State Department Spokesman John Kirby provided a boastful recap of his cabinet’s achievements in 2015 and highlighted “bringing peace [and] security” to war-torn Syria as one of its wins this past year.
“The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need – the United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011,” part of Kirby’s blog post reads, according to Politico. Kirby’s blog also touched upon the raging battle against the Islamic State (ISIL in the region) saying that the U.S. is “winning [the] fight against violent extremists.”
The radical Islamic militants who opened fire in San Bernardino, California on December 2 had ties to al Qaeda and other extremist groups including the Islamic State.
Secretary of State John Kerry has played a central role in peace talks with the goal of ending the bloody Syrian civil war and Kirby’s blog post points to this administration’s hopes of aiding in a peaceful political transition to a nonsectarian government that is devoid of their current President Bashar al-Assad.
However, that seems unlikely considering both Russia and Iran have a vested interested in Assad remaining in power.
Politico astutely points out that Kerry’s declaration of a win in the embattled Syrian region echoes of comments made by President Barack Obama nearly two year ago where he called the Islamic State a ‘JV team,’ only to receive heavy criticism for it once intelligence reports surfaced indicating the radical Islamic terrorist group’s expansion and reach was grossly underestimated.
The State Department’s post about Syria also mirrors President Obama’s description of the Islamic State’s expansion efforts as being “contained” just one day before the Paris terrorist attacks struck the city in November, taking 130 lives.
Kirby’s post additionally cited the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, hosted in February, which he called “monumental,” suggesting that “this forward progress will only continue as more countries pledge resources to the anti-ISIL effort and as citizens around the world increasingly reject ISIL’s misguided ideology.”
Iran was at the table along with the United States for the first time during the Vienna summit that took place this past October in the hopes of finding a solution to ending conflict there. The U.S. State Department begrudgingly announced Iran’s presence at the table and it was only later reported that Russia had initially extended the invitation.
Russia’s interests in Syria are very much aligned with Iran’s. Despite Russia initially presenting their entry and bold moves in Syria as a mission to destroy the Islamic State, 80 percent of Russian airstrikes did not actually hit the radical Islamic militants. Most of those strikes are actually targeting U.S.-backed, anti-Assad forces in the region. Countless civilian casualties have also been suffered as a result.
Russia appears to be positioning itself as the power broker in the Middle East, seemingly replacing the United States in the region as a consequence of what is largely seen as a failed foreign policy under the guise of the current administration.
Among other “wins” declared by the State Department include re-establishing ties with Cuba, protecting the Arctic climate and communities, clinching the “peaceful” Iran nuclear agreement, thwarting the Ebola outbreak, reaching a climate agreement, preserving ocean health and opening the door to free trade.