Congress Will Say Anything About Syria These Days

In a recent letter written to Secretary of State Pompeo, a number of Congressmen led by Eliot Engel (D–NY) and Michael McCaul (R–TX) expressed their "deep concern" as "strong supporters of the Syrian people" that various countries are attempting to normalize relations with the secular dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

This they say is unacceptable due to the barbaric war crimes Assad has committed in his country against his own people. Topical as ever, the Congressmen add that Russia and Iran are his allies and have aided in some way to the conflict that has killed at least half a million people since Arab Spring, and led to around 12.5 million to flee the country, many thousands of whom drowned while crossing the Mediterranean.

The hypocrisy contained in the letter is breathtaking, as well as the presumption that the 116th Congress of the United States of America is also the 116th Congress of the entire world.

"Congress has also used legislation to outline the behavioral criteria that the Syrian regime must meet to rejoin the international community," reads the letter, published on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website.

Exactly why is it that the elected officials of the American republic get to dictate how and when the other 200 or so countries of the world get to open diplomatic relations with Syria: because they passed the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act? Was that passed as a United Nations treaty, or as United States law?

Engel and McCaul should stick with more obscure rhetoric, as the examples they use to make their case would be the very same that any journalist paying attention to the war over the years would also use to accuse presidents and congresses past of war crimes, and even treason, of the highest degree.

The Gas Attacks

As the one major accusation that both Obama and Trump invoked to grant themselves authority to use the American people’s military to bomb sovereign Syrian military property, one would imagine that developments in the stories of alleged gas attacks in Khan Shaykun and particularly in Douma, would immediately come to the attention of those seeking to use them continuously as a casus belli.

However the fact that Engel specifically notes the "June 2019 report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)," on chlorine and sarin gas attacks of March 2017 in the area of Ltamenah, shows this is not so.

With the Ltamenah accusation consisting of nothing more than a tweet from unvetted witnesses —doctors allegedly present at the hospital treating the victims, and the word of the OPCW investigators, an organization that has been revealed to be heavily politicized and guilty of covering up conflicting reports from the alleged sarin attacks in Douma that showed it was staged, Engel et al. demonstrate once again that our Congress is filled with unintelligent buffoons, or liars and war criminals.

Support for Militia Groups

"United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released a report documenting extensive war crimes by the Russian Federation, the Assad regime, and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham between November 2019 and June 2020," reads the letter.

As indirectly confirmed as legitimate by a press release from the UK Foreign Office, a series of leaked documents last month demonstrated that the well-known operations within the Obama Administration to arm and train Sunni veterans of the 2003 Iraq War to try and overthrow the government in Syria, was also accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign by the US and UK.

It was done through media agencies run by former-British and American intelligence officers, and helped to "create the entire western media conflict narrative". Companies like ARK Media Solutions worked to "soften the image" of the so-called moderate rebels which included at least one group, Harakat Nur al-Din al-Zinki, which joined with several al-Qaeda allies to form the new entity Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which Engel and the other Congressmen so diligently remind us are guilty of war crimes, and in doing so quite accidentally accuse some prominent former politicians of treason with those who attacked us on 9/11.

Two of the three governments who attempted to block the testimony and denigrate the OPCW whistleblowers were funding these propaganda campaigns, along with the terrorists themselves, so demanding that Syria "cease its support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, [and] Hamas" once again reeks of hypocrisy.

"We are pleased that the Administration has imposed sanctions under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which we strongly supported," the letter concludes. "We look forward to working with you to ensure ongoing robust implementation of the Caesar Act, including sanctions, in order to communicate to the international community that the United States opposes any efforts to rehabilitate Assad and his cronies absent the behavior changes outlined in law".

Like a difficult boss, Engel is uninterested in whether other nations might feel certain allegations against Assad are not enough to warrant the complete exile of the Near-Eastern dictatorship, or that the price of noncompliance to laws made in another country halfway around the world should not be total economic destruction and endless insurgent war.

America wanted to wage a regime change war in Syria, which they lost, utterly destroying the country in the process. Men like Pompeo and Engel believe that if they tell us lies until the end of their terms in office, it will somehow make their conduct justified, but whomever the "various countries" are that are trying to bring Syria in from the cold, they should ignore the United States and continue to work so that the people of Syria might be free from sanctions, Wahhabi militias, Turkish invasions, and "moderate rebels".

Andy Corbley is founder and editor of World at Large, an independent news outlet. He is a loyal listener of Antiwar radio and of the Scott Horton Show.