Why Are We Siding With al Qaeda?

We’re siding with al Qaeda, who attacked us, to “regime-change” Iran, who didn’t attack us. Ron Paul points out this entire strategy makes no sense.

By Dr. Ron Paul

In my last column, I urged the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to stop protecting al Qaeda in Syria by demanding that the Syrian government leave Idlib under al Qaeda control. While it may seem hard to believe that the U.S. government is helping al Qaeda in Syria, it’s not as strange as it may seem: Our interventionist foreign policy increasingly requires Washington to partner up with “bad guys” in pursuit of its dangerous and aggressive foreign policy goals.

Does the Trump Administration actually support al Qaeda and ISIS? Of course not. But the “experts” who run Trump’s foreign policy have determined that a de facto alliance with these two extremist groups is for the time being necessary to facilitate the more long-term goals in the Middle East. And what are those goals? Regime change for Iran.

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Let’s have a look at the areas where the U.S. is turning a blind eye to al Qaeda and ISIS.

First, Idlib. As I mentioned in my last column, President Trump’s own Special Envoy to fight ISIS said just last year that “Idlib Province is the largest al Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11.” So why do so many U.S. officials—including President Trump himself—keep warning the Syrian government not to re-take its own territory from al Qaeda control? Wouldn’t they be doing us a favor by ridding the area of al Qaeda? Well, if Idlib is re-taken by Assad, it all but ends the neocon (and Saudi and Israeli) dream of “regime change” for Syria and a black eye to Syria’s ally, Iran.

Second, one of the last groups of ISIS fighters in Syria are around the Al-Tanf U.S. military base which has operated illegally in northeastern Syria for the past two years. Last week, according to press reports, the Russians warned the U.S. military in the region that it was about to launch an assault on ISIS fighters around the U.S. base. The U.S. responded by sending in 100 more U.S. Marines and conducting a live-fire exercise as a warning. President Trump recently reversed himself (again) and announced that the U.S. would remain at Al-Tanf “indefinitely.” Why? It is considered a strategic point from which to attack Iran. The U.S. means to stay there even if it means turning a blind eye to ISIS in the neighborhood.

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Finally, in Yemen, the U.S./Saudi coalition fighting the Houthis has been found by AP and other mainstream media outlets to be directly benefiting al Qaeda. Why help al Qaeda in Yemen? Because the real U.S. goal is regime change in Iran, and Yemen is considered one of the fronts in the battle against Iranian influence in the Middle East. So we are aiding al Qaeda, which did attack us, because we want to “regime change” Iran, which hasn’t attacked us. How does that make sense?

We all remember the old saying, attributed to Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack, that “if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” The “experts” would like us to think they are pursuing a brilliant foreign policy that will provide a great victory for America at the end of the day. But as usual, the “experts” have got it wrong. It’s really not that complicated: When “winning” means you’re allied with al Qaeda and ISIS, you’re doing something wrong. Let’s start doing foreign policy right: Let’s leave the rest of the world alone!

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.
© 2018 Ron Paul Institute



Can’t We Just Leave Syria Alone?

Good question. With Assad back in control of Idlib, hundreds of thousands of people have voluntarily returned to the city and are apparently enjoying peace and relative liberty. Clearly, Assad is not trying to gas them all and the U.S. and its coalition does not need to “liberate” them. As Dr. Paul asks, can’t we just leave them alone?

By Dr. Ron Paul

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was supposed to be gone already. President Barack Obama thought it would be just another “regime change” operation and perhaps Assad would end up like Saddam Hussein or Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych. Or maybe even Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. But he was supposed to be gone. The U.S. spent billions to get rid of him and even provided weapons and training to the kinds of radicals that attacked the United States on 9/11. But with the help of his allies, Assad has nearly defeated this foreign-sponsored insurgency.

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The U.S. fought him every step of the way. Each time the Syrian military approached another occupied city or province, Washington and its obedient allies issued the usual warnings that Assad was not liberating territory but was actually seeking to kill more of his own people. Remember Aleppo, where the U.S. claimed Assad was planning mass slaughter once he regained control? As usual, the neocons and the media were completely wrong. Even the UN has admitted that with Aleppo back in the hands of the Syrian government hundreds of thousands of Syrians have actually moved back. We are supposed to believe they willingly returned so that Assad could kill them?

The truth is Aleppo is being rebuilt. Christians celebrated Easter there this spring for the first time in years. There has been no slaughter once al Qaeda and ISIS’s hold was broken. Believe me, if there was a slaughter we would have heard about it in the media.

