The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in August 2021 demonstrated to the international community that Washington’s sphere of influence is shrinking and that the US army is not as all-powerful as it pretends to be.
As in Afghanistan, Washington planned to establish a pro-American regime in the Syrian Arab Republic, but these plans were never destined to be: Bashar al-Assad, with the active participation of the Russian Armed Forces, was able to retain power. Various groups supervised by the United States continue their activities on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. Still, their followers are becoming less and less, and their potential is decreasing. Circumstances are such that Washington will sooner or later have to give up its claim on Syria.
In September 2021, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad called on the USA to order its troops to withdraw from the Syrian Arab Republic. According to the head of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, Washington’s military presence in Syria violates international law and destabilizes the already tense situation in the country. Previously, representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic have repeatedly stated that they have a strong negative attitude towards the presence of American troops in Syria, as the US does not take into account the position of the Syrian authorities and acts solely for its own benefit. This assessment by Syrian officials of Washington’s detrimental actions is supported by more than a few countries that condemn US policy towards the Syrian Arab Republic.
Currently, the US army, supported by rebels, has occupied northern and northeastern territories of Syria in Ar Raqqah, Al-Hasakah, and Deir ez-Zor Governorates, where the largest oil and gas fields of Syria are located. The Americans are there illegally extracting Syria’s natural resources, thereby undermining its economy. As of October 2021, about one thousand US soldiers are in Syria against the will of the Syrian leadership, implementing Washington’s expansionist, de facto neo-colonial policy.
It is imperative to note that the US military is intensively engaged with anti-government groups that want to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government. Such actions are undoubtedly unacceptable from the point of view of international law. Therefore, the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic protests against the American military presence, including the UN, stating that such actions by Washington are unacceptable.
However, despite this, the USA does not lose hope of turning Syria into its satellite state. In its actions, Washington is also actively seeking to weaken Russia’s role in Middle Eastern politics. The primary purpose of the American leadership’s policy notoriously is to create conditions for the uncontrolled extraction of natural resources worldwide. The Syrian Arab Republic is no exception. While continuing its unsuccessful effort to topple Bashar al-Assad today, Washington is trying to get Syria’s natural resources for its own use.
Over the decades, Middle Easterners, mainly Iraqis, have lost faith in the US to bring them freedom and democracy, so the average Middle Easterner associates the American soldier with something dangerous and untrustworthy. In the age of information technology, it is not easy to hide the facts of numerous war crimes. The whole world has witnessed the US atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other countries where US troops are deployed. As a consequence, many nations view the US with apprehension.
On September 26, 2021, US military aircraft landed troops in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River for an anti-terrorist operation. According to media reports, the operation took place in Al-Shuhayl village. As they landed, American paratroopers opened fire on residences and outbuildings. At least three civilians were killed as a result, according to local media reports.
During September, similar “anti-terrorist operations” were conducted in al-Jasmi and Busaiteen villages north of Deir ez-Zor Governorate, where the US military took groups of prisoners to an unknown destination. The US military command saw no need to explain its actions to either Syrian authorities or the international community.
The actions of US authorities to actively support the Syrian Kurds and promises to help them achieve independence can violate the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. Not to mention Washington’s disruption of the political equilibrium throughout the Middle East region.
In September 2021, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan said he believes the US should leave Syria and Iraq the same way it recently left Afghanistan. Erdoğan is convinced that Washington does not need to maintain military contingents in these countries because the situation in the world has drastically changed. The Turkish leader noted that these states have the right to make their own decisions and control their destiny.
The very fact that representatives of Turkey, a NATO member and one of the most active participants in Washington’s big geopolitical game in the Middle East, say that the USA needs to withdraw its troops from Syria clearly demonstrates that the US position is weakening.
On September 29, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdoğan met in Sochi, Russia. The Turkish leader attaches great importance to Russian-Turkish relations because he believes that order to the region largely stands on them. Recep Erdoğan said Turkey had sent its military contingent to the Syrian Arab Republic to speed up its reconstruction process. The Turkish President also expressed hope that the world’s leading powers will work together to achieve stability and peace in Syria. Vladimir Putin praised the dialogue between Russia and Turkey. For his part, the Russian President said that Russia will continue to help de-escalate the conflict situation in Syria.
Summarizing the above, it can be assumed that the American leadership will be forced to announce the withdrawal of troops from Syria in the foreseeable future. According to analysts, Washington’s initial goals to replace the official authorities in Damascus are currently unrealistic. American leadership needs to realize this. At some point, acute domestic political problems and a growing annual national debt should force the United States to stop interfering in the life of independent Middle Eastern states.
Dmitry Bokarev, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.