The US suddenly and unexpectedly announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria after years of illegally occupying the country. The US presence aimed at ousting the Syrian government, boosting militant groups the US and its partners have armed and backed since the 2011 conflict started, and denying Damascus access to its own resources, particularly oil concentrated east of the Euphrates River.
The US occupation of Syria is only one part of a much larger, decades-long campaign of achieving, maintaining, and expanding US hegemony across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia – as well as the ultimate goal of encircling and containing both Russia and China.
A genuine withdrawal from the Syrian conflict would signal a seismic shift in US foreign policy and mark an irreversible decline in American hegemony.
It is difficult to believe such a seismic shift could happen, and so suddenly.
It is also a shift not founded in US foreign policy or fact.
There are several key possibilities to consider:
- A US withdrawal paves way for unilateral Israeli strikes;
- It also paves the way for an expanded Turkish incursion;
- US troops won’t be on the ground as targets in the immediate aftermath of any wider conflict Israel or Turkey provokes;
- US troops can re-enter theater with renewed pretext to fight Damascus directly in defense of allies Israel or Turkey and;
- US troops can re-enter theater along the better formed and protected front Turkey seeks to create.
The above possibilities are drawn not from speculation, but from multiple US policy papers spanning decades.
US Withdrawal From Syria Removes Obstructions to Escalation, Not Peace
US policymakers have drawn up plans for years regarding US primacy in the Middle East. In the 2009 policy paper published by corporate-financier funded think tank – the Brookings Institution – the use of US proxies like Israel to carry out major attacks on Iran were given its own chapter.
However, the only obstruction to this option was the necessity of Israeli warplanes to fly over either US-ally Jordan or US-occupied Iraq.
The report would claim under a chapter titled, “Leave it to Bibi: Allowing or Encouraging an Israeli Military Strike” (.pdf) that (emphasis added):
An Israeli air campaign against Iran would have a number of very important differences from an American campaign.