Trump ends CIA program to arm Syrian rebels; Deep state hysterical

“The thing that should make everyone feel sick is that people would rather support, directly and indirectly, al-Qaeda, than actually give up their regime change goals.”

Last week President Trump ended a covert CIA program, initiated in 2012 by the Obama administration, to arm ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels in support of their uprising against the legitimate government of Bashar Al-Assad.

Hundreds of millions were spent paying the salaries of these rebels and purchasing Eastern bloc weapons from Eastern European/Balkans arsenals and stockpiles, shipped to Syria via US allies like Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Extremist proxies of these allies often proved to be the most effective and cohesive units in the fight against the Syrian Army. Infighting and mass defections ensured that the so called ‘moderate’ Free Syrian Army effectively ceased to exist by 2015. Despite the repeated claims of US officials, much of the weapons and funding went to Takfiri extremist groups like Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al Nusra (today known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham), Ahrar Al-Sham and their associates.

Since the announcement, the Neoconservatives, who are strongly in favour of the hyper-aggressive foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and detest Trump’s supposedly realist approach, have been relentless in their criticism of the President.

Neoconservatives believe in an exceptionalist, would be universalist ideological paradigm called the ‘end of history’ where the United States having won the Cold War has the right and duty to use its unrivalled power to rewrite the current geopolitic order to match its ideological view of the world and achieve complete strategic domination.

The American Neocon policy of regime change in the MENA region either through direct action, covert support of extremist proxies or a combination of both has devastated the region. The folly of overthrowing secular regimes, however repressive, in the heart of the Middle East created power vaccums that were filled by the most violent extremists of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda variety. The resulting chaos is never contained within the region and has led to growing terrorist attacks and threats all over the world.

Furthermore, if the policy was meant to weaken principal rival Iran’s position in the region, it has definitely backfired spectacularly. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, there was no ‘Shiite Crescent’. The ouster of Saddam and subsequent occupation greatly strengthened Iranian influence in Iraq. Shiite militias formed the core of the resistance to first the American occupation and, following the loss of Mosul, in the battle against Islamic State. The war in Syria has further strengthened ties between the two countries and bolstered ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.

For the Neocons, Trump’s realist approach accepting the reality of a multipolar and cooperating with Russia to fight terrorism is tantamount to treason. In their mind, supporting the rebels to topple Assad (regardless of their extremist tendencies) represents the best chance to ‘roll back Iranian power’ and ‘sever its supply link to Hezbollah’.

Following the Russian intervention in 2015, it also represented a chance to lure Putin into a second ‘Afghan Bear Trap’ and deal a crushing defeat to a resurgent Russia.

Unfortunately for them, Trump’s agreement with Putin to implement a ceasefire in the south of Syria and decision to end support for the rebels has ended any chance of that happening. Furthermore, his incompetent handling of the Saudi-Qatari crisis has driven Qatar to end its support for regime change in Syria in exchange for cooperation with Iran on the exploitation of the jointly owned South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate field.

Today the rebels previously supported by the covert program are fighting amongst themselves in their Idlib province stronghold and with the Syrian Army steadily advancing to relieve their beleagured garrison at Deir Ezzor, it is clear the war in Syria is another step closer to being over. And Iran’s influence in the region is greater than ever.

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