Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Keith Preston: Russian campaign on behalf of Assad in Syria angering US

Press TV. Listen here:

The Russian military campaign on behalf of the Syrian government has exasperated the White House because it goes against the US policy of “eliminating” President Bashar al-Assad, says a journalist and analyst in Virginia.

“The issue that the United States has with this Russian intervention in Syria is simply that Russia is intervening on behalf of President Assad,” Keith Preston, director of, said Thursday.

Anne Patterson, US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, echoed the Obama administration’s concern Wednesday that Russia’s air campaign was aimed at strengthening the Assad government instead of targeting Daesh (ISIL) terrorists.

In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the top diplomat said Moscow has “dangerously exacerbated an already complex environment,” where “at least 120,000 Syrians have been displaced as a result of regime offensives aided by Russian air strikes.”

“When the American State Department expresses concern about alleged civilian casualties or alleged displacement of refugees and so forth; that is merely holocamera, that is not something that we can really take seriously,” Preston told Press TV.

“Already there had been millions of refugees generated by the destabilization program that the United States has imposed in Syria; that is a major reason why we are seeing this influx of refugees into the European counties at more recent times,” he added.

“The Russian intervention in Syria thus far has been far more restraint than the American intervention in Iraq in 2003 and the American intervention in Afghanistan in 2001. The United States wants to see the same thing happen to Syria that has happened to Iraq; that has happened to Afghanistan; that has happened to Libya,” the analyst noted.

According to the United Nations, more than 250,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over four years.

So far this year, about half a million people have undertaken the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, official figures show. About 2,800 have died en route.

Preston said what actually sparked the Syrian crisis was the “insurgency backed by the United States.”

The US and some of its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been backing what they call “moderate” militants fighting against the Syrian government.

Some of those militants, who received American arms and training, later jointed the brutal ISIL movement.

“However, the United States didn’t want the ISIL or Daesh movement to spread into other regions, where American allies might be threatened there, particularly Israel, Saudi Arabia and some others,” Preston said, calling the US air campaign against the terror network a “containment” strategy.

“But the goal of the United States is for the region to be thrown into chaos, because a chaotic Middle East is something that is more easily controlled,” he added. The US objective is to “have puppet regimes in power all throughout the Middle Eastern region.”

“If that’s not feasible, then the goal is to simply create failed states, un-stabilized regions that the United States can dominate due to a power vacuum,” he noted.

“The American objective is to simply maintain a complete monopoly over the trade and oil and natural gas and other resources that exist in that particular region, as well as to create the pretext whereby Israel can continue its expansion and activities and create a ‘greater Israel,’” Preston said. “That’s the basis of American foreign policy in the Middle East.”

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