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US policy on Syria exposed by Kerry as 'a house of cards'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and US Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speak during a Security Council Meeting on September 21, 2016 on the situation in Syria at the United Nations in New York. (Photo by AFP)

The US policy position on Syria has been exposed as a house of cards by US Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony before the United Nations on Thursday, says Barry Grossman, an international lawyer and political commentator based in Bali, Indonesia.

In a video extract, published by the Ron Paul Institute, Kerry slips up while explaining the recent largely secret Syrian ceasefire.

“It was also very importantly part of the plan, that when those efforts of cooperation commenced, Syrian warplanes would be prohibited from flying over areas where the legitimate opposition and al Nusra were present, in order to give us the opportunity to work out the separation,” Kerry said.

“The significance of John Kerry’s slip cannot be overstated. He conceded, in terms that leave no room for doubt, that there is still no clear separation between the US backed insurgents whom the US led coalition hold out to the world as Syria’s ‘legitimate’ opposition and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s franchise in Syria,” Grossman told Press TV on Friday.

“The recent ceasefire was not honored by either America’s proxies in Syria who, in continuing to carry out offensive military operations, professed to be fighting ISIL forces, or by the US-led coalition, which carried out deadly air strikes on Syrian government military positions as a cover for an ISIL ground attack which commenced as soon as the strikes were carried out,” he stated.

“When we consider John Kerry’s admission that opposition forces are still indistinguishable from al Qaeda forces, on the one hand, and that those same opposition forces were openly carrying out offensive operations ostensibly against terrorist forces during the recent ceasefire, on the other, the entire house of cards which has been peddled as the Atlantic World’s position on Syria, comes tumbling down exposing the deceit that it was from the start built on,” he added.

“Whether or not John Kerry was completely in the ‘loop’ remains unclear, but the realities both on the ground and in the Pentagon very strongly suggest that the ceasefire was quite clearly nothing but a cynical tactic to provide an opportunity for US proxies to consolidate their positions and undertake further offensives with the aim of securing territory at the expense of Syria’s government. Either John Kerry has been played or he is part of the bigger problem,” the analyst said.

“Either way, there is no room for doubt about the reality of the US policy position. That position involves no genuine concern for civilians or, for that matter, terrorism, and is instead entirely focused on regime change or, should that fail, Balkanizing Syria,” he pointed out.

Rift between Carter and Kerry?

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

Grossman said that “the growing rift between US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry has spilled over into the public consciousness as a result of the General Joseph Dunford - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -   testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee not only that he thinks sharing intelligence with Russians is a bad idea but that the US military will not in any circumstances be part of any initiative to share intelligence with the Russians notwithstanding that, as Senator McCain cynically pointed out to him, intelligence sharing with the Russians is a key part of Kerry’s current Syria proposal as he scrambles to salvage the ceasefire.”

“Perhaps the chairman, though he no doubt fully understands the chain of command as it emanates from him to those below him, fails to understand that both constitutionally and practically speaking, that same chain is anchored in the oval office and runs from there through the Pentagon headed by the secretary of Defense - Ashton Carter, before it comes anywhere near to him as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff,” the commentator explained.

“So either the general is ‘rebelling’ against civilian control of the military or the position he has so rigidly expressed indicates there is a major spat unfolding between John Kerry and Ashton Carter, both of whom are appointed by and theoretically beholding to the president, although many people understandably wonder if they are not more committed to certain outside, special interests. Regardless, it seems that US foreign policy is now made by the Department of Defense rather than the State Department.”

Obama willing to hang Kerry out to dry

Grossman said that “President Obama, who seems entirely fixated on managing his legacy and preparing for a transition to a far more hawkish Hillary Clinton administration, seems to be entirely asleep at the wheel and quite willing to hang Kerry out to dry."

"His failure to lead and be in any way Presidential during this crises implies that he is part of a much bigger, twisted political game which aims to let the Syria situation deteriorate so badly that a Clinton administration will face no political opposition in doing that which Obama himself refused to do when this US engineered conflict started," he said. 

“As for the so-called Syrian opposition, if  John Kerry, Staffan de Mistura, et al are so confident about the bona fides of the Syrian opposition and the so-called intelligence fed to the coalition and Western media by the euphemistically named White Hats, why don't they hold their talks in and related briefings in ‘rebel-controlled’ Aleppo?” he asked.

“Finally, to those who feel obliged to support the professed agenda of al Nusrat and Daesh, I would simply point out that if those calling the shots within these loose bands of so-called Jihadis had even only a scintilla of genuineness, instead of fighting each other to protect their respective claims over booty from the chaos they have sown, they would long ago have coalesced into a single, unified enterprise in pursuit of a common goal, instead of constantly morphing into supposedly new manifestations under cover of contrived banners," he said.

"That they have not, exposes them for what they really are every bit as much as the magnitude and character of their death toll does,” the analyst said in his concluding remarks.  

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