Last Updated on August 20, 2019
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has largely distinguished herself from the crowded pack of Democrats running for president by coming out strongly against foreign interventionism and promising to bring American troops home from foreign conflicts, but this has placed her in the cross hairs of an Al Jazeera writer who says Gabbard does not understand the need for regime change in Syria.
Al Jazeera writer Shiyam Galyon explains that, in her view, Syria needs regime change, and Gabbard is completely wrong on the issue. Galyon notes that while American regime change is often a net negative for the region, Syria is somehow different:
While the US does indeed have a history of engaging in regime-change wars, like during the illegal invasion and occupation in Iraq, she is wrong about the fundamental dynamics of the Syrian conflict. In Syria, the original call for “regime change” came from a popular unarmed grassroots civilian movement within the country. It is telling how Tulsi Gabbard does not speak of or mention the Syrian revolution as the precipitating event of the Syrian conflict, and it is in this way that she obscures the actual dynamics of the crisis.
Galyon, herself a member of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement, completely neglects the fact that the anti-Assad rebel coalition in Syria was largely supported and funded by President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In fact, one of the earliest moves taken by President Donald Trump was to end the clandestine support of these rebel groups, which have been repeatedly linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
The New York Times reported in mid 2017:
It was never publicly announced, just as the beginnings of the program four years ago were officially a secret, authorized by President Barack Obama through a “finding” that permitted the C.I.A. to conduct a deniable program. News of the troublesome program soon leaked out.
It joins similar failed efforts to deliver arms and money to groups seeking to overthrow governments that Washington found noxious, most famously the Kennedy administration’s disastrous effort to do away with the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba.
Still, Al Jazeera attempts to tie Gabbard to Russia and Assad, noting that “This is why many have called Gabbard an Assad apologist” and states that they “want is to hold Tulsi Gabbard accountable for spreading misinformation in a way that benefits a genocidal dictator.”
It is also worth noting that Al Jazeera is “funded in part by the Qatari government”, and as such, this opinion article may represent the wishes of a competing Middle Eastern nation.