In Multipolarity

Commentary by Finian Cunningham, published in‘s ‘Op-Edge’, Oct 18, 2016

City of Aleppo, Syria (photo by SANA news agency)

City of Aleppo, Syria (photo by SANA news agency)

The Syrian and Iraqi cities of Aleppo and Mosul have strikingly similar situations – yet the Western media perform a complete mental flip over the respective conflicts. Consecutive reports in news broadcasts set new standards of doublethink by presenting the battles underway in each city as diametrically opposite, when in fact they’re the same. Both are crucial sites for the defeat of illegally armed insurgents.

Aleppo and Mosul, each located far north in neighboring Arab countries, are the second major cities after their respective capitals of Damascus and Baghdad. Both were important industrial hubs before being seized by internationally blacklisted terror groups.

Islamic State (IS or Daesh) grabbed Mosul in 2014 from where it declared a Wahhabi caliphate encompassing Iraq and Syria. Whereas Aleppo has been under siege since 2012 from the ideologically-related terror group known as Jabhat al Nusra (renamed Jabhat al Fatah al Sham).

While Russia-backed Syrian army forces have been waging an offensive to wrest control of eastern Aleppo for several months now, this week US-backed Iraqi military launched a campaign to retake Mosul.

Here’s where the Western narrative becomes convoluted with contradictions. On Mosul, the situation is presented as a positive liberation of a city by sovereign Iraqi forces from the grip of terrorists. But in the case of Aleppo, Western media refer to besieging militants using the softer term “rebels”, with the connotation of legitimacy. Even though these “rebels” are known to be dominated by the same al Qaeda-type terrorists.

US air strikes are supporting advancing Iraqi military on the ground as they penetrate Mosul. The involvement of US air power is generally reported as an unquestioningly good thing in support of a national army endeavoring to recapture a key part of its territory and liberate civilians from a reign of terror.

Meanwhile, in Aleppo, Russian air strikes in support of a national army trying to recapture a key part of its territory and liberate civilians from a reign of terror are reported as “barbarous war crimes”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry this week declared Aleppo the worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War. The American diplomat and his Western allies have accused Russian and Syrian forces of war crimes and are threatening to impose further sanctions on both countries. Even though both countries are carrying out the same anti-terror operation that the US appears to be conducting with Iraqi forces in Mosul.

One seeming difference is that Western governments and media accuse Syrian and Russian forces of deliberately targeting civilian centers in Aleppo, including hospitals. Syria and Russia reject those allegations, saying they are directing operations against terror groups who are holding most of the civilian population as hostages or human shields.

Moreover, much of the Western claims of violations in Aleppo are sourced from unverifiable “activists” embedded in the eastern part of the city with terrorist networks.

There are reliable accounts from medics and civilians in the much more populous government-held quarters of Aleppo – where 1.6 million people live willingly under Syrian army protection – that family relatives are indeed being held as hostages by the militants in the eastern districts of the city. They tell of civilians being shot at for daring to escape from the terror siege, and of deadly reprisals against family members who are left behind.

Vanessa Beeley, an independent journalist who recently returned from Aleppo, told this author that medics have complained of terrorist gangs taking over hospital buildings in eastern Aleppo and turning rooftops into sniper posts.

In such chaos and callous endangerment of civilians by the Western-lionized “rebels” it is a tragic reality that military operations to liberate the city of Aleppo will result in civilian casualties.

Again, the Western doublethink when it comes to Mosul is astonishing. As Western news outlets enthuse over the “Battle for Mosul” like an epic, the consumers of this information are also forewarned of terrorists holding civilians as “human shields” and that – unfortunately – we can expect innocent victims being “caught in the crossfire”.

The United Nations is warning that some 1.5 million people in Mosul might be precipitated into a desperate flight from the city as US-backed Iraqi forces close in on besieging terrorists. Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, told CNN that such a dislocation of so many people could trigger the worst human disaster so far this century.

How do Western politicians and media perform such mental gymnastics to describe basically similar situations in diametric terms? For to do so, in effect, means surrendering any credibility about what they are claiming or reporting.

The contradiction stems from politically self-serving deception and denial. In Syria, the government of President Bashar al Assad has been targeted for regime change by US-led Western powers and regional client regimes like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It therefore has to be demonized and delegitimized. On the say-so of the West, the Syrian government is denied the sovereign right to defend its nation or territory.

