By Nicolas J.S. Davies: 9 Ways America Has Fueled the Bloody Civil War in Syria
President Obama's threats against Syria are framed by the carefully crafted image of a responsible superpower reluctantly drawn into a horrific conflict caused by others. But the reality is very different. For more than two years, U.S. policy has quietly fueled the escalation of the conflict in Syria and undermined every effort to bring the Syrian people the ceasefire and peaceful political transition they need and want. Whoever is directly responsible for hundreds of deaths in the latest chemical weapons incident, the critical covert and diplomatic role the United States has played in a war that has killed at least 100,000 people means that their blood is also on our hands. As Haytham Manna, a leader of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change (NCB) in Syria recently told Le Vif, the largest French language news magazine in Belgium, "The Americans have cheated. Two or three times they have withdrawn at the very moment that an agreement was in the works. Everything is possible but that will depend mainly on the Americans. The French are content to follow. A political solution is the only one that could save Syria." So, if Manna is correct, we Americans have played a decisive role at the critical moments for war or peace in Syria, including the one we are now confronting. If it comes as a surprise to you as an American that you are responsible for the horrific nightmare taking place in Syria, please review the well-documented record of what has been done in the name, albeit secretly and without your knowledge in many cases: 1) As protests spread throughout the Arab world in 2011, the mostly leftist groups who organized the Arab Spring protests and resistance to government repression. They agreed, and they still agree, on three basic principles: non-violence, non-sectarianism, and no foreign military intervention. But the U.S. and its allies marginalized the NCB, formed an unrepresentative "Syrian National Council" in Turkey as a government-in-exile and recruited, armed and trained violent armed groups to pursue regime change in Syria. 2) The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar began flying in fighters, weapons and equipment to turn the Syrian Spring into a bloody civil war. Once they had overthrown the government of Libya, at the cost of 25,000 to 50,000 lives, they began adapting the same strategy to Syria, despite knowing full well that this would be a much more drawn-out, destructive and bloody war. 3) Even as a Qatari-funded YouGov poll in December 2011 found that 55% of Syrians still supported their government, unmarked NATO planes were flying fighters and weapons from Libya to the "Free Syrian Army" base at Iskanderum in Turkey. British and French special forces were training FSA recruits, while the CIA and US special forces provided communications equipment and intelligence, as in Libya. Retired CIA officer Philip Giraldi concluded, "Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained and financed by foreign governments are more true than false."