimed at rallying the clueless Americans behind a dangerous military gambit. It may also be that the Obama administration is exploiting this situation in order to undermine Donald Trump, accused of being friendly toward Russia, although nowadays Trump has proved his own worst enemy and does not really require such interventions.
What matters most, however, is that the ominous signs of growing tensions between Moscow and Washington unmistakably point at the realistic potential for a serious escalation that can even trigger nuclear weapons, in light of Russia’s move to place its nukes closer to NATO borders. Such an extreme scenario is not to be taken lightly or dismissed as mere paranoia, rather it is nested in today’s context of US-Russia conflict that can trigger WWIII easier than expected, i.e., through a conflict spiral.
Already, the US has explicitly threatened to launch a cyberattack on Russia in retaliation against the Russian hacking of Democratic Party, a charge denied by Russia’s Foreign Ministeer Sergei Lavrov on CNN today. The US may also take a highly dangerous step of hitting the Syrian army again, particularly at or around Deir al-Zour, threatened by ISIS. There is a suspicion in parts of the Middle East that the US is backing ISIS and planning to move ISIS fighters from Mosul to Deir al-Zour. Whether or not this is true will soon be known in the next few weeks.
With the Iraqis poised to retake Mosul and Syria and its allies making steady advances in Aleppo and other urban centers, the Saudis, Israelis, and their regional allies must be pondering the geopolitical implications of such developments benefiting Iran, Russia and their regional partners. The US is apt to follow rather than lead its regional allies and thus fall into a dangerous trap, by over-committing to a country, Syria, in which it has no vital national interest at stake. What is more, it would be doing so by making a mockery of its own “war on terror” by in effect rushing to save the Al-Qaeda terrorists from a humiliating defeat.
This, indeed, is the ultimate irony.