Across the Western world the decision of Donald Trump to withdraw a couple of thousand troops from the Middle East has, as with all his decisions, been met with yet another bout of contrived consternation.
In unison the mainstream media has once more toed the line presented by the deep state, that is to say, the US security and military complex, and denounced the President’s decision. What is more, the press, rather than acting as the fourth estate, has merely and unabashedly guided its reader-viewership into accepting the “virtuous line” and in doing so has once more failed to live up to the standards expected of a genuinely free and impartial press.
This “virtuous line” has been framed by declaring Trump’s troop withdrawal as a victory for the ever malevolent Russian leader Putin and the monstrous Assad, while to a lesser extent they claim it will pose an existential threat to the Kurds. As an example of Western embellishment on the subject we can point to, for example, to the Dallas News that ran the headline “Trump’s hasty withdrawal means it’s a Merry Christmas for Putin”.
Naturally Putin’s words on the matter have been paraphrased and cut this way and another, until they could be framed into a NATO approved sound-bite. What Putin actually said at his end of year press conference was of little consequence, the press preferring instead to misrepresent his words, which in fact sounded an altogether more cautious note. The Russian leader reminded those present that the US has been stating every year for the past 17 years that they would be leaving Afghanistan and there are more troops present than previously. It’s a situation that is mirrored in Iraq.
Caution has been key to Kremlin policy since Trump took office in the White House. The Russians prefer to see how events unfold in real terms before being caught up in the white noise integral to the contemporary Western media circus. Such policy appears wise, especially when trying to assess US strategy in the Middle East. After all Trump had stated he was ready to bring back troops from Syria as far back as March before being swiftly persuaded to do otherwise. With pressure building once more on the President of the United States, it’s not hard to imagine that many of us could be struck by a sense of deja-vu.
“ Caution has been key to Kremlin policy since Trump took office in the White House. The Russians prefer to see how events unfold in real terms before being caught up in the white noise integral to the contemporary Western media circus. ”
The second moot point being promoted by the Washington hawks and their sycophants is the plight of the Kurds. The fact that the Kurds suddenly are evoking such great sympathy and concern across the Western media scape appears to be nothing more than a spurious display of empathy. After all it is the very US state that has scuppered Kurdish calls for independence on numerous occasions.
That the press once more fails to shine an honest torch upon the Kurdish question is a theme that remains consistent with the lacunas in the reporting of institutions such as the BBC, CNN or The Times, much to the chagrin of those who live beyond the confines of the Western world. And while we can say that relationships between Damascus and the Kurds have not always run entirely smoothly, it is essential to reiterate that the Kurdish nation has a symbiotic relationship with the Syrian state, one that has been mutually beneficial in combating the existential threats posed by Islamic radicals.
As such it comes as no surprise that the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (closely linked with the YPG or Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, the “People’s Protection Units”) have been repeatedly engaged with the Assad regime in order to safe guard their autonomy once stability ensues. Indeed, Ilham Ahmed, co-chair of the SDF, emphasised the very nature of their relationship with Damascus when admitting that “We have a conviction that channels must be open, the constitution, the political process, here will not be solved without the regime” and that “the regime is not going anywhere”
That the Kurds for their part are understandably wary of US intentions comes as no surprise, given that across the border in Northern Iraq the US position was not to recognise their referendum for independence. And in Syria itself the US simply watched on as the Turks took the Kurdish controlled Afrin region by force, begging the question: who and exactly what are we then protecting the Kurds from? Ahmed refers to the Turkish attack as being met by an “American silence”, which not for the first time left them feeling let down.
In juxtaposition, it was the Syrian regime which allied itself to the SDF/YPG in their battle against the Turks, aiding them with logistics and the recruitment of troops for the battlefront, not to mention allowing Kurdish reinfor-cements to travel across government controlled terri-tory. Thus, proclamations echoing a need to “protect” the Kurds are relegated to nothing more than an instrument by which the hawks can justify occupying one third of Syrian territory. In short, it’s an attempt to legitimise their geopolitical interests.
“ Who and exactly what are we then protecting the Kurds from? The Turkish attack has been met by an “American silence”, which not for the first time left them feeling let down. It was the Syrian regime which allied itself to the SDF/YPG in their battle against the Turks. ”
And here we find the crux of the matter. The reason Trump above all is correct in withdrawing the troops is that they are currently occupying Syrian territory illegally. Even the apocryphal presentation of the Kurdish question is subordinate to legal realities and as such must be framed against the backdrop of Syrian sovereignty. Syria and its borders are recognised by the ultimate body of international law, that is to say, the United Nations, and in its convention Syria’s territorial integrity is assured.
The presence of US troops within the confines of a sovereign state can only be sanctioned by a UN resolution or on invitation by the Syrian state: both conditions have not been met.
This occupation does not merely infringe international law but also the US constitution, which demands congressional approval for US military engagement overseas.
How exactly the entire free Western liberal press has managed by and large to avert reporting on this fact is disquieting and highly suspicious. Yet more abhorrent is the subtle manner by which they unquestionably promote geopolitical goals and garner public acquiescence for illegal military operations.
The press not once questioned Obama when he contravened international law by deploying the troops to Syria, but when Trump removes them in accordance with these asserted legal norms there is outcry. The paradox within the paradox is that Trump, who campaigned to end the US presence overseas, a fact which again appropriates his decision by lending it the weight of democracy, is now coming under fire from those sectors of the liberal press who seem to enjoy bedevilling him as a liar. Those who criticise him therefore reveal themselves as nothing less than partisan, subjective and churlish.
So where exactly does all of this leave the cosmopolitan institutionalists, the liberals and the moral guardians who inhabit our free press and who together refer to themselves as “the defenders” of our way of life? Are not the courts and rule of law the cornerstone of the liberal world? And yet here they see no need to comply, hence they subvert the legal underpinnings designed by their own theoreticians to ameliorate the inherent anarchy of the global system. States bereft of any functioning rule of law are alone and dependent on nobody but their-selves for survival. Neither law, nor democracy neither a free liberal press must interfere with the strategic, realist imperatives of the military and security state. What exactly happened to liberalism?