Playing both sides in Syria

For several years now in this column I have argued that the strategic aim of both Israel and the US in the Syria conflict has been to to actively prolong the war. If you believe their rhetoric about wanting to encourage “stability” in the region, this would seem unlikely. But scratch beneath the talk about human rights and democracy and it’s not hard to see the reality of imperial self-interest lying beneath.

Over the course of 2015, I have also used this column to show how a most unlikely alliance has played out in the south-western reaches of Syria: one between Israel and al-Qaeda’s officially-recognised franchise there – Jabhat al-Nusra.

Israel has been providing logistical support to al-Qaeda in Syria by treating their wounded fighters in its hospitals and sending them back to fight against the Syrian regime. UN reports have suggested that it may also be arming them.

It is well known that the US has been training and arming rebel groups in Syria. Although the US media routinely claims these are “moderate” rebels (in contrast with the extremists of the so-called Islamic State) the reality is that the US and its allies in the Gulf dictatorships have been giving arms and training to rebels who either “defect” to al-Qaeda soon after being trained or, under the rubric of the “Free Syrian Army” openly fight in alliance with al-Qaeda.

Read the rest over at MEMO.

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