US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the fighting in Syria’s Aleppo“the worst humanitarian disaster since World War Two.”
He added that Russia could stop it but doesn’t and accused Moscow of committing daily “crimes against humanity”.
RT: Kerry has accused Russia of using the Al-Nusra and ISIS presence in Syria as a pretext for military support for Assad. Is that really what Russia’s doing?
Daniel McAdams: By the State Department’s own words, what Russia is doing in East Aleppo is fighting Al-Qaeda. It is the US that said that its so-called moderates and Al-Qaeda are hopelessly inter-tangled. The US has promised since February to disentangle its so-called moderates from Al-Qaeda, and has not been able to do so. So Kerry’s words don’t make sense whatsoever. And as for the assertion that Russia is not fighting ISIS. I seem to remember a little place called Palmyra earlier this year that was liberated by Russia from ISIS, one of the beginnings of the great success in getting ISIS out of the country. So, Kerry is just talking out of both sides of his mouth. It is just not believable what he says.
The US is desperate to keep pretending that there is a group called ‘moderates’ that can take over Syria and turn it into a model democracy or in some way replace Assad. The fact of the matter is, when it is time for the US to put up or shut up, it has not been able to put up. There are a number of small so-called moderate groups, but it is funny, I wonder if Washington would consider any group in the US that took up arms against its own government with the intent of overthrow, I wonder if any of those groups would be considered moderates in the US. I think probably not.
RT: The US slogan from commercial is “The US Navy, global force for good.” But the US recently admitted that it’s not been targeting Al-Nusra for months. Do you think that’s the right strategy for guaranteeing peace in the country?
DM: As to a Navy slogan. They had shortened it and the full slogan was “A Force for the Good of the Military Industrial Complex.” They had to shorten it to a bumper sticker [laughter]. But the US is not able to fight Al-Qaeda because Al-Qaeda is intermingled alongside its own so-called moderates, who I think really are unicorns. The meeting with Kerry and Boris Johnson is another example. I think Kerry is trying to walk Boris Johnson back from some very bellicose rhetoric this week. Johnson was on record saying we need ‘no-fly zones’, something that his own prime minister didn’t support. The same Boris Johnson that praised Russia’s liberation of Palmyra earlier this year, calling it “ruthless clarity.” So, I think Kerry went to London to walk Johnson back a little bit and say this is not the path we are going on. I think Johnson was a little too enthusiastic in mimicking his Washington partners.
RT: Kerry has just said the West is considering fresh sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Aleppo… but isn’t it America that’s meddling militarily in the country without permission from Damascus?
DM: Well the hypocrisy of what the US considers to be ‘international law’ I think is laid bare for all to see. But Kerry also said this is “the worst disaster since World War II’, that the Russian and Syrian governments are purposely targeting hospitals and civilians in East Aleppo. I seem to remember there were three battles for Fallujah. We’ve seen in Aleppo maybe 500 people killed. That’s terrible, civilians I mean. But just in the first battle of Fallujah in 2004 there were probably 700-800 civilians killed the second battle just as many that came in November, and then another battle to liberate Fallujah from ISIS, which came as a result of the US invasion of Iraq earlier this year with untold number of civilians killed. So once again, it’s the hypocrisy. It’s okay when we go in and smash Fallujah to death because it’s terrorists, but somehow you’re not allowed to do that in East Aleppo.