We Should Believe Schenker, but we Should Believe Jeffrey too!
“The Obama administration welcomed Russian intervention in Syria, assuming it would be a quagmire... and this frankly was a fatal mistake.”
The previous quote was by David Schenker, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, who held various positions within successive US administrations, including working within the US Department of Defense during the era of Bush’s occupation and destruction of Iraq, and the killing of its people.
Schenker made the previous remark on June 4th during a discussion organized by the Middle East Institute, entitled: “Shifting Dynamics and US Priorities in the Middle East.”
It is not new to say that the main characteristic of statements by US officials during the past years is their contradiction with each other. An official’s statements do not just contradict another official’s statements, but often one official’s statements are contradictory to each other.
Schenker’s aforementioned statement, at least on its face, contradicted Jeffrey’s statement on May 12th during his participation in a panel discussion organized by the Hudson Institute, when he said “Our military presence [in Syria], while small is important to this whole overall calculation. So we urge the Congress, the American people, the president to keep these forces on. But again, this isn’t Afghanistan. This isn’t Vietnam. This isn’t a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.”
Schenker believes that the Obama administration erred when it “welcomed” Russian entry into Syria, “assuming” that Syria would turn into a quagmire for the Russians. What actually happened, according to Schenker’s words, is that “Russia changed the course of the war with 46 aircraft.”
The Russians Stay or Leave?
Reading of the two officials’ statements extensively clarifies the “contradiction” between what they say. At the Middle East Institute discussion, Schenker says: “For forty-five years, the cornerstone of US policy was to keep Russia out of the Middle East. And now that they are there, and playing a destructive role, we believe explicitly that they should get out.”
On the other hand, Jeffrey said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper published earlier last month: “Our policy is that all Iranian-commanded forces have to leave Syria, along with frankly all other military forces that entered after 2011. This includes the United States, … the Israelis, and it would include the Turks… The Russians entered before 2011, therefore they are exempt.”
Before we finish the comparison, let us pause at the wit of expressions by US officials who “welcome” the Russians’ entry, and then “exempt them” from orders to exit Syria. Expressions of this nature, the resonance of which we see with some scums of the “strategic thinkers” among the “opposition” and “loyalists”, reflect the amount of arrogance and the illusion, where the US is the “supreme lord” who permits, prevents, and directs everything by his will.
The meaning that can be inferred from synthesizing the two statements is the following: The ultimate goal is to get the Russians out of the Middle East, and the tool is their temporary stay in Syria provided it is turned into a quagmire for them.
Engineering the Quagmire
For the Americans to be able to turn Syria into a quagmire, this requires working on several things in parallel:
1- Insisting on preventing the implementation of the Sochi Agreement, so that Idlib remains a “citadel of the opposition”, as stated in Jeffrey’s aforementioned interview with Asharq Al-Awsat published on May 2nd. As for who is this opposition, this is clear from other statements by Jeffrey himself and from numerous studies by major US think tanks, including the Washington Institute, which are detailed in several Kassioun articles, from which we include the following that would provide enough references for those who seek a prudent read of the US position: The Comedic Play Starring the Trio: Jeffrey, Malley, and Jolani and The “Compassionate” US, Abu al-Fath al-Farghali, and Wholesale “Coincidences.
2- Pushing for additional isolation of northeastern Syria, using a number of tools, including a Kurdish-Kurdish dialogue, which the US seeks to employ to reach a Kurdish position isolated from the rest of the Syrians; as well as what is happening with the Caesar Act and the talk about excluding that region from it, and many other measures that Kassioun had clarified the general trends of which in an article titled: Regarding “Caesar”, “RAND”, and the Northeast and the Kurdish-Kurdish Dialogue.
3- Syrians should be impoverished and starved with direct or indirect cooperation with the big corruptors and controllers within the regime, leading to an explosion in all Syrian areas, in order to ignite armed confrontations again if they can.
4- All these measures cannot withstand and reach the construction of the quagmire as required except within one basic condition: preventing the implementation of UNSC resolution 2254. That is, preventing the comprehensive fundamental change of the regime’s structure that is not only unable to solve any problem anymore, but its function has become to create more disasters and calamities for the Syrian people. This, in turn, requires certain measures within the opposition entities so that those who applaud the Caesar Act and turn a blind eye to Syrians’ miseries and pain, and assist the regime in obstructing the change process, as they have done over the past few years, through their complete submission to the Western vision and their hostility to the Astana track, and their assimilation with the divisive and subversive Western small group schemes.
Since everything in this life has several aspects, including certainly a progressive side, thus everything that the US and its puppets in the opposition and the regime will turn soon against it and against them, and indications thereof have become tangible for those who have not yet lost their ability to sense the pulse of the people.
Comprehensive radical change is coming whether or not they like it, and through the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254.