WASHINGTON, D.C./DAMASCUS – According to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark Milley, the Empire of Bases will continue to have occupying troops inside Syria for many years, and that it is “hard to foresee anytime soon” when the US might leave.
They claim this presence continues to be about the ISIS threat, and that it would be a long time before regional forces in Syria could fight on their own. It’s not clear what regional forces are even being referred to, as the American occupying troops are centered in a very small area at this point.
Moreover, the US presence in Syria has not been presented by the world community as being about ISIS for months, with President Trump insisting ISIS was long defeated. Pentagon officials have continued to cite ISIS because the world community is against a permanent occupation of Syria by the US.
Things get complicated when we hear that President Trump now insists that the US war on Syria is exclusively about oil, and the only reason US troops are in Syria is to take Syrian oil with the help of US oil companies to be named later. President Trump has repeatedly reiterated this stance, despite Pentagon officials trying to make the war about something else.
As a practical matter, US officials are motivated by the oil incentive other than fighting terror and spreading democracy. They would not be spending billions of dollars to build military bases in Syria and escalate the war unless they perceived that the expense was somehow reimbursed.
A basic understanding of history and economics demonstrates that the new policy and drawn-out occupation of Syria has much more to do with the US securing permanent access to the region’s energy resources. It is designed to protect the petrodollar system. Protecting the current “dollars for oil” arrangement requires the US to control and regulate the region’s flow of natural gas resources to Europe as well.
That explains why the US still insists on selecting and sending various terrorist groups to the peace talks; it is no longer eager to assume responsibility for the political process – many unsuccessful rounds so far. Instead, the US has intensified the strategy of upping its military footprint there, with full backing from regional vassals.
These puppet regimes actively do the bidding of Western interests and are compensated in exchange for creating failed states and eliminating rivals. As appalling as it may be, this is what it is, even if they vie for different political outcomes.
However, the war on Syria is a war they can’t win. The counter-terror Alliance of Iran, Syria, Russia and Hezbollah has prevailed on many fronts. On the other hand, the Alliance doesn’t want what Washington does offer in the peace process: Endless war, colonial carve-ups, undoing old borders, and regional provisions for military and energy domination.
For sure, the War Party generals should be out of their minds to call it quits in the Middle East too. Unlike the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East is a region of massive strategic resources, such as oil, gas and minerals, making it irreplaceable for many decades to come. For the Military-Industrial Complex, Syria is lucrative too, which is why it remains a key plank of the US strategy to pull countries in the region into its sphere of influence and global arms market.