All international problems are currently suspended, awaiting the results of the US mid-term elections. The partisans of the old international order are gambling on a change of majority in Congress and a rapid destitution of President Trump. If the man in the White House holds fast, the protagonists of the war against Syria will have to admit defeat and move on to other battle fields. On the other hand, if Donald Trump should lose the elections, the war on Syria will immediately be revived by the United Kingdom.
The current situation – extending from the Russian response to the destruction of its Ilyuchin-20 to the US mid-term elections on 6 November – is uncertain. All the protagonists of the war in Syria are waiting to see whether the White House will be able to pursue its policy of breaking away from the current international order, or if Congress will become the opposition and immediately trigger the process for the destitution of President Trump.
The origins of the war
It has become clear that the initial project by the United States, the United Kingdom, Israël, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will not be realised. The same goes for France and Turkey, two powers that entered the war against Syria somewhat later.
What we need to remember is not the way in which we were informed about the start of the events, but what we have discovered about them since. The demonstrations in Deraa were presented as a « spontaneous revolt » against « dictatorial repression », but we now know that they had been in preparation for a long time.
Syrian anti-government protesters demostrate in Daraa
We also need to free ourselves of the illusion that all the members of a Coalition, united in order to achieve the same goal, share the same strategy. Whatever the influence of one or the other, each State conserves its own history, its own interests and its own war objectives.
The United States pursued the strategy of Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, which was the destruction of the State structures in the Greater Middle East. For this they relied upon the United Kingdom, which implemented Tony Blair’s strategy aimed at placing the Muslim Brotherhood in power throughout the region. And also on Israël, which rebooted the strategy of Oded Yinon and David Wurmser for regional domination. The necessary weapons were stored in advance by Saudi Arabia in the Omar mosque. Qatar stepped in by inventing the story about the children whose nails were torn out.
At that time, Saudi Arabia was not seeking to impose a new form of politics on Syria, nor even to overthrow its government. Riyadh’s intention was exclusively to prevent a non-Sunni from becoming President. By some strange historical evolution, the Wahhabites, who, two centuries ago, considered both Sunnis and Chiites as heretics and called for their extermination if they failed to repent, are today presenting themselves as the defenders of the Sunnis and the killers of the Chiites.
As for the tiny emirate of Qatar, it was exacting its revenge after the interruption of its gas pipeline in Syria.
France, which should have taken part in the conspiracy by virtue of the Lancaster House agreements, was sidelined because of its unexpected initiatives in Libya. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé, attempted to push France into rejoining the conspirators, but the ambassador in Damascus, Eric Chevallier, who could see the distortion of facts on the ground, resisted as far as humanly possible.
When France was once again admitted to the group conspiracy, it continued its 1915 objective of the colonisation of Syria, pursuing the Sykes-Picot-Sazonov agreements. Just as the French mandate over Syria was considered to be transitory compared with the lasting colonisation of Algeria, it is considered, in the 21st century, as secondary to control of the Sahel. Besides which, while attempting to realise its old engagement, Paris pushed for the creation of a national home for the Kurds, on the model used by the British in 1917 for the Jews in Palestine. In order to do so, it allied itself with Turkey which, in the name of Atatürk’s « national oath », invaded the North of Syria in order to create a State to which the Turkish Kurds could be expelled.
While the war objectives of these first four aggressors are mutually compatible, those of the latter two are not compatible with the others.
Besides which, France, the United Kingdom and Turkey are three old colonial powers. All three are now trying to impose their power over the same throne. The war against Syria has thus reactivated their old rivalries.
The Daesh episode within the war against Syria and Iraq
At the end of 2013, the Pentagon revised its plans within the framework of the Cebrowski strategy. It modified its initial plans, as revealed by Ralph Peters, and substituted the plan by Robin Wright for the creation of a « Sunnistan » straddling Syria and Iraq.
However, in September 2015, the deployment of the Russian army in Syria, as an obstacle to the creation of « Sunnistan » by Daesh, ruined the projects of the six principal partners in the war.
Free Syrian Army, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham flags in Syria
The three years of war that followed had other objectives – on the one hand, to create a new state straddling Iraq and Syria within the framework of the Cebrowski strategy, and, on the other, to use Daesh to cut the Silk Road that Xi Jinping’s China were seeking to reactivate – thus maintaining continental domination over the « Western » part.
