Now that Aleppo is all but wrapped up from a military point of view, we can buckle up and get ready to do it all over again in Idlib and Raqqa. This isn’t a mistake, but rather part of a strategy. You may have noticed that whenever the Syrian regime, the Kurds, or others pushed Al-Nusra out of their strongholds that they would flee to their de facto Caliphate capital in Idlib. Likewise, when the Syrian regime would reconcile with rebel groups, this really meant that the civilians stayed in place and the Nusra fighters were permitted to vacate the area and head to Idlib. Now the regime, along with the Russians, are going to pound Idlib into a parking lot.
But you won’t get that information from CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC. Instead you will be treated to a full court press propaganda tour like something straight out of the (former) Soviet Union or North Korea. What the public will be told about Idlib is that it is a nature preserve for bunny rabbits. Every Russian and Syrian bomb will fall on a orphanage or children’s hospital. Cluster bombs will eradicate UNESCO world heritage sites and cute and cuddly dogs and cats will starve on the streets.
Like Aleppo, there are undoubtedly civilians who will suffer in Idlib, but the western media will lean on local “activists” on the ground for information. These activists are actually Al Qaeda propagandists and who believes their bad acting I can’t begin to imagine. Television news shows will have so-called “experts” on to discuss Idlib, experts like Al Qaeda apologist Charles Lister.
Meanwhile, America will continue to fight in Mosul and Raqqa, but we’re told that is the good war. Aleppo and Idlib are the bad war, fought by the bad people. We don’t turn a blind eye to the heavy handed tactics used by the Russians but we also should not be so naive to believe that things are black and white.
The United States government is set on a course to path dependence from a policy standpoint. We have continued down a hardline anti-Syrian regime policy but as it has become more clear that there are no moderate rebels and that the ones we are training are actually Jihadists, it is like we have already over-committed and don’t know how to change tracks. Everyone knows this policy is a disaster, but no one wants to say so out loud.
Because of this, our government, think tanks, and NGOs, all being propped up, backstopped, and supported by a willing media, continue to sell us a lie that everyone knows is not true. There isn’t some Jeffersonian democratic movement that is going to come to power in Syria and it certainly will not come from the likes of the FSA and al-Nusra. If we are to be realistic, a government that is acceptable to the West is not coming to the Middle East for a long time, not until the local situation changes and these countries are further along in their political development.
But Idlib. We’re going to be told that things will be different in Idlib.
Featured image courtesy of BBC.