20:50 GMT21 June 2021
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    Any Trump administration decision on whether to accept Syrian President Bashar Assad in power or not is irrelevant because of realities on the ground, yet forces in the US military would upend any strategy opposed to regime change, analysts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, the US State Department effectively contradicted a report in the New Yorker published on Monday saying the US government was now prepared to accept Assad remaining in power for the next four years, citing unnamed US and European officials.

    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told a press briefing on Tuesday that the US government did not believe Assad would stay in power and that Washington remained committed to the Geneva peace process.

    "We remain committed to the Geneva process, we believe that the future of Syria will not include Bashar al Assad, but that is ultimately up to the Syrian people," Nauert said on Tuesday.


    The US government would have to recognize Assad’s continuing in power as he had won the six year war in his country and there was nothing the United States could do about it, University of Pittsburgh Professor of International Affairs Michael Brenner said on Wednesday.

    "This is not a matter of preference, but of necessity dictated by objective circumstances," Brenner said. "Assad has won the battlefield. One cannot obtain diplomatically what you lost in war."

    Recent US maneuvering in Syria has had two objectives, Brenner explained. US goals were "to carve out zones of influence in the northeast [of Syria] and the desert west," he said.

    The former would be dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia under US direction and the latter by remnants of the Daesh terror group who were allowed to escape Raqqa and their local tribal allies, Brenner said.

    "The puncturing of larger Kurdish ambition by the Baghdad government along with a lack of interest as serving as American proxies has cut the ground out from under the former. The latter is doomed by Syrian-Iraqi cooperation in squeezing the last of the Islamic State (Daesh)," Brenner explained.

    Washington had adapted to these developments and now sought leverage in post-war political negotiations, Brenner said. However, "That is now a dead issue since we are sidelined by Russia, Turkey and Iran," he said.

    The Defense Department nevertheless remained determined to hold on to operating areas in the middle of Syria, Brenner stated.

    "The other objective, dear to the hearts of the Pentagon, has been to maintain its base network in Syria linked to an even large network in Iraq. There is no legal basis for this, thought or justification," he said.

    Trump had agreed to continue the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama to support Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab emirates against Iran and Syria, dangerously heightening tensions in the region, Brenner warned.

    "We still have the powerful alliance of Saudi Arabia, UAE [United Arab Emirates] and Israel. Trump has signed on to a sectarian cum power political war between two regional factions. No good can come from it," he said.


    Human rights lawyer and peace activist Dan Kovalik warned that Trump still faced hardline elements among US policymakers determined to block his policy of accommodation with Assad.

    "Of course, we know from history, including very recent history, that there are very powerful forces in the United States which may not allow this to happen," he said.

    Trump’s readiness to recognize Assad’s continuation in power promised to end the era of US efforts to topple governments across the Middle East region, Kovalik noted.

    "If Trump is able to carry out his commitment to accept Assad as Syria’s president until 2021, this could mark the welcome end to the dark period of US-sponsored regime change and state destruction in the Middle East," he said.

    It was in the best interests of Syria and the world to revive the notion of national sovereignty and self-determination and for the international community to recognize the current government in Syria, Kovalik remarked.

    The United States should "allow the Syrian people to decide through peaceful elections who their own leaders will be," he said.

    However, elements within the United States might seek to orchestrate a fake incident or atrocity in attempt to force Trump into a new conflict with the Syrian government, Kovalik warned.

    "I would imagine that the chances of something like this happening again are very great," he said.

    Peace-loving people around the world needed to that the Syrian people be permitted to freely choose their president through the ballot box without any intervening moves to oust Assad from power, Kovalik added.

    The views and opinions expressed by Michael Brenner, Dan Kovalik are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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