Wednesday, October 23, 2019


US Syria policymakers had a tendency to believe their own words over evidence on the ground, creating a feedback loop of self-deception that eventually led to humiliation and failure in the last few weeks in Syria. A Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday laid bare a stinging indictment of America’s confusing and changing goals in Syria. US policy was one of setbacks since president Barack Obama’s administration first sought to support Syrian rebel efforts against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Later, an anti-ISIS offensive was so narrowly tailored that it ignored many of the people liberated from ISIS and eventually handed over their areas to Russia, Turkey and the Assad regime, allowing them to be bombed and murdered in the process.

The US is withdrawing from most of Syria now, changing its policies once again to “secure the oil,” a blatant disregard for its own stated goals of defeating ISIS and removing Iran, which has become part of an overall US role that has diminished American prestige and led to questions about whether the US will continue to play a role in the Middle East.

The American president didn’t consult his own key adviser on Syria policy, US envoy James Jeffrey revealed to the Senate on Tuesday. Furthermore, Jeffrey, who is also the anti-ISIS envoy, doesn’t seem familiar with aspects of the Pentagon’s role or plans in Syria. At each step, it appears that the US government coordinates few of its activities in Syria, largely abandoned the civilians in eastern Syria and paid only lip service to concepts such as “stabilization” or opposing Iran and the Assad regime. It isn’t even clear how seriously the White House takes the anti-ISIS campaign, proclaiming again and again that it has accomplished a mission even though its own officials say there are up to 10,000 ISIS detainees and more than 14,000 active ISIS members operating in Syria and Iraq. America’s top diplomat on Syria even told the Senate that as a diplomat, he simply doesn’t have all the tools needed to deal with the mission at hand.

THE SHOCKING unraveling of US Syria policy gives a window into US policy breakdown that seems more systemic than unique to Syria. Policymakers at the State Department not speaking to the Pentagon or CIA; no one coordinating at the White House; people waging private campaigns without discussion from superiors or those at their level in other parts of government; little to no interest in the areas that US policy is supposed to affect; lack of basic understanding of the consequences of US actions; and lack of planning, process or monitoring.

1 comment :

  1. Kalonymus AnonymusOctober 24, 2019 at 1:22 AM

    Of course it is Gaava, and many peopel are opposed to Trump for this. However, whether or not he intended it, he has given the responsibility over to Russia - which means they will have boots on the ground, and pay the huge costs in blood and treasure for managing the Syrian theater. So far they have stopped Turkey from their invasion. Maybe they will also contain Iran?


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