The official amount of the city of Raqqa “liberated” has remained stuck at around half for weeks now, and Col. Ryan Dillon is the latest in a long line of US officials to predict a “tough battle” ahead for control of the ISIL capital city.
That’s going to be tough on ISIL, and on the Kurdish forces the US is backing, but especially tough on the civilian population, with growing numbers of critics and human rights groups complaining that the US is making little to no effort to limit civilian deaths in the Raqqa air war.
This was a recurring problem in US-backed offensives in Iraq, where cities like Mosul and Ramadi saw precipitously high civilian death tolls as the result of US airstrikes. Officially, the US has assured that they are taking extreme measures to protect civilians, and has given an official death toll that’s about a factor of ten below the real figure.
On top of lying about the size of the civilian toll, however, this Pentagon narrative has also gotten them off the hook for making any real attempt to get the actual death toll down, and in Raqqa, as with everywhere else, fighting in an urban population means US warplanes striking at will, against whoever they think might be a combatant.
Superficial news coverage, reports, inquiries and emergency sessions about Syria in general and Raqqa in particular deprive UN member states of the ability to think about actual foreign policy goals in this show.
As per UN Charter and international protocols, all member states must be informed about the actual foreign policy objectives of the United States - which is ensuring regional domination and protecting Israel among others - in order to cast informed votes at the General Assembly, Security Council, and Human Rights Council:
- The Israeli-Saudi-American obsession with Iran prohibits UN members from being exposed to alternative solutions to the Syria war, which are either neglected or blackballed from General Assembly sessions and resolutions.
- At many UN sessions the trio are accusing Iran of doing this and that – for instance trying to dominate the region - without presenting a shred of evidence. They are not saying what other UN member states stand for – which is ending the war on Syria. Far from it, the member states are largely or entirely divorced from reality. In this war, if ISIL is anything, it’s an American-Saudi-Israeli creation.
- Iran may disturb the US and its allies, but it’s ultimately beside the point for media corporations. Their accusations against Iran are as predictable as the war’s dreadful consequences and human sufferings; so long as they profit from the show, they will keep lying and elevating Iran’s non-existent role in the mess above anything else – even when thousands of civilians in Raqqa are killed in indiscriminate and condemnable US bombardments.
- It’s not clear whether blaming Iran would even make a difference in this failed regime-change campaign, particularly in light of the UN-challenged nature of US airstrikes in Raqqa. Superficiality in accusing Iran is a constant these days, and this is no surprise to those who have studied this sort of thing in similar conflicts in Iraq and Yemen - which, by the way, have turned into similar disasters for the United States and the deplorable extras.
Needless to say, that’s a bad thing even for Iran. It suggests that the dominance of the United States, NATO and Saudi cash at key UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council is not actually related to the legality of their platforms, thinking, and inquiries, but rather springs from their unholy alliance, complicity in war crimes, and fear of international backlash.
Mind you, with the deeply disturbing fixation on the panic-mongering and cheap political theater of “Iran threat”, alternative ideas on how best to end the Syrian conflict cannot be left unexamined. Recent interviews with journalists across Europe and the United States find that policymakers in Washington and Riyadh are in fact the ones that reject the idea of directing greater coverage toward such ideas - not Iran, and certainly not Russia.
What this perspective displays, is that in a heavily divided society like the United Nations, the vast majority of information the member states receive from Saudi and American ambassadors comes from their media. So if alternative solutions are blackballed from the news, it ensures that the propagandists will be even more effective in saturating UN sessions with false information, thereby further drowning out any prospect for ending the unnecessary air war.
The world body should condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on the part of the US and associates in Raqqa. On many sides. The UN should be one of free speech and open debate: about its policies, its priorities, the best solutions to Syria’s ills.
The UN Charter applies to all, even vile warmongers. But when it comes to accurately describing what they are and what they do in Syria, and when it comes to assigning blame for the high civilian death toll in Raqqa - blame for the consequences of their actions - there aren’t many sides to the issue.
The Trump White House and the Pentagon regime should know that Raqqa’s residents don’t deserve so many bombs dropped from above, so much forbearance or false equivalence. There aren’t many sides in the city. There are two. Through its cowardice, complicity and unwillingness to confront what it has enabled there, Washington has chosen the wrong one.