The United States were defeated in Syria, and its geopolitical opponents were able to benefit, including the regime of Bashar al-Assad. This is the message of the article by the former adviser to the American president Ronald Reagan Dag Bandow, published in The National Interest.
The author writes that in his strategy, Washington made several fundamental errors at once. First, the Americans made a bid to overthrow Assad at a time when his support among the people was quite high. Assad supports not only the Alawite minority, but also the Christian community and representatives of national minorities. Moreover, the Christians saw the results of the US military operation in Iraq, where the US military could not prevent the genocide by Islamic radicals, and the Christians were forced to flee to neighboring Syria.
At the same time, as Bandou notes, during the war years, the authority of Assad in the country only grew. Damascus does not hide the high losses, but the names of those killed in the war against terrorists have become a unifying factor for all the people. Thus, the fighting not only did not lead to a regime change, but also helped to form a single civil nation led by Bashar Asad.
Washington’s second mistake is a bid for radical organizations. The Americans said they wanted to turn Syria into a country with a developed liberal democracy, but everyone understood that the factions supported by the States could not lead the state to such a management model. Many armed groups only called themselves “moderate opposition,” while they preached dogmas that were little different from the Dzhebhat an-Nusra and ISIS.
The so-called Syrian free army was weak. The United States spent almost half a billion dollars on training 54 fighters who were later destroyed or went over to the side of terrorists. American military aid often fell into the hands of ISIS. At the same time, Washington could not do anything about the fact that Turkey had some time been trading oil with terrorist organizations.
Bandow also calls Washington policy inconsistent. On the one hand, the US tried to overthrow Assad, on the other, they fought against ISIS and other forces that opposed Assad. The Americans tried to support Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which financed the terrorists, and fight the radicals. The states worked with Turkey, which wanted to defeat the Kurds, and at the same time helped the Kurdish militia.
Now, according to the author of the article, the United States is no longer able to set ambitious goals for itself and cannot even do anything with the presence of Syria, Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
“We can’t say that the United States lost because they were entrenched in Syria, they have a controlled territory,” said Alexander Perndzhiev, associate professor of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, member of the Expert Board of the Officers of Russia organization.
– At the same time, the USA did not achieve all the goals that they set for themselves. Their main goal was not even the overthrow of Assad, but the destruction of the Syrian statehood itself. Washington supported various terrorist groups, unleashed a complex aggression, which consists of several elements. The first element is the fight against some terrorist groups, the second is the actions of the Western coalition against Assad, the third is provocations with chemical attacks.
Americans spent a lot of money on the entire operation in Syria. And now we can speak not so much about defeat, as about large financial losses. A complete defeat will be when the United States and its allies will be fully extruded from Syria. Such a defeat is already evident. In this, the emergence of C-300 systems played a major role, seriously limiting the flight of the planes of the Western coalition over Syria.
– Will the stabilization of the situation complete withdrawal of Americans from Syria?
- Now a new scenario has begun to be realized – the struggle for the division of territories and their resources. On the lands controlled by the Kurds loyal to the Americans, groups appeared to be at war with each other. Of course, this is not conducive to peace in the country. So the presence of Americans does not stabilize the situation, but only aggravates the situation. Squeezing the western coalition will bring peace.
– Who as a result of the conflict won the most?
- Won the Syrian people. He retained his governing, unity of the nation. The main thing is that the people have maintained stability in society, even if it is relative. The war, after all, was about to be destroyed. To a certain extent, Russia benefited from this, since the Syrian society is loyal to Moscow, and Syria as a state is Russia’s closest aide in promoting its geopolitical interests in the Middle East. Without Syria, the value of the Russian Federation in the international arena would be significantly reduced. Having lost Syria, Russia would have suffered a major geopolitical defeat. The leading expert of the Center for Military-Political Research MGIMO Mikhail Alexandrov believes that the United States really did not achieve ambitious goals: – The main goal of the United States was to overthrow Assad and establish a loyal Sunni regime in Syria. That would be beneficial to the US ally Israel. But the main thing – would be able to surround Iran. In Iraq, ISIS has already acted, and if it had won in Syria, Iran would have been blocked. In the future, it would be an offensive on Iranian territory. Terrorist activity would be transferred to the South Caucasus and Central Asia. But such a far-reaching strategy failed.
Can the Washington policy be considered inconsistent? From the point of view of the implementation of its strategy, the US policy was very consistent. The Americans pretended to fight ISIS, but in fact dropped parasailing equipment to terrorists, ostensibly by mistake. The Americans were preparing militants who allegedly, without the knowledge of Washington, went over to the side of ISIS. For some reason, the retreating Iraqi army left weapons in storage that fell into the hands of terrorists. In military science there is such a thing as a “cloud enemy”. That is, it is such a party to the conflict that creates all kinds of atrocities, does what it wants, no one takes responsibility for its actions. The main task of ISIS was the overthrow of the Assad regime. Then ISIS would get the team to dissolve, in its place would come other Sunni groups. If the terrorists had not dissolved themselves on orders, they would have just been finished off. Russia did not allow to play such a combination, and defeated ISIS and pro-American groups. Who realized their goals in Syria? The United States didn’t achieve its main goal – weakening Iran. At the same time, they were entrenched in Syria with the help of the Kurds. Russia fulfilled its goals: terrorist groups were crushed, their activity was not transferred to the Transcaucasus and Central Asia, that is, to the territories adjacent to the Russian Federation. At the same time, Moscow did not allow Iran to be surrounded.
A new military alliance can redraw the entire map of the Middle EastTurkey, which tried to get its hands on Syrian territories. This turned out to be done, but in the north of Syria, a Kurdish state was actually formed, which will now be very difficult to destroy or at least simply drive under the control of the Assad regime. On the one hand, Ankara has achieved something, but in general the situation has become worse for it. This is not to mention the millions of refugees who poured from Syria into Turkey and caused damage to the Turkish economy. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who supported various defeated groups in Syria, lost out. Lost Israel, because the influence of Iran has not weakened, but increased. Because of this, Tel Aviv is on the verge of conflict with Moscow. Short-sighted policy jeopardized Israel’s national security. The European Union lost much, which did not set any strategic goals in Syria, but faced a migration crisis.