09.12.2015 Author: Alexander Orlov

What Are the USA and Its NATO Allies Fighting for in Syria and Iraq?

345345345435On December 7, the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Syria filed a note of protest to the UN Security Council regarding the Air Force attack of the international coalition headed by the USA on a facility of the Syrian army in Deir Ezzor. The SAR Ministry confirmed that four coalition aircrafts fired nine missiles on the Syrian army facility in the evening of December 6. According to the Syrian news agency SANA, three people were killed and three were injured.

Syria strongly condemns this act of aggression by the US-led coalition that contradicts the goals and provisions of the UN Charter. The Foreign Affairs Ministry sent letters to the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council,” the news agency quotes the Ministry’s statement. In turn, a representative of the US Air Forces, Colonel Steve Warren, denies the US army involvement. “We have seen the Syrian reports, but we did not carry out any air strikes on this area in Deir Ezzor yesterday. We see no direct evidence of the US army involvement,” AFP quotes the Colonel. However, on December 7, it was reported that the US-led Western coalition Air Forces mistakenly bombed the camp of the Syrian government troops in the province of Deir Ezzor about 2 km away from the zone controlled by the terrorist organization Islamic State.

Earlier, the United Kingdom and Germany joined the military operation in Syria. On December 1, the German government approved Bundeswehr participation in the antiterrorist operation in Syria. It is noted that up to 1.2 thousand soldiers can be involved in the operation. The British Air Forces started to carry out air strikes on the Isil positions in Syria on December 3. The House of Commons of the British Parliament approved the operation the day before. Germany is operating from the Inzhirlik military base on Turkish territory, while Britain is bombing the Syrian territory from its base in Cyprus. From the international and legal point of view, these actions are illegal, as there is no UN Security Council resolution that must be adopted in such cases in accordance with Article 7 of the UN Charter. In addition, there is no official approval from Damascus for the use of its air space by the Air Forces of Germany, or the USA and France either. In simple terms, Western countries and their Arabian allies are engaged in piracy in another country’s sky. Then, there is an attack on the government troops, which led to the death of Syrian soldiers.

The question arises of whether the US-led coalition members are fighting against Isil or continuing to weaken the authorities of Damascus. The latter seems to be the case. All these actions are taking place amid the fact that yet another NATO ally – Turkey – has repeatedly led its special forces onto Syrian territory, including the attempt to capture the navigator of the Russian SU-24 shot down in a dishonourable strike by Ankara and get rid of the unwanted witness.

Moreover, Baghdad is protesting against the fact that Ankara has sent 150 soldiers with artillery to the Iraqi territory close to Mosul for the supposed training of fighters of the Kurdish peshmerga troops to use heavy machine guns without the consent of the Iraqi government. It was only in response to the official protest of Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister of Iraq, demanding that the Turkish troops be removed within 24 hours, that prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu responded to the call of Baghdad thereby recognizing that Turkey had sent their troops to the neighboring country without the permission of its authorities. References to the Kurds are out of place as all the three provinces of northern Iraq are part of a single state, though they have autonomous status. But this status does not cover defense and foreign policy. They are not able to invite foreign troops to Iraqi territory.

Therefore the statements of some Kurds become clear. They state that the Russian Aerospace Forces bombed not Turkish but Kurdish gasoline trucks engaged in oil smuggling from the Isil territory to SAR near Deir Ezzor. Does the corresponding resolution of the UN Security Council allow the Kurds to trade oil with terrorists and finance Isil? The UN Security Council resolution says nothing about that. However, it is well known that the Iraqi Kurds, especially those from the Barzani tribe, and the former foreign affairs minister of Iraq, a Kurd H. Zibari actively violated the UN embargo in the time of Saddam Hussein’s rule by trading oil products through the Turkish territory in circumvention of the sanctions introduced by the UN Security Council against Baghdad. They shared a part of their proceeds with Saddam and Ankara.

