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America’s military presence in Syria and its priorities

10 8 2

The US Secretary of Defence, General James Mattis, has linked his country’s withdrawal from Syria to a comprehensive solution to the eight-year-old crisis. This means that America is refusing to commit to a timetable for a troop withdrawal, which is something Donald Trump has been talking about and promising in his endless tweets. The US President’s messages are, perhaps, best seen in the context of preparing for the upcoming midterm elections for Congress, say observers.

In fact, though, Mattis’s statement seems to be more consistent with the priorities of the overall US strategy in the Middle East rather than Trump’s tweets. Anyone who puts Iran at the top of his list of enemies in the region and decides to uproot its influence may not think of withdrawing his troops from Syria along its border with Iraq, leaving the door open to the Iranian dream of a highway linking Tehran to Beirut.

America’s military presence in Syria has a number of goals, the most important of which are to surround Iran and limit its influence in the region; to ensure a bigger share for Washington and its allies — the Kurdish movement — in any final deal over Syria, as........

© Middle East Monitor