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President Trump Understands What Congress Does Not: Syria Is Not America's War

October 22, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Congress wouldn’t declare war or even approve presidential troop deployments in Syria. But sanctimonious legislators now are preening for the cameras, demanding that U.S. military force remain entangled in that tragic nation, seemingly forever. They show greater concern for foreign fighters acting in their own interest than for American soldiers, as well as civilians who have suffered from blowback to Washington’s succession of Middle Eastern wars.

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It needs to be said bluntly: Syria doesn’t matter for U.S. security. The Assad family has ruled Syria since 1971. The regime was allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War but never attacked America. After steady losses, the Assads even abandoned war with Israel. Rule by father and son has been brutal — like those of assorted American friends: Mubarak, el-Sisi, the Saudi royal family, Bahrain’s al-Khalifas, Iran’s Shah Pahlavi, and even Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, when he was fighting Tehran.

Syria’s implosion in 2011 only added to the humanitarian tragedy. The Obama administration’s determination to oust President Bashar al-Assad discouraged both sides from negotiating. Yet Syrians, especially among minority Christians and Alawites, warned, à la Louis XV, “après moi, le déluge.” On a visit to Syria last year an Alawite told me that supposedly democratic protesters were chanting “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave.” Religious minorities saw the horrors unleashed when the U.S. ousted a secular dictator next door in Iraq and understandably feared a repeat.

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The administration’s efforts were hopelessly ineffective, incompetent, confused, and contradictory. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to train a handful of supposedly moderate insurgents who were promptly killed or captured. The U.S. simultaneously sought to destroy ISIS and its main enemy, the Syrian state. Washington assumed that it could dictate events from thousands of miles away, somehow ousting Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia, which all were invited in by Damascus to defend interests far more pressing to them than those claimed by U.S. officials.

Even worse, both the Obama and Trump administrations believed they could pacify …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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