Syria: genocidal regime troops’ lives matter

This is about as sick as it gets. US air-strikes in Syria's Deir al-Zour governorate, aimed at ISIS positions, accidentally wiped out 62 Assad regime troops. The White House immediately issued a statement expressing "regret" for the "unintentional loss of life." Prompted by Russia, the UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting to discuss the incident. A US official even said "condolence payments" would be offered to the families of the slain troops. (BBC News, The Guardian, CNN's Barbara Starr via Twitter, Sept. 17)

Over a quarter million dead in Syria, and the first emergency Security Council meeting—and the first we've heard of any "condolence payments"—is when some troops of the genocidal regime get accidentally wiped out. We heard of no such "condolence payment" offers after US air-strikes accidentally wiped out scores of civilians at Manbij in July (itself small change compared to the massive, daily and intentional regime and Russian bombardment of civilians). If this does not make the the US tilt to Assad crystal-clear, nothing will.

However, this latter possibility is not to be dismissed, as it has recently come to our attention that some deluded "anti-war activists" in the US are paying so little attention to the actual facts in Syria, that they even think the US has been bombing the Assad regime! In fact, this constitutes the very first time the US has bombed any Assad regime forces—and it was an accident, quickly apologized for. (See EA Worldview, Sept. 18)

There's something superficially counter-intuitive about the US offering condolence payments to families of the same forces it is ostensibly arming the Free Syrian Army to fight. But emphasis on the "ostensibly." Those who are paying attention are aware that the US is actually constraining the rebel forces from fighting the regime as the cost of receiving aid, insisting they fight only ISIS. Rebels have even had to cede territory to the regime in order to keep the US aid coming—and caught in a pincer between Assad to the west and ISIS to the east, have had little choice.

And these same "anti-war" activists are jumping on the viral video that shows US special forces troops being driven out of al-Rai village, near the Turkish border, by FSA fighters who threatened to "slaughter" them. This is supposed to indict the rebels as disloyal extermists. The US troops were embedded with Turkish forces in preparation for an offensive against nearby al-Bab, controlled by ISIS. In the video, FSA-aligned fighters chant that US forces are "pigs," "crusaders" and "infidels." (Middle East Eye, Sept. 16) We apparently aren't supposed to ask what legitimate reasons the rebels might have for their rage against the US.

Russia is of course saying that the Deir al-Zour mishap could threaten the supposed Syria "ceasefire," which is officially supposed to allow joint US-Russian military cooperation against ISIS and the Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front. (Jurist, Sept. 18)

If Obama eats enough crow, it may blow over. But a condition of the "ceasefire" is that rebels must reject Nusra in order to be covered by it. If they don't, they will presumably be subject to joint US-Russian bombardment. And it isn't so easy for the rebels to do so. Already on the defensive against regime advances and still fighting ISIS on their eastern flank, they are in a poor position to go to war with Nusra. Yet failure to drive Nusra from their territory could result in them getting bombed by their supposed US patrons. Starting to smell like a propaganda subterfuge to allow the superpowers to crush the rebels and reconsolidate Assad rule in the name of "stability."

The US is now openly fighting on the side of the Assad dictatorship. Anyone who fails to see it simply isn't paying attention.