Aleppo the worst humanitarian disaster since WWII? Not so fast, Mr. Kerry
At the conclusion of their most recent meeting in London over the ongoing conflict in Syria, specifically the operation being carried out by Syrian government forces and Russia in Aleppo, US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to the press in words that will not be treated kindly in the court of history.
“We are outraged by what is happening in Aleppo, which is in year 2016, beginning of the 21st century, horrendous step back in time to a kind of barbarianism, a use of force that is an insult to all of the values that the United Nations and most countries believe should guide our actions,” Kerry said.
It should be borne in mind that John Kerry speaks for a country which since the beginning of the 21st century has been responsible for a military mission in Afghanistan, where today the Taliban has never been stronger and in which ISIS now has a foothold, and for turning Iraq and Libya into failed states, unleashing an ocean of death, misery, human suffering, and chaos in the process.
It is more than enough to expose the moral high ground upon which the US and its allies have occupied over Syria as a dung heap of hypocrisy and double standards.
As for the barbarism against which John Kerry declaims, it has engulfed Syria and its people courtesy of the destabilization of the region wrought by Washington during the aforementioned wars and military interventions, producing a refugee crisis of staggering scale and triggering the proliferation of terrorism in Syria, throughout the wider region, and across the world. Indeed it is interesting to note the hypocrisy - when Salafi-jihadists unleash indiscriminate violence in Europe or the US they are described as terrorists, but when they do likewise in Syria they are described as rebels.
John Kerry, it is clear, would prefer us to start the clock in 2016 when it comes to the current crisis and chaos in Syria. He wants to wipe Washington’s slate clean of the utter shambles and perfidy of its presence in a region it has long viewed as a giant chessboard, upon which its people are regarded as nothing more than pawns in their game. But do so and we insult the memory of the countless men, women, and children who have perished in the inferno begun by the US and its international and regional proxies in service not to human rights or democracy, as they claim, but hegemony and domination.
In his statement in London, John Kerry went on to opine, “It's [Aleppo] a humanitarian disaster that is the largest humanitarian disaster since World War Two.”
The claim that the military operation to liberate Aleppo from those responsible for reducing it to a living hell for its citizens is “the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War” is simply ludicrous. Here we need to remind Mr. Kerry of the destruction of North Korea in a US bombing campaign so devastating that not one building was left intact. Then there is the destruction, decimation, and disaster visited on the people of Vietnam in a brutal imperialist war in which US atrocities were a daily occurrence - a war in which John Kerry served but later denounced.
Perhaps the Secretary of State also forgot about Cambodia, where after a mass bombing campaign conducted against the country and its people by the United States in the 1970s the Khmer Rouge emerged to carry out their project of Year Zero. There is also the claim that the US and its UK ally provided covert support for these fanatical killers and torturers upon the liberation of Cambodia by the Vietnamese in 1979 to contend with.
Space prohibits us from adding further examples to this litany of US foreign policy disasters and military operations since the Second World War - the various coups, proxy wars, and covert operations around the world engaged in by Washington – but even without those included it stands as a withering indictment of John Kerry’s attempt to tar Russia with the brush of war crimes.
It is more than enough, however, to expose the moral high ground upon which the US and its allies have occupied over Syria as a dung heap of hypocrisy and double standards.
The only question that matters when it comes to the conflict in Aleppo, and Syria in general, is who is responsible for prolonging it and who is serious when it comes to ending it?
The Syrian people, supported by Russia, are engaged in a struggle for the survival of their country as a secular non-sectarian state in which minority communities that have existed in al-Sham (the ancient name for the Levant and Syria) for millennia are not threatened with genocide and extinction. At the point at Russia’s involvement in the conflict began in 2015, the country was in serious danger of being tipped over the cliff.
Despite the inordinate courage and tenacity of the Syrian Army and its allies, resistance to the country’s invasion by hordes of fanatical Islamist jihadists, supported by US regional allies, was beginning to crack. In fact it is no exercise in hyperbole to state that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other countries were circling Syria like vultures over a wounded animal, waiting to descend.
It is worth remembering also that the presence of Russian military forces in Syria is in full accordance with international law – as per Chapter VII, Article 51 of the UN Charter. Unlike the US, UK, and other international actors in the conflict, Russia joined the conflict at the request of the country’s legitimate government. Furthermore, it is a government that enjoys the support of a people who well understand the difference between reform and ruin.
But let us return to John Kerry, who concluded his statement in London by saying, “And it could stop tomorrow morning, tonight if Russia and the Assad regime were to behave according to any norm or any standard of decency, but they've chosen not to. Instead we see what can only be described as crimes against humanity taking place on a daily basis."
Here, again, the US Secretary of State is guilty of dissembling and distortion. The conflict to liberate Aleppo could end tomorrow if the US placed serious pressure on its regional allies to stop supporting terrorism in Aleppo as well as in Syria as a whole. It will end when Washington and London stop the charade of maintaining there exists an army of ‘moderate rebels’ in Aleppo and across Syria, distinct in ideology and method from ISIS, Nusra Front, and Al-Qaeda. The Syrian people are way beyond the stage of being able to afford to make any distinction between moderate head-chopping fanatics and their extremist counterparts.
The truth is that John Kerry and his British counterpart Boris Johnson – whose call for public protests to be staged outside the Russian embassy in London recently was more in tune with the legacy of Benito Mussolini than his political inspiration Winston Churchill - are engaged in a determined effort to demonize Russia and Syria not in order to see an end to the suffering of the people of eastern Aleppo, as they assert, but in response to a military operation that moves ever closer to liberating them.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.