When Washington wants a ceasefire, it can’t be good for peace

Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk past rubble, the southern side of the Castello road in Aleppo, Syria. © SANA
Question: When do you know a ceasefire is bad for peace? Answer: When it’s the US and its closest allies who are calling for one.

On Tuesday, Russia and Syria announced a 48-hour humanitarian pause in their military operations in Aleppo. 

The US and Britain though want a longer time-out. They say it’s because of their concern for Syrian ‘civilians’. 

Well, if you believe that you probably believed Iraq had WMDs in 2003.

The sad truth is that the US has used ceasefires in Syria in the past, not to work for peace, but to regain lost ground and re-arm its proxies. 

The very fact the US is so keen on a ‘time-out’ in Syria now tells us that its forces are on the retreat and that the war is not going to plan. Because when they think wars which they launched ARE going their way, the US shows no interest in ‘humanitarian’ pauses in air strikes to ‘protect civilians’. Compassion most certainly is not on the Empire’s agenda. 

Think back to 1999 and the illegal 78-day NATO bombardment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There were humanitarian calls for the bombing to be halted over Orthodox Easter. The Vatican issued a statement saying that "His Holiness (The Pope) would consider it a great humanitarian gesture if all military action would be suspended.

But Washington ignored such calls, leading some to note that even the Nazis had stopped their Blitz of London during Christmas 1940. The US and Britain also rejected peace proposals from other NATO members. On 15th April 1999, the Guardian reported that “American officials rejected a six-point German peace plan which included a 24-hour bombing pause, a United Nations peacekeeping force and civilian monitors.” The Guardian noted how British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the future destroyer of Iraq, “also gave the plan a polite cold shoulder.”

In 2011, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi made repeated calls for a ceasefire and negotiations as NATO planes pounded his country. But again, the US - and its ‘rebel’ proxies - weren’t interested

Instead, NATO carried on bombing the country which had the highest living standards in Africa, back to the Stone Age.

After Gaddafi was brutally murdered, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - whose husband Bill had bombed Yugoslavia during Easter, gloated: “We came. We saw. He died.

In Syria, when the war was going their way, Uncle Sam wasn’t too keen on stopping the fighting either. From 2011- 2015, the US did all it could to sabotage peaceful solutions to the crisis.

However, as the Syrian Arab Army, backed by Russia air power, made significant advances against Western-backed jihadists and terrorists, the keen bombers suddenly morphed into pacifists. The same hawks who support the US and Britain illegally bombing Syria, now put on dove masks and urged people to protest outside the Russian Embassy - because, er, Russia is legally bombing in Syria.

Last month’s truce, which was brokered by John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov, was lauded by many, but the cynics among us knew exactly what would happen. While the S.A.A. had to halt its advances- ‘rebels’ carried on with their attacks. In one 24-hour period Russian General Vladimir Savchenko, said there had been no fewer than 55 rebel attacks, leading to the deaths of 12 civilians.

And one week after the so-called ceasefire had started; US-led air raids ‘accidentally’ killed 62 Syrian soldiers at Deir ez-Zor.

From the very beginning there have been many of those, including in the US administration, seeking to break down these agreements,” lamented Sergey Lavrov. The fact is that the US hadn’t been serious about wanting an end to hostilities, and only wanted to use the ‘ceasefire’ as a cover for rearming/regaining ground. Like they always do. 

While all sane people want to see an end to the conflict in Syria as soon as possible, it’s very important that we see the bigger picture and understand what‘s at stake. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of the world could depend on what happens in Aleppo- and in the rest of Syria- in the next few months.

My friend and fellow OpEdger Dan Glazebrook has described Syria as the “Stalingrad of the Western regime changers”, “the rock on which the imperial folly of the West and its regional imitators may finally be broken." 

When one considers that between 1.3 million and two million people have been killed by US-led wars and military interventions since 2001, then stopping the Western war juggernaut must surely be the number one priority of all peace campaigners.

READ MORE: Causing genocide to protect us from terror

If the Stalingrad of 2016 falls, and Bashar Assad meets the fate of Gaddafi, then it won’t mean peace, only that the neocons in Washington, having destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria, will turn their attentions to the next country on their hit list: the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

That’s why although a ‘ceasefire’ in Syria now might sound attractive; it’s only likely to prolong the country’s agony. Far better if the Syrian Arab Army backed by their Russian allies continue their advances to reclaim territory from US-backed proxies while at the same time showing clemency to those who wish to put down their weapons and take part in the democratic political processes enabled by the country’s new constitution. One-sided ‘ceasefires’ supported by Washington (and which end in US air strikes), won’t bring lasting peace to Syria or the Middle East in general, but a humiliating and historic defeat for the Western regime changers just might.

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