The regime-change objective in Syria, against a Russian and Iranian ally, has been orchestrated by the US and its partners covertly supporting a terrorist proxy army, whom the West sanitizes as “rebels”.

Rationally, the Western fabricated narrative in Syria has to maintain “consistency” by presenting the situation in Aleppo as a brutal offensive by Syrian and Russian forces. To give a more accurate account would lead to an admission that Western powers have been complicit in a criminal covert war for regime change involving collusion with terrorist networks.

In Iraq, the Baghdad government of Prime Minister Haider al Abadi is a US client, whose army has been armed and trained by the Pentagon. In that way, the Western media will rationalize the US-backed military operations in Mosul as benign.

But here is a fundamentally real difference between Aleppo and Mosul. Whereas the Russian and Syrian forces are working to defeat jihadists in Aleppo, the same determination cannot be said of the US with regard to Mosul.

Several Iraqi and Syrian sources are concerned that the US, Turkish and Saudi military objective in Mosul is not to crush the remnants of Daesh, but rather to extricate these terror assets through safe corridors.

Similar stealthy release of jihadists has been seen in earlier US-backed operations to take Ramadi and Fallujah in Iraq and Manbij in Syria.

It is curious how Washington has been declaring the pending offensive on Mosul for several months, as if notifying the jihadists to make themselves scarce. It is surmised that the foreign-backed mercenaries are being spirited out of Mosul to consolidate next door in Syria in order to pursue the regime-change war against Assad.

Such a maneuver matches recent feverish efforts by Washington, London and Paris to set up a no-fly zone around Aleppo. The real objective of such a zone would be to give the Western-backed terror units trapped in east Aleppo an escape route ahead of advancing Syrian and Russian forces.

There’s certainly more to Aleppo and Mosul than meets the eye. But don’t expect the doublethink Western media to enlighten. Because their order of duty is to obscure the complicity of Western governments in sponsoring criminal wars.

Finian Cunningham for over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

Related reading:

Syrian people fall victim to Western double standards, claims Russian security chief, Oct 18, 2016

The head of Russia’s Security Council has said that the biased and selfish approach demonstrated by Western nations is the main cause of the dire situation in which the Syrian people currently find themselves. “Syria has fallen victim to the double standards in fighting terrorism that are being applied by the West and certain players who are pursuing their own interests in this conflict. The Syrian people remain the losing party in this game,” Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

He added that it was Russia that had prioritized the humanitarian aspects of the operation from the very beginning and that the Russian military and Emergencies Ministry have never ceased delivering humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians.

In the interview, Patrushev stressed that Al-Nusra Front, which is internationally recognized as a terrorist group, is just as dangerous as the infamous Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and that renaming it into “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham” had not automatically turned it into some kind of “moderate opposition.” “Whatever the name of a terrorist group, when it uses terrorist tactics, it should not be given a place at the negotiation table, it should be destroyed,” he said.

The Russian security chief also pointed to Washington’s inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to fulfill its obligation to distance Al-Nusra Front terrorists from the so-called “moderate opposition,” which it had agreed to do in the ceasefire deal reached with Russia, as the main problem standing in the way of the anti-terrorist operation.

“We have recent examples proving that the US side is not keeping its promises. Like, despite the fact that the Syrian government has withdrawn its forces from the Castello road, the moderate opposition supported by Washington has not only failed to take any similar steps – they have been blocking the humanitarian convoys sent along it by the United Nations.”

Other examples of the US’ interference, according to Patrushev, was its attack on Syrian forces on September 17 and using talks with Russia to allow the terrorists to regroup. “Today we can witness the result of their actions – more and more Syrian groups that had worked with the USA earlier are now merging into Al-Nusra Front.” Washington’s recent announcement that it was breaking off all talks with Moscow on Syria underscores the US’ double standards, Patrushev told reporters.

At the same time, the Russian security chief said that officials in Moscow still hope a constructive approach will eventually prevail in Washington and are ready to look at proposals on normalizing the situation in Aleppo. “Terrorism has never respected national borders. What is going on in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan today, tomorrow can be replayed in other countries,” Patrushev concluded.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that the Russian and Syrian air forces would halt their airstrikes on terrorists in Aleppo to allow for a 48-hour humanitarian pause. The ceasefire comes two days ahead of plan, as the delivery of aid to the city was to start on Thursday. “The goal of this work is to separate the terrorist from the ‘moderate opposition’ and get them out of eastern Aleppo,” Shoigu said.


EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search

Translate »