So now, with the Syrian military and its allies prepared to liberate the final Syrian province of Idlib, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again warns the Syrian government against re-taking its own territory. He tweeted on Aug. 31: “The three million Syrians, who have already been forced out of their homes and are now in Idlib, will suffer from this aggression. Not good. The world is watching.”

Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has also warned the Syrian government that the U.S. will attack if it uses gas in Idlib. Of course, that warning serves as an open invitation to rebels currently holding Idlib to set off another false flag and enjoy U.S. air support. Bolton and Pompeo are painting Idlib as a peaceful province resisting the violence of an Assad who they claim just enjoys killing his own people. But who controls Idlib province?

Trump’s own special envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, Brett McGurk, said in Washington just last year that, “Idlib province is the largest al Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11, tied directly to Ayman al Zawahiri. This is a huge problem.”

Could someone please remind Pompeo and Bolton that al Qaeda are the bad guys? After six years of a foreign-backed regime-change operation in Syria, where hundreds of thousands have been killed and the country nearly fell into the hands of ISIS and al Qaeda, the Syrian government is on the verge of victory.

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Assad is hardly a saint, but does anyone really think al Qaeda and ISIS are preferable? After all, how many Syrians fled the country when Assad was in charge versus when the US-backed “rebels” started taking over?

Americans should be outraged that Pompeo and Bolton are defending al Qaeda in Idlib. It’s time for the neocons to admit they lost. It is time to give Syria back to the Syrians. It is time to pull the U.S. troops from Syria. It is time to just leave Syria alone!

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.

© 2018 Ron Paul Institute



Why Are We Attacking the Syrians Who Are Fighting ISIS?

What happened to Donald Trump’s non-interventionist America-First policy? If the U.S. is interested in stopping ISIS, and Syria is working to stop ISIS, why is the U.S. working to stop Syria? 

By Ron Paul

Just when you thought our Syria policy could not get any worse, last week it did. The U.S. military twice attacked Syrian government forces from a military base it illegally occupies inside Syria. According to the Pentagon, the attacks on Syrian government-backed forces were “defensive,” because the Syrian fighters were approaching a U.S. self-declared “de-confliction” zone inside Syria. The Syrian forces were pursuing ISIS in the area, but the U.S. attacked anyway.

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The U.S. is training yet another rebel group fighting from that base, located near the border of Iraq at al-Tanf, and it claims that Syrian government forces pose a threat to the U.S. military presence there. But the Pentagon has forgotten one thing: It has no authority to be in Syria in the first place! Neither the U.S. Congress nor the UN Security Council has authorized a U.S. military presence inside Syria.

So what gives the Trump Administration the right to set up military bases on foreign soil without the permission of that government? Why are we violating the sovereignty of Syria and attacking its military as they are fighting ISIS? Why does Washington claim that its primary mission in Syria is to defeat ISIS while taking military actions that benefit ISIS?

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The Pentagon issued a statement saying its presence in Syria is necessary because the Syrian government is not strong enough to defeat ISIS on its own. But the “de-escalation zones” agreed upon by the Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Turks have led to a reduction in fighting and a possible end to the six-year war. Even if true that the Syrian military is weakened, its weakness is due to six years of U.S.-sponsored rebels fighting to overthrow it!

What is this really all about? Why does the U.S. military occupy this base inside Syria? It’s partly about preventing the Syrians and Iraqis from working together to fight ISIS, but I think it’s mostly about Iran. If the Syrians and Iraqis join up to fight ISIS with the help of Iranian-allied Shia militia, the U.S. believes it will strengthen Iran’s hand in the region. President Trump has recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia where he swore he would not allow that to happen.

But is this policy really in our interest, or are we just doing the bidding of our Middle East “allies,” who seem desperate for war with Iran? Saudi Arabia exports its radical form of Islam worldwide, including recently into moderate Asian Muslim countries like Indonesia. Iran does not. That is not to say that Iran is perfect, but does it make any sense to jump into the Sunni/Shia conflict on either side? The Syrians, along with their Russian and Iranian allies, are defeating ISIS and al Qaeda. As candidate Trump said, what’s so bad about that?

We were told that if the Syrian government was allowed to liberate Aleppo from al Qaeda, Assad would kill thousands who were trapped there. But the opposite has happened: Life is returning to normal in Aleppo. The Christian minority there celebrated Easter for the first time in several years. They are rebuilding. Can’t we finally just leave the Syrians alone?

When you get to the point where your actions are actually helping ISIS, whether intended or not, perhaps it’s time to stop. It’s past time for the U.S. to abandon its dangerous and counterproductive Syria policy and just bring the troops home.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.