By Scott Taylor
Last Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the declaration that American troops will remain in Syria indefinitely. Tillerson’s remarks came on the heels of the recently announced defeat of Daesh (aka ISIS or ISIL) evildoers in both Iraq and Syria.
The reason given for U.S. soldiers remaining in Syria was not limited to the prevention of another Daesh movement; these troops are admittedly staying in order to counter the power of both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran. Of course, the buzzwords used by the U.S. State Department are that their combat soldiers will be used to bring “stability” and “security” to the region.
The sad fact is that no one even thought to question Tillerson as to just what the hell American soldiers are doing in Syria in the first place, and under what legal authority were they deployed?
There was never a declaration of war against Assad’s Syrian regime, even though from the outset of the uprising in the spring of 2011 the U.S. wholeheartedly sided with the anti-Assad rebels. In fact, the U.S. poured in weapons and advisors to assist the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels until it was revealed that they weren’t so moderate after all.
The U.S.-funded Syrian opposition leadership debated policies in Istanbul cafés while the actual Syrian rebels battled Assad’s loyalists in the country’s urban centres. It did not take long for these rebel groups’ true Islamic extremist nature to be revealed, and in 2014 they emerged as the Daesh scourge. As this Sunni Muslim faction poured out of Syrian bases and captured large swaths of central Iraq in the summer of 2014, the U.S. was compelled to rush military assistance back into Iraq to prop up the impotent regime in Baghdad.
Once they were back in the neighbourhood, the U.S. forces helping to battle Daesh in Iraq took the opportunity to take that fight across the Syrian border to battle Daesh there as well. Now, since Daesh was technically fighting Assad in Syria, any U.S. military operations against Daesh rebels would have indirectly assisted the embattled Syrian president. However, unlike the Russian and Iranian militaries that were invited into Syria by the recognized official government in Damascus, the U.S. simply authorized its troops to start killing people in a foreign civil war. All in the name of security and stability. And now they say they will stay in Syria indefinitely as they have learned their lesson of premature withdrawal from the fiasco that befell Iraq after the U.S. withdrew its combat forces in 2011.
For the record, the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq in 2003 on the false claim of self-defence from a fictional arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein never possessed. During the eight-year American occupation of Iraq, that country was plunged into an orgy of interfactional bloodletting that the American military proved powerless to curtail.
The Daesh onslaught in 2014 into Iraq’s Sunni Triangle was not an isolated operation, but simply a continuation of the perpetual cycle of violence that the U.S. started with their illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Now their plan is to remain in northern Syria’s Kurdish separatist region, which has successfully freed itself from Assad’s authority. It is America’s stated intention to create a 30,000-strong unified Kurdish security force from the various splinter groups and factions that have been fighting against a variety of foes in the multifaceted Syrian civil war for the past seven years.
This sounds good in theory, but many of those Kurdish fighters have links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the notorious terrorist organization that has been active for decades just across the Syrian-Turkish border. Naturally, Turkey has immediately decried the plan to create a Kurdish military force on its border while Turkish security forces are actively engaging PKK fighters in the eastern Kurdish-majority region of Turkey.
If that is Tillerson’s recipe for stability and security, I would hate to see what he could concoct if his objective was to sow chaos and reap violence.