Darra is the ancient Syrian city best remembered as the location where Lawrence of Arabia was raped by Otto-mites. Given that 2018 is the centenary anniversary of the Arab Revolt under Lawrence, we need to remember the significance of Syria as the second home of the Arab Spring (Tunisia being first.)
Syria, Cairo, Jerusalem and Istanbul are the regional capitals for the levant. They still remain so today in the minds of its inhabitants. This is significant in shaping or retaining the working vestiges of the Arab nation state. That hijacked morass of the late 19th century is returning with a vengeance in Mesopotamia. Its westward movement is the impact of the Shia crescent; Iran’s foreign policy dilemma that continues to weaken the regime domestically.
And if the land of Ishmael is filled with role reversals, so are the American’s. Having a US President accomplish five policy goals by strengthening US nuclear deterrence is part of a long arc that began under Obama. April 7th chemical attack on Douma has a pedigree that needs a reckoning. It arrived this past weekend.
US policy goals in Syria are simple: prevent the Islamic State and al-Qaeda from re-emerging, support a beleaguered and moribund UN, counter Iranian regional influence, bring about safe repatriation of Syrian refugees and finally, clear the Syrian regime from using WMD by strengthening US nuclear deterrence.
This conflict ain’t over because Assad’s protectors remain standing: Iran & Russia.
Assad’s policy is to threaten and massacre any remaining outposts of resistance. And while Erdogan’s wiles remained aimed at our own regional proxies, namely the Kurds, the US under Trump is beginning to accomplish what superpowers are supposed to do: protect the weak by strengthening UN led processes. The Syrian Democratic Forces remain Kurdish led with embedded US special op’s. We’ve liberated most of eastern Syria east of the Euphrates.
Are US goals achievable in Syria? Short answer: NO. Not without strengthening allied nuclear deterrence under Israel and its concomitant, if tacit agreement with Riyadh to counter the Shia crescent by hitting Iranian outposts in Golan.
What did the Don learn? His resisting Obama’s failed domestic posture by acknowledging that premature exits from wars abroad embolden Iran.
What has John Bolton learned? We need Arab regional allies. To achieve this, Arab polities must reform themselves out from autocracy to meet the challenge of Iran.
Its the Arab Spring with balls. Get ready for more regional geopolitical, ideological rivalry throughout the land of Ishmael.