It seems no coincidence that the upsurge in international terror assaults, which has inflicted American deaths among the victims, followed quickly on reports that the Obama administration is moving to do a deal with Russia over Syria.
The Washington Post reported last week: “The Obama administration has proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against some [sic] terrorists in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing US-supported rebels.”
Apparently, American solicitations for Russian cooperation has been ongoing for several weeks, perhaps even months. When the Saudi regime’s leaders, including deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (the king’s son), were invited to the White House last month, it is most likely that this key US partner in the Middle East was briefed on the plan. The Saudis weren’t pleased, as indicated by their call immediately following the White House meeting for an escalation of American military intervention in Syria, thus appearing to snub the Obama administration.
According to the Washington Post: “The crux of the deal is a US promise to join forces with the Russian air force to share targeting and coordinate an expanded bombing campaign against Jabhat al-Nusra [Al Nusra Front], al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, which is primarily fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”
The quid pro quo is that Russian and Syrian forces would halt their withering offensive on “US-backed rebels”.
Of course, any distinction between “terrorists” and the palatable-sounding “rebels” is a fiction.
The notion of legitimate, moderate “rebels” whom the US and its allies allegedly support, as opposed to “terror groups”, is just a risible ruse, as most informed observers of the five-year Syrian war have known from the beginning.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov protested – yet again – that Washington has not moved decisively to segregate armed factions that it backs from the internationally proscribed terrorists in Al Nusra Front and Daesh. The reason for this is simple: because all these militants are orchestrated by the same state sponsors – the US, its NATO allies, Britain, France and Turkey, and the Arab monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Washington and its partners have not given up on their strategic objective of toppling the Assad government. There is good reason to conjecture that the next US administration following Obama’s departure early in 2017 will ramp up its military involvement in Syria, either by stepping up covert support to its proxies, or by direct American intervention.
In the meantime, however, Washington needs to salvage what remains of its regime-change assets. At the current rate of Russian and Syrian success in defeating the militants, by the time a new US administration takes over the assets will be virtually liquidated.
Then there was the surprise offer from Ankara for Russia to gain use of the NATO airbase at Incirlik, over the border from Syria, to “help fight against terrorism”. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hastily denied earlier reports of this offer, probably because it sounded too obsequious towards Russia.
Nevertheless, the point is that Washington and its minions appear to be on a charm offensive to enlist Russia with some kind of purported “deal” on cooperation in Syria.
It is significant that Turkey, like Washington, appears to have moved now to explicitly include Al Nusra Front as a “legitimate target”.
Of priority is Washington reining in Russian forces from wiping out its terror assets on the ground, in case these same assets have to be reactivated to pursue the regime-change agenda more aggressively under the incoming US administration.
The fact that Washington has up to now steadfastly refused to coordinate military forces with Russia to hit terror networks in Syria, and the fact that the US-backed militants continue to “mingle” with overtly recognized terror groups, all suggest that what the Obama administration is now reportedly offering Russia is nothing more than a cynical exercise in order to salvage its entire regime-change operation in Syria.
The fact too is that the Obama administration is only shifting belatedly to “cooperate” with Vladimir Putin on Syria because the Russian President’s military operation was a masterclass in checkmating US machinations for a coup in the Levant with its well-worn tactics of using terror proxies.
There seems little doubt that the Wahhabi terror networks in Syria smell a giant rat emanating from Washington. They are being sacrificed for the bigger US objective of damage limitation in its regime-change project. A few Al Nusra Front and Daesh cadres may be offered up as meat by Washington for Russian and Syrian forces to take out, with the ulterior motive for the Americans being to spare more of the terror brigades for some later phase in the war on Syria.
The well-documented links between the Saudi rulers and the Wahhabi terrorists could have been the communication line alerting the proxies off to a treacherous turn by Washington and Turkey.
The surge in violence by al-Qaeda jihadists in at least five countries, including a hit on the US consulate in Saudi Arabia, speaks of furious reaction to perceived betrayal by former sponsors.
And it’s not just Washington’s terror proxies who should smell a rat. Any offer of “cooperation” by this state sponsor of terrorism has to be seen for what it is: another dirty trick to pull its neck out of a trap of its own making.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.