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By Ollie Richardson

The “smaller, weaker country” also known as Russia, since September 30th, 2016, has simply outmuscled the US and allies from the Middle East with 1 swift deployment of the S-400 missile system, the result of Erdogan’s testing of the waters. A handful of Russian jets and a few thousand ground contingent was all that was needed to push out the fruits of years of US NGO groundwork. Of course, the vast Syrian Army (including the Democratic Forces) played a significant role in the liberation of Aleppo, for example, but without the Sukhoi airstrikes, it simply would not have been possible. So as a result, Western media was instructed by the State Department to depict Russia as the No. 1 antagonist, who bombs hospitals and acts dangerously around the US Air Force.

This narrative has been milked since the very onset of Russia’s campaign in Syria, but it was known to all that once Aleppo was liberated, it would be time for a rethink. Where are the alleged 250,000 trapped civilians inside East Aleppo? How many other claims have turned out to be total fabrications? Too many to name, that’s for sure.

Thus, in recent days, there have been visible signs that the long-due rethink is now being implemented. The new narrative (currently in its beta testing stage) is that Russia is in fact not the main antagonist, no – it is Iran! This new groundwork can already be seen in the State Departments unofficial mouthpiece Reuters – dated 17th December, 2016:

Yes! It is Iran’s fault! Al Nusra opened fire on green buses coming from al-Foua and Kefraya, but that is Iran’s fault! Jihadists wanted to smuggle arms and unauthorised persons onto the green buses, but that’s Iran’s fault! The sub-500 Iranian military contingent (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in Syria are now the bad guys. But why?

Trump’s cabinet appointments thus far may provide a clue that can explain the new format of the blame game:

  • Jim Mattis – “He would say we need to use hard power to prevent Iran from ever having a nuclear weapon” – CNBC
  • Michael Flynn – “In particular, Flynn portrays Iran as the source of many of America’s national security problems. Flynn co-wrote his book with Michael Ledeen, a neoconservative academic who has long been a bitter critic of the Iranian regime.” – CNN

The above examples have a somewhat “anti-Iran” flavour, although in reality it is a balancing act between appeasing Israel and not upsetting Russia’s new Middle East configuration (Iran-Turkey-Syria axis). This is certainly something that the “Syrian opposition” are aware of, and thus are now exploiting in order to try and stay to retain US support during the Obama-Trump transition. Is this likely to achieve anything? Well, for the“Syrian opposition” to benefit from any potential (although very unlikely) Trump support, they firstly needed leverage. The loss of Aleppo essentially terminated the existence of the green, white, and black flag, and the liberation of Idlib will be the final nail in the US-proxy coffin. It can be said that the new “anti-Iran” plan will be too little too late, as Russia already had the final say in what Syria will look like in 2017.

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