BSNews eds were privileged to travel in Syria with our friend Janice Kortkamp in 2018. Here, she writes passionately and incisively on the truth of the conflict:
Why is a Christian American housewife turned citizen journalist smiling below a poster of the US government’s “most wanted”? Well, let me try to tell you the heart of the story. If you have the patience to read all this, I’ll leave it for you to decide if I’m a kook or even a traitor to my country, or an honest patriot determined to hold my government accountable for war crimes and deceits including outright treason against the people of the United States.
This essay is just my opinion though it is based on years of research (around 10,000 hours since 2012) as well as months on the ground, traveling around Syria on my own with Syrian friends as translators in seven trips during the war – also weeks spent in Lebanon and Kuwait.
All that aside, I’m an outsider and I don’t speak the language. I hope people of the region and others will share their thoughts. The photo was taken on October 31, 2019 at the Syrian Army checkpoint just outside of Palmyra. Palmyra, the vast remains of an ancient Roman city in the desert, is one of the jewels in the crown of Syria’s many important and spectacular archaeological sites.
It had been captured by the ISIS terrorists twice and liberated twice by the Syrian Army and its allies of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. For those people believing western propaganda and thinking President Assad keeps “gassing his own people,” actually it has been the headchopping mercenary thugs supported by the US, UK, France, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that have been creating those frame jobs in order to get more weapons, money and military support.
One big clue that what I’m saying is the truth is that in the battles for Palmyra there was a perfect opportunity for Syria to use chemical weapons to real advantage. They could have wiped out many ISIS fighters and preserved the precious, ancient site where no civilians were, but they chose to liberate it with conventional warfare which is what they’ve done all around Syria. Many of the most important buildings on the site were deliberately destroyed by ISIS.
The museum was looted as was the site itself. The lead archaeologist who had devoted his life to studying the fabulous ruins was tortured then beheaded by the terrorist horde. Courageously he had helped arrange for many of the treasures to be hidden or removed from the site. Casualty rates on the Syrian and allied forces side were often horrific; the sacrifices of those men won the day however and ISIS was defeated there … and all the while the US, other western governments, and western media were acting like their dog had died. Which in a way was true – it is easily proven how the US and its allies have been helping ISIS and al Qaeda all during the war against Syria.
From left to right are: The General Qassim Soleimani of Iran (murdered by the US this year); President Vladimir Putin of Russia; President Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah; and the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran.These leaders – Soleimani, Assad, Nasrallah, and Khamenei – are men forged by their place and time. They know the “Great Game” of global powers and regional conflicts well.
The late President Hafez of Syria said once, “We know how to play the games at the edge of the cliff. If we fall we will fall on the bodies of our dead enemies.” You don’t hear western leaders talking like that these days do you? Can you imagine any of them making a statement like that?Yet for all the “freedom, democracy and human rights” image projection by western leaders, the reality is no one has brought more death, destruction, chaos and suffering to the Middle East in the past century than those western governments themselves.
Their “games” are deadly while their rhetoric remains utterly hypocritical and deceptive.I think of the Middle East as similar to Europe before the two World Wars – Europe with its never ending wars and smaller conflicts – whose history is that of conquests, territorial disputes, tribal and religious tensions, struggles for power and wealth, dominant dynasties, mafias, feudalism, challenges to the absolute power of the monarchy and church, wars of ideologies etc. It wasn’t until the continent had hemorrhaged enough blood and enough millions had died in two World Wars that they learned how to co-exist together, all just in basically the last century.
The folks who are constantly bleating and repeating the soundbite of, “The Arabs have always fought each other” (clueless as to the vast array of diverse people groups of the region) should remember with humility the killing floors made by Europeans in Europe and all over the world as well as the American legacy of bringing death on nightmarish levels including leveling two civilian cities with atomic bombs.So yes, while there are ages old tensions and conflicts in the Middle East, the people there did not create two world wars – that distinction belongs solely to West.
