September 19th, 2016
The Syria Solidarity Movement unequivocally condemns and denounces the vicious US bombing attack on the Syrian army defending Deir ez-Zour, and we wish to make the following observations.
1. The attack killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded more than 100. This is larger than the number of casualties inflicted in any US bombing on any terrorist target in Syria since the US announced its “war on ISIS”.
2. The bombing inflicted no known casualties on ISIS, which the US says was its intended target.
3. The US has produced no evidence that it notified its Russian counterparts, as required by agreement. In fact, joint action against ISIS was not expected for another two days. This leads to suspicions that the US attack was intended to preempt the provisions of the agreement.
4. Syrian soldiers report seeing reconnaissance drones the previous day.
5. ISIS fighters were poised to begin fighting the Syrian army units as soon as the US bombing raids ended. How did they know what constituted the end of the bombing?
6. Although the Russian military presence in Syria is legal because it came at the invitation of the sovereign Syrian state, the US presence is illegal and was never approved, either by the Syrian government or by the United Nations. All US military actions in Syria therefore constitute an illegal invasion of Syrian territory, and must end now.
We find the US explanation of “unintended” targets, and especially the belligerent performance of Ambassador Samantha Power at the United Nations Security Council, to be false, disingenuous and counterproductive. The only credible explanation is that the US attack on Deir ez-Zour was intentional. The US has never seriously tried to fight ISIS other than to defend Kurdish fighters, with rare and largely ineffectual attacks against ISIS fighters in their strongholds, and none during the ISIS campaign against Palmyra, when they were very vulnerable by air.
We believe that the US intention is to dismember the sovereign Syrian state, and that the Syrian army base at Deir ez-Zour constitutes an obstacle to this plan, and is therefore a US target. In accordance with this plan, the US does not mind if ISIS continues to occupy a large portion of the Syrian Euphrates valley, and in fact prefers to maintain ISIS as a destructive force that weakens Syria and is available as a proxy fighting force for other US regional designs, in partnership with their Israeli allies.
We are doubtful that the US intends to honor its agreement with Russia, and implicitly with Syria. US strategists are seeking to weaken and threaten Russia and not to form cooperative and mutually beneficial agreements. Accordingly, the only option may unfortunately be to make the cost to the US too high to be acceptable, and thereby to force a change in its priorities.
There is another and more constructive alternative, as follows.
1. The US should immediately issue a formal apology to the government of Syria and offer restitution for damages, both to the Syrian government and to the families of the dead and wounded.
2. The US should withdraw completely from all Syrian territory and end its support for all fighting forces there.
3. The US should enforce its end user agreements on the use of its arms supplied to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other countries, to prevent their use in non-defensive roles outside their territories, and in particular to prevent supplying them to subversive forces in Syria.
4. The US should use its influence in international banking and commerce to prevent the transfer of funds to terrorist forces in Syria and to prevent illegal trafficking by terrorists of oil and other Syrian assets from terrorist-held territory.
5. The US should try to develop a new and cooperative relationship with Russia, and to stop threatening Russia through its subversive actions in Syria, Ukraine and other places, including the stationing of bases and troops in countries on Russia’s borders. The US should end its commercial and financial sanctions against Russia and Syria.
6. The US needs to take action to end the internal bickering within its own government. International diplomacy is impossible when agreements negotiated by diplomats are undermined by other governmental agencies. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and other US government figures should be fired for insubordination and replaced with figures that allow the administration to speak with a single voice and so that negotiated agreements can be assured of implementation.
The Syria Solidarity Movement advocates respect for and compliance with all international law, prosecution of international outlaws, an end to attempts to strengthen one country by destroying others, the use of diplomacy to settle international disputes, and the development of peaceful and constructive relationships among all nations. We hold these goals to be of the utmost priority at the present moment because, given the level of escalation to which the USA has pushed a confrontation with Russia (and China) over Syria, Ukraine, and the South China Sea, the threat to world peace has never been higher since 1939.
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