04.02.2016 Author: Viktor Mikhin

The Middle East: New Plans of Nobel Peace Prize Winner

345345345Nobel Peace Prize Winner, US President Barack Obama has apparently decided to end his presidency with a war – by sending troops to the Middle East and unleashing new hostilities there. – Here is the real proof of the high standing of the Peace Prize Winner. Or is it possible that the Nobel Committee awarded this title to the US President “under a corrupt scheme”?

Here are the facts. The United States and Turkey are ready for a military resolution of the conflict in Syria in the event that the political negotiation process fails. This was directly and clearly said by Vice President Joseph Biden during his recent visit to Ankara. However, it did not go without demagoguery that has become a characteristic of the representatives of the present-day American establishment. Before that, J. Biden expatiated a lot on some kind of  political settlement. However, in the event that it is not possible for some reason (although, the American did not say what the reason was), they will have to resort to a military resolution, said the politician after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Politicians do not rule out that J. Biden’s statement is aimed at pushing, or rather to urging the government of Syria to be more compliant at the upcoming Geneva talks with the so-called moderate opposition. It is the issue of who should be called moderate opposition and who should be called terrorists and bandits that has stirred up the principal debate. Most probably, both politicians have decided on their preferences and coordinated the provision of large-scale military aid to Sunni groups, in other words, to the terrorists who sought to remove the legitimately elected President Bashar al-Assad from his post.

At the same time, US Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter, announced at the economic forum in Davos that America “would send troops” to Iraq to help local forces in the their struggle against the extremist group of the “Islamic State” (IG). This will be achieved using the 101st Airborne Division of the Second Separate Brigade. The military believe that the first 500 paratroopers will go to Iraq in February this year. A week earlier, E.Carter visited the cantonment of the 101st Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he specified the number of troops to be sent- 1,300 paratroopers, reported the Military.com portal  They will be posted in Baghdad and Erbil to train the Iraqi army and Kurdish militia “Peshmerga” who are expected to move in the direction of Mosul in the coming months where the headquarters of the “Islamic State” is located.

In this regard, the Arab media reported that US special forces conducted a military operation in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which was controlled by fighters of the “Islamic State”. The Americans landed in the northern part of the city and attacked the local extremist cell of the IS. As yet, journalists do not know the results of the operation, but it is not the first action of American special forces in this region. “And it was conducted without the consent of Baghdad”, caustically noted Iraqi newspaper Al Sabah Al Jadid on January 26, “and it is not the first blow to strike the country’s sovereignty, causing damage to the prestige of both the country and the government

As you know, the US President can personally send a small contingent, but he must notify the Congress about the commencement of military operations within 48 hour after they start. To continue military operations, the President should receive the approval of the Congress within 60 days. This period may be extended for another 30 days at the request of the President. The existing Republican composition of the Congress is unlikely to give such consent to Barack Obama simply because of the election race. Moreover, the Democrats do not need “to send in troops” today either. The US withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011 fulfilling Barack Obama’s campaign promise, who had called the Iraq war “unjust”. Apparently, now the history is repeating itself with the new sending of troops, yet this time as a caricature of itself .

It cannot be said that all of American society quietly and unconditionally accepts the new quirks in the Middle East policy of the Nobel Peace Prize Winner and members of his administration. This is particularly evident in the debates that take place before the election of candidates for presidential nomination from the parties. For example, former US Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, said at a meeting with voters in Iowa that American soldiers should not take part in ground operations in Iraq and Syria: “The most important and obligatory task for the President of the United States is striving to avoid military actions. And I will certainly act in this way”, she said stressing the need to use diplomacy. However, the American public lacks belief in the eloquent Mrs. Clinton who has a bloody trail of egregious blunders that resulted in, for example, the death of employees of the US Embassy in Libya. Psychologists usually say that if someone has committed a characteristic mistake, the same mistake will be repeated continuously in the future, and if H. Clinton has committed bloody mistakes in the past, who can guarantee that she will not repeat them in the future, but on a larger scale this time.

According to public opinion polls, the Americans are most likely to listen to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump who has clearly and explicitly said that it was the current leader of the United States and the former Secretary of State of the country who provoked the intensification of activities of the “Islamic State”. At the same time, D.Trump made it clear that he knew how and in what way not only to fight against international terrorism, but to claim victory over it: “I think it would be good if we had good relationships with Russia. That would be great,” he said.

Quite naturally, the reaction of Damascus and Baghdad to the plans of the new transatlantic strategists was extremely negative. A military intervention in Syria, including a possible ground operation, without the authorization of Damascus will be regarded as aggression, said Riad Haddad, Ambassador of Syria to Russia. Iraq opposes the foreign military presence imposed on it and intends to fight against terrorist groups on its own, said the country’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari

According to experts, today’s statement by the head of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the “independence” of Baghdad and criticism of the Pentagon’s intentions in planning operations against the jihadists was probably the result of the recent victories of the Iraqi army. For example, after regaining control over the city of Ramadit, the administrative centre of the Anbar Province of Iraq. But no matter what assurances the Iraqi minister gives, the local military will be unable to fight back Mosul from the terrorists without American support. Despite the fact that seizing Mosul is a priority issue for Baghdad, the Iraqi government has recently once again said that the Turkish military in the north of the country, in the province of Nineveh, were the occupants and demanded their immediate withdrawal. So, Baghdad used the argument of “independence” to demonstrate its out and out protest against the continuing Turkish military presence in Iraq. Baghdad does not intend to tolerate it, even when the fate of Mosul is at stake.

Washington’s statements about “bringing troops” are considered by many political analysts as a PR campaign aimed at seizing the initiative in the “fight against terrorism” in the Middle East. There are hardly any clear significant wins of the Pentagon in this fight. They are making such hasty and bravura statements to gild the pill for the leaving President. Incidentally, in this regard, it is possible to recall the infamous US campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they did not just have to leave but beat a hasty retreat.

But the Nobel Peace Prize Winner has decided to end his ignominious presidency with a “triumph”, and hence there is the forlorn hope for progress in the fight against terrorism.

Victor Mikhin, Associate member of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”