There are rumours about US special operations forces being sent to Iraq to liquidate the heads of terrorists, moreover the number of soldiers has been specified at 1.5 thousand. Washington immediately refuted this information. Baghdad also asserted that no American soldiers would appear in Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government. Nevertheless, there are still rumours that last week, heavy troop-carrying aircraft of the US Air Forces landed close to Ramadi delivering special operations troops and military weaponry. But they seem to have dissolved in the desert.

Thus, the following picture of what is happening in the Middle East amid the war with Isil is formed:

NATO is actively interfering in the Syrian conflict violating international law. It knows that with the continued operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the skies and the ground offensive of the Syrian army with the support of Iranians and Hizballah, Damascus has a real chance to put an end to the presence of Isil in its territory. Thus, it will be the acting government of Damascus, Moscow, and Teheran that will be crowned victors and will earn the right to determine the SAR future without the participation of the West, in particular Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the so-called “Syrian armed opposition.” This means Russia gets the “grand prix” as the winner in the fight against terrorism in Syria. As Barack Obama repeated in his state of the nation address (for the third time during his presidency) on December 6, the USA would not interfere in the Syrian war. By the time of the next US Presidential election, the situation with Isil and SAR is likely to be settled. But it’s not the president who is in control in the US, but those who pay for the show, and those people are kin to bleed Russia till its fall. To achieve this goal, ultimately, all sorts of tricks are deemed to be allowed: sanctions, droping of oil prices, or traps in a form of an exhausting war in foreign countries. 

It looks like Washington and its major NATO allies are trying to draw Turkey into war thus colliding it with Russia in a military clinch (which can be true) or to ensure Moscow’s greater role in determining the future of Syria. But the second scenario doesn’t look like the case, since Kiev is amassing troops near Crimea and Donbass, while manifesting no idea to carry on pretending that it’s going to respect the Minsk II protocol. This would allow Washington to prolonge sanctions against Russia, while the Persian Gulf monarchies will keep pushing oil prices down. After the recent OPEC statement the prices droped to 41 dollars per barrel, which sent Russia’s currency into a new plunge. 

The events in Iraq keep heating up too. The USA is interested in what will happen to Iraq, but obviously not that much. Washington is evidently ready to divide Iraq into three entities – Shiahstan, Kurdistan and Sunnitostan, in the latter of which the last of Isil will be defeated from the air and ground with the participation of Iran. But they do not plan to admit Moscow into Iran.

Moreover, the acting Shia authorities of Baghdad are obviously ready for the country’s split. It is obvious that the Shias do not want to fight outside the territories under their control. And this option is likely to be acceptable for Iran. In addition, no one opposes the expansion of the Kurdish autonomy territory in Iraq, including areas of compact settlement of the Arabs near Mosul and Kirkuk. It means the Sunnis will get a deserted western Iraq and part of the provinces of the central part of the country such as Salah ad-Din. The Kurds are going to be the instrument of choice for the West, since the Shia government in Baghdad is of little interest to the White House. It can become somewhat relevant again, if Russia is to be demanded to strike ISIL in Iraq. But Russia won’t be allowed to do that, by both the US and Iran. But in the present situation, it has little interest in going there anyway. 

Many Isil troops started to relocate in Libya and North Africa, and have vanished in the flow of refugees to Europe, apparently in preparation for terrorist acts on the EU territory. It is easier to organize attacks from the southern Mediterranean than from the Middle East.

We can only recall the recent words of the foreign minister of the United Kingdom Philip Hammond, who said that only one person in the world was able to put an end to the “madness” of the civil war in Syria instantly – the Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, the US and NATO cannot easily come to terms with this fact. Although they will have to. What’s imperative for Russia today is to stay away from the ground operation in Syria, no matter how promising it looks. Another scenario – a military confrontation with Turkey is no better, even though some experts voice their believes that Russia’ must seek retribution. It has been punished already by the Economic sanctions Russia introduced. The West can’t help to wait to get Russia stuck in a military conflict somewhere, which will allow the US to carry on its criminal activites in the Middle East. 

Alexander Orlov, political scientist and expert Orientalist, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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