20:15 GMT02 August 2021
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    The White House has an unhealthy habit of confusing its own vital national interests with the foreign policy agenda of its allies (real or perceived) and promoting the latter, not the former, intelligence expert Paul R. Pillar observed.

    "The United States, through several presidential administrations, has repeatedly allowed itself to get sucked into other people's quarrels in the Middle East. These include quarrels in which the United States should not have gotten involved at all, or in which it had no good reason to take the side it was enticed to take," the analyst wrote for the National Interest.

    The US-led anti-ISIL campaign in Syria and the Saudi-led operation in Yemen, which Washington is tacitly supporting, could serve as prime examples.

    "The side on which the Saudi have intervened [in Yemen] – a side that includes al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – is not one that the United States has any good reason to be identified with. Even if the United States had a good reason to take sides in the Saudis' contest with Iran for regional influence, which it doesn't, the Yemeni war would be a poor place to do so," Pillar observed.

    A street in Damascus.
    © Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy
    In Syria, the Gulf States have essentially left the US to do whatever it deems necessary in what increasingly resembles a unilateral rather than a multilateral effort. A year ago countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the ones calling for a more proactive strategy in Syria. These days they are the ones merely participating in the anti-ISIL campaign.

    "The withdrawal of Arab air forces makes the US role all the more lonely and conspicuous. Participation of other Western powers already was lukewarm, and the US role will get lonelier still with the promise by the new Trudeau government in Ottawa to end Canadian participation in military operations in Syria," the expert asserted.

    Pillar believes that Washington should put more effort into finding a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war.

    "While engaging in that [multilateral] diplomacy, and in crafting reactions to the ideas and proposals of others, including from Russia, US policy-makers need to be careful not to slide into the habit of adopting the objectives of others just because they may be commonly labeled as 'allies,'" the analyst warned.

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    Tags:
    Yemen, Saudi Arabia, US, Syria, airstrike, geopolitics, radical Islam, Islamic extremism, Middle East
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