In recent days, the US has been constantly changing their position regarding the US withdrawal from Syria. What was going to be an immediate withdrawal has become 30 days then 120 days and now, a pullout without any sort of “time table,” according to a recent report in CNN. While US National Security Adviser John Bolton has tried to get assurances from the Turks that they won’t go after America’s allies in Syria, so far, he has failed to get such assurances. All of this inconsistency from the Trump administration does nothing more than encourage further Iranian and Turkish aggression in the Middle East region.
One of the reasons US President Donald Trump was elected was based upon the principle that he is going to be tough on Iran. And indeed, in the beginning of his presidency, it appeared that he was doing just that by tearing up the Iran deal and giving moral support to Iranian protesters seeking to overthrow the mullah’s government. However, after getting off to a good start, it appears that Trump’s Iran policy is now in shatters because he backtracked on his tough on Iran policy, thus enabling Iran’s so-called Reformists to bypass US sanctions and to build themselves up again by entertaining the idea of handing Syria over to them on a silver platter.
Indeed, in his first cabinet meeting of the New Year, Mr. Trump essentially gave Iran permission to “do what they want” in Syria. As a result of this decision, Syrian Kurdish dissident Sherkoh Abbas proclaimed, “The outcome is that Trump is putting sanctions on Iran but now they are meaningless.” They are meaningless for by giving Iran access to vital resources and large swaths of land in Syria, the Iranian regime can merely do all of their imports and exports via Syria, thus enabling them to continue business as usual. Due to this policy, Abbas proclaimed: “None of our friends and allies will trust us.”
In fact, according to a recent report in the Gatestone Institute, regardless of whether Mr. Trump backtracks at this point, America’s Kurdish allies, who serve as America’s boots on the ground against the radical Islamist groups and the Iranian regime, will be forced to reach an agreement with the Iranian regime just in order to stay alive in the wake of the possibility of a premature American withdrawal since Erdogan’s forces are bent on annihilating the Kurds. The Kurds are doing this mainly because they care about their own self-preservation and feel unappreciated.
As Kani Xulem, the director of the American Kurdish Information Network, proclaimed, “With Trump, you have to almost read the opposite of what he says. He says he will leave but then he will stay and vice versa. It is hard to read him. But what I can tell you is this. During the liberation of Raqqa, 653 Kurds and their friends died. No Americans died. ISIS was a menace, a threat to the West. The Kurds invested not only in western security but also their own freedom but this has not paid off. Trump treats them like expendable items.” For this reason, now the Syrian Kurds are saying that regardless what the US does, they will be making a deal with the Assad regime for at least they know what to expect with them.
However, the Kurds are not the only US ally who is greatly disappointed in the US. Many European allies of the US are greatly disturbed by Trump’s Syria policy. This is because America’s withdrawal directly threatens their interests. As former EU MP Paulo Casaca declared, “The Western withdrawal from its commitments to the Syrian Democratic Forces gives new impetus to Turkey and Iran’s jihadist expansionism and weakens the forces opposed to them. Particularly concerning are the veiled Turkish threats on the small French special forces presence in the region under SDF control.”
Trump is not the first American president to give concessions to the Iranian regime. Former US President Barack Obama was notorious for doing likewise. However, it is critical to recall that Iranian political theorist Dr. Reza Parchizadeh claims that “many of these so-called Reformists” led by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “who are regarded as ‘Western-friendly Islamists’ by Western media were the first to scale the walls of the American Embassy in Tehran while chanting ‘Death to America’ right after the 1979 Revolution. They were also the main ideological and operational force behind the large-scale execution of all sorts of political dissidents in Iran during the 1980s.”
For this reason, Trump handing over Syria on a silver platter to Erdogan and the Iranian regime not only endangers what is left of the struggle against ISIS for Kurdish forces will be distracted from that struggle but also undermines America’s security. After all, the Iranian regime continues to pose a strategic threat to the US and all of America’s efforts against it will be thrown out the window should Trump not make a dramatic U-turn and start for real committing once again to the struggle against Iran and ISIS.