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US Military Pullout from Syria: Declaring Victory To Hide Near Total Defeat

December 20, 2018

This photo, of Syrian supporters of the Assad government is two years old, from 2016. I was looking for one from a a few days ago when nearly half a million demonstrated in support of the government in Damascus. Curiously, couldn’t find one from Goggle images.

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All Donald Trump is doing by his announcement to pull U.S. troops from the country east of the Euphrates River is bowing to the reality of the situation and doing what amounts to damage control, rather than digging the hole Washington finds itself in that much deeper. Trump’s announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria – characteristically in a tweet – is a prudent decision, admittedly one of the few positive foreign or domestic decisions he’s made in his presidency. 

As such, it is, in a world where global tensions are increasing dramatically, a step in the right direction. 

Now let’s see if it happens. 

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Donald Trump’s announcement that as president of the United States he plans a total pullout of U.S. troops from Eastern Syria has caught many in Washington – both Democrats and Republicans – by surprise. Many Republican senators and representatives are already howling. No doubt, if former C.I.A. director John Brennan is any indication, many mainstream Dems will join them. Ron Paul has come out on the Republican side as a lone voice supporting the pull out. I am hopeful that some of the new more dynamic congress people, mostly women, will support such a pull out although I haven’t yet seen their statements.

Let me state clearly and unequivocally, that I support such a pull-out of U.S. military from Syria 100%. Maybe even 110%.

Such an announcement has been coming for some time. It represents a response to the realities on the ground in Syria where the U.S. supported forces, the very forces supposedly the administration claims to be opposing, ISIS, al Nusra, etc., are increasingly isolated, and facing complete destruction and defeat. Washington has supported – and directed – these forces in Syria through a number of proxies – the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey, the Emirates, even Israel, but through it all it is Washington that has been the main conductor of this dark orchestra.

Nor is it the U.S. military presence in Syria that has had much to do with the defeat of ISIS and company; rather it is the Syrian military supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbullah that has done the lion’s share of the job – and deserves the credit.

U.S. attempt to overthrow the Assad government in Syria has always been a bipartisan effort. The goal was clearly articulated from the outset in 2011: partition the country either de facto or de jure as Washington had done in Iraq, Libya. Why partition? Smaller, decentralized states are easier for Washington and the oil companies to negotiate with and control politically and economically in a period when despite the demands for fossil fuel use are growing despite what in the long run are shrinking reserves. There are geo-political considerations as well at stake.

The methods in all three cases (Iraq, Libya, Syria) were similar:

a. Vilify a not very democratic leader of a strongly centralized state as a way of mobilizing world public opinion at least long enough to achieve military victory. In all three cases, what might be called a legitimate, national opposition to their governments existed, one calling for both economic and political reform. But early on these legitimate domestic opponents of the regime were pushed aside and marginalized by the ISIS/al Nusra types who then seize the social movement transforming it something insidious.

The vilification of the leadership of these countries – not difficult because the leadership was often corrupt and to varying degrees repressive – permitted Washington to call for “humanitarian intervention,” to suggest that Washington was overthrowing governments militarily for the good of their own people. This is utter nonsense, propaganda of a most cynical nature based on “Crusader,” missionary (be it secular or religious) mentality, racist and imperialist to its very core, credible only to those misguided elements, many of them liberal by the way, who have swallowed the cool aid of the benign intentions of U.S. foreign policy. “Humanitarian Intervention” brought on a wave of Cruise missiles, F-16 bombings, drone attacks and Special Forces operations is “intervention” for sure, but never humanitarian.

b. Put together a military coalition either directly led by the U.S. (Iraq) or indirectly managed by Washington (Libya, Syria). In Libya U.S. allies – both European (France, UK) and Middle Eastern (U.A.E., Qatar) – intervened directly. The Syrian case was a little different. There, as in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Islamic militant factions, armed, trained, relocated to Syria through Turkey and Jordan, funded by U.S. allies mentioned above (Saudi’s, Turkey, Qatar, the Emirates, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia) took the lead.

But ultimately Syria was Washington’s war and it was first the Obama Administration and more recently the Trump presidency that has called the shots. What working through such a complex system of proxies tends to do is to hide Washington’s ultimate responsibility; it gives Washington a cover, plausible deniability, so to speak and puts the actual losses in life and limb as well as a good deal of the costs of going to war on the U.S. allies doing the fighting.

But let’s not mince words: In Syria, Washington suffered a strategic military and political defeat, nothing less. All Donald Trump is doing by his announcement to pull U.S. troops from the country east of the Euphrates River is bowing to the reality of the situation and doing what amounts to damage control, rather than digging the hole Washington finds itself in that much deeper.

The hole Washington has dug for itself has gone far beyond Syria – to Afghanistan, to AFRICOM build up on the African continent.  It is not only the U.S. “war on terrorism” that has failed, it is the global counter-insurgency policy that has been in place since the end of the Cold War, intensified after the events of September 11, 2001.

The defeat of the United States and its allies to partition Syria, is in my view, a strategic defeat of major proportions compared to the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. A U.S. military withdrawal from Syria should be celebrated, not mourned nor criticized. Getting down to brass tacks – it prevents the danger of a direct military confrontation with Russia which is where the situation would be heading if the U.S. military build up in eastern Syria continues.

All Donald Trump is doing by his announcement to pull U.S. troops from the country east of the Euphrates River is bowing to the reality of the situation and doing what amounts to damage control, rather than digging the hole Washington finds itself in that much deeper. Trumps announcement – characteristically in a tweet – of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria is a prudent decision, admittedly one of the few positive decisions he’s made in his presidency.

As such, it is, in a world where global tensions are increasing dramatically, a step in the right direction.

Now let’s see if it happens

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Part Two, Three, Four

7 Comments leave one →
  1. William Conklin permalink
    December 20, 2018 4:04 pm

    It is about time to hear some praise for the Orange Clown. He has now done four great things for America:

    1. He ended the Bush family dynasty.
    2. He ended the Clinton family dynasty.
    3. He is getting us out of Syria.
    4. He hasn’t started a war with Russia over the Ukraine.

    Now let’s hope that his placement of the American Embassy in Jerusalem pisses off so many people that the world demands an end to the Zionist occupation.

Trackbacks

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  5. US Military Pullout from Syria: Declaring Victory To Hide Near Total Defeat – 3 – In Its Own “Humanitarian Intervention, Syrian Government Troops (the Assad Government) Enter Manbij in an effort to derail a Turkish Invasion of Northern SyriaR
  6. US Military Pullout from Syria: Declaring Victory To Hide Near Total Defeat – 4 – In Its Own “Humanitarian Intervention” Syria Comes To The Aid of Its Kurds – The Kurds, Assad, and Russian Air Support Undermine Erdogan and Trump… |

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