The Syrian / Russian victory and the reversal of the United States
The affair of the destruction of the Ilyuchin-20 on 17 September 2018 handed Russia the occasion to terminate this extended war and come to an agreement with the White House to stand against other aggressors. This is a rerun, on a smaller scale, of the Russian / US reaction to the Suez crisis of 1956.
Moscow has not only given the Syrian Arab Army anti-aircraft missiles (S-300’s), but has also deployed an entire integrated surveillance system. As soon as this system is operational, and Syrian officers have been trained to use it, which will take three months at the most, it will be impossible for Western armies to over-fly the country without permission from Damascus.
President Trump announced in advance that he intends to withdraw US troops from Syria. He went back on this decision under pressure from the Pentagon, then agreed with his general officers to maintain pressure on Damascus as long as the United States were excluded from the peace negotiations in Sotchi. The deployment of the Russian armies – for which the White House had probably given its agreement – provided President Trump with the occasion of forcing the Pentagon to back off. It would have to withdraw its troops, but it could maintain the presence of its mercenaries (as it happens, these would be the Kurds and Arabs from the Democratic Forces).
The Syrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Walid el-Mouallem, speaking before the General Assembly of the UNO, demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the foreign forces of occupation, US, French and Turkish.
If the United States leave, then the French and Turkish troops will be unable to stay. The Israëlis would no longer be able to overfly and bomb the country. The British have already left.
However, Tel-Aviv, Paris and Ankara still hope that President Trump will lose the elections of 6 November and will be fired. They are therefore awaiting the results of this fateful election before they decide.
If it happens that Donald Trump should win the mid-term elections in Congress, another question will arise. If the Western powers give up on the battle in Syria, where will they go to continue their endless war? This is indeed a reality on which all experts agree – the Western ruling class has become so swamped in bad blood and hubris that it is unable to accept the idea of being geared back behind the new Asian powers.
Wisdom would dictate that once the war is lost, the aggressors should withdraw. But the intellectual disposition of the West prevents them from doing so. The war here will cease only when they find a new bone to gnaw on.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu watch the troops marching at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017
Only the United Kingdom has given its response any thought. It is clear by now that although London maintains its diplomatic pressure on Syria via the Small Group, its attention is already focused on the revival of the « Grand Game » which saw the Crown confront the Tsar throughout all of the 19th century. After having invented the Skripal affair, and on the model of the « Zinoviev Letter », London has just ’caught’ the Russian Exterior Intelligence Services red-handed in their attempt to discover what is being plotted against them by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPWC).
This geopolitical doctrine is independent of the events which serve as its pretext. The « Grand Game » was the strategy of the British Empire. Its resumption by the current United Kingdom is the consequence of Brexit and the policy of « Global Britain ». Just as in the 19th century, this anti-Russian configuration will lead in time to an exacerbated rivalry between London and Paris. On the contrary, should Theresa May fail, along with the questions concerning Brexit and the maintenance of the United Kingdom in the European Union, all these projections will be cancelled.
If France is now studying the possibility of leaving the Middle East in order to concentrate on the Sahel, the position of the United States is a lot more problematic. Since 9/11, the Pentagon has enjoyed a certain autonomy. The ten combat Commanders of the armed forces no longer receive orders from the president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, but only from the Secretary of Defense.
With time, they have become the veritable « viceroys » of the « American Empire » – a function which they do not wish to see reduced by President Trump. Some of them, like the Commander for South America (SouthCom), intend to continue with the Cebrowski strategy, despite the admonitions of the White House.
So there remains much uncertainty. The only positive step taken concerns Daesh – for three years, the Western powers pretended to be fighting this terrorist organisation, while at the same time supplying them with weapons. Today, Donald Trump has ordered the cessation of this experience of an explicitly terrorist state, the Caliphate, and the Syrian and Russian armies have pushed the jihadists back. The Westerners have no desire to see their friends, the « moderate rebels », now qualified as « terrorists », turn up in their countries en masse. Consequently, whether they admit it or not, they hope they will all be killed in Syria.
It is the US mid-term elections which will decide whether the war continues in Syria or move on to another battle field.