Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the US government is to cut its funding to the White Helmets, an infamous group operating in Syria that stands accused of faking multiple “chemical attacks” in order to generate support for pro-Takfiri strikes against the Syrian Arab Republic.
First of all, the nature of the information regarding the White Helmets de-funding by the US is automatically suspect because the source is the White Helmets themselves. It would be both naive and hypocritical to assume that an organisation capable of staging infamous chemical weapons attacks and openly revelling in beheadings should somehow begin telling the truth just because now they are saying something that many right minded supporters of Syria want to hear.
That being said, there is an equally likely possibility that as more and more areas of the Syrian Arab Republic become liberated from terrorist/White Helmet occupation by the legitimate government and its allies, that the White Helmets have fewer areas in which to operate and consequently, they have less “work” to do. Because of this and because of Donald Trump’s well known penchant for seeking other sources to fund that which is traditionally funded by the US government, it could be that the US has cut the White Helmets budget because Washington doesn’t want to pay the same price for a group whose area of coverage is now smaller and shrinking by the day.
In either case though, as the French and British governments also fund the White Helmets, it could be that as Paris and London aren’t as cost sensitive when it comes to foreign meddling as is Donald Trump’s America, that the US simply persuaded its European partners to pick up the rest of the tab for the infamous group.
According to a statement from Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov,
“It is unclear why representatives of the United States and some European countries, who spoke most about the alleged ‘chemical attack’ in Douma on April 7, did not want to communicate personally with eyewitnesses of the White Helmets’ provocation, who arrived in The Hague. Is it a reason for the US decision to stop financing the White Helmets? Today, when there is so much evidence and many eyewitnesses of the horrible provocation, everything seems to be clear”.
If taken at face value, Major General Konashenkov’s statement would imply that because the White Helmets have been more or less caught red handed staging yet another provocation, that the US thinks the group has outlived its strategic “usefulness”. In reality though, Major General Konashenkov is certainly not naive which is why he phrased his statement as a question rather than as an affirmative observation. In reality, the Major General is using high stakes geopolitical ‘trolling’ in order to try and continue to raise awareness among a war weary western public of the duplicitous role the US and European governments have played in prolonging the Syrian conflict by funding pro-Takfiri provocateurs like the White Helmets. A similar and even more overtly sarcastic tactic was used by the Russian Embassy in the UK.
This could be good news for Syria but highly likely this will be bad news for UK taxpayers who will foot the bill pic.twitter.com/OE8uGCuw0x
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) May 4, 2018
Ultimately, the less territory the White Helmets are able to operate in, the less important the group will become to those who have used it for their own attempted geopolitical and material gains in Syria. For now, the group is not going to disappear nor be impoverished, but like other elements of the Syrian war, the White Helmets is winding down and with Donald Trump at least somewhat in control of the United States, it would appear that perhaps, as is consistent with his other policy statements, he is getting tired of paying ‘something for nothing’.
Thus, the alleged de-funding reports are less of a revelation than a symptom of a war that is in the midst of transforming from a proxy conflict to a more traditional style Cold War stand-off between state powers vying for land and influence in a post-conflict Arab Republic.