Damascus (GPA) – Once again, in their eternal mission to cause more conflict with Moscow, the US media attempts to blame Russia for last week’s “attack” on US forces.
Over the past several days, US media has attempted to not just uphold the Pentagon line that the US forces illegally occupying Syria were “defending” themselves against Syrian government-aligned fighters but have also begun to make more outrageous claims attempting to place the blame directly on Moscow.
Russian Mercenaries used in US Media Attempts to Blame Russia for Hostilities
The primary basis for these accusations are the revelations that emerged last week that Russian mercenaries were among the pro-Damascus forces bombed by US jets on February 7th. While Russia’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged there were some mercenaries among the forces hit by the US they deny the reports by western media that hundreds of Russian mercenaries have been killed in the Syrian war.
These claims were addressed in a briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova who said of the claims by US ‘journalists,’ saying that the “Materials about the deaths of hundreds of Russian citizens” was “classic misinformation.” She went on to say that the number of Russians killed in Syria is “not 400, not 200, not 100, not ten,” and that following Russia’s investigation it was determined only five Russians died.
Zakharova did admit that this number could be slightly higher but the identities of those killed “requires validation, in particular…citizenship.”
The US media, as usual, isn’t interested in these explanations, nor are they interested in conducting investigations in Syria as has been made painfully clear by Washington’s multiple refusals to conduct impartial investigations of alleged uses of chemical weapons by Damascus.
One of the worst examples in this latest wave of propaganda was a piece published by Bloomberg View and written by vocal Zionist, Israeli propagandist, and Iranian regime-change advocate Eli Lake titled: “Don’t Be Fooled: Russia Attacked U.S. Troops in Syria.”
Lake, showing his overwhelming desire for a confrontation between the US and Russia, went all in on this narrative, even claiming that US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is providing the opportunity for “plausible deniability” by Moscow. This was apparently made obvious to Lake (and possibly only to Lake and his ilk such as Ralph Peters of the New York Post) by Mattis’ hesitation to directly blame the Russian government for “ordering an attack” on the illegal US base in Syria.
Apparently, the fact that Mattis (for once) didn’t rush to accuse Moscow or Damascus of directly ordering the alleged attack was what Lake determined was the General engaging in “what Plato called a ‘noble lie.'” While Mattis has acknowledged Russian contractors were killed after it was confirmed by Moscow, it apparently wasn’t good enough for the hawkish US media since the Secretary, in an uncharacteristically reserved manner, initially wouldn’t comment on the then-alleged death of Russian nationals until a proper investigation had taken place.
Now that Mattis and the Kremlin confirmed that Russians were killed by US forces the latest demands by the professional war-advocates in the elite US media circles are for the Pentagon to directly blame the Russian military.
Clearly, Mattis can’t confirm anything like this since he isn’t privy to Russian military intelligence and he said as much on Saturday after returning from a trip to Europe telling reporters in a Pentagon briefing that he “still cannot give you any more information on why they would do this.” Mattis did state the obvious that the forces that faced off with the US troops “took direction from someone, with some local direction,” but as far as knowledge of orders issued by an “external actor” go he made his inability to confirm this crystal clear saying: “Don’t ask me, I don’t know.”
Mattis did, however, say that the US was determined to further investigate the incident and that “Whatever happened, we’ll try to figure it out,” and that Washington will “work with, obviously, anyone who can answer that question.”
Have no fear though! Lake and his colleagues at Bloomberg apparently have better intelligence on the incident that the Pentagon, primarily the fact that Bloomberg “exposed” that the Russian-allied fighters in Syria were treated in Russian hospitals. Lake also based his claims on a conversation he had with former Obama administration deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Evelyn Farkas, who told Eli that “Any Russian mercenaries, whether they are in Ukraine or Syria, work for the Russian government.”
Although these kinds of claims often originate in one or two US publication, are typically written by laughing-stocks like Lake, they often seem to catch on with other corporate outlets invested in pushing over the top anti-Russian propaganda. While the direct accusations against Russia have yet to be made by the usual suspects in the imperial media such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, it is always a high probability that they will begin pushing this dangerous narrative in the coming days.
With the war against Daesh over (the stated US objective in Syria), Washington is quickly running out of excuses to keep troops deployed in the north of the country.
This stated US objective clearly runs counter to US actions in Syria such as their latest plans to facilitate the “stability and reconstruction” of the city of Raqqa, the former ‘capital’ of Daesh’s attempted ‘caliphate.’ While this would be ominous enough on its own, there have also been promises made by high-level US officials including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who pledged US forces would stay behind because “a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda.”
Tillerson also expressed that while Washington may have achieved their latest public objective of defeating Daesh in Syria, the Trump regime would be breaking some of the President’s campaign promises and reopening the case for overthrowing the government of Bashar Assad. According to Tillerson, this doesn’t mean the “indefinite deployment” of US troops in Syria but that there’s no telling how long it would take to implement “responsible change” that is unlikely to “come as immediately as some hope for.”
While Tillerson does admit that this kind of regime change is unlikely to happen by force now “but rather through an incremental process of constitutional reform and U.N.-supervised elections” it is clear the same initial motivations behind US interference in Syria still remains.
Whether militarily or diplomatically, it is obvious to everyone from Russia to the United States’ own NATO ally Turkey, that the US now intends for their operations in Syria to evolve from “anti-terrorism efforts” to an illegal occupation. The US plans for Syria may currently be unraveling and backfiring but it is still clear that Washington wants to remain in the country. While Washington may be unwilling to engage or confront Russia on a new level (for now), the objectives remain the same and the usual western journalists from the US imperial media circle are already attempting to provide cover for the next war.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.