by Jay Lorenz
Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis shot off a warning to Assad for alleged chemical attacks. Washington had heard enough sob stories from partisan NGOs and anti-government forces that it reprimanded the Syrian government publicly. On Wednesday, the United States followed through. After pro-regime forces assaulted the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the United States lead a counter strike, including airstrikes that reportedly killed over 100 people.
Americans are left to wonder why, now that ISIS is nearly eliminated and Assad is on his way to consolidating control, the United States persists is prolonging the conflict. The answer is that the United States wants to remain in the region in perpetuity in order to ensure that it remains the most powerful player in the region. Massive resource wealth, geostrategic position, and, of course, our greatest ally Israel all lie in the Middle East. If the U.S. cared about stability and limiting conflict, it would have focused on defeating ISIS, then left, or never have entered the conflict at all. As it stands, the United States is fighting almost every side in a war full of different groups and interests. When the U.S. military goes into a war stating its two primary enemies are ISIS and Assad, who are the primary enemies of each other, you know our government isn’t being straight forward.
But here we are again. As the war moves toward a natural conclusion, the U.S. government, Israel, international “humanitarian” organizations, and the media establishment are beating the drums of war. The ostensible reasons for the U.S. being there are gone, so new ones must be created. Outlets like the New York Times run blatant pubic relations against the Syrian government:
“Half a dozen newborns, blinking and arching their backs, were carried from a burning hospital hit by airstrikes. A bombed apartment house collapsed, burying families. Medics doused patients with water after a suspected chlorine attack, one of five in Syria since the start of the year.”
The poor children. Muh chemical weapons. We’ve heard this all before. Only a fool could believe this is actually about alleviating the suffering of children and stopping chemical atrocities. Why, when heinous human rights violations are being committed in many places across the world, do we only seem to care about them when they are done by enemies of Israel?
Another great bit of propaganda is the naming of the Kurdish rebel forces. They are called the Syrian Democratic Forces. Notice there is no mention of the ethnic basis of the group. They are branded as simply Syrian Democrats fighting against an anti-Democratic government which oppresses them. The fact is, their existence is not due to disagreements over policy or a fight for democracy, but ethnic differences between Kurds and the Alawite ruling regime. The U.S. and the media will always dress Middle East conflicts up as battles for greater ideals like democracy and freedom, but in that region, it fundamentally comes down to religion, ethnicity, and sometimes even tribal affiliation. When the U.S. gets involved, it is supporting one religious or ethnic group over another, not any high ideals.
The war is heating up on another front as well. Turkey invaded Afrin in northwest Syria in late January, another area controlled by Kurdish (YPG) forces. When last week Turkey threatened to take the initiative further east into Manbij, where U.S. forces are present, the U.S. responded that it would defend the area against any attack. Now, the American insistence on remaining in the conflict has caused it to butt up against a NATO ally. For now, the U.S. says it is committed to maintaining the Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria in order to prevent the ISIS from rising again and to prevent the spread of Iranian influence. Not mentioned in the official U.S. goals is that it is there to prevent Assad from regaining control of the country. The U.S. neglects to mention that it is supporting anti-government operations within sovereign Syrian territory, and that this is the most significant aspect of its involvement.
The latest, and potentially most serious, bit of news from Syria came over the weekend when Israel attacked Syrian and Iranian forces. Israel claimed that an Iranian drone had violated its airspace, so it attacked the command center. On that mission, an Israeli plane was allegedly shot down, so Israel attacked even more positions. With Israeli and Iranian forces now clashing directly, the war may be starting anew.
If you assumed that after ISIS was gone, we would leave, you were dead wrong. The U.S. is invested in staying in Syria and will stay there no matter the circumstances. Every day we are there, voices will be shouting for an expansion of the war. The stories of chemical weapons use by the evil Assad regime will continue. The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces and other U.S. aligned forces will continue to do nothing wrong. Stories of Iranian atrocities are likely to trickle in now. With so many actors and so much uncertainty, it is difficult to tell where exactly this will go. One thing is for sure: none of it will benefit the American people.