TEHRAN (FNA)- Defense Secretary James Mattis says the United States intends to build a number of new military “observation outposts” on the Turkey-Syria border. The posts will be inside Syrian territory, where the Kurdish forces are based.
Mattis claims the intention is to reduce tensions between the Turkish government and the Kurdish YPG. He says the US would be able to “call the Turks and warn them if we see something coming out of an area we’re operating in.”
But, the US never went to Syria to prevent clashes between the YPG and Turkish forces in the first place, or limit the risks of conflict between the YPG and the Turkish military – although both sides are broadly hostile toward one another. If anything, this reflects US intentions to have more facilities, and a more or less permanent set of outposts to occupy post-war Syria.
Regrettably, that’s exactly what the War Party is doing right now now. Throughout the war and occupation in Syria, the underlying foreign policy for the new military escalation and outposts on the pretext of fighting terror or preventing clashes between the YPG and Turkey has been that Syria must always be a safe haven for terrorist organizations to protect Israel and America’s interests in the region. Thanks to this criminal policy, parts of post-ISIL Syria are already effectively safe havens again, reflective of the vast amounts of territory occupied by the US-backed militant groups. With Mattis projecting more threats against the Syrian government in 2018, this is only going to get worse.
US options are even narrower than usual in this case, because while the US would normally go to the invade/occupy mode to regime change the targeted country, that invasion and occupation has already been done in Syria, and has failed. In reality, all the US can do now is preparing for the consequences of the failed regime-change campaign, and the terrorist safe havens that in many cases already exist in areas held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as well as al-Tanf at the border with Iraq and Jordan held by the US and a recently formed Arab militant group.
That said, the frustrated US is still limited in what it can do even if it continues its policy of prolonging occupation and conducting military operations in Syria. If there is intelligence of planning and there are sound minds in Washington, the War Party may be advised to call it quits.
Indeed, the end of the fight against ISIL by allied forces of Iran, Syria, Russia and Hezbollah has taken away any legal justification for the presence of US troops and military outposts, but Washington has clearly suggested they plan to maintain a presence in the North. Kurdish forces and ‘moderate’ terror proxy forces have apparently asked the US to stay on as well.
What this all means is that the presence of US troops in Northern Syria or on the Syrian-Turkish border is only meant to help train and support pro-US Kurdish forces and ‘moderate’ terror proxies in their failed struggle to divide Syria on sectarian lines. That has raised concern about a more permanent project that risks drawing the US into a conflict with Syria and its allies.
This also explains why the number of US troops has grown gradually, including Special Forces, a Marine artillery unit, forward air controllers and others. They are spread across more than a dozen illegal military bases in Northern Syria – all without any invitation from the Syrian government or a United Nations mandate. Little wonder the Syrian Foreign Ministry says the presence of US troops will not force a political solution to the conflict.
Taken together, Washington’s bullish impunity, its blatant disrespect for Syria sovereignty, and its undeniable enticement to war with Iran and Russia are direct affront to International Law. If war-party Washington is so concerned about the humanitarian crisis, or likely clashes between the YPG and Turkish forces, or war on terror, why doesn’t the US act against the actions of the terrorist groups and extremist proxies that permeate civilian sufferings in terror-held areas?
Defense Secretary Mattis can say what he wants about Syria’s situation to the world, but an argument could easily be made that the War Party benefits the most from the permanent war, occupation and bloodshed, and now from making the Kurds the sacrificial lamb and the reason to occupy Northern Syria forever.