Fighting Daesh Terrorists Not A Concern for Washington: US Activist
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior peace activist and journalist based in Virginia highlighted the destructive role Washington has played in the protracted war in Syria and said despite its claims, the US has never been concerned about fighting Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) or other terrorist groups.
“Fighting ISIS, al Qaeda, and all the other terrorist groups, of course, is not a concern and in fact, we (the US) continue to support their militants' efforts to oust President Assad and weaken the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in order to eventually split Syria into sectarian based smaller states thereby continuing to weaken and destabilize the entire Levant,” Janice Kortkamp from Leesburg,Virginia, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
Janice Kortkamp became an independent, completely self-funded, journalist after “seeing Western media bias regarding Syria and how that bias was promoting war and destabilization in Syria and all the Levant”. She has researched the current crisis for over four years, putting in over 6,000 hours of study. She has visited Syria three times over the past year, spending three months traveling around the major population areas and the countrysides of Damascus, Homs, Lattakia (including Kessab) and Aleppo. She has also gone to Germany, Lebanon and Kuwait to meet with Syrian refugees and emigrants. Through friends and contacts in Syria as well as reports from genuine news sources around the world, she tracks the situation on the ground in Syria on an hourly basis.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: According to media reports, Syrian rebels recently said that the US has increased its arms supplies to them in order to prevent Iraq's Hashd al-Sha'abi, also known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), from creating a supply route between Iraq and Syria. Earlier, a leader of one of the rebel groups operating under the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) said that there has been an increase in foreign military support. “There's no way we can let them (the PMU) open the Baghdad-Damascus highway," said Tlass Salameh. A commander of another militant group operating with the FSA also announced that recently a steady flow of weapons had been arriving at their base. What is your assessment of these developments?
Kortkamp: The deep state that really controls US foreign policy is overwhelmingly influenced by Israel primarily but also by the Saudis, and it's determined to keep war going in Iraq and Syria as long as possible for many reasons with their hope for escalation to finally extend to Iran I believe.
The recent statement by US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, that America must do everything possible to get Iran out of Syria was revealing and made our priorities obvious. Fighting ISIS, al Qaeda, and all the other terrorist groups, of course, is not a concern and, in fact, we continue to support their militants' efforts to oust President Assad and weaken the Syrian Arab Army in order to eventually split Syria into sectarian based smaller states thereby continuing to weaken and destabilize the entire Levant. Important to mention is Israel's vicious determination to cut all support and supply routes to Hezbollah.
So I find these developments along Syria's border with Iraq (and Jordan) alarming; it shows classic American escalation. The insistence of the US government and western allies to continue what is clearly a disastrous policy means that an end to our wars in the region is not in sight. The FSA of course cannot be trusted and will say anything to keep their lucrative revolution and weapons dealing going but it appears in this case they are telling the truth. None of the "rebel" groups is dedicated to fighting ISIS or establishing "freedom and democracy" in Syria; their objective is what it's always been ... to overthrow the government in Damascus and replace it with one guaranteed to persecute all minorities as well as any Sunnis who oppose it.
Tasnim: As you know, last month, Iran, Russia and Turkey agreed on a proposal to establish de-escalation zones in Syria, following diplomatic talks in the Kazakh city of Astana. The largest of the four de-escalation zones is in northern Syria and includes Idlib province and adjoining districts of Latakia, Aleppo and Hama with a total population of over one million. The zones were intended to halt conflicts in specific areas between Syrian forces and rebels, and would potentially be policed by foreign troops. In your opinion, has the agreement been successful in reducing conflicts in the zones? What do you think about ongoing talks and consultations between Tehran, Moscow, and Ankara on the Syrian Crisis? Have they been fruitful?
Kortkamp: Erdogan is a liar and thug of the highest order and there is no way he can be relied upon for anything positive, especially where Syria is concerned, so the agreement and Syria's acceptance of it, surprised me. However, I'm no military strategist and the Syrians, Russians and Iranians certainly are; so I'm hopeful this will be a factor in ending the conflict. The de-escalation zones do appear to have allowed the SAA and allies to concentrate forces and make gains in certain areas with significant victories as a result.
