By former UK Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford
The Rambo of the State Department is leaving. James Jeffreys, the outgoing Syria envoy, boasts about his achievements in a recent candid interview with Al Monitor which with no sense of shame opens up to public gaze the the cynicism, callousness and sheer power-crazedness of US policy on Syria, conducted as though it were a video game or a game of Monopoly.
In a long-ranging interview with Al-Monitor, James Jeffrey looks back on his efforts to incorporate fragments of Obama-era initiatives into a cohesive Middle East policy.Al Monitor
Jeffreys makes no bones about it. It’s not about ending the Syrian conflict, it’s about prolonging it:
Basically, first and foremost is denial of the [Assad regime] getting military victory….And of course, we’ve ratcheted up the isolation and sanctions pressure on Assad, we’ve held the line on no reconstruction assistance, and the country’s desperate for it. You see what’s happened to the Syrian pound, you see what’s happened to the entire economy. So, it’s been a very effective strategy..
The point is, this [preserving the SDF] is our plan B. We have a plan A. Plan A doesn’t answer ‘how does this all end?’ Plan A’s whole purpose [is] to ensure that the Russians and Assad and the Iranians don’t have a happy answer to how this all ends, and maybe that will someday get them to accept Plan B. Meanwhile, they’re tied up in knots. They don’t see Syria as a victory.
So, we don’t care a jot if Syrian people are suffering greatly, that’s part of the plan. We are happy to prolong the suffering indefinitely as long as the Russians, Iranians and Assad can’t claim victory.
Plan B, by the way, requires implementation on US terms of UN resolution 2254, which would amount effectively to a suicide note for Assad as under those terms it would allow millions of Syrians outside Syria to vote and thus decide the fate of those still inside.
At no point in this lengthy interview does Jeffreys even mention the Syrian people. The only Syrians (condescendingly) mentioned are the Kurdish militia SDF:
The SDF, they’re clean kids. I’ve gotten to know them and their leadership very, very well. They really are phenomenal, by Middle Eastern standards. They’re a highly disciplined Marxist offshoot of the PKK.
So, let’s get this straight: the US is supporting a bunch of Marxists in North East Syria to stop Assad getting the much needed oil for the Syrian people and is indifferent to the fact that Idlib is controlled by a bunch of Islamist fanatics? Jeffreys in fact does not say a single word about the character of the opposition to acknowledge their Islamist extremism, or about the likely consequences if Plan B were to succeed and deliver the keys of Damascus to Islamist radicals. In this game – and a game is clearly how callous power-crazed Washington policy makers see it – only preventing victory by the other side matters.Cynical US policy on Syria revealed: to Hell with the people