It is the West that is causing the lion’s share of suffering, death and destruction in the Middle East and been doing so for many decades. That aggression has increased exponentially over the past 20 years as one country after another has been targeted for destabilization and division – the neocon plans for a “New Middle East” as Condoleezza Rice declared.
It’s critical to remember that none of the nations targeted for “regime change”, in reality to divide and conquer, had anything to do with the 9/11 event that has been used as the justification for: 1) Between 1 million to 4 million people perishing including thousands of Americans; 2) tens of millions being displaced creating the refugee crisis; 3) families ripped apart, economies shattered, and infrastructures decimated by war and economic sanctions with the resulting desperation often breeding greater corruption and reduction of human rights as well as terrorism; 4) outright support including weapons for the very terrorist groups US officials claim did the 9/11 attacks; and 5) almost $6 trillion being spent with the Pentagon “losing track of” as much as $21 trillion more.
By no rational person’s measurement have these wars, interventions, occupations, covert operations, and economic sanctions been any kind of “success”; nor are they “mistakes”. I have found over the past eight years of research including direct observation and experience on the ground, that they have been part of a deliberate strategy to sow chaos and violence and lay waste to the fascinating northern region of the Middle East. The “why” gets complicated.
The US military/industrial/intelligence complex (MIIC) has become the very tyrant that leaders as far back as George Washington have warned us was possible. The American public has failed to heed the many warnings and instead been accepting the growing influence of this tyrant over our country and all of us Americans as well – many liberties have been usurped by the powerful “national security apparatus”. In order for the MIIC to grow, it requires conflicts. It’s gotten to the point where the MIIC is creating conflicts and knowingly arming and supporting “rebel” groups around the world it is banking on to cause troubles in the future, thereby creating new “opportunities” for wars (and weapons deals) and the immense profits and power thereof to the tiny few who benefit.
Think of it like printer manufacturers selling printers while the big profits come from ink sales and planned obsolescence. The MIIC is also outsourcing itself to foreign governments to act on their behalf, primarily Israel but including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others. Israel’s expansionism – Israel is not “defending itself”, it is ‘defending” its aggressions and ambitions to expand throughout the region to take control over lands and resources in other ME countries. Particularly since the neocons came to power under GW Bush that’s continued throughout the Obama and Trump administrations, Israel is basically directing the MIIC at this point.
It is pimping the US military that it uses to “take out” any country with an army large enough to resist Israeli expansionism that isn’t already completely under the thumb of the US, meaning the puppet states of the Persian Gulf and Jordan for example.This pandering and prostituting of US politics as well as the American armed forces and intelligence agencies for Israel and to lesser extent Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, is the real reason the men whose portraits I’m sitting under in this photo are called “enemies of the United States”.
Does this mean I support everything and anything they’ve ever said or done? Of course not. These are tough guys in a harsh part of the world. But I’ll tell you this – they are the ones who’ve made a stand against the malicious plans and actions of western imperialist powers and the zionist terrorists who have all brought such murderous destruction and suffering upon the people living in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran. They are the ones who are the defenders of independence for their countries and region.
They are the ones who conquered the ISIS caliphate. I’ve had the privilege of being among the people of Syria, staying in their homes, sharing meals, and spending countless hours listening to their stories and I have never met people with whom I would rather be. I have received friendship and welcome by people in many countries on trips in this world but nothing compares to the quality of warmth, love and respect I’ve encountered on those journeys in Syria, and the lovely hospitality given by people in Lebanon and Kuwait as well.
So for the people there, and for the future of my country also, I remain proud to stand with Syria and all the ones who are resisting the malicious policies and actions being done in my name as an American. So I’ll ask again, am I a kook or traitor? Or just an American fed up with evil being done in my name and with my tax dollars.
Janice Kortkamp can be found on Facebook, VK, Parler, YouTube and her SyriaResources.com website.