The Lingering American Presence in Syria May Still Lead to Another War

A war is still going on in Syria (something many may have forgotten about with a not-so-deadly virus dying off in the United States and violent vigilante groups burning cities), and although this is not the number one item on most people’s minds, we have to consider that confrontation between the United States and Russia is still possible in the war-torn country. While some are touting President Trump’s peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (something that seems good on the surface, but that may lead to isolation of the Palestinians and the eventual recognition of Israeli-annexed lands in the West Bank) and are enraged over the UN Security Council’s rejection of the return of all previous sanctions on Iran, American patrols in Syria have been slightly less than peaceful.

Since a war with Iran would be unpopular at the moment and President Trump is slow on his rallying of nations in the Middle East to stand with Israel and confront Iran, the United States government needs to stir up the pot somehow. Why not cause trouble in Syria?

Earlier this month, American forces engaged in a skirmish at a checkpoint with pro-government forces in Syria. The United States knew that this checkpoint was operated by the Syrian military, but its military still proceeded to push through, which led to the convoy being attacked. A Syrian news source claims that an American helicopter (or two) then retaliated with an attack on the checkpoint, but regardless of which side’s account was correct, it was a reckless move on the part of the United States government.

This is hardly the first of its kind. Back in February 2018, after American advisors working with Syrian opposition forces came under fire by a few hundred Russian contractors, the United States Air Force launched airstrikes against pro-government forces, which resulted in the deaths of over one hundred of the Russians.

Recently, a Russian military vehicle rammed into an American armored vehicle, and although both sides proceeded to blame the other for instigating the childish incident (Russia said that the United States blocked their routine patrol from passage through the area and the United States said Russia performed an unsafe maneuver), the potential consequences of such irresponsible behavior are nothing to dismiss. Both countries are engaged in a proxy war with the other, and one misstep could send the two countries on the path towards war.

Why does the Trump administration want to risk a war with another superpower over a petty conflict involving warring parties in a country thousands of miles away from the United States? The stated goal for the American presence in Syria (that is, to defeat ISIS) is well past its expiration date, and the fact that the United States still retains a presence there shows that the mission was never really about ISIS. All along, it was about keeping the Assad regime at bay and ensuring that Russia was not able to have a dominating influence in the region. Hopefully, this does not escalate further, because if it does, we might be fighting a war with Russia over Syria and a war with China over COVID-19. With economic trouble and civil unrest developing in the United States, more foreign conflicts are not really something that this country can afford.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website.
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Published on August 27, 2020 16:05
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