BY JAMES NORTH/Mondoweiss

AMERICAN BOMBER, AN F-15 STRIKE EAGLE. TWO SUCH AIRCRAFT CARRIED OUT FEB. 26, 2021 ATTACK IN SYRIA THAT LEFT 22 DEAD.

Benjamin Netanyahu and his government were not the only people who jumped for joy after Joe Biden ordered the air strike on the Syria/Iraq border yesterday. Hardliners in Iran were also pleased, because the U.S. attack may slow down the restoration of the Iran nuclear agreement, and relaxation of U.S./Iran tensions could weaken the hardliners in upcoming Iranian elections. 

The invaluable Sina Toossi explains in detail how and why the hardliners “should be expected to play more of a spoiler role as the Iranian presidential election in June gets closer.” 

That view was nowhere represented in mainstream U.S. media coverage of Biden’s attack, which served mainly as cheerleader and stenographer for the American military.  The first New York Times report quoted “American officials” calling the attack “a relatively small, carefully calibrated military response,” which killed only a “handful” of the allegedly “Iranian-backed militias.” Buried in the paper’s 11th paragraph was a stunning admission: “Little is known about the [militia] group, including whether it is backed by Iran. . .”

Hold on. The British Independent did some actual reporting, and cited a respected independent monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as saying the U.S. air attack may have killed “at least 22 people.” The Times, to its credit, did include the Observatory’s figure in a follow up report a day later. But the Washington Post stuck with the “handful” estimate.

That Post report also quoted Charles Lister, a notorious hawk who directs the “Countering Terrorism & Extremism program” at the Middle East Institute, but it couldn’t find telephone numbers for Sina Toossi, Trita Parsi, or other respected Iranian-American experts. 

The Times follow-up report did include one revealing sentence, right in its second paragraph. It said that “one of the greatest security concerns of American partners in the region [is] the network of militias that are backed by Iran and committed to subverting the interests of the United States and its allies.”

Nowhere does the U.S. media question precisely what direct “interests of the United States” are threatened in Syria. The reason is: none are. 

The U.S. confronts Iran because Israel and Saudi Arabia want it to. Benjamin Netanyahu has for more than a decade tried to instigate a U.S. conflict with Iran, and he came close during Donald Trump’s final months. And why should American service men and women be asked to risk their lives to do the bidding of Saudi Arabia, a nation whose de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed, has just been found responsible for ordering the murder of the brave journalist Jamal Khashoggi? 

Posted by The non-Conformist