The Way to Expel the Americans from Syria, As Soon As Possible and With Minimal Losses
On Thursday, August 25, the “Rai Al-Youm” (Today’s Opinion) news website published an article titled “What are the secrets and behind-the-scenes of the escalation again US forces in Syria?” (Arabic) by the well-respected Palestinian journalist and author, Kamal Khalaf. We will discuss the subject of the article due to its importance.
As an initial matter, we agree with the author that the ongoing escalation against US forces is indeed not connected, or of little connection with the nuclear file negotiations, and that the escalation is within a framework of pressuring the US into being expelled out of Syria for good.
In fact, this trend was confirmed not only in its general framework, but also to a large extent within its concrete framework, at the recent Tehran summit of the Astana process, which includes the trio: Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
One of the expressions of that is not only the summit’s final statement, but also the set of intensive statements during and after the summit regarding US presence in Syria. The most prominent of those statements, and relatively new, are the Turkish ones, since the Iranian and Russian ones are not new in this regard, although their sternness has recently increased.
Regarding wheat and oil
The main point of disagreement with the author is the matching in terms of results between the Kurds in northeast Syria and the Americans, and implicitly the talk about an “independent Kurdish entity”. This matching is dangerous with its consequences and effects, not to mention that it is different from reality, especially with the developments over the last two years during which the relations between the SDF/SDC and Russia noticeably improved, and based on successive understandings, Russian forces, as well as the Syrian army, were deployed in larger areas within northeaster Syria. These are facts that should not be downplayed, not to mention completely ignore, because they point towards a direction for a solution that is far from the “crushing” and “militarily defeating” scenarios, and close to the scenarios of understanding, dialogue, and stopping Syrian bloodshed.
It is also useful to recall, with regards to the oil and wheat issues, the facts that say the entire wheat crop in the northeast last year was sold to Damascus, to the extent it caused a flour shortage in northeastern Syria. The problem was solved by importing wheat from Russia, and this effort was obstructed for a long time by the extremists within the regime.
As for Syrian oil produced in the northeast, four sides share profiting from it: the Americans (30%), regime-connected extremists and well-known traders (30%), the Turks (20%), the Autonomous Administration (20%). These percentages are not a simple sharing process, but they are also an expression of the nature of influence and control in this region, which more closely reflects reality than simply reducing the matter to saying that control there is 100% American and that Kurdish forces are being used therein as merely a tool. The reality of the matter is more complex than that. Searching for a real solution requires starting from facts and realities, and not what is said in the political discourse of this or that side.
If this is the reality of things with regard to wheat and oil, it does not mean at all that the political and influential forces in northeastern Syria do not bear responsibility for what is happening; rather, they bear major responsibility. Perhaps it is amusing while at the same time gut-wrenching that description of Syrians’ situation in northeastern Syria is that things have not changed much for them between being under the control of the regime and that of SDF/SDC. Combatting corruption, nepotism, and authoritarianism are still the main issues on the table, and there are wars that neither start nor end, as usual.
For whose benefit is expelling the Americans?
Returning to the essence of the subject, there is no doubt that what we agree on with the author is that there is a main goal which is to expel the Americans from Syria, and to restore its unity, sovereignty, and the sovereignty of its people. We also fully agree with him that Russia, Turkey, and Iran have a common interest in expelling the Americans from Syria, and the primary interest in this regard is the Syrian people. However, we should also pay attention to the deep meaning of expelling the Americans from Syria, i.e., what will the results be from the expulsion process, in order to know the deep interests of the different sides in this matter.
The solution to the Syrian crisis, which necessarily requires a radical change that is in the interest of the Syrian people in general, and is aimed at restoring not only territorial integrity, but also the unity of the people, is completely against the interests of the extremists, the war lords, and the major corrupt people from the various Syrian sides. They know better than anyone else that keeping Syria as a battleground between the West and the East, between the Western Small Group and the Astana Group, means indefinitely postponing the solution and the change, and thus continuing plundering and dominating.
Expelling the Americans from Syria means that the road is now wide open before real change and the real solution, because in essence it means stopping the “quagmire” that is the only fixed US policy with regards to Syria. This is because the Americans no longer have policies towards our region except the policy of everyone being at war with everyone, and continuous sabotage. Within this particular context, they have abandoned years ago their previous slogans, and started lifting the “changing the regime’s behavior” slogan, which is intended in essence to drag Syria towards normalization with the Zionist entity, and practically providing extremists from the different sides with margins for movement between Astana on the one hand and the Western Small Group on the other, for the purpose of prolonging the crisis and preventing the solution.
