17:06 GMT18 April 2021
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    The White House chose to recycle a ludicrous Cold War-era asymmetric strategy that entails leveraging al-Qaeda to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad because a full-scale invasion of Syria had become politically untenable, experts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States works with Islamic extremists such as al-Qaeda and its offshoots to oust Assad is an insane strategy that will have grave consequences, French political scientist Alexandre del Valle told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    Former US officials, including General David Petraeus and former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, have recommended working with members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front to defeat the Islamic State and the Assad government, The Daily Beast reported in August.

    "Valle’s observation that US support for Islamic extremism in Syria is insane is valid but not new," Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, authors of highly-acclaimed books on US foreign policy in the Middle East and Central Asia, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    Washington’s insane paradigm dates back to the 1960s when the Pentagon’s own "Sigma" war games revealed that a proxy incursion in Vietnam would be lengthy and inconclusive, yet the United States still "chose to bury itself in the quagmire," Gould and Fitzgerald argued.

    They also pointed out the tragic historical irony of US military officials leveraging the same extremist proxy networks in Syria that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) created during the jihad against the Soviet Union, while learning nothing from the past.

    "US support for Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s led directly to al-Qaeda using that country as a base for terrorism and the creation of the Taliban, which the United States has been at war with for fourteen years," Gould and Fitzgerald explained.

    Geopolitical analyst and StopImperialism.org editor Eric Draitser told Sputnik that the CIA is now willing to use "Al-Qaeda in the form of the al-Nusra Front" as its latest proxy asset, also indicating that is has been tapping into mujahedeen networks established long ago.

    "CIA operatives working on the Turkish-Syrian border are essentially utilizing these same networks of contacts they’ve maintained over the decades… to use terrorism as a geopolitical weapon," Draitser claimed.

    Fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front drive in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. (File)
    © AFP 2021 / AMC / FADI AL-HALABI
    The reason why the United States is using asymmetric tactics against Assad, Draitser argued, is because President Barack Obama cannot get the political backing to authorize a full-scale invasion.

    "Without that full blown intervention they move to a secondary option that is fomenting terrorism," Draitser noted. "Al-Qaeda is a fundamental part of the US strategy… that’s what they’ve been working at for four and a half years."

    US policy, Draitser added, is designed to ensure weapons get into the hands of every faction that is willing to take up arms against Assad and the Syrian Army in order to effect regime change in Damascus.

    The strategy is not some new twist, Draitser emphasized, because the US intelligence community has been employing this approach since the beginning of the conflict in Syria.

    Draitser noted that thousands of media reports dating back to 2012 have documented the fact that members of the so-called "moderate" Free Syrian Army, which was armed, trained and financed by the United States, once deployed immediately defected to the al-Nusra Front.

    On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that refugees are fleeing Syria from terrorists that have been equipped with arms delivered from abroad.

    US State Department spokesperson John Kirby responded to Putin’s comment later on Tuesday by conceding that the United States cannot guarantee that arms supplied to the Syrian rebels will not fall into the hands of terrorists.

    Related:

    The Enemy of My Enemy: Petraeus Urges Unleashing Al-Qaeda on Islamic State
    Saudi-Led Coalition Prepares to Storm Sanaa, Al-Qaeda Gains Ground in Yemen
    Yemeni Al-Qaeda to Lose Influence if 'Political Power Vacuum' Eliminated
    Tags:
    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Taliban, Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda, Robert Ford, Syria, US
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