The US pretends to support the independence of Syria and Iraq


By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

During the International Institute for Strategic Studies 14thdialogue in the Bahraini Capital Manama, Bert McGurk, the US envoy for the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State group (ISIS), took leave of his designated function by expressing unusual solicitude for Syria when he said it is “necessary for the Iran-Backed militias to leave Syria to ensure a stable and independent country”. The US presidential special envoy also said he is looking forward to promoting “mutual US-Iraq interests and for the Iraqis to strengthen their own interests and sovereignty”.

McGurk, who was directly involved in the formation of the Iraqi leadership (Speaker, President and Prime Minister) in the last few months, didn’t manage to return his favourite candidate Haidar Abadi to power and failed to prevent Faleh al-Fayyad from coming to power. According to private sources in Baghdad, al-Fayyad will be nominated as Interior Minister, a position that requires coordination with US forces in Iraq. McGurk clashed with Fayyad on several occasions when he unsuccessfully sought to limit the activity of Iran and Hezbollah in supporting the formation of the new Iraqi leadership in Baghdad.

ISIS posting in front of US-made vehicles captured from the Kurds in Baghuz and Sousah.

The US is mustering all its diplomacy against Iran in preparation for unilateral implementation of full sanctions against the Islamic Republic, expected on the fourth of November. This is why McGurk is attacking Iran in Syria and Iran. Nevertheless, the new Iraqi government is reversing Abadi’s concession to the US: the new prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi has ordered Hashd al-Shaabi to deploy its forces along the Syrian-Iraqi borders. Abadi kept Hashd away from borders where the US forces are deployed and where they occupy part of Syrian territory and the al-Tanf crossing between the Levant and Mesopotamia.

Iraq MOD leaflets asking ISIS to surrender because they are surrounded due to the presence of Iraqi forces along the Syrian-Iraqi borders

Washington wrongly believes its forces can limit the influence and movement of the Iranian and allied forces in Syria by keeping the Marines in the country. Iranian influence is well established in Syria today, following its unlimited support to the government of Damascus. Even in Iraq, the US presence failed to limit Iran’s leverage on the new government.

US concern is indeed justified: Washington and its allies have lost and failed to “change the regime” in Damascus despite seven long years of war. The Americans used all possible tools and pressure to no avail. US leadership used the “chemical attacks” excuse to bomb the Syrian army without creating any change on the ground. It has used also the card of the Syrian refugees, trying to block their voluntary return. It failed to keep the Jordanian-Syrian crossing at Naseeb closed to prevent Syria from recovering part of its economy. It is also keeping al-Tanf under occupation to stop the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Damascus from the considerable trade between Iraq and Syria.

The US establishment did not hesitate to support al-Qaeda in Idlib indirectly – after its direct military and training support to al-Qaeda throughout the years of war – by launching a serious warning to Assad in case of any attack against rural Idlib and Latakia where jihadists are based, and Turkey has failed to dislodge them. Moreover, Washington is using the Kurds of al-Hasaka province as human shields to protect the US forces occupying the province. And last but not least, the US is using the UN to try and alter the Syrian constitution, a move only the Syrian parliament can do.

All the above didn’t stop McGurk from calling for the withdrawal of Iranian-backed forces “to ensure a stable and independent Syria”. The US envoy forgot that the US forces were never invited to Syria and are considered an occupation force. Moreover, it is Damascus who asked for Iran’s support against the jihadists when the US and its allies (Saudi Arabia and Turkey) allowed a free passage to these hoping to create a fail state. Therefore, it is not up to Washington – nor to Moscow, as Russian officials have reiterated – to seek the withdrawal of any non-Syrian forces from the Levant.

ISIS media showing Kurds killed during the last battle in “al-Baraka” (Syria).

During the seven years of war, the US never ever aimed for the stability of Syria nor did it work in harmony with the “interests of the people”. Νo Syrian institution gave the right and freedom to the US to speak on its behalf. US forces are blocking al-Tanf crossing in order to impoverish the Syrian population. The US has protected ISIS in the north-east enclave without destroying the jihadists. Not only that, ISIS attacked, imprisoned and killed dozens of the Kurds acting as US proxies in north-east Syria who allowed ISIS to move in and occupy areas around Hajin. When units of the Syria army looking to combat ISIS moved hundreds of meters east of the Euphrates into an ISIS-controlled area a few months ago, the US destroyed them, thereby supporting ISIS’s ongoing presence in the region.

The US establishment is in denial. It has not come to terms with its defeat in Iraq and Syria. Today, it is moving unilaterally against Iran to implement further sanctions that can certainly harm the Iranian economy. Nevertheless, the Americans will not be able to uproot the Iranian ideology that has taken root in Iraq and Syria precisely because of the failed US foreign policy and regime change strategy that was meant to protect its hegemony and dominance in the Middle East.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.B.

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26 thoughts on “The US pretends to support the independence of Syria and Iraq

  1. I particularly like that final sentence! Right on target. America has become a cancerous sore
    upon the world body. We all know what one has to do to rid oneself of such a disease.


    You make very good, valid points, however, and though I cannot speak for Mr. Magnier, I don’t believe he ascribes an absolute value to the term “defeat.” The defeat of imperialism is not a one shot deal, it takes place through particular phases in specific regions. It’s an ebb and flow, you win some, you lose some. Following on my Viet Nam example down below, the empire had long term plans for the control and exploitation of South East Asia, broken and postponed through the Viet Nam defeat. Now they are back under a different guise, as defenders of “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea, blah, blah, blah.