I see the "rebel" held northern areas and Idlib province in particular similar to having an insane murderer living in your spare bedroom. I witnessed two of the evacuations of terrorists from the al Waer neighborhood of Homs and spoke with survivors of the horrific bombing of the evacuees from Kefraya and Foua. The intention of the terrorists in Idlib is beyond doubt to enslave, drive out, or wipe out all minority groups from Syria and I fear for another major murderous push into Latakia. I hate seeing any innocent blood spilled, truly I do, but after looking into the eyes of men and many of the women who were leaving al Waer, knowing they would be raising their children to hate as they hate and kill as they kill, I don't believe there is any possibility of negotiating with those people. They will never accept a compromise or coexist with others not as brain washed as themselves (and their in-fighting proves they can't even coexist with each other). In my humble opinion, those terrorists have to go, whatever it takes.
As far as foreign troops policing the de-escalation zones I have mixed feelings personally. The sense I get of Syrians in general is that they are proud and pragmatic; I admire them tremendously. Proud in the sense that they do not want to be occupied or controlled by any foreign power though they are deeply grateful to Hezbollah, Russia and Iran for their assistance; pragmatic in the sense that they want this war over with so they can get on with living and rebuilding. I get a horrifying vision of another Golan-like demilitarized zone when I consider that scenario.
Tasnim: How do you see Turkey’s role in the talks as a previous backer of the rebels in Syria?
Kortkamp: Honestly? It infuriates me. It is absurd in the extreme that any of these talks are taking place even as much as I respect and appreciate the help that Russia and Iran have given to Syria. Hezbollah, Iran and Russia have all given so many good men in this war and I honor their sacrifices. They've put their own countries at high risk for taking this stand against the West and its allies. I know also that Tehran and Moscow are in regular contact with Damascus and involving the legitimate government there in all aspects of negotiations. All that being said, this should never have happened. Syria is a sovereign, independent nation that should be respected and treated as such and should be free to fight this illegal war against it, to determine its own future, receiving help and advice from other powers but not having to accept any dictates from them.
However, to include Turkey, its government, that allowed tens of thousands of terrorists from 100 other countries as well as weapons to pour over their border into Syria; that acted as a distributor for ISIS and al Nusra oil; that stole thousands of factories from Aleppo; that allowed organ trafficking, sex trafficking, and drug trafficking to and from "rebels" to be included in talks I find nauseating. Obviously the other parties involved believe it necessary to include Ankara and realistically speaking they must be right but Erdogan should be forced to make reparations... starting with paying for the rebuilding of those factories in Aleppo.
Tasnim: Measures taken by Washington up to now indicate that it has been seeking to destabilize the Arab country by arming the terrorists there and provoking them to mount operations in the country. Washington is, in fact, orchestrating plots against the successful anti-terror cooperation among Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus. What is your take on that?
Kortkamp: Washington, or should we more accurately call it Western Tel Aviv? America has been trying to control or overthrow Syria's governments since 1949. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and many others attribute our attempted manipulations as greed for oil and gas but I disagree. Mutually beneficial petrol deals would have been possible most likely had we been seeking those in good will. Instead, since the Zionist state was established, we have acted as enemies or at least manipulators against the deep and ancient civilizations in the Levant and the people there with whom we should have been able to have good relations. Instead, America and the colonial powers propped up and continue to support the Saudis whose twisted Wahhabi ideology has infected so much of the region and the world. The combination of our own greed, ignorance and arrogance together with virtually unconditional support for Israel's ambitions has been disastrous.
There may be no greater confirmation of how malignant US support for Israel has been than the current situation in Syria. That the US began in earnest to undermine the government in Damascus in 2006 is not coincidental. It has every indication of being not just another of our many regime change coup attempts but punishment, vindictive and merciless, for the humiliating defeat of Israel at the hands of Hezbollah with the help of Syria.
However, the deep state "Israel and profits first" oligarchy is finding itself more and more at odds against some rational factions in the US government and population. The latest $110 billion weapons deal to Saudi Arabia combined with the recent Manchester bombing and others that many are seeing now as a direct result of western interventions and weapons selling in the region have resulted in previously unheard, frank discussions about the catastrophic consequences of Western foreign policy particularly actions since 9/11. These discussions are also being heard in the UK, France, Germany and others. Hopefully an anti-war movement will arise from these revelations.