During the latest press briefing in Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova gave an educational mini-lecture about an ancient mystery that has stumped Atlantic Council fellows for hundreds of years.
A naive but hopelessly curious reporter asked Zakharova, “During the congressional hearing on Wednesday, American politicians and generals agreed that the counterterrorism operation must continue despite the civilian casualties in Mosul. Why didn’t they say this during the operation in Aleppo?”
Zakharova shot back with, “Can’t you guess, or do I have to tell you?” — and then launched into a very enlightening explanation for Washington’s puzzling behavior:
Can’t you guess, or do I have to tell you? Propaganda is a tool used by all countries, though to a different degree by some. It amounts to promoting one’s own interests in the sphere of information. All states are involved in information work and the promotion of their policies. This is normal. However, it’s bad when the media take up the propaganda campaign. Also, the lengths to which our Western colleagues go are unacceptable. They distort facts completely, which is actually very much like disinformation.
As for Aleppo, their goal was to publish material that would convince the public that Russia’s role in settling the Syrian conflict was not constructive or positive but, on the contrary, extremely destructive, which would explain our partners’ political and military failure in Syria. This issue was also used for election purposes, because Hillary Clinton’s team was concerned with foreign policy when she was US Secretary of State. It was therefore clear that her election campaign would be focused on US foreign policy achievements and victories. This is why Russia’s involvement in Syria and its allegedly unconstructive role there was given as much attention as possible.
As I have said, facts about the situation in Mosul are being hushed up to minimize the information damage to the United States. The Mosul operation did not begin yesterday or a month ago; it was launched by the Obama administration almost six months ago. We described it as part of the election campaign. They needed a short victorious war, but the war is neither short nor victorious. The war would have been completely acceptable – after all, it is a war on terror – had it not been timed for the election campaign. It should have been a carefully planned operation with provisions for keeping the civilian casualties low, with humanitarian corridors and humanitarian aid, as well as assistance for those who wanted to leave the city. All these considerations were sacrificed to the time factor though and the election campaign. As a result, we have what we have, that is, what Iraq and the Iraqis have.