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Former CIA Officer to Sputnik: US Paying Lip-Service to Fighting Terror in Syria

© AFP 2023 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYESome 150 US Troops Arrive in Northeastern Syria - Kurdish Security Source
Some 150 US Troops Arrive in Northeastern Syria - Kurdish Security Source - Sputnik International
Amid the recent diplomatic wrangling between the US and Russia on Syria, Larry Johnson, retired CIA intelligence officer, tells Radio Sputnik that the US has "an enormous amount of blood on its hands" for inciting this conflict and it is in fact "lip-service to the concept of fighting terrorism," pursuing completely different purposes.

“If Russia had not intervened, the region would be in more chaos and would be on a path towards more instability," Larry Johnson, retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official told Radio Sputnik.

"The US is paying lip- service to the concept of fighting terrorism, it is actually giving weapons and money to the terrorists which a part of the problem. The US has schizophrenia on this particular policy," he said.

The former CIA officer noted that the critical factor which would help to accelerate the end of the conflict is cooperation between the US and Russia but the problem-child in this relationship has always been the US, not Russia.

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He added that Vladimir Putin and the generals at least understand and have a clear focus on what their interests in the region are.

Whereas the US policy is "all over the board," with a visible divide between the Department of Defense and the CIA. The CIA supports radical Islamists and the Department of Defense tries to kill them," he said.

"So it is just absurd that we are on the one hand talking about the tough game of fighting terrorism and yet behind the scenes providing financing and weapons to the same very terrorists," he told Sputnik.

'It's Not Syria, It's Iran the US is After'

The former CIA officer also explained US' focus on Syria, and why it remains in the spotlight.

"It is [all about] Iran, Iran is the critical factor determining the policy in the region. Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to a lesser extent, and Qatar and the Persian Gulf are very worried about the ascendance of Iran in the region, both politically and militarily. And that has been facilitated by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003," he said.

Once Saddam Hussein was taken out of power, Johnson explained, the majority Shia population took control of the country. They have always had very close ties with Iran because many of the leaders of Iraq were sheltered in Iran during the previous years when Saddam Hussein was in power.

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"So, all of a sudden now Iran is in a position of power and it is continuing its efforts to develop its nuclear industry. And across the border, from the standpoint of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey getting rid of Syria is the same as indirectly engaging Iran," he said.

"What has been literally driving the US policy, this effort to try to contain Iran and to accommodate traditional US allies in the region without staying true to its policy of combatting terrorism."

'US Has Enormous Amount of Blood on Its Hands'

"We are literally going in a complete circle and promoting and implementing contradictory policies. You can't have it both ways: you can't have a war on terror and be committed to destroying the radical Islamic terror while at the same time providing them weapons and financing and enable their ability to take out their ruler," he said.

 "The US has enormous amount of blood on its hands for helping to incite and expand the civil war in Syria," the former CIA officer finally stated.

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