Therefore, and regardless of the slogans and public discourse, the deep interest of the war lords and major corrupt people from the different Syrian sides, whether in the regime or the “Autonomous Administration” or the opposition, is for the American occupation to stay in Syria, even if they say otherwise day and night.
Two ways to deal with the issue
The actual military force of the American occupation in Syria is more symbolic than actual. What makes expelling it once and for all difficult is that it is not expected, and perhaps not possible for there to be a blatant and direct clash between any of the Astana sides and the Americans, as that would have effects and consequences that are much greater than Syria and the region. Therefore, “anonymous” pressure tactics seem more realistic, albeit certainly not enough to expel the Americans.
What enabled the American occupation to continue till now in Syria is the disruption of the political process and the Syrian-Syrian understanding. The American occupation implicitly seeks to use Syrians in the northeast and their political forces as human and political shields to protect its existence.
In this sense, and because the path to hell is paved with good intentions, talk about an “independent Kurdish entity” and the extreme exaggeration in talk about “separatist tendencies” (here we do not mean what Mr. Khalaf said, but what is said among the Turkish extremists as well as the extremists within the regime, which overlap exactly with what some extremists among SDF/SDC say) is in reality in the Americans’ interest. This is because it shuts the door to understanding among Syrians and fully ties the fate of those in northeastern Syria and the fate of the political forces therein with the Americans, and thus condemns them to be human shields in the hands of the primary enemy of Syrians and all the peoples of the region and the world, that is, in the hands of the Americans.
The simplest equation in political and even military work, even assuming that you are facing an enemy, is to work on winning over large portions of its ranks, or at least sorting them out. This is the case if you are dealing with an enemy, so how about if you are dealing with Syrians with whom an understanding must be ultimately reached.
A sustainable solution
Expelling the Americans is necessarily a Syrian interest, and an interest for all the region’s peoples and countries. Therefore, it should be maximally expedited and the Americans’ ability to maneuver, extort, and sabotage should be weakened. Above all, the door must be shut to their attempts to plant big time bombs in the entire region.
Let’s imagine a scenario of expelling the Americans in parallel with crushing the political forces in northeast Syria, and let’s imagine its consequences.
First: The expulsion process will be immeasurably more difficult and will take longer.
Second: During this, more Syrian blood will be shed from the different sides.
Third: This scenario will lead to deepening the wounds of Syrian patriotic unity, will be a repetition of the “military victory” and “crushing”, and will take a nationalist form whether or not we like it. This means that it will create a wave of sabotage that will include not only Syria, but also especially Turkey, and with them Iraq and Iran. This ultimately will be the ideal scenario for the American withdrawal from the region, because the objective from the Americans’ presence is chaos and sabotage, and they will be quite happy if their exit led to a higher level of chaos and sabotage.
In contrast to this scenario, the patriotic Syrian scenario that should be worked on with full dedication is that which leads to real understandings among Syrians themselves, and completely stop the rhetoric of threatening and accusing of treason on the one hand, and the rhetoric of arrogance and imposing the de facto situation on the other. This is possible within the new conditions, because although the extremists’ voices are still the loudest within the different sides, those have become weaker and more helpless in their sabotaging work against the solution. The tangible realities are going in a direction opposite to what they had hoped for.
Dialogue among Syrians and the full implementation of a political solution based on UNSC Resolution 2254, with the Astana trio’s help, leading to reunification of Syria – territorially and the people too – is the real path to restoring Syria’s unity, as well as to expelling the Americans and with them the Zionists from Syria, and also to end the Turkish occupation and expelling all foreign forces from Syria.
Finally, the need for understanding and dialogue among the various political forces in Syria, towards restoring the unity of Syria’s territory and people, and ending the presence of all foreign powers, mainly the American and the “Zionist”, is not at all a “green card” using which these forces pass through to the future of Syria. The truth is that this is necessary for Syria itself and the Syrian people to cross towards the safety shore, where this particular people will be asked about their opinion of everyone, and they will have the final say in the weights of the different forces and the extent of their representation.