So quick recap:
One year ago, the Trump administration transgressed establishment Washington orthodoxy by asserting that it was no longer pursuing regime change in Syria as a priority. Days later, there were contested reports of a sarin gas attack in Idlib province which killed dozens of civilians. This was immediately responded to by a missile strike on a Syrian airbase without any investigation. After the strike, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was trotted out, saying that removal of Assad had just become a US priority.
Flash forward to this year.
Two weeks ago, Trump was openly talking about wanting to get US troops out of Syria “like, very soon,” as soon as 48 hours by some reports. As we all know, this was followed by another disputed report of a chemical attack on civilians, which was followed by another military strike on the Syrian government. And, just today, none other than Nikki Haley was trotted out to inform us that US troops will be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future.
Haley told Fox News Sunday‘s Chris Wallace that there are now three criteria that need to be met before military withdrawal will even be considered:
1. Ensuring that chemical weapons are not used in any way that pose a risk to U.S. interests. Extremely vague and very easy to manipulate, but okay.
2. That Islamic State is defeated. Pretty much done already, but okay.
3. That there is a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing. Uh… excuse me? That’s like breaking into someone’s house and saying you won’t leave until their neighbor moves.
This is a completely new development as far as open admissions from this administration go. Haley appears to be saying that one of the three terms that need to be met before the US will withdraw troops from Syria entails Iran ceasing to function as an ally of Syria. In other words, either (A) the Assad government is replaced with a puppet regime of the western empire, (B) Iran is replaced with a puppet regime of the western empire, or (C) both, or else (D) US troops will remain in Syria to keep Iran in check.
Here is a the full transcript of Haley’s interaction with Wallace on the subject:
WALLACE: President Trump reportedly wanted to get all 2,000 U.S. troops out within 48 hours and had to be persuaded by folks at the Pentagon to keep them there for a couple of months which raises the question — what is our goal in Syria? And what is our strategy to get there?
HALEY: Well, I can tell you because I was in the National Security Council meetings with the president when it came to discussing Russia and he had three major goals that he wanted to accomplish.
He, one, wanted to make sure that chemicals — chemical weapons were not used or weapons of mass destruction were not used in any way that could harm American national interests. He wanted to make sure that we defeated ISIS completely and wholly, to make sure all of that threat was gone, because it is a threat to American national interests. And he wanted to make sure that we had good grounds to watch what Iran was doing and they weren’t making a lot of aggressive headway in terms of that, because Iran is a national threat to American interests.
And so, I think that no, he never thought he would get out in 48 hours. Yes, it is all of our goal to see American troops come home. But we’re not going to leave until we know we’ve accomplished those things.
As near as I can tell, the only way that third goal can be met is if either the US maintains a military presence in Syria, or if Syria and/or Iran cease functioning as sovereign nations and start functioning as compliant parts of the western empire instead. Obviously as long as Syria and Iran are both sovereign and allied they’re going to keep conducting themselves as such.
Instead of pressing Haley on this incendiary statement, Wallace changed the subject to Russia like a good little Murdoch stooge, which remained the topic of conversation for the remainder of the interview. And of course it did; all the recent buzz from the US and its allies about Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Venezuela can be understood as an empire trying to bully noncompliant nations into joining.
The new imperialism doesn’t force the governments it absorbs to change their names or fly a different flag; all it does is demand that its member states align with its interests economically and militarily. The fact that Iran and Syria are refusing to do either is the reason they are being singled out for escalations, and the reason those escalations are being consistently tied back to another noncompliant government in Russia.
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) April 1, 2018
The mass media narrative factory tries to make it about chemical weapons, about election meddling, about poisoned ex-spies, about humanitarian issues, but it has only ever been about expanding the power and influence of the oligarchs and allied intelligence/defense agencies which run the western empire. All the hostilities that we are seeing are nothing other than an extremely powerful conglomeration of forces poking and prodding noncompliant governments to coerce them into compliance before global power restructures itself into a multipolar world.
Two weeks ago I wrote an article in response to the hopefulness and excitement I was seeing over Trump’s comments about withdrawing from Syria. I titled that article “Ignore The Words Of US Presidents. Watch Their Actions Instead.” We have now seen the actions, and as usual they paint a very, very different picture from that painted by the words.
All Haley’s gibberish about terms that need to be met before troop withdrawal were just noises she made to avoid directly admitting what we now know: the people who rule America have no intention of ever letting Syria go. Or Iran, or Russia. The agenda to conquer the world and unite all nations in slavery via contracts, alliances, treaties and trade agreements marches on.