08:29 GMT +321 November 2019
Listen Live
    (FILES) In this file photo taken on September 08, 2019 US troops walk past a Turkish military vehicle during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town along the border with Turkish troops

    US Foreign Policy in the Middle East is an Embarrassment - Professor

    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
    Opinion
    Get short URL
    141
    Subscribe

    US Army Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the US-led coalition has revealed that two US fighter jets launched pre-planned airstrikes Wednesday to destroy ammunition that was left behind when American forces left a cement factory south of Kobani, Syria.

    Last time American troops destroyed ammunition was when they were fleeing Vietnam, according to Alexander Azadgan, Editor-at-Large with the United World International analytical centre.

    Mr. Azadgan, who’s also a Professor of International Political Economy described Washington’s foreign policy in the Middle East as “an embarrassment”.

    “The last time [...] such extreme actions were taken is when the US was fleeing from Vietnam. And we all remember the image of helicopters being thrown off or pushed out from the US aircraft carrier. So from a symbolic perspective, it doesn't look good,” the Professor said. “Of course, we've all known that US foreign policy has failed miserably, not just in Syria, but from Afghanistan all the way down to Yemen and elsewhere. So, it's not a common practice, it is an embarrassment to our foreign policy in the Middle East…” 

    This comes after US President Donald Trump declared on 6 October that the US is withdrawing troops from northern Syria and this week confirming that all US forces are coming home. But Prof. Azadgan believes that there won’t be a complete pullout from Syria despite the US leader’s statements and that some special forces units will remain.

    "I think there's going to be a US presence in the east of Euphrates, which is very controversial, even though they say they're not going to help the Kurds. There has been withdrawal in other parts of the Middle East by US personnel, but this area is so strategic to everybody that the US would want to have some kind of, perhaps, a covert presence there. We don't need to have thousands of soldiers when you have special forces operatives. Their numbers could be very few, but they're extremely effective," the scholar explained.

    Tensions continue to mount in Syria after Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring against Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units) forces in northern Syria last week with the stated aim of protecting itself from terrorists, creating a safe-zone along its border with Syria and resettling refugees back in their homeland.

    Smoke billows from fires on targets in Syria
    © Sputnik / Hikmet Durgun
    Smoke billows from fires on targets in Syria

    Ankara has maintained that it is only fighting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which it considers an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, a terrorist organisation in Turkey, and the remnants of Daesh*.

    Turkey’s offensive has been met with strong criticism in the US and Europe. The US introduced sanctions on Turkey that include sanctions on individual ministers and a 50% tariff on Turkish steel exports to the US.

    The leaders of France and Germany announced that they have halted arms deliveries to Turkey in the wake of its operation in Syria. But Azadgan stressed that US allies in the region have all been defeated for the most part.

    "I think Russia is coming in and trying to save face for everybody. Russia is trying to create an atmosphere where everyone feels they have defeated the bad guys - that being ISIS [Daesh], al-Qaeda, al-Nusra. ... So, what you can expect from Washington's allies in the region is a quiet, unacknowledged defeat of their proxies. And everybody right now is trying to create a perception that we defeated ISIS [Daesh], all of us defeated ISIS [Daesh] - and this is totally false. It was the United States double supporting al-Qaeda, which they called the Syrian opposition, as well as al-Nusra," the Professor pointed out.

    When it comes to the Turkish military operation, Mr. Azadgan says it’s certainly no coincidence that Ankara began its operation when the US and allies were withdrawing and it may actually be interested in making things even worse in Syria.

    "I think Mr. Trump, and quite possibly other warmongers in his cabinet, that being Mike Pompeo, are subcontracting the job of creating further chaos and anarchy in Syria as if that country wasn't already in such a horrible state, they're simply allowing him to do it," he said.

    The analyst also described German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statements about Europe’s weapons sales embargo as “a perfect geopolitical game of hypocrisy,” noting that it’s “irrelevant” as the US has been selling F-35s and other advanced technologies to Turkey for many years.” Merkel has also urged Ankara to end its operation in northern Syria.

    But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to press on with the offensive, so “we have to see how far the Turks can go with this new plan of extinguishing the Kurds,” Prof. Azadgan stressed.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses his ruling party legislators at the Parliament, in Ankara, Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019.
    © AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses his ruling party legislators at the Parliament, in Ankara, Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019.

    Kurds, left to fend for themselves, struck a deal with the Syrian government asking the Syrian army to help hem fend off Turkey's offensive.

    "Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, was on record telling the Kurds that they cannot rely on anybody and that at the end - he said this many years ago - that at the end they will come back to the arms of Syria and ask Syria to protect them," Azadgan noted.

    According to Syrian state media reports, on Thursday, President Bashar Assad promised to respond to Turkish aggression on any part of its territory with all legitimate means available.

    The US has been pushing Turkey to declare an immediate ceasefire, and US Vice President Mike Pence travelled to Ankara on Thursday to urge President Erdogan to stop its operation in northern Syria.

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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

    Tags:
    offensive, Syria, Turkey, US
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik