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Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
This is part two of a two-part study on the Canadian role in the US-NATO attack on Syria for regime change. Canada has blood on its hands. The Canadian government had understood from US intelligence that the Obama plan to destroy Syria was based on using the Muslim Brotherhood, and the political ideology known as Radical Islam, as the foot soldiers inside Syria. The Canadian government understood that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated Canadian society and was involved with the Canadian government at the highest levels. The threat to Canada was known, but the decision was made to blindly follow Washington’s dirty war in Syria.
US President Obama is the main villain in this story, but Canada was capable of standing firm against plans to use Radical Islamic terrorists to change governments abroad.
Canada has supported humanitarian aid to Idlib, but not the rest of the country. Idlib is the last remaining terrorist-controlled province in Syria. It is an olive-growing region with no industry or resources outside of the production of olives. It was chosen as the headquarters of the Al Qaeda branch in Syria (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) because it sits on the Turkish border. Turkey, following the US directives, supplied the terrorists with all resources needed including tanks and anti-tank missiles which have even been used to bring down a plane.
Canada does not supply any aid to Syria other than Idlib, which represents 2% of the total area of the country. Aleppo, Damascus, Latakia, Hama, Homs, and all other areas in Syria have never received even a loaf of bread from either the US or Canada. However, the UN does supply some food to certain areas outside of Idlib. Funds for the UN World Food Program are in part from US and Canadian donations. Even now, since the 7.8 magnitude quake occurred on February 6, Canada continues to only recognize the 3 million persons in the so-called “The Islamic Republic of Idlib” as Syria. The other 20 million in Syria get nothing, even though Latakia alone has 820 dead, 142,000 homeless due to the quake, and 102 collapsed buildings.
From the US-Canada foreign policy on Syria point of view: Idlib must be maintained as a separate viable ‘state’, free of Damascus. The US-Canada policy is to ignore the government in Damascus and pretend that Idlib is Syria. The Al Qaeda terrorists are thus rewarded by the west for their participation in regime change, which was the Obama policy that Canada signed up to.
Last month, David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen published an article detailing the Canadian special forces’ participation in a controversial 20-member US military team dubbed Talon Anvil in 2015, which has been accused of killing scores of innocent people in Iraq and Syria.
“In December 2021 the New York Times revealed that Talon Anvil was responsible for launching tens of thousands of bombs and missiles against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but in the process had killed hundreds of civilians. The reckless actions of the Talon Anvil team, which operated from 2014 to 2019, alarmed members in the US military and even the CIA, the newspaper reported.”
“Independent investigators and human rights groups have estimated that at least 7,000 civilians were killed by coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.”
Last month, Canada announced it would take back 23 of its citizens who have been held in Islamic State camps in northeast Syria, under the control of the Kurds who are partners of the US military there. The group includes six women, 13 infants, and four men.
This would be the largest repatriation for Canada after the Islamic State caliphate was destroyed in 2019.
More than 42,400 foreign citizens, most of them children, have been held in life-threatening conditions in IS prison camps across Syria, Human Rights Watch says.
Canadian intelligence was well aware of who in Canada was following Radical Islam, and who had left to fight in Syria before the founding of ISIS. They were also following events on the ground in Syria while Canadians and other foreigners were fighting the Syrian government, and who among them had made the transition to joining ISIS once the US-sponsored FSA had disbanded.
In 1998, Richard N. Haass wrote “Sanctions: too much of a bad thing.” In his expert analysis, it was proven that US sanctions do not work in big projects, such as regime change in Syria. He further proved that innocent people suffer under sanctions, and they were immoral and unethical. The sanctions against Syria must be lifted and allow citizens to rebuild their lives and allow foreign governments to donate and invest in the rebuilding of the country.
Aid should be allowed to enter Syria in all locations, from Idlib to Deraa, and all in between. All Syrian citizens should have the right to receive help. Planes with aid should be allowed to land in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia and shipping containers should arrive in the port of Latakia.
The international community should be putting pressure on the terrorists in Idlib to lay down their arms or arrange to leave the country. They are holding 3 million civilians as human shields. The freedom of those civilians should be a priority to western nations such as Canada.
The President of Turkey, Tayyip Recip Erdogan, has already voiced his wish to repair his relationship with Damascus. Canada and other peace-loving western nations should be supporting his negotiations with Damascus. Washington has told Erdogan not to talk with President Assad, but Canada could show some backbone and defy Washington by showing support for Erdogan’s peace initiative.
Canada should re-open their Embassy in Damascus. With diplomates and humanitarian experts available on the ground, this would be a positive and constructive action that would truly show the Syrian people that Canada cares.
Finally, Canada should identify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Care should be taken by all future Canadian governments to study plans in Washington that assume Canadian support. The Canadian government, supported by its intelligence agency, is capable of determining whether the US foreign policy and never-ending wars abroad are in the best interest of Canada. Taking the high road is sometimes a lonely road, but lives and nations might be saved.
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist