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3 Dec, 2016 16:03

Will 2017 see end of US neocons’ promotion of chaos theory?

For 25 years, from Afghanistan to Syria, we’ve seen the chaos promoted by Washington neocons. Trump will hopefully be an assertive defender of US interests rather than an assertive meddler, says Oxford Crisis Research Institute Director Mark Almond.

In Syria, residential areas in government-held western Aleppo have been under constant shelling from terrorists and rebel militants, with thousands of civilians seeking refuge in government-controlled areas. Tens of thousands have already escaped.

Even those in liberated areas still suffer from a lack of basic necessities, but the UN is holding back from dispatching humanitarian crews to the war-torn city.

RT: What obstacles remain preventing the UN from sending aid to Aleppo?

Mark Almond: Obviously, there is still an area controlled by the rebels where there is fighting, and the rebels have not always been terribly concerned about discriminating between their enemies and aid workers. But it is quite bizarre that now, as you actually have people, tens of thousands of people, who are finally accessible, that the UN agencies are not actually rushing to help. Because, after all, these are people who are in need, and the weather is very bad in addition to all the suffering caused by the violence. But I think we have to, I’m afraid, accept the fact that the UN is not composed of people from outside the normal world of politics – after all, the head of its aid agency is a former British conservative MP, [UN Special Envoy for Syria’s Senior Adviser] Jan Egeland is a Norwegian political activist who has been for a long time very critical of Russia. So, we are talking of people who do have a political past, even if they are now presented as being somehow the representatives of global charity or global concern. But I am afraid they are politicians.

Ali Rizk, an expert on Middle East affairs, told RT: “It is very strange why they wouldn’t allow humanitarian convoys to pass through, because from the very beginning of the operation in Aleppo, the West has been saying all the time ‘humanitarian aid,’ repeating the slogan. Now that the roads have been cleared up... and are open, it is very strange why, up until now, the UN isn’t allowing this aid to pass. It is an open-ended question. Maybe such a step would mean that Assad has won in Aleppo. That would mean a very big setback, maybe they want to keep giving the impression that Assad hasn’t won.”

RT: Do you think the standoff in Aleppo will continue for much longer? Despite major gains by the Syrian Army, the rebels are reportedly refusing to surrender.

MA: I think the remaining rebel forces are in a very difficult position, so unless something changes through some external intervention which would widen the wall and would be a very dangerous development. And I don’t see the US, either doing it itself or, for that matter, encouraging any of its friends to do it, like Turkey or Saudi Arabia, neither of which, I think, really has the stomach for such a fight. So, the likelihood is that the horrible conflict in Aleppo itself is grinding towards a conclusion. And that may also mean that in 2017 we can look towards trying to repair the international situation around Syria. The new president of the US has said that he is much more prepared to offer realpolitik rather than an ideologically driven agenda to produce regime change [that], if necessary, [says]… “if we can’t have regime change, at least we can have chaos and, perhaps, out of that chaos, something good will come.”

I think we’ve seen, really, over the last 25 years, from the chaos we helped produce in Afghanistan through to Syria today, that the chaos theory that the neocons in Washington have promoted has actually bitten back. We’ve seen terrorist attacks in Western Europe, we’ve seen [them] in the US. I think Trump recognizes that even though he is going to be a very assertive defender of American interests, he is not going to be an assertive meddler. And that does offer some hope.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.