Hazy video footage has emerged of members of the so-called Free Syrian Army chasing American special forces troops out of the Syrian town of al-Rai, forcing them back into Turkey.
According to reports, the troops were attempting to coordinate air strikes with Turkey. The stand-off appears to be non-violent but nevertheless, incredibly tense. The event itself is minor, but the implications are deeply important, here’s why.
If ISIS is the Frankenstein monster the US and Britain helped create by sowing the seeds of instability and sectarianism in Iraq whilst allowing a weak government in Baghdad to lose control of the inflow of foreign miscreants into the country, the Free Syrian Army is a creation of Western meddling that is even more perverse.
In 2011, events in Damascus resembled a frightening prelude to the events which transpired in Kiev in 2014.
In Syria, Western backed rebels of many strips engaged in disunited but violent protests against the legitimate government of Syria. They were given the name ‘The Free Syrian Army’ even though their methods were those of violence and intimidation and were anything but free or law abiding. Many were not even Syrians and they were not an army. Rather they were a disparate band of militants.
The uprising failed and the idea of a Free Syrian Army mostly faded away. However this opened up the floodgates of instability in what was once one of the most stable, secular states in the Arab world.
Members of what is now known as ISIS flooded in from the Iraqi border. Al-Qaeda swarmed in, and eventually rebranded itself Jabhat Al-Nusra (now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham). They found themselves in a position of de facto alliance with the US and their Gulf allies in spite of the fact that the entire idea of Bush and Blair’s ‘War on Terror’ was to fight Al Qaeda and its syndicates.
If a novelist tried to sell such a plot to a publisher, they would be told that the story is too fantastical to be believed. Sadly it’s not a novel. It’s the truth.
With every week now, there seems to be a rebranding of various terror groups. The command structures are vague and fluid; they are only united in a common hated of stability in Syria and a desire to bring various flavours of violent Sunni theocracy to this religiously diverse Arab state.
Recently the name Free Syrian Army has been resurrected as the branding option of various militants mostly fighting against the Syrian Arab Army along the Turkish border.
Last month, Turkey and the US claimed that they had aided the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ to secure a victory against ISIS when in reality it was an operation designed to halt Kurdish advances.
The Kurds by the way are at war with all sides in the conflict. Both Assad and Erdogan are worried about Kurdish claims on their territory, although it has to be said that this is an issue of greater concern to Turkey and an area of key disagreement between Turkey and the US, which has been arming both the Kurds and the Islamist militants they are fighting.
Now however the strategy of using the comparatively friendly name ‘Free Syrian Army’ to describe terrorists fighting legitimate Syrian forces has backfired.
The video shows members of the Free Syrian Army of the day, chanting slogans against ‘crusaders’ that are reminiscent of the slogans chanted by those calling themselves ISIS one day, Al Nusra the next, Diet Al Qaeda the next day, and so on.
The Western pattern of creating organisations to fight its proxy wars against legitimate governments keeps repeating itself. This is true both of real groups and fictional groups, although now this fictional group – ‘the Free Syrian Army’ – is taking on a life of its own, and one which does not involve waving American flags in one hand whilst burning photos of Assad with the other.
The same thing is happening in Ukraine. The factions that are now and always have been neo-fascist thugs were once portrayed as ‘freedom fighters’ and ‘democracy activists’ by Western propaganda. Some were foolish enough to believe this. Now however Western support for the Kiev regime is faltering.
All the Western money and all the Western meddling have simply torn Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine into a million pieces. The process just keeps repeating itself. A solution that is identical to the problem should not be considered a solution.
The only solution is to support legitimate governments battling any and all kinds of terrorism. Otherwise, a quiet and polite retreat is the best any Western state can do in the name of peace. But where can one find such an example of a foreign power cooperating with a legitimate government (as defined by both the UN and common sense) in the Arab world in order to bri