By Steve Brown
In a rather surprising announcement, US Central Command claimed to attack a takfiri training camp in the terrorist stronghold of Idlib province (Syria) where Ansar al-Tawhid and similar groups were present. According to (US) Centcom and the [so-called – ed] Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, forty or more militants were killed in the strike, including senior terror leaders.
Rami Abdel Rahman of the SOHR said the US attack, “targeted a meeting held by the leaders of Hurras al-Deen, Ansar al-Tawhid and other allied groups inside a training camp”, but Rami did not state how the missile was delivered.
Details are sketchy, but an online video has appeared seeming to confirm the deaths of the takfiri militants, with terrorist sympathizers bemoaning the same (in the comments). If true, an actual US attack on terror leaders in Idlib is the first US military operation of its kind since early 2017, and comes on the back of a recent US attack on the Hurras al-Deen terror militia in July.
Even more surprising, the United States may have shared intelligence with Russian Federation Special Forces to eliminate Khalifa Muhamad Turki al-Subaiy a notorious al Qaeda operative who is certainly now deceased, even if western sources are not yet reporting that fact. (See: Militant Attack Ends in Disaster)
If the US truly is cooperating with Syrian security forces and their allies – and that is by no means certain! – then we must ask why… since the US and Israel have colluded to destabilize and threaten Syria by sponsoring and backing the terrorist insurgency there.
One factor could be that the US was ejected from the Syrian equation four years ago, effectively side-lined by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. The US has thus been relegated to the Kurdish Manbij region and eastern oil fields (were the US thieves oil) while only protecting the terror stronghold of al Tanf.
Also, the recent summit meeting between the Russian leadership and Recep Tayipp Erdogan must have exacerbated the sense of US impotence in Syria. The US must feel threatened by Turkey’s warming relationship with Russia, especially if Turkey keeps to its end of an agreement to scale back its own terror operations in northwest Syria.
We must consider too the potential eclipse of Neoconservative influence as addressed in the article Whither Next, Neocons, where the Neocon plan for regime change in certain nations — non-adulatory of America! — appears to be struggling.
Besides admitted Neocon-Neoliberal failures in Venezuela, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, North Korea, the Palestine-Israel “peace process”, Iran and elsewhere, we see US media attempts to resurrect the image of James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as some sort of noble warrior with the goods on Donald Trump, while the media questions the president’s current relationship with John Bolton.
Bolton is of course determined to pursue Israel’s mandate to destabilize and topple the legitimate Syrian government by any means possible. But if John Bolton is out of favour with the president, that could explain a change in military policy in Syria. So, by extension, for the US to attack any takfiri militia in Syria would certainly be a challenge to Bolton’s authority… and Israel’s!
Indeed, for the US to attack takfiri militants in Syria may reflect on Bolton’s waning influence within the Trump regime… but to further confirm the end of Neocon and Israeli influence in Washington? — that is exceedingly unlikely, to the point of impossibility.
One swallow does not make a spring, and the Arab nightmare in Syria will certainly continue with no help from Washington. Washington’s attacks in Idlib most likely represent a Statecraft ploy, to show that the Warfare State can act when and where it pleases, and that very occasionally it may even try to do the right thing. Now, if John Bolton were to resign, we may see some tectonic shift in the Trump regime as it prepares for upcoming US elections.
Regardless, the real solution to the Syrian nightmare that Washington created is held by Russia, by Iran, and by Syria itself. As will be seen, the US will remain on the sidelines and increasingly marginalized in world affairs.
Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: the Road to War” (Sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (Sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Federal Reserve: Out-sourcing the Monetary System to the Money Trust Oligarchs Since 1913”. Steve is an antiwar activist, a published scholar on the US monetary system, and has appeared as guest contributor to The Duran, Fort Russ News, and Strategika51.