Kerry speaks loudly but these days the only army likely to fight for him is Jabhat al-Nusra
Speaking yesterday John Kerry, the foreign minister of the US, and one of top fans of Islamist radicals bringing ruin to Syria had something quite interesting to say:
Speaking in Oslo, where he also met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks on Syria and the Iran nuclear deal, Kerry said Assad's forces had not abided by the truce for a single day in Aleppo.
The Syrian army has not abided by the truce for even a single day?
That's fresh considering that rebels in Aleppo are grouped around Jabhat Al-Nusra that was never part of the cessation of hostilities and kept attacking Syrian government forces, particularly in southern Aleppo. What was the Syrian army to do? Not fire back? It's easy to see Kerry's rebels were driving the fighting there by the fact they consistently made small gains against pro-government forces which were on the defensive -- and occasionally in retreat.
Kerry's insistence that Syrian government is at fault for the failure of the ceasefire regime is all the more deplorable seeing how he is probably the single biggest reason February's cessation of hostilities did not last.
Kerry first argued Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda's Syria branch condemned by UN resolutions that US voted for, which denounced the ceasefire regime should likewise be exempt from Russian airstrikes. Later on he finally agreed that Nusra would be fought after other rebel groups were given enough time to disassociate themselves from it. However, as the Russian bombing pause went on it became clear Kerry had never moved to implement this decision and had not actually applied pressure on rebels to split off from Al-Nusra.
This has understandably led the Russians to resume business as usual and to pound Al-Qaeda and the groups that shares its trenches alike.
The strikes have been reportedly very heavy and also quite successful seeing how they reportedly effectively cut off Aleppo's rebels from the outside world. This is all the easier to believe seeing how they've certainly rubbed John Kerry the wrong way:
"It is very clear that the cessation of hostilities is frayed and at risk," Kerry told delegates at the Oslo Forum near Oslo.
"Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite, and is in fact very limited, with respect to whether or not Assad is going to be held accountable," he said.
"We have made it very clear that unless we get a better definition of how this cessation is going to work, how it will be enforced, who it applies to, how it is applied, we are not going to sit there while Assad continues to assault Aleppo and while Russia continues to support that effort," he said.
"The United States is not going to sit there and be used as an instrument that permits a so-called cease-fire to be in place while one principal party is trying to take advantage of it to the detriment of the entire process," Kerry said.
"We're not going to allow that to continue. So Russia and others have to make a decision whether or not they care about the course of events in Syria and whether or not they are serious about implementing a United Nations Security Council resolution."
Them are some fighting words! In a nutshell:
- Russia needs to understand our patience is very limited.
- We are not going to sit there while Assad assaults Aleppo with Russian support.
- We are not going to allow that to continue.
That sounds awfully a lot like diplomat Kerry (who has consistently pushed for a direct US intervention against the Syrian state) US would love nothing better but for the US armed forces to step in and make an end to the awful Syrian government attempting to reclaim control of a Syrian city.
Unfortunately for Kerry there that is extremely unlikely to actually happen. The US military you see has already explained that as far as they're concerned the Aleppo rebels are all a bunch of terrorists and fellow travelers:
Two Department of Defense officials told The Daily Beast that they are not eager to support the rebels in the city of Aleppo because they’re seen as being affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat al Nusra.
“We have no role in Aleppo. The forces we are supporting… are fighting ISIS,” one defense official explained to The Daily Beast.
It took a while for Pentagon to get there but these days American military has very little interest in backing rebels against the Syrian army when the latter is applying pressure on ISIS and the former are not.
Unless of course Kerry when he says "We're not going to allow that to continue." does not mean Team Pentagon but Team Al-Qaeda?
Bizarrely Kerry's Syria politics these days align more closely with Al-Qaeda than with the Pentagon, and Al-Qaeda is likelier to fight for him than the US military.
Addendum: The Russians as always have elected to indulge Kerry despite his history of not keeping up his bargains and have proclaimed a 48-hour ceasefire for the Aleppo province. The Russians' ceasing fire, however, is conditioned on rebels doing the same, which virtually guarantees it will come to nothing. Its only function is to show, once again, who is really driving the clashes.