Pompeo Pumps Idlib Diplomacy

By Finian Cunningham

September 05, 2018 "Information Clearing House" Well, that’s precious. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week says he shares Russia’s concern about Syria’s Idlib Province being a haven for terrorists – but nevertheless he is urging diplomacy to solve the problem.

Pompeo's pumping of diplomacy sounds decidedly like a lot of deceitful hot air.

Why didn't the Americans think of diplomacy when their warplanes were obliterating the Syrian city of Raqqa last year, with thousands of civilians blown to pieces? And even in spite of all that carnage, the terror groups were reportedly given safe passage out of Raqqa by US forces to regroup elsewhere in Syria.

Thus the belated call for diplomacy from Pompeo has a huge credibility deficit. This is the same Pompeo who as the former CIA chief once said he wanted the lawless spy agency to become even meaner in its methods of extrajudicial violence.

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Pompeo has also previously justified the use of torture against terror suspects, despite the violation of international law. During a visit to the US-run Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, he notoriously rebuffed hunger-striking inmates by callously quipping that they had appeared to put on weight.

So let's get this straight. Mike Pompeo may officially be the US' "top diplomat". But evidently diplomacy isn't really his forte when brute military force seems to be a preferred option.

It seems curious therefore that the Secretary of State has suddenly developed a sensitivity for diplomacy and humanitarian law. Pompeo is admonishing Russia to seek a diplomatic solution to the latest phase of the Syrian war being played out in the northwest province of Idlib.

"It is not the way to do that [fight terrorism] to put the lives of all these innocent civilians at risk and create a humanitarian crisis… We are hoping that this can be resolved diplomatically," Pompeo told reporters this week.

His comments followed a warning from President Donald Trump who cautioned Syria, Russia and Iran to not launch a military offensive to retake control of Idlib. The province is the last remaining stronghold of illegally armed militants in Syria. Victory over the militants there could spell the definitive end to the nearly eight-year war in the country. A war that has cost up to half a million lives, and caused millions of families to be displaced, their homes shattered.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is not buying Pompeo's appeals. Lavrov rightly says it is the sovereign right of Syria to eradicate the illegally armed groups and to assert its control over the entire country.

Those armed groups are mendaciously referred to as "rebels" by Western news media in an attempt to disguise the fact that the militants are dominated by internationally outlawed terror groups, primarily Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic State (Daesh).

It is revealing of the moral turpitude in Western governments and news media, as well as the United Nations' chiefs, when they are strenuously pleading for restraint to be shown towards the "rebels" — when in fact these armed groups are the most vile terrorist plague to have inflicted Syria.

The estimated 10,000 militants holding out in Idlib comprise terror groups which have shown no mercy to Syrian civilians over the past eight years. Horror stories include decapitating sons in front of mothers and burning children alive.

Sergei Lavrov and his Syrian and Iranian counterparts are absolutely correct. Syria cannot be returned to full peaceful normality until these psychopaths have been liquidated. They are the ones refusing to lay down their weapons.

Yet while Western media cover for these criminals with euphemisms like "rebels", Mike Pompeo actually acknowledged the real, odious nature of the Idlib militants.

He said: "The Russians have the narrative that there are terrorists in Idlib. That is a true statement. We share their concern about terrorism emanating from northern, northwest Syria. We absolutely agree with them there are terrorists in those locations and they need to be taken care of such that they don't export terror around the world," added Pompeo.

But, as noted, he then goes on to apparently advocate the use of "diplomacy to resolve the problem".

If Washington's calming words sound incongruous that is because they are barefaced lies.

What is really concerning the US is that the terror army it has steadfastly and covertly built up, sponsored, armed and directed to illegally overthrow the Syrian government is now facing a spectacular defeat.

The Syrian army, with its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah comrades, is moving in for the final retribution against the US-backed terror proxies. These proxies, also supported by Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey, were orchestrated to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. But thanks to the military intervention by Russia, the nefarious endgame was averted.

The victorious endgame is that the US-led regime war has been vanquished. The belated clamor for restraint and diplomacy out of Washington is really about salvaging its "terrorist investment" in Syria which has been depleted to the province of Idlib.

A recent article  in the Washington Post quoted a Trump administration official as giving the game away.

"Right now, our job is to help create quagmires [for Russia and the Syrian regime] until we get what we want," the official said in reference to the attempts by Washington to obstruct the final offensive on Idlib.

What the US planners want is to keep Syria in a state of instability and weakness by preventing the Assad government gaining full sovereign control over its territory.

Pompeo's risible contradiction is this: he admits there are terrorists in Idlib, not fuzzy-sounding "rebels", but he is urging diplomacy as a solution to deal with terrorists.

The explanation for this apparent discovery of American probity and diplomacy is that it is completely disingenuous. The motive has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns or peaceful resolution. It is all to do with Washington trying to find a way to spare its terror assets so that they can fight another day.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by "Sputnik" -

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