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US State Dept’s $75mn grant will help war-torn Syria… combat ‘Iranian disinformation’

US State Dept’s $75mn grant will help war-torn Syria… combat ‘Iranian disinformation’
After spending years trying to topple Damascus, Washington has now pledged to protect war-scarred Syrians from Iranian “disinformation.” The act of altruism is part of a grant aimed at “advancing US interests” in the country.

The US State Department wants to give $75 million to an eligible NGO as part of an initiative aimed at strengthening “credible governance and civil society entities” in Syria – at least in the areas controlled by illegitimate, US-backed forces.

The grant will also fund efforts to “counter extremism and disinformation perpetuated by Iranian forces,” since that is apparently the major life-and-death issue facing Syrians after seven years of devastating war. Additionally, the grant aims to “ensure the enduring defeat” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

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How the grant will help bring about a peaceful political solution in Syria is also an open question. Washington’s long-standing policy has been that President Bashar Assad “must go” – which sounds more like a demand backed by threat of force, and less like a peaceful settlement.

This may all sound like a profound waste of taxpayer dollars, but the grant synopsis makes it very clear that approved applicants will be nobly advancing “US government policy objectives in Syria.”

While the grant lists stringent requirements for all interested bidders, applicants are not required to obtain permission from Damascus to operate in Syrian territory, cutting out a lot of annoying bureaucratic red tape. Instead, the lucky grant winners will “strengthen government” in territories occupied by an estimated 2,000 US troops, as well US-backed Kurdish proxy forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

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With thousands killed and millions displaced from the fighting in Syria, one might think the US government could find a better use of $75 million in Syria than “countering” a Damascus ally, which, unlike the US, operates in Syria with permission of the country’s legitimate government.

However, it would be wrong to suggest that Washington hasn’t helped to rebuild the country. In May, USAID announced that electricity was being restored to Raqqa, only two short years after the US military and its allies flattened the city in a deadly aerial assault on the former Islamic State stronghold.

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