Syria war and how US intervention empowered al-Qaeda — Interview on Chris Hedges’ “On Contact” with Max Blumenthal

I had the pleasure of joining journalist Chris Hedges’ program On Contact, along with Max Blumenthal, to discuss the horrific war in Syria, which just marked its sixth anniversary.

Media outlets frequently ask, “Is the US going to intervene in Syria?” In reality, the US has already greatly intervened for years — even before the conflict began. Government documents released by WikiLeaks show how the US stoked sectarian tension and pursued regime change in Syria well before 2011.

In the interview, which was filmed on April 10, the three of us addressed the Trump administration’s April 6 attack on a Syrian government air base, and subsequently delved into the extent of US intervention in the war.

We detailed how the CIA and Western allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have empowered extremist groups in Syria, including al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (which has since rebranded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and formed a coalition called Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) and Salafi jihadist militias like Ahrar al-Sham (the largest rebel group in the country), Jaish al-Islam, and more.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have even supported the genocidal extremist group ISIS.

We also discussed how rebels backed by US allies have created hyper-repressive Taliban-like regimes in Syria’s Idlib province and beyond.

Just before Trump’s missile strike, Max Blumenthal and I published an article in AlterNet addressing these issues: “Is Trump Rescuing Al-Qaeda’s ‘Heartland’ in Syria?“, which explores how Syria has become the “newest and most important safe haven for [al-Qaeda’s] ideology.”

I also wrote a story titled “Why Is Media Citing Man Accused of Kidnapping Journalists as Credible Source on Syrian Chemical Attack?

You can watch our video interview with Chris Hedges here, or at the On Contact website:

In January, I spoke again on Chris Hedges’ show, along with journalist Abby Martin. We discussed allegations of supposed Russian hacking of the US election, the lack of evidence, the shoddy reporting, Democratic Party scapegoating, and US hypocrisy.