US Program of Arming Kurds Has No Happy Ending in Iraq and Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- In comments that are doubtless going to add further chaos to the Syrian crisis, US Defense Secretary James Mattis insists the current program of arming the Kurdish YPG faction would not end after the capture of the ISIL-held city of Raqqa, and that they might just change the sort of weapons they’re giving the Kurds after that.

This comes less than a week after the US assured the world community that not only would the US stop arming the Kurds after the defeat of ISIL, but that they would then take all the weapons back from the Kurds at that point. Mattis appears to downplay the chances of this now, saying only that “we’ll do what we can to recover the arms.”

Either way, Mattis says the US is committed to arming the Kurds for quite some time, and the promise to disarm them afterwards seems to be little more than a notion to placate Turkey. The statement is a threat against the legitimate leadership of the Syrian government, and marks a continuation of the US instigating violence against Damascus – at a time when efforts are underway by Iran and Russia to start a ceasefire bid.

The situation, however, illustrates the futility of America’s Syrian adventure. Any leftover “goodwill” in post-ISIL Syria is offset by the many civilian deaths and injuries caused by the US military and cronies. After spending billions of dollars, after killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, after making over 11 million people refugees, and after destabilizing the entire planet, the US is still not winning the regime-change war – let alone winning hearts and minds in Syria. The solution is to double down on the failed US strategy of arming militants by sending even more weapons to the Kurds. But we have seen that costly and unproductive movie before and it never has a happy ending:

– US arming of Kurds adds nothing significant to the ongoing bombing campaign by the US-led coalition. The US is no longer a global policeman. It is rather disingenuous. It shows it is desperate to appease Saudi-Israeli allies.

– Without a shadow of a doubt, Syria needs post-ISIL reconciliation and reconstruction efforts and not more American weapons and bombs. With this in mind, who will these arms really benefit on the ground if they are successful? It will cause further instability and terror.

– The US was apparently invited to bomb ISIL in Iraq by the elected government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In contrast, who has invited the US to bomb Syria and arm its Kurds?

– The Trump administration’s arming of Kurdish forces as a possible game changer in post-ISIL Syria is based on a colonial policy from the failed Iraq and Afghanistan invasions. If this is true, then it is fair to say that it may not be as effective and accurate as many would like to believe. Arming the Kurds will not bring peace, stability and democracy to the region. In reality, it will only increase the likelihood of further chaos and bloodshed in post-ISIL Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, US bombs, arms, and military adventures are not what the region needs after ISIL is defeated. As ISIL continues to lose all of its territory, it is important to note that the problems facing Iraq and Syria, specifically the refugees and the displaced, would be factors such as destruction of civilian infrastructure, high unemployment, underemployment, marginalization, difficulty living in shattered communities and towns, disordered and unsatisfying local-regional relationships, and so forth. All this will likely still exist upon return, and may be even more frustrating to the traumatized returnees. The problems that initially motivated them to leave will also likely continue unabated, without new or satisfying solutions, having mystically rematerialized by the US arms upon their return from the refugee camps.

The available data suggest ultimate victory against ISIL in the military battle space. The war, however, is not won simply because Iraq, Syria and their Iranian-Russian allies have defeated ISIL on the battleground. Although terrorist groups like ISIL and Al-Qaeda will continue to utilize technology to lure new recruits and followers and promote a medieval ideology that condones murder, rape, and enslavement, among others, global efforts are needed to rebuild Iraq and Syria.

It’s the only way to broach a counter-narrative to defeat the idea of permanent US occupation and utopian “Caliphate” that can be brought into being through ruthless brutality and terrorism extended over the globe. This is not to say that national reconciliation and reconstruction efforts will be easy. Such efforts are often complicated by the fact that outside powers will try and intervene, and national governments and ethnic groups will lack adequate policy and legal frameworks on how to share power and work together. But there is some good in this and it is worth fighting for.

In summation, much emphasis is placed by the US on arming ethnic groups and changing sort of weapons as opposed to finding creative ways to incorporate them in post-ISIL national reconciliation and reconstruction campaigns. By building illegal military bases in the region, by arming the Kurds, and by creating counter-narratives and products to compete with the prolific unity campaigns, the US seeks to occupy Iraq and Syria permanently and break their national brands. There is yet the partition battleground to consider, which seems to be the top priority agenda of the US in Iraq and Syria at present. For the Iraqi and Syrian people, this will be just as important as defeating the ISIL narrative of building a utopian Caliphate in the Levant.