Despite its denials, it appears that Washington is preparing for a long-term military presence in Syria, says Mohammad Kharroub
by Mohammad Kharroub – al-Ra’
Roma, 28 agosto 2017, Nena News – Reports on developments in the battle to liberate Raqqa are no longer in the headlines. This is the city whose liberation ‘by ground forces’ the Americans had delegated to the [mainly Kurdish] SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), with spreading reports of the terrible massacres committed by the U.S.-led coalition against civilians in Raqqa and its environs.
While coverage of Raqqa has faded away, questions are emerging that only elicit ambiguous answers from the Americans on the future of the U.S. military presence in Syrian territories, which is currently there on the pretext of fighting terrorism. Meanwhile, U.S. battlefield activities proceed unhindered, aimed at building military bases in the Syrian North or bolstering the current U.S. presence in Rmeilan, al-Hasaka, and some positions in the areas controlled by the Syrian Kurdish forces – bases whose presence has not been denied by PYD (Democratic Union Party) leader Saleh al-Muslim.
The issue of the future U.S. military presence is not confined to Syria. The number of U.S. soldiers in the country is much smaller than in Iraq, where the Americans have staged something of a ‘return’ under the guise of providing advice to the Iraqi army in the battle to liberate Mosul first, and now Tel-‘Afar.
But the American generals’ ambiguity in addressing this presence only fortifies the belief that the Americans did not come to Iraq to leave it this time round. And speaking in the presence of Defense Secretary Mattis, during his surprise visit to Baghdad two days ago, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition forces General Stephen Townsend’s words have only lent credence to such fears. He noted that ‘plans are being studied … we will consider what forces will remain in the future.’
The Americans’ duplicitous discourse was no different on the Syrian side of the borders, either in terms of its ambiguity or in what has been revealed by Washington’s SDF ‘allies,’ who receive their orders from it. SDF spokesman Talal Sello has said that the SDF ‘coalition’ believes that the U.S. has a strategic interest in remaining in Syria. And he added (blessed be his mouth): ‘It is certain that they have a strategy that looks decades forward, and it is certain that there will long-term agreements between the two sides – military, economic, and political agreements between the Northern [Kurdish] leaders and the U.S. administration.’ By this, he was of course referring to the military bases that Washington is preparing to establish in Northern Syria.
These words expose the extent of these ‘rebels” treason; even though they may hide behind the name ‘Syrian Democratic’ Forces, they are in reality mere mercenaries and guns for hire. Their sole concern is to implement American and Zionist schemes that seek to partition Syria, overthrow its state, and displace its people – sometimes under the cover of self-rule in Rojava for the sake of which Saleh Muslim is ‘struggling,’ and sometimes by heeding the advice and obeying the instructions of the region’s numerous intelligence elements and active operations’ rooms.
The U.S. State Department rushed to deny Sello’s statements. It claimed that the U.S. has no intention of remaining in Syria after ISIS’s defeat, and that all that it wants is to see the Syrian people and no one else ruling their own country.
But this is all no more than an attempt to cast sand in our eyes. In fact, the failed attempt to create ‘a U.S. pocket’ in the Tanaf area of the Syrian Badiya in order to control the Iraqi/Syrian borders, and the march towards Deir az-Zour with the aim of completely isolating the Syrian East from the rest of the country, are just two examples of the depth of the American scheme that aims to tear the Syrian state apart and take the battlefield conditions back to what they where they were before September 30th 2015, the date of direct Russian involvement in the Syrian crisis, which turned the situation upside down and irreversibly restored the balance.
The pretense that the U.S.’s aim in Iraq, but especially in Syria, is no more than to defeat ISIS fools no one. No one buys such damaged American goods anymore – other than those who still view Washington as the last resort before their rolling defeat reaches its final destination. This is especially true of those who have not learnt history’s lessons, such as the region’s Kurds, whether in Northern Iraq, or the ‘new ones’ in Syria. They got drunk on the U.S. support they have been receiving. And, because of their excessive naivety, they began to call for ‘federalism,’ while others are calling for secession, exerting an effort to elicit foreign U.S., Arab, and perhaps Israeli intervention, at a later stage.
But developments in Iraq and the manner in which the Syrian battlefield maps is being drawn indicate that both countries have overcome the danger of the breakdown and collapse of their respective states. True, conditions in Iraq are more complicated due to the profound disagreements between the country’s various political constituents, and the influence of regional states on Iraq’s decision on the forces that are in power or outside it. These disagreements will become clearer at the coming elections and will assume a different character after Iraq has been purged of ISIS.
By contrast, and despite all the fog that envelops it, the Syrian scene is clearer and more stable, especially in light of the ignominious and certain defeat that has been inflicted on the scheme to topple the state and partition the country. In fact, the imminent battle of Deir az-Zour (setting aside the Idlib battle, which is at present subject to regional and international haggling and maneuvers) that the Syrian army and its allied forces will fight, backed by Russia, will be the decisive battle that will bury all of Washington’s attempts to find a foothold for itself in Syria.
This will be true regardless of Washington’s claims that it is not considering staying on, or if it uses the pretext of protecting its allies.