Analysis, Middle East, Side Feature

What’s behind the Military Withdrawal of the US from Syria?

Trump’s announcement to withdraw militarily from Syria brought a storm of protest in Congress, even from elements within the Republican Party. Also, the Commander of United States Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel and the American envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, Brett H. McGurk, fiercely protested the military withdrawal, causing the resignation of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis. But foremost the Kurds from Syria expressed their deep concerns.

So, the question arises, why has Trump pushed this withdrawal against all odds? Is it a haphazard action of Trump or is this just a part of a bigger strategy?

Firstly, it must be stated that a military withdrawal doesn’t by any means, implicate a withdrawal of US presence or influence from the region. And especially if the military withdrawal comprises a small amount which doesn’t exceed a couple of thousand military personal as in the case of Syria. On the contrary, history teaches us exactly the opposite. Foreign military occupation or military presence is just one among the many tools of these colonial states to exercise their influence.

This been said, back in March this year, Trump stated that he would bring back the troops home once “the battle is won.” He didn’t specify a date but he expressed his objectives back then without any serious opposition. But now that he is willing to realise this, tumult arose as if this came out of the blue. So, these reactions against Trump’s decision should be most likely evaluated and contextualised within already existing friction with some parties in the US with Trump.

Despite these kinds of differences which are related to means and resources, the position of the US about Syria was never clouded. The Syrian regime and its secular system must stay, with or without Bashar al-Assad and oppositions with an Islamic project must be diluted, canalized or eliminated. This summarises exactly the US policy for the past 7 years in Syria together with its allies, Turkey, Iran and Russia.

As a result of this policy, the weak Syrian regime regained control over almost every region in Syria except the Idlib region were the last remanence of the opposition are present and the Northern region were the Kurds have their semi-autonomous region. The endgame seems nearby. The only obstacles for the unification and resurrection of the Syrian regime is the Syrian opposition and the Kurds in the North.

As for the Kurdish region, the US nurtured them and protected them against Turkey and has used them effectively in fighting the group of Bagdadi and Islamic groups. A military withdrawal of the US will leave them defenceless against, on one hand the Turkish threat and on the other hand Bashar al-Assad who wants to bring all of Syria again under his government control.

This is why the Kurdish leaders felt the heat and immediately launched talks with Damascus for direct and bilateral settlement when they heard about the US withdrawal. So, the Kurds are indirectly forced in to negotiation with the Syrian regime which will ultimately lead in to merging of North Syria into a “unified” Syria.

Also, a remarkable but explanatory reaction came from the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He said that Turkey and other world powers would consider working with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he won a democratic election. And Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir visited Bashar Al-Assad and expressed his hope that Syria will soon recover its important regional role again. By officially recognising this murderous regime, they expose and at the same time, confirm the upcoming American move.

Talks about the resumption of Syria in the Arab League are already taking place. This was explained by an informant at the League headquarters in Cairo on Thursday against Sputnik.

Previously, a source in the administration of the Tunisian president had said that several Arab countries, including Tunisia and Algeria, are coordinating efforts to repatriate Syria to the organization. According to the spokesman, Tunisia, Iraq and Algeria are focused to restore full participation of Syria in the work of the League again.

The US withdrawal was also welcomed by the Russian Foreign Ministry by stating that a withdrawal will create prospects for a political settlement in Syria’s civil.

And the bilateral telephone meeting of Trump with Erdogan prior to the announcement of the withdrawal only confirms that the US’s withdrawal is not a haphazard action but a move within a bigger evil plan to eliminate the Syrian uprising together with its allies.

وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

“And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.”

[Al-Anfal: 30]


Okay Pala

Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in The Netherlands