Ten years ago, in March 2011, the US regime change campaign against Syria commenced. As in Ukraine and Libya, it began as a classic rooftop sniper operation (shooting at both sides to escalate protests), but morphed into one of the largest CIA “covert” war campaigns of all times, employing dozens of Islamist militias and terrorist groups, supplied primarily via Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
To get a comprehensive, no-nonsense overview of the multiple stages and layers of the Syria war, read The Syria Deception (available in four languages). To read about earlier large-scale US war deceptions, read Rwanda: What Did Really Happen in 1994? and Propaganda in the War on Yugoslavia. To get a general overview of US foreign policy since the war against Spain in 1898, read The Logic of US Foreign Policy.
Thanks to mobile telecommunication technology, the Syria war was the first war covered in real-time by independent media outlets and independent journalists on the ground, who in many cases could expose Western war propaganda within days and thus to some extent influence public perception of events. To get an overview of high-quality independent media outlets, see the updated version of The US/UK Media Navigator.
In contrast, the three international news agencies – Associated Press (US), Reuters (UK) and AFP (France) – played a key role in the global dissemination of Western war propaganda. To read more about the role of these three news agencies, see The Propaganda Multiplier (nine languages). Just one month ago, hacked documents confirmed that Reuters, as well as the BBC and “Bellingcat”, are key players in a UK government funded, covert geopolitical propaganda and influence operation.
One of the most notable aspects of psychological warfare in Syria were the multiple “chemical weapons attacks” staged or stage-managed by NATO-supported Islamist militias, such as in Ghouta in August 2013, in Khan Shaykhun in April 2017, and in Douma in April 2018, in an attempt to trigger – or rather, legitimize – direct US and NATO military intervention, modeled after the stage-managed “marketplace massacres” in the Bosnia war. A key part of these operations was the co-optation of chemical weapons watchdog OPCW, which produced numerous misleading or fraudulent reports.
In one particularly embarrassing case, the crew of BBC Panorama, founded by a former British spy, together with a UK military contractor specialized in casualty simulations and medical training, and a local Islamist militia, staged the aftermath of an imaginary Syrian chemical weapons attack on a school near Aleppo, in a failed attempt to pressure the British parliament into authorizing direct military action against Syria.
Just this week, independent investigators Adam Larson and Michael Kobs finally managed to elucidate the largest chemical weapons psyop of the Syria war, the sarin attack in Ghouta, near Damascus, in August 2013. At the time, based on a fraudulent ballistic and forensic analysis, “Human Rights Watch”, a CFR-run US front organization involved in multiple regime change operations, tried to blame the attack on the Syrian government.
But Larson and Kobs could now show, based on ballistic, video and satellite evidence, that in the middle of the night, a local NATO-supported Islamist militia transported the sarin rockets to a place very close to the then frontline and fired them into their own territory, to make it look like an attack by the Syrian army and trigger large-scale US and NATO airstrikes, which, however, were ultimately averted by a Russian diplomatic intervention.
As was previously revealed, the Russian intervention in Ukraine in 2014 and in Syria in 2015, and finally the election of Trump in 2016, led to the multiyear “Russiagate” psychological operation, run by NATO, the FBI and European intelligence services, to counter Russian influence.
During the four years of the somewhat “isolationist” Trump administration, most US wars essentially stalled. However, the new Biden administration, which is almost entirely run by members of the more “interventionist” US Council on Foreign Relations, might try to resume the “unfinished” wars of the Obama era, notably in eastern Ukraine, in Libya and in Syria.