Elijah J. Magnier – @ejmalrai
“The US forces will remain in Syria until they are forced to pull out”. This is what a high ranking source in Syria (a decision maker) said, in response to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who revealed the intention of the US operating in the north-east of Syria to remain in the country to “prevent the return of ISIS”.
“When the attack on Albu Kamal was planned, intelligence reports confirmed the presence of thousands of ISIS militants in the country. The city was a stronghold with huge weapons warehouses, military personnel and trenches not easy to deal with. A large number of attacking forces were involved to surround and storm the city. It was not considered an easy task to dislodge over 2,800 ISIS fighters barricaded in for years, and with a prepared defence plan and tunnels”, said the source.
The commander confirmed that “many weeks were needed to liberate Albu Kamal and eliminate all ISIS militants. We have also taken into account the considerable number of casualties in this difficult battle. However, to our biggest surprise, we were confronted with a much smaller number of militants left behind to slow down the advance and allowing the larger number of ISIS fighters to flee east of the Euphrates where the US forces are operating. Obviously, ISIS considers the US very merciful, offering a safe passage and a secure residence in the area under US control”.
“We hear from the US Secretary of State what we have always suspected: the US wants to stay in Syria to occupy the territory. This means Syria and Iraq should expect further terrorist attacks in the future for two reasons: firstly, because ISIS is re-organising itself under the US’s continuous watch. Secondly, ISIS attacks are expected to resume so that the US can find a continuing reason for its forces to stay in the country”, commented the high-ranking source.
When Donald Trump was a candidate to the presidency, he campaigned that Hillary Clinton, if re-elected, would trigger a third world war by staying in Syria and provoke the dislike of Russia. It is not surprising to see Trump eating his own promises, since it is not the first position he has revoked with conspicuous lack of diplomacy and, indeed, lack of knowledge in world affairs. Today, Trump – following the declaration of his Foreign Secretary – has decided to unlawfully occupy a Syrian territory which is very close to where Russia is operating.
Rex Tillerson’s language was quite confusing: in his latest speech he repeatedly said “ISIS was defeated”- but he also said that, because it “was not defeated”, it required the presence of US forces in Syria. He also gave another contradictory reason, saying that his forces are staying to “stop Iran’s influence” but changed again his focus to speak about the Lebanese Hezbollah issue and its “presence on the Israeli-Syrian borders”.
But ISIS is still in Syria, not only in the north-east under the US protection, but also on the Israeli borders- with Israeli officials’ approval. Both Israel and Tillerson are trying to ignore ISIS on the borders but also the dozens of Syrian groups ready to stand against the US and Israel. These have excelled in urban and guerrilla warfare for years against Takfiris and have learned from Hezbollah’s experience of fighting Israel for decades. They have learned the art of attack, not just defence; they were formed under fire and in life and death battles. These groups will very likely create a nightmare situation for Tillerson and Israel.
The US forces’ presence in the north-east of Syria will not change anything in respect of the Iranian presence and influence that has continued to increase throughout the years of war, and is stronger than ever. It is indeed US foreign policy that pushed Syria into the arms of Iran. This same policy forced the Syrian President into in bed with Hezbollah and to ask for its involvement and intervention at a time when many countries were conspiring against Syria to change the regime. Again, it is the same policy that pushed Assad to call Russia for help, bringing it back to the international arena and earning it a renewed 49 year contract for its naval base on the Syrian coast.
Actually, most of the things that the US and Israel didn’t want ever to happen have been triggered by the US itself, and materialised in the Levant. The only result they have achieved is to destroy the Syrian infrastructure, with several hundred thousand dead and millions of displaced persons, both refugees and huge numbers who were displaced internally.
What is more, the world order has now shifted, and unilateral, unchallenged US domination is over- thanks to the very same US foreign policy. Washington is trying to revive what is already dead: it therefore cannot be resuscitated. “Those who do not understand their past are condemned to repeat it”. By deciding to occupy further territory in the Middle East, the US is indeed ignoring history: it is useless to preach to the deaf.