by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog
In my previous article on Syria, I expressed scepticism towards Washington’s so called “withdrawal” of troops from Syria. I doubted that Washington would fully withdraw from Syria, as Washington has a history of long occupations across the world, and the only way to get rid of US troops is to throw them out with force. It seems that I was correct in that assessment as Washington has since declared its continued occupation of Syrian oilfields.
Officially, Washington is justifying its continued occupation by claiming that it maintains troops in eastern Syria to “secure the oilfields” from “remaining ISIS terrorists”. The sad part of this isn’t that Washington’s entire narrative is a poorly written story with many holes in the plot, but it’s the fact that most people in the West will probably buy this pathetic narrative that Washington has presented to the world, one that the media are continuously echoing.
Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry published satellite intelligence images proving that oil from Syria was sent abroad under the guard of US servicemen Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said. The ministry spokesman said that “the space intelligence images showed that oil was actively extracted and massively exported for processing outside Syria, under the reliable protection of US troops, before and after the defeat of the Daesh terrorists.”
Commenting on the satellite intelligence, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said US operations in eastern Syria and its actions regarding Syrian oil could only be described as “international state banditism.”
According to Russian intelligence, the illegal US-supervised extraction of Syrian oil was being carried out by “leading American corporations” and private military contractors, with US special forces and air power used for protection. Konashenkov estimated that the monthly revenue of this “private enterprise” was over $30 million dollars. Banditism, that’s a great word to describe Washington’s actions. This is pure banditism, committed blatantly by a terrorist state with no shame whatsoever. Some of us have always known Washington’s true criminal nature, but I am shocked and amazed at how some people could watch these events unfold and still believe Washington’s intentions are, and ever were good. It is amazing how Washington has managed to gain support from the European left wing, the same leftists that claim to be against imperialism, the same leftists that condemned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now cheer for Washington’s continued occupation and condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria.
While the let’s say, partial withdrawal of US forces is most welcomed, Washington will still remain a threat to peace in Syria. Only a few days ago Secretary of Defense Mark Esper threatened Russia and Syria when he said that Washington will “respond with overwhelming military force against any group who threatens the safety of our forces there.” When asked whether the US would potentially respond with force against Russian or Syrian forces, Esper simply responded “yes.”
Moscow and Damascus better beware and prepare a response to whatever Washington has planned to do with the oilfields. There is no doubt that this is bad news, especially for the ongoing fuel crisis in the country, which is a result of the US-led embargo on Syria.
Meanwhile, amid Washington’s highly dubious claim of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s alleged elimination, at their hands, Syrian Army forces have over the past few weeks entered many areas in northern Syria, which were previously lost many years ago. The Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), having been betrayed by Washington, were forced to make a deal with Moscow and Damascus. The agreement allowed Syrian Army troops to enter strategically chosen cities and towns in order to deny Turkey and its proxies any further advance. In relation to these events, Moscow managed to negotiate a ceasefire with Ankara, to give the Kurdish militias time to withdraw from a safe zone agreed upon in the new Sochi agreement.
Despite the agreement, Erdogan has warned that Turkey may resume the offensive at any time if Ankara remains unsatisfied by the outcome of the YPG withdrawal. These warnings and threats from Ankara prompted Sheikhs from two of Syria’s biggest clans in eastern Syria to call on President Bashar Al-Assad to grant all personnel who served in the SDF general amnesty. The purpose of this statement was to allow those SDF fighters to join the Syrian Army ranks and avoid any imprisonment for fighting for a non-government force. Several other tribal chiefs also signed the letter, which was reportedly delivered to the Syrian government. Only hours later, the Syrian Ministry of Defense issued a statement calling on the SDF to join the Syrian Army and fight against the Turkish aggression in northern Syria, an offer which was rejected by the poor leadership of the SDF.
Not only did they reject the deal, but they also pleaded with Pentagon for help, again, despite the previous betrayals, despite Trump’s mockery of the Kurds on Twitter, where he argued that “Kurds didn’t help in WWII” and that “Kurds are no angels”. This how quickly Washington does a 360 and turns on its vassals. This is exactly what me and many others warned them about all these years. Self respect has almost always been an unfamiliar concept for the multitude of Kurdish leaderships and parties across Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. They have been used time and time again by imperial powers who promise them land and self-rule and always end up abandoning them when their purpose has been served.
Will they ever learn from their mistakes?