15:15 GMT04 August 2020
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    The US Secretary of Defense has recently downplayed Russia's role in fighting Daesh in Syria by blatantly claiming that Russia had done "virtually zero." Commenting on the remarks of the outgoing US military chief, Gregory Copley, an expert in International Strategic Studies, reminded Sputnik that it was actually the US which created Daesh.

    The US Secretary of Defense has claimed Russia had done “virtually zero” in the fight against so-called Islamic State (ISIL/Daesh) in Syria.

    Ash Carter made such a statement on Sunday in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press.

    According to the US military chief, the US and its coalition partners are "carrying the burden" of fighting Islamic State militants "by themselves."

    The Pentagon chief went on to say that Russia’s involvement in Syria made the ending of the Syrian civil war harder. He noted that this happened because Moscow failed to align with Washington’s intention to oust the country’s President Bashar Assad and bring the moderate opposition into the Syrian government.

    Moscow started its anti-terrorist campaign in Syria in September, 2015, following an official request from the Syrian government. Since then a bulk of terrorist positions have been destroyed by Russian aircraft, helping the Syrian forces to liberate a number of areas and cities, including Aleppo.

    Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Gregory Copley, editor of a group of publications, named Defense & Foreign Affairs and President of the parent organization International Strategic Studies Association.

    "Ash Carter is not a strategist, he is a technocrat, who was brought in essentially to stabilize the procurement processes in the US Department of Defense. His inexperience is showing and the fact is that in his comment he was either delusional or deliberately misleading," he told Sputnik.

    The reality is that he has become a blade, exceptionally politically partisan supporting the statements of the outgoing Obama White House, he further explained.

    However the reality is, the expert reminded, that the US itself actively supported Daesh by supporting Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their operations inside Syria. These are the countries which actively started, continued and sustained the so-called "civil" war in Syria. There would not have been this spontaneous "civil" war there without the active participation of US, Turkish, Qatari and Saudi aid, money and foreign fighters. Basically it was the situation of the US' own making.

    An American soldier is seen inside the U.S. army base in Qayyara, south of Mosul October 25, 2016
    © REUTERS / Alaa Al-Marjani
    An American soldier is seen inside the U.S. army base in Qayyara, south of Mosul October 25, 2016

    Gregory Copley further noted that it all started when the al-Qaeda movement started to split a few years ago with the al-Baghdadi (the leader of the Islamic State) group opposing the Ayman al-Zawahiri (al-Qaeda leader) group in order to gain some leverage and power.

    Part of that was the al-Baghdadi group, which became Daesh, which has basically used the premise that they had to purify the jihadist movement and disembowel all Shia support, the Iranian support.

    This was the perfect opportunity, for the Turkish government in particular, to seize on it and support al-Baghdadi. So, the Turkish government, which was heavily backed by the US, was funding, arming, providing all kind of intelligence support to further strengthen Daesh in Syria.

    The US has then come to the realization that Daesh is perhaps counterproductive, so has done Turkey, simply because Daesh would become uncontrollable and turn on its sponsors. But the reality is that the US has done nothing to fight Daesh in meaningful terms. It has basically adopted no comprehensive strategy for understanding the split in the jihadist movement.

    As the "civil" war in Syria has started coming under control with the activities of the Russian and Syrian governments, what we have started to see once again is the return to the intra-Sunni, basically intra-Wahhabist fighting between the Daesh faction and the al-Qaeda factions, the expert said.

    The same very fighting is currently going on in Libya.

    And the US is now supporting the al-Qaeda factions. This is an irony in itself given that the al-Qaeda movement, which had got its origin in Afghanistan with the US support, was the group which attacked US on 9/11.

    However this is starting to come to an end with the end of the Obama administration, he said. Obama administration, including Ash Carter is trying to leave a legacy, saying "we did all the right things, it is not our fault."

    "The reality is that this administration has a legacy of profound strategic failure globally. It is trying to spin the whole information process to say: "we were fantastic, everybody loves us, please ignore the fact that the US is becoming economically relegated to a lower position in the global framework, forget the fact that allies of the US are basically looking the White House in the eyes and then just turning away and ignoring it," Gregory Copley told Sputnik.

    This is something which did not happen a decade or two ago. That is not to say that President Obama did not inherit difficult situation following the George W Bush administration. But what he is leaving is a situation which is economically, strategically, in terms of prestige and influence dramatically worse than when he inherited it years before, the expert added.

    "And he is now putting the spin on it to say that this is not the case. The reality is that he is leaving the next US administration with four significant wars to fight: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. But there is a score of other smaller uprisings which are related to it. In Yemen, for example," he said.

    Under Ash Carter's rule in the Pentagon he was allowing the US to be drawn into the Saudi coalition's operations in Yemen. And basically it was one of the things which he was trying to do before he left office. Basically, what Carter and Obama wanted to do was to get the US involved on the ground in Syria and on the ground in Yemen before they left office. This is not going to happen now, Copley said.

    "The fact that the US was excluded from the recent round of ceasefire talks regarding Syria has absolutely angered the Obama White House. It has basically shown the impotence of John Kerry, the Secretary of State. They are in fury now that they have been left out and have been made to look ridiculous," he finally stated.

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