Washington D.C. (AHT) – With the imminent defeat of United States-supported terrorist groups in Syria by the Syrian government, with assistance from Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, one might reasonably think that the U.S. would finally just go home. After all, U.S. President Donald Trump wants, or so he says, to stop ‘nation building’, and ‘put America first’.
When a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked what role U.S. soldiers/terrorists would have in Syria, once ISIS was no longer a viable presence in that country, the answer was not what the questioner expected. The State Department’s David Satterfield, acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, responded thusly: “We are deeply concerned with the activities of Iran, with the ability of Iran to enhance those activities through a greater ability to move material into Syria. And I would rather leave the discussion at that point.”
This response further obfuscates the already complicated, years-long U.S. interference in Syria. The Syrian government has been fighting a variety of foreign-supported terrorist groups for several years; ISIS has been chief among them. While the U.S. has ostensibly ‘helped’ defeat ISIS in Syria, it has long been proven that ISIS fighters receive training and funding from the U.S., Britain, and other countries. The U.S. is more than willing to support both sides of a conflict since it is the world’s largest arms dealer; where there is money to be made, the U.S. is there, regardless of how totally immoral the deal might be. So it both supported and, to a lesser degree, fought, ISIS.
But with the genuine assistance of Iran and Russia, most of Syria has returned to Syrian control. It is no surprise that the government of Syria would draw closer to the government of Iran since Iran was instrumental in defeating foreign terrorists on Syrian soil. This is not something that the U.S. can countenance since it threatens Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. At Israel’s urging, the U.S. has destabilized several Middle Eastern countries. One is shortsighted indeed (as most members of the U.S. Congress seem to be) if one does not recall Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress in 2002, and promising that “enormous benefits” would accrue if Iraq’s Saddam Hussein were overthrown. For the U.S., those benefits included the deaths of five thousand U.S. soldiers and a cost of at least $2.4 trillion. The ‘enormous benefits’ promised by Netanyahu were all for Israel, not for the U.S.
And now the U.S. is “deeply concerned’ about Iranian activities in Syria. No doubt the government of Iran is ‘deeply concerned’ about U.S. activities in Syria, as it should be. The U.S. has no reason related to its national security to have any presence in Syria whatsoever. Yet Israel feels threatened by Iran’s increasing stature and influence throughout the Middle East, and wants the U.S. to stop it. It has been said that Israel is willing to sacrifice as many U.S. soldiers as necessary and spend as much money from U.S. tax revenues as required, to maintain Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. And U.S. members of Congress bought and paid for by pro-Israel lobbies, seem more than willing to do Israel’s brutal bidding.
Robert Fantina is an author and peace activist. His writing has appeared on Mondoweiss, Counterpunch and other sites. He has written the books Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy and Essays on Palestine.