An F-18 Super Hornet taking off from the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in October of 2016 in the Persian Gulf.

On June 18, 2017, the Trump administration made a grave mistake in downing a Syrian jet south of Tabqah, which follows a string of similar events in the months prior. Faced with the decision of having to vacate Syria and abandon the garrison stationed in al-Tanf near the Jordanian border, staying in al-Tanf despite waning strategic value, or demonstrating a show of force to challenge the Syrians, Russians, and Iranians, the Trump administration predictably chose the latter which will ultimately only benefit ISIS in the long run.

The decision to bomb and disrupt the Syrian-aligned forces attacking ISIS on two main fronts—Raqqa and Deir Ezzor—is one major symptom of a contradictory and oftentimes incoherent foreign policy in Syria.

Two competing objective have been pursued in Syria over the vicious six-year war: pressuring the government of Bashar al-Assad and combatting the spread of ISIS. However, these goals contradict each other based on one inconvenient fact: the Syrian armed forces, as well as Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia, are the main forces effectively fighting ISIS.

Despite analysts’ and think tank aficionado’s hopes, the world was provided with the perfect case study to determine the contradiction in these two objectives when CIA-backed rebels fought in Northern Syria against Pentagon-backed local Kurdish and Arab forces; policy makers and military officials have struggled to tame their dogs in this unwinnable fight.

It is unclear what the next steps will be, but the Russians have had enough of the consistent provocations against their allied forces.

While Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric suggested that there would be a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria, one involving joint Russian and American support, his administration has backtracked on many of its commitments.

ALSO READ  Syrian Army liberates 45km of ISIS-held territory in Deir Ezzor

But it is not solely his administration’s fault for dwindling trust. Where there was once a chance for cooperation, repeated American aggression and strategic blunders have inadvertently helped ISIS forces, including a deadly bombing in Deir Ezzor on September 17, 2016 that killed and injured nearly 200 Syrian forces fighting ISIS and warranted an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. These mistakes have driven Washington into a corner and out of any serious involvement in the peace process including the ongoing Astana talks.

The most measured solution to this conundrum would be to pack up and leave Syria; such well-devised solutions have no place in policy discussions concerning the Syrian quagmire. With a tense domestic situation and bipartisan calls to get serious about combating Russia and Iran, Trump has the political capital to keep flexing American might in the Syrian Desert, but these provocations will not help America get serious about fighting ISIS.

Not attacking ISIS with the intent to further undermine the Syrian government is even proudly admitted by some analysts, including columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who wrote that “In Syria, Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujaheddin fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan.” These same Afghani fighters mentioned by Friedman were to become Al-Qaeda, the leader of whom devised a plot that killed nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.

Despite wanting to remain true to regional commitments, such as battling a so-called growing Iranian threat to defend America’s most cherished ally, Israel, and wanting to defend the interests of Sunni-Arab states in the Gulf, it appears that America cannot have it all as doing so is damaging America’s national security.

ALSO READ  Nasrallah announces Hezbollah forces ready to leave Iraq after ISIS defeat - full video

To the dismay of policy makers, Bashar al-Assad is poised to win the Syrian war and remain in power. After a decisive victory in the Battle of Aleppo and waning Turkish and Qatari financial support for the opposition, there is no way that there is any viable challenger to Assad.

It is only a matter of time before the Syrian Army regains total control of Syria. The choice has to be made soon on which interest America wants to pursue: defeating ISIS or failed regime change.

Share this article:
  •  
  • 44
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    45
    Shares

Brad Blankenship is an American student of philosophy and political science as well as the director of Al-Masdar’s podcast.

Notice: All comments represent the view of the commenter and not necessarily the views of AMN.

All comments that are not spam or wholly inappropriate are approved, we do not sort out opinions or points of view that are different from ours.

If your comment is held for moderation, please just be patient, it will be published unless it falls into one of the two categories as mentioned above.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Floriangeyer
Member
Master
Commenter
Upvoted
Floriangeyer

@ Ziad welds,

If President Putin and his military staff were as childishly belligerent as that of the USA we would all be witnessing a nuclear winter by now. The US would be a wasteland with roving gangs of thugs and what was left of Europe and part of Russia would be clearing up the mess.

