Syria: Civil war or invasion?

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg briefs the media during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 26, 2016 © Francois Lenoir
The reason why NATO, represented by Jens Stoltenberg, is concerned about Aleppo is because the Assad government is winning the battle, political analyst Tom Just Olsen told RT.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed on Wednesday US plans to send troops, tanks and artillery to Poland, and Britain’s to send fighter jets to Romania. The deployments are part of the biggest NATO military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War.

RT: Jens Stoltenberg says NATO is making defensive deployments to Russia's borders. Is there a real threat of aggression here?

Tom Just Olsen: Not yet. But I think it is worrying that NATO is deploying troops all along the border of western Russia: Poland, the Baltic States, etc. I wouldn’t say that is an act of aggression – not yet, but it could soon become one.

RT: The NATO chief also criticized Russian involvement in Syria. But Russia has been officially invited by the Syrian government to help fight terrorism in the country. So why should that worry NATO?

TJO: Indeed... NATO is a European defense alliance- it has nothing to do with Syria. [From my point of view], what you are seeing in Syria – is the US is trying to invade Syria, actually they said they would do that. So Jens Stoltenberg is playing theater here.

RT: The NATO Secretary General specifically criticized Russia's actions in Aleppo. Last week, Russia introduced a humanitarian pause to let civilians and rebels leave eastern Aleppo. Yet shelling from rebel held territory has persisted. Why is there no Western pressure on the rebels to stop?

TJO: That is a good question, isn’t it? And where does ISIS get money? How can they finance an army of 100,000 soldiers? So there’re a lot of questions here that should be answered. Is it a civil war we’re seeing, or is it an invasion? We all hope that the fights will stop in Syria and that there will be a ceasefire and negotiations. The reason why Stoltenberg is so concerned about this – is that the actual final battle is going to be in Aleppo… and that Assad’s regime is actually wining.

RT: NATO is concerned about civilians in Aleppo. A recent Amnesty International investigation found that US air strikes in Syria had killed about 300 civilians in the last two years. Shouldn't that concern the alliance too?

TJO: Indeed, absolutely. And who is talking? Jens Stoltenberg was Prime Minister of Norway, when the US managed to persuade his government to bomb Libya. And people here in Norway want him tried as a war criminal because of this bombing in Libya, which was indiscriminate, was killing civilians by the thousands. So who is talking?

RT: Stoltenberg wasn't particularly happy about the Russian navy in particular, one of its aircraft carriers using the Mediterranean. Yet US military vessels are currently deployed in the Black Sea without any complaints. Smacks of double standards, doesn't it?

TJO: Absolutely, double standards. Isn’t ISIS/ISIL/DEASH an enemy here? Of course people are killed in Syria, people are killed in eastern Aleppo, and civilians are killed. But the fight is about beating ISIS, isn’t it? And where is that in Stoltenberg’s speech here?

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