The routing of Islamic State jihadists from Palmyra by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is another game-changer in a series of recent game-changers in the global proxy war taking place in Syria. First, there was the military victory by the combined forces of Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in Aleppo Province; next, a ceasefire, excluding Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State; then, Russia's announcement of a "mission accomplished" withdrawal of forces, followed, this past weekend, by the military victory in and recapture of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site filled with ancient ruins where the Roman and Persian worlds intersected.
On the losing end is not only ISIS, but the United States, Turkey and their clients in the Gulf Cooperation Council as well. For a superb explanation of these events turn to yesterday's post at Moon of Alabama, "Syria - How The Palmyra Victory Changes the Narrative."
U.S. involvement in Syria is defined by contradiction papered over by crass propaganda. The overarching theme of the propaganda is that Syria is ruled by a bloodthirsty dictator who feeds on the broken bodies of a peaceful citizenry. The U.S. supports the peaceful citizens, the "moderates,' in a war against Islamic jihadists and regime goons.
When Russia intervened militarily last fall, the United States wailed constantly -- a cry amplified in the Western press -- that Russia was attacking the "good guys," the U.S.-backed "moderates," and not the ISIS jihadists. The press asserted that Russia and Syria were actually working with Islamic State to keep Assad in power.
Russia explained that there were no "moderate" jihadists in the war theater; and if indeed there were, why didn't the U.S. provide coordinates of their location so that Russian bombers might spare them?
With the victory in Palmyra, Russia, as Moon of Alabama persuasively outlines, is vindicated. The campaign against U.S.-backed Islamic militias working in concert with Nusra led to a ceasefire which freed up troops to retake Palmyra from ISIS. Obama's false narrative is debunked. Even the Los Angeles Times is taking note in "Syrian army's blow to Islamic State presents a paradox for Obama" by Patrick McDonnell, and "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA" by Nabih Bulos, W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett.
Where the discredited U.S. position on Syria goes from here is anybody's guess. If a major daily newspaper is reporting that the Pentagon and CIA are actively engaged on opposite sides of a proxy war in Northern Syria -- the Pentagon backing the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units; the CIA, from its operations center inside Turkey, Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness -- one wonders if this might be the future: U.S. wars overseas where one branch of government battles another.