Russian politicians and diplomats are NOT fools , they will not bow to America but they will go the extra mile for peaceful solutions.

What would you prefer ? Instant WW3 or an attempt to bring the imbeciles in the US government to see REALITY.

Daeshbags Sux
Member
Master
Upvoted
Rookie Mentor
Commenter
Daeshbags Sux
Actually, you mistake many things and don’t seem to get the US structure. Russians are more likely to nuke than the US, proof is that everytime US played the brinkmanship chicken game, Russian never chickened out once, even during the Cuba missile crisis. Actually, it was really near to blow on 2 occasions : when US cornered a Soviet submarine in the 60’s : nuke torpedoes were already armed with the order to shoot if any aggressive move was taken. It’d had taken just a single warning shot with a gun to have a nuke torpedo launched against the US… Read more »
Daeshbags Sux
Member
Master
Upvoted
Rookie Mentor
Commenter
Daeshbags Sux
drill : it was so huge and so realist that all the Warsaw pact forces were put in red alert at a never seen level. Again, a single idiot doing a single stupid provocation would have sparkled the fire. You’re optimistic for a mad-max like follow on to a nuke exchange. Nuke winter = interruption of photosynthesis and agriculture, not counting with the fallouts and the EMP. If it turns Mad-Max on snow style, it won’t be for long. Moreover, US MIC produces ONLY “little” wars which are also good for Russian economy which is also a lot turned to… Read more »
Member
Regular
Upvoted
Commenter

The US started all of those provocations so how can Russia/ the USSR be the one who is more likely to start WW3.

Member
Regular
Commenter
Upvoted

The truth of the matter is that ISIS are the sole ‘reason d’etre’ or the sole excuse the US has to be in Syria, though still illegally so. The pace with which the Syrian Arab Army was defeating ISIS was too fast. In actual fact if ISIS are completely defeated anytime soon the US would have lost its cover to be in Syria in the first place. Thus the need for the US to prevent the Syrian Army from eliminating ISIS from Syria completely and by any means possible.

Daeshbags Sux
Member
Master
Upvoted
Rookie Mentor
Commenter
Daeshbags Sux
The truth is, despite of many drawbacks like this one of some others where they really abuse, US relieve Russia, Iran and Syria of a lot of the economical pressure that’d be on their sole shoulders if US were doing nothing, exactly like when the Killary/Kerry gang did nothing when IS rushed into Syria while they could have repeated the infamous 1991 ‘Highway of death” on the roaches! Letting this happen in order to lever Assad to bow ended with not at all what they hoped as Assad called Putin for help instead. Doing nothing at this very crucial moment… Read more »
Member
Regular
Upvoted
Commenter

1th The 1991 ‘Highway of death” was a cowardly attack against retreating troops and civilians.
“ooops strike on Deir-Ezzor, the downing of the Su-22 old cow and the Tomahawk strikes on the airbase.” All of this is/was helping Daesh.
If the US was doing nothing the war would be over soon.

Member
Regular
Commenter
Upvoted
ziad welds

good article,,but russia im afraid will be weak fools once more and extend another peace hand to yanks at syria’s expense,,,they keep repeating the same mistake over n over

Member
Regular
Commenter
batavian01

You may want to grab a map and see what Assad’s situation was before Russia’s arrival. Russia has not and will not make deals at Syria’s expense. It is helping in the fight against ISIL and doing its level best not to start WW3 that you and others of your ilk seem intent on igniting.

Daeshbags Sux
Member
Master
Upvoted
Rookie Mentor
Commenter
Daeshbags Sux

Well said!

Floriangeyer
Member
Master
Commenter
Upvoted
Floriangeyer

@ Deo Cass,

You make a very valid point that cannot be improved. I salute you.

Member
Master
Commenter
Upvoted

perfect article!!

Member
Master
Commenter
Upvoted
Cyriak Papasissis

Very balanced and cool appraisal , from all sides . Greetings and best regards.

Edgar Palacio
Guest
Edgar Palacio

The US is in Syria not to defeat ISIS but most to take out the goverment of Dr. Bashar Al Assad, to break the country in several pieces to permit Israel to follow his politic to expand and to take more and more land from the palestinian people and from Syria and Lebanon countries. They are desperate because Syria is winning the war together with Hezbola (Iran).

wpDiscuz