'Fig leaf of US fighting ISIS in Syria is gone’
In Syria, the US-led coalition conducted airstrikes against pro-government forces on Wednesday, killing over 100 people. US Central Command described it as a “defensive measure” targeted at moderate rebels. Despite the defeat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), US forces continue to conduct strikes in the country.
RT America’s Ed Schultz discussed these latest developments in Syria with Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute.
RT: What do you make of these airstrikes in light of all the turmoil that has unfolded in Syria? Is this a new phase for the United States?
Daniel McAdams: It certainly is a new phase for the US and it reflects the fact that the US has no strategy for Syria. There is no reason that the US maintains its illegal occupation of part of the country. It says it’s fighting against ISIS, but it attacked the one fighting force that has been the most effective against ISIS. It is fighting the Syrian government. So, I think we found out from Secretary of State Tillerson just a couple of weeks ago that the real aim of the US is still (as in 2011-2013) regime change in Syria. And I think this reflects it. But as to the idea that it is self-defense, it is like if I break into your house, and you surprise me, and I shoot you and say “Well, it was self-defense.” You know, this is essentially what the US is doing in Syria.
RT: They did say that it was a defensive measure that was targeting moderate rebels. Do you think that is propaganda coming from the US?
DM: This may shock some people, but the US government, as most governments, routinely lies. And I think there’s a very good chance this was a lie. The Syrian side said that it had sent a reconnaissance force into the area seeking out ISIS fighters. Maybe they’re lying, who knows? But there’s one thing that we do know – that it is Syrian territory and the US government is illegally there. And it has killed some hundred fighters. Although the US claims they were fighters, we don’t know that they were not villagers. According to the US rules of engagement, basically anyone that moves is considered a fighter or a militant. We certainly can’t trust the US side on this.
RT: We really don’t have any strong definition from this new administration what US policy is in Syria. Our judgment can only be done on the basis of airstrikes. And they continue to use firepower in the country illegally. If you have to give definition to US policy, what would it be?
DM: Not only is there no policy, but the fig leaf has dropped. The fig leaf was that we were fighting ISIS – even as we allowed how many thousands of ISIS troops to leave Raqqa, as Raqqa fell, and to reorganize actually, ironically around in the area where the US is operating. What a surprise! But even that fig leaf of fighting ISIS is gone. Nobody knows why the US is there. The US is there with the Kurdish forces that the Turks are fighting just down the way. It is absolutely preposterous, essentially why they are there. Because the neocons want to attack Iran.