Will Trump and Soleimani trade Iraq for Syria?

Beirut by Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Trump will pull out US forces in 30 days…. Trump won’t withdraw now… Trump will pull out from Syria in four months…The US forces began withdrawing military equipment but not the personnel… Trump will maintain a 20 mile buffer zone in Syria…

All these contradictory announcements have come from the White House in the last month or so, indicating some combination of the current occupant of the White House’s lack of experience in foreign policy, or lack of control of his own administration. Nobody in the Middle East believes Trump. Only President Erdogan confirmed the serious intention of the US to withdraw from Syria but was knocked down by Trump’s threat to “cripple the Turkish economy if Turkey attacks the Kurds”. But soon after Trump’s threat to Erdogan, he again changed his mind and suddenly announced a new plan for a buffer zone “to protect the Kurds”, Turkey’s worse enemies in the Levant. Trump is signaling a high degree of confusion about his intention to stay or leave Syria.

It doesn’t matter if the world doesn’t understand what Trump’s plan is. There is no point in trying to analyse and predict the next step because Trump himself doesn’t seem to know what to do next. He wakes up with one decision and seems to change it hours later or the following day.

Nevertheless, Trump’s continuously changing plans are not preventing his adversary the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani – the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the al Quds Brigade responsible for supporting all movements of the oppressed peoples in the world, mainly the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi, Palestinian and Afghan groups, but others as well – from making plans to counter Trump in Syria and Iraq.

Well informed sources say “Soleimani is holding meetings with various of his allies’ groups in the Middle East to stand against US forces and push them away from Iraq and Syria”. According to these sources, neither Iran nor Russia believe in Trump’s declared intention to withdraw and both are convinced that at least some US forces will remain in the Levant. Soleimani is planning to move more aggressively with his allies once the last ISIS stronghold east of the Euphrates is reconquered. ISIS maintains an area of around 15 sqkm with several villages on the Euphrates and is currently under attack by Kurdish forces supported by the coalition.

President Bashar al-Assad agreed with the Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayyad to reactivate coordination of tribal groups in northeast Syria with Iraqi forces. “Assad gave the green light to Iraq to coordinate with the Arab tribes in Syria and to push Iraqi security forces into Syria when and if needed to end ISIS control if the US is not willing to finishing the job quickly”.

Such an arrangement has potential disadvantages Syria and Iraq are aware of. The US forces occupying Northeast Syria could attack Iraqi-Syrian forces attacking ISIS controlled areas as they did in the past. Last year, Israeli jets bombed the Hashd al-Shaabi command and control headquarters on the borders with Syria and US jets twice destroyed Syrian forces trying to attack ISIS, one group crossing the Euphrates, and other advancing towards al-Tanf.

“If and when the US attack Iraqi forces, such an act of aggression will put pressure on the Iraqi government to ask for the total withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq. If this doesn’t happen, another source of leverage will be to make sure US forces in Iraq are under continuous threat. There are many groups in Mesopotamia unfriendly to the US, determined to see their country free from any foreign troops, particularly the US forces, considered the source of all the troubles the Middle East suffers from”, say the sources.

Thus, the “Axis of the Resistance” is planning to face down US hegemony in the Levant and Mesopotamia. Iraq and Syria are not friends of Washington and will never act like the Gulf monarchies propped up by US protection. If the US establishment decides to stay in Syria and continue its occupation of the country or establish a “buffer zone”, the cards will be reshuffled again.

If this happens, Turkey, considered to date a friend of Russia, may become an enemy by occupying northeast Syria and deploying forces in the buffer zone suggested by Trump. If and when Turkey does that, it will pass into the hostile camp by opposing Russia’s plan to protect the integrity of Syria. Such an accommodation with the US might help Turkey fulfill its dream of occupying part of Syria. In this case, Turkey will be considered an enemy and will suffer attacks from the Syrians, supported by Damascus. Local Arab tribes and Kurds will be armed, enough to defend themselves and to counter attack Turkish forces or their allies in al-Hasaka. 

The Kurds and Damascus will then have the same objective, i.e. the return of northeast Syria to Syrian army control rather than subject to Turkish control or a US-Turkish understanding. And Iran will fight the US through its allies in the Middle East, including Iraq. What is unclear is why the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF – Led by Kurds) announced its readiness to support the creation of a safe-zone, a zone Turkey is gathering for it over 80,000 men and is hoping to control around 420 km wide and 32 km deep (bigger than the seize of Lebanon) in Kurdish controlled provinces of Raqqa and al-Hasaka. 

The US establishment has asked the Iranians to mediate with the Taliban to spare US forces from lethal attacks. The US establishment also asked Iran to refrain from attacking its troops in Iraq. Assent to these requests will be forthcoming if the US responds to one important request from Iran: total withdrawal from Syria. If Trump cannot do it, the US president may be sweating through a hot summer this year.

Proofread by: C.G.B.

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17 thoughts on “Will Trump and Soleimani trade Iraq for Syria?

