One day after the last U.S. forces left the Kabul airport, President Joe Biden declared that he is “ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”
But while bucking the Pentagon and DC foreign policy establishment in withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Biden administration has confirmed that it’s keeping hundreds of troops in Syria to occupy the oil-rich northeast – about one-third of the country. And just like predecessors who misled the public about US progress in Afghanistan, Biden is overseeing a similar deception that hides both the reality of US operations on Syrian territory and the actual motives for keeping troops there indefinitely.
The administration’s formal pledge to continue occupying Syria was quietly disclosed during the last days of the 20-year U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. “The Biden administration is committed to retaining U.S. military presence in northeast Syria,” Dana Stroul, the Pentagon’s top policy official for the Middle East, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on August 10th.
Echoing the official rationale, Stroul claimed that the U.S. remains in Syria “because ISIS is not defeated,” and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) cannot fight the terror group “without our support