The Phantom Menace: Syria

The cynicism animating much of Washington remains at face value, worthless.  That’s because it is born from within the confines of self preservation alone.  Take Syria for example.  The fatal conceit dominating the halls of D.C. is that the U.S. can defeat the Islamic State by having no dog in a fight called Syria.  Mull than one over for a while.  As Tehran seeks to consolidate its regional arc moving west from Baghdad, it seeks to envelop both Saudi Arabia and by extension Israel.  Its doing that today in Syria.  As long as we stay out, Moscow and its proxies in Tehran possess unqualified hegemony.

Our allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as Kurds, have gathered themselves near the city of Taqba to rekindle checking Iran.  Its working, but only because we remain backing them.  Recent spats regarding the downing of a Syrian SU22 was as test of U.S. resolve.  Both Moscow, Damascus, Jerusalem, Riyadh & Tehran witnessed whether we’d back our footprint in Syria.  We did and the message we intended was received. Trump isn’t Obama!

Now we must push through Syria offending both Moscow and Tehran.  We should risk escalation if only to dominate these clowns.  We don’t need to consolidate any hold on land, but we do need to kill off those who seek to check SDF territory.

Moscow has escalated with Iran in placing anti-aircraft missiles west of the Euphrates as part of an intimidation strategy.  If anything, we should seek to bankrupt both Moscow and Tehran in any regional proxy struggle to capture or dominate Syria and western Iraq. We must prevent Putin from looking credible while he advances arrangements to acquire naval ports in the eastern Mediterranean threatening Israel.  The Iranians wish to finance lethal Shia proxies throughout Syria and Lebanon.  The entire corridor is now awash in militant Sunni’s from Central Asia.  Given the comity underwriting relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh, one should expect the Saudi’s to reign in everyone allied to Sunni Islam.  Still, the arc from Tehran to Lebanon must be extinguished.

We need to escalate if only to punish Putin and Iran.

We’re out of time and we need to make these regimes pay a high price for their ideological and geo-political ambitions.


About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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