The Financial Times of London carried one of the frankest reports on the Aleppo “rebel” offensive, noting that it “may have had more foreign help than it appears: activists and rebels say opposition forces were replenished with new weapons, cash and other supplies before and during the fighting.” It cites reports of daily columns of trucks pouring across the Turkish border for weeks with arms and ammunition, including artillery and other heavy weapons.
The newspaper quotes one unnamed Western diplomat who said that US officials backed the Al Qaeda-led offensive “to put some pressure back on Russia and Iran,” which have both provided key military support to the Assad government.
The Financial Times also quotes an unnamed “military analyst” as stating that the character of the fighting indicated the Al Qaeda forces had received not only massive amounts of weapons, but also professional military training.
Significantly, even as the fighting in Aleppo was underway, photographs surfaced of heavily armed British commandos operating long-range patrol vehicles in northern Syria. Similar US units are also on the ground. These are among the most likely suspects in terms of who is training Al Qaeda’s Syrian forces.
They would only be reprising the essential features of the imperialist operation that gave rise to Al Qaeda 30 years ago, when the CIA—working in close alliance with Osama bin Laden—supplied similar support to the mujahedeen fighting to overthrow the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan.
While the blowback from that episode ultimately gave us September 11, the present operation in Syria holds far greater dangers. In what is now openly described by the corporate media as a “proxy war” in which Al Qaeda serves as US imperialism’s ground force, Washington is attempting to overthrow Russia’s key Middle East ally as part of the preparations for a war aimed at dismembering and subjugating Russia itself.
The frontrunner in the US presidential contest, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has repeatedly signaled that she intends to pursue a far more aggressive policy in Syria and against Russia, making neo-McCarthyite charges of Vladimir Putin’s supposed subversion of the US election process a central part of her campaign.
Whether Washington can wait till inauguration day next January to escalate its aggression is far from clear. The “rebel” gains in Aleppo may be quickly reversed and the fighting could end with the US-backed Al Qaeda militias deprived of their last urban stronghold.
US imperialism is not about to accept the re-consolidation of a Syrian government aligned with Moscow. Pressure will inevitably mount for a more direct and more massive US intervention, threatening a direct clash between American and Russian forces.
Fifteen years after launching its “war on terror,” Washington is not only directly allied with the supposed target of that war—Al Qaeda—but is preparing to unleash upon humanity the greatest act of terror imaginable, a third world war.
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