The British Foreign Office has spent at least £2.5 million on what it calls ‘search and rescue’ in Syria, stating in a public document on non-humanitarian aid to the country:
To date, twelve 25-man civil defence teams from towns in Idlib
province have received UK-funded training and equipment to carry
out fire-fighting and search & rescue to help save lives. Over the
next six months, additional teams across Northern Syria will be
trained thanks to UK support.
These ‘civil defence teams’ are the White Helmets, which as I have previously written function alongside takfiri groups such as Jahbat al-Nusra; appearing in their propaganda videos and helping them carry out executions. The group are presented as being a completely neutral actor, with their website proclaiming:
The volunteers save people on all sides of the conflict – pledging commitment to the principles of “Humanity, Solidarity, Impartiality” as outlined by the International Civil Defence Organisation. This pledge guides every response, every action, every life saved – so that in a time of destruction, all Syrians have the hope of a lifeline.
The White Helmets mostly deal with the aftermath of government air attacks. Yet they have risked sniper fire to rescue bodies of regime soldiers to give them a proper burial.
Evidence of a supposed regime massacre of civilians – note the bodies are all in military clothing.
However, a recent article in The Telegraph – Assad can stay in power ‘three months or longer’, says Hammond – casually refers to the White Helmets as being composed of regime defectors:
Russian involvement has galvanised rebels from across the ideological spectrum, accelerating defections to Jabhat al Nusra, and sending ripples of anger through the rebel opposition.
On Saturday, the strikes appeared to hit a rescue team in the northwestern province of Idlib. 29 year old Issam al-Saleh was killed in a follow-up air strike as his team searched for survivors from the first.
After defecting from the regime along with his six brothers, Mr Saleh had spent 18 months working with the White Helmets, a team of first responders that has been described as among the bravest in the world.
“Russian and Assad officers will be accounted in the ICC for their crimes against humanity,” said Mr Saleh’s cousin and the leader of the White Helmets, Raed al Saleh.
It is unclear how such people can claim impartiality, and it seems that the Foreign Office has little concern with making such assertions, having tweeted last week:
Therefore publicly establishing that the White Helmets work on behalf of the British government and the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ (with the opposition really being nothing more than Western intelligence assets to begin with). As one of the main participants working tirelessly to militarily overthrow the Syrian state for the last several years, neither the UK nor the groups it sponsors can in any way be considered as impartial actors in the conflict.
Raed al Saleh, noted in The Telegraph as the group’s leader, has given numerous speeches to the UN, US Congress etc agitating for a no-fly zone to stop ‘the regime’. You can read examples by Googling his name.
The real purpose of the White Helmets project is to provide a constant stream of ‘barrel bomb’ propaganda to Western audiences (sometimes with added chlorine), thus providing a myth which – similar to the myth of the ‘African mercenary’ in Libya 2011 – can be invoked to justify ‘humanitarian intervention’.
Then, in several years time, despite what was once the Syrian Arab Republic remaining engulfed in war and poverty, Western governments can justify – even boast – about attacking the country because they stopped the regime from committing genocide via barrel bomb; with no one pausing to question which particular group the Syrian government and their armed forces were trying to exterminate.
Supposed ‘human rights activists’ are constantly shrieking that there is a genocide taking place in Syria. I once read that we shouldn’t be concerned about a possible future genocide of Alawites when there is currently a genocide of Sunnis going on right now. Yet a majority of the Syrian army is Sunni, and importantly, are actually Syrians; whereas a large majority of the opposition are not Syrian at all. Therefore the reality of the war is in fact the opposite of what the media has been making it out to be for years: of the Syrian people fighting a dictator; that Assad is ‘killing his own people’.
Noam Chomsky once noted:
As for the term ‘genocide,’ perhaps the most honorable course would be to expunge it from the vocabulary until the day, if it ever comes, when honesty and integrity can become an ’emerging norm.’
And so the same can be said of the word ‘neutral’, where now those very same nations who have been investing billions of dollars in destroying Syria seem to think that they can be viewed as honest peace brokers, and groups such as the White Helmets, who are so clearly working on behalf of the opposition, are able to claim that they are not supporting either side.
The US and its poodle the UK are in need of a good dose of reality: perhaps Russia’s intervention in Syria can bring them back down to earth, as this exceptionalist propaganda isn’t fooling anyone anymore.