  1. “…the cards will be reshuffled again…”

    …And how many times…IRGC’s long term planning contemplates different scenarios when confronting the US/Israel/NATO/Saudi et al monkeys, and the ongoing hybrid war against Iran takes many vectors, from intel to psy-ops to kinetic to economic war to a scientific, technological arms race. Bolton and Pompeo have just declared the US “a force of good” in the ME, they seem to be remaking/rehashing la Rice’s “New Middle East” in steroids.

    The “leak” about Bolton ordering the US Army to plan Iran’s bombing, and “btw, just add Syria and Iraq to the bombing plans, they are on the way,” is nothing new or newsworthy. Bolton is Iran’s worse nemesis, so much so “Mad Dog” Mattis held his plans of bombing Iran on a flimsy pretext as a sure sign he was the only sane person at Trump’s Mad House.

    The two-punch lines coming from Trump’s foaming at the mouth Neo-ZioNazis, Bolton and Pompeo, is giving clear signs they have decided to go ALL THE WAY in their drive for regime change in Iran, + or – a few additions, retaking their lost control of the ME and their oil resources. Cui bono? It was clearly spelled out by Bolton: US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, in that order. Many prescient and prestigious observers of international politics have been already warning us about the upcoming “Trump’s war,” (Bhadrakumar’s “Is Trump starting his own war, Finally?” https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/01/12/is-trump-starting-his-own-war-finally.html), and with reason, since the combination of a US “president” with full access to unleashing evil and destructive forces, in danger of losing it all at the altar of his fake, phony, corrupted mafia life, combined with manipulative, experienced evil operatives such as Bolton, who is politically savvy and very aware of the political and legal hole Trump is in and fast and furiously digging further, can surely make Trump an offer he can’t refuse.

    A war on Iran could save Trump and his mafia family empire, and fulfill Bolton’s last wish before he dies of asphyxiation with his own hate-mongering foaming, but it will launch the entire ME region and the world on a spin so dangerous, the Doomsday Clock will have to be set a minute to midnight.

    So, despite all the b.s. about a Syrian withdrawal, it was just that. There is no such a thing as a free lunch, and the Axis of Resistance will have to work its way to free the Syrian and Iraqi lands from the occupiers. Here is an excerpt from another, earlier comment posted on another article by Mr. Magnier, that IMHO still applies to the current conditions, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”


    “…The US establishment is in denial…”

    […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


    PS: On Mambij, CIA/MI6 stooge SOHR claims the suicide bombing that killed US Army troops and CIA operatives, was a message from Turkey to put pressure on Trump to fulfill his promise, even though ISIS claimed it. Info is murky, it would be interesting to dig into whether this was a false flag to force a reversal on Trump’s promised exit, since suicide bombers attacking US forces is a first in Mambij and US occupied areas.

  2. The Iranians hold a stronger hand than Trump in Iraq and in Syria. A couple of bases in Syria? Who cares? Iran survived eight years of war with Saddam Hussein. A couple of thousand American soldiers who don’t want to be in Syria is not a big deal. Which is also the US problem in Iraq: the soldiers are there, but the appetite is long gone. It is the politicians who want to fight Iran to the death. The Iranians are willing to pay the price to maintain their hard won advantage.

    Yes, Trump and the west would ‘like’ to keep Iraq in our orbit for prestige purposes, and to lessen the obvious expansion of Iranian Shiite presence. But even the Sunni hate the US now. And as for Syria, as Trump knows, Syria is not key to US interests in anyway. We never had a base or a soldier there until Obama got hoodwinked into it.

    The Zionists desperately want the US in Syria to nag and wear down and subvert the Assad regime, and to wall off the Iranians. That was yet another thing that Obama did not get: once you give a chit to the Zionists, they will never let you take it away again. There was a satisfactory balance of power in the Levant until the US disempowered the Sunni in Iraq (what a curious decision) compelling the Shia from Iran to fill the breach or see serious instability next door.

    The Gulf rulers can’t cut back Iran’s expanded influence in any other way except via Syria at this point. ISIS is too dangerous to sponsor any more.

    It so happens that the US, and the Zionists in general, have been trying to buy off Assad, as they tried to buy off his father, for 50 years. The reward was always the same — return of Golan (which was always a lie; Israel will never give it back without a fight). Assad was supposed to cut off the weapons support of Hizbullah in Lebanon, and thus, Lebanon would become the vassal entity next to Israel that it was always intended to be. Wisely, both Assads always refused this deal.

    Iran would never, ever give up Syria, because there is no other way to transfer the supplies to Lebanon. Syria is not trade-able. Lebanon is Iran’s prestige partner. Lebanon, through Hizbullah, is the way that Iran protects its Islamic Legitimacy. From day one, back when the Ayatollah took power, Iran stood by the rights of the Palestinians, stood by Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. In those days, so did the Sunni. But as we all know, Sunni leaders in the Middle East , in recent years, all been bought off by the west and Zionists. Iran, and Hizbullah, remind the Sunni Arabs how gigantically their leaders have failed them.

    If Iran stays on good terms with Syria, it has two friends on the Mediterranean — Syria and Lebanon. If Iran lets Syria go, it loses Lebanon soon after. And why should it? The two best fighting forces in the Middle East (apart from Israel) since the 1980s are the Iranian military and Hizbullah’s ‘militia’ which it proudly sponsors.

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