    The defeat Mr. Magnier refers to, specific to the most recent imperial plans in the ME, is a witches brew of Condoleezza Rice “New Middle East,” followed by the legitimate popular uprising, later co-opted as the “Arab Spring,” which gave birth to the bastard children of the “Caliphate,” touched with a spoonful of delusional “Greater Israel.” The “constructive chaos” La Rice forecasted will follow the “birth pangs” of the “New Middle East,” the 2006 Summer War, kicked off in 2011 in Tunisia, expanded through the Magreb, and hasn’t ended yet.

    Nevertheless, the “caliphate” is no longer viable, it has been reduced to Idlib and small pockets in Syria and Iraq; US ambitions to control Iraq have been checked by Iran, which has grown stronger as the axis of the Axis of Resistance, and has defeated the empire’s every attempt to isolate it or impose its will on Iran and the region. Hezbollah, a strong arm of the Axis of Resistance, went from a rag-tag guerrilla group to a full fledge army, missiles and all in a few years, while defeating the “caliphate” and the US/Israel/KSA/GCC cannibals. The ambitions for a “Greater Israel” have been checked, in the North by Hezbollah, and in the East by Syria/Iran.

    A balance of the current situation will tell us the plans and designs of the empire and its coalition of monkeys (KSA/GCC), plus bastard child Israel, have been defeated. Whether this is a temporary defeat, only time will tell. But as in the case of Tet Offensive I mentioned below, denial is the best cover for defeat, whether full or partial, temporary or permanent.

    Lone Wolf

    PS: Bolsonaro in Brazil is a case study of the empire’s new strategy of “soft coups,” and of the weaknesses of the half-way “revolutionary reforms” implemented by populist elected governments such as Lula, Chavez, Morales, et al. AMLO in Mexico is next in line.

    Lone Wolf

  3. While I agree with your assessment overall, I am worried that the thought that “The US establishment is in denial. It has not come to terms with its defeat in Iraq and Syria.” is premature and overconfident. Witness the ‘defeat’ of U.S. imperialism in LatAm by the ‘Pink Tide’ a decade ago but now LatAm is fully in the grip of American neoliberalism and outright fascism (Bolsonaro) with only three beleaguered bastions of independence left (Cuba, Venezuela & Bolivia). The U.S. approaches its quest for hegemony with a long view and setbacks (like the defeat of the Venezuelan coup in ’02) are viewed as just that, setbacks, not defeats. Similarly, there is no talk of ‘defeat’ in the U.S. halls of power and only time (decades) will tell (if humanity survives to see it) whether the evident setback in the U.S./NATO/GCC/Israeli Mideast agenda are actually the ‘defeats’ we hope they are, or were only minor ‘setbacks.

  4. Nice to see you here, Lone Wolf. I remember you from MoA, but I gather you no longer post comments there(?)

  5. Another masterpiece. This the truth laid out before us. Thank you.

  6. “…The US establishment is in denial…”

    Well, it happens. Like a rich, spoiled rotten kid (Trump is a good example), the US grew up materially in complete dissonance with the other aspects of its self. A 200+ year old country trying to play in the big leagues with cultures that have been around for thousands of years, despite getting smacked here and there by the grown ups, the US will stubbornly continue its goal of Full Spectrum Dominance.

    The US establishment denial is historical. Remember Viet Nam’s Tet offensive? The US military were not only in complete denial, they stated they had won, only to delay their complete defeat and withdrawal for a few years, assuring the mil-ind complex a few more billion dollars. The Vietnamese strategy of “talk-talk, fight-fight” finally took them to the round/square table of negotiations, finishing their imperialistic ventures in the Asian region.

    The Syrian government has a good example in the Russian troika, Putin/Lavrov/Shoigu, who don’t stop talking to their “partners” and “colleagues” in the West, at the same time implementing measures to defend their interests. The withdrawal of the US from Syria will take place only after they are convinced, by hook or by crook, their goals of domination in the region have been thwarted, and they can go no further. Their main target is not Syria anymore, is Iran, but they need Syria as a launchpad and training ground for their proxy forces to keep the Iranians tied up and off balance. The most recent terrorist attack on a military march in Iran, which the Iranians responded with a missile attack on US-supported ISIS forces close to a US military base, is an example of the type of activity the US will launch on Iran from Syria.

    The continued US presence in Syria (and Iraq) after the defeat of ISIS/AQ, signals the stage has changed to a war of attrition. The Iranians are masters at this type of war, as they fought one not so long ago against Saddam’s Iraq, a war also instigated by the US. The Iranian military and political cadre currently leading Iran, are in their majority a result of that war, were trained by fighting on it, and were marked by that experience. Qasem Suleimaine, Iranian master strategist, Sun-Tzu of the Middle East, was a young kid during that war, whose subtle abilities foraging for goats from the Iraqi troops earned him admiration on both sides of the front lines.

    Who knows who is killing so many AQ commanders in Syria. Who knows who is organizing civilian protests against the Kurd-occupied Arab towns in Syria. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine, but those are the hallmarks of a war of attrition, where the enemy can be anywhere, can be anyone, and can strike anytime. The US proxies/Kurds are rounding up all youth in the towns they occupy, a prevention against further attacks. We know what happens were repression and oppression are the only weapons left in the hands of occupiers. The US occupation in Syria will only finish after their plans of breaking Iran’s will have evaporated into thin air. Iran, a proud country heir to the Persian empire, has seen empires and invaders swallowed by the desert sands for thousands of years. The US, a spoiled-rotten, dissolute, impudent, fat and ugly rich kid, living in absolute denial, will have the same end, sooner or later.

    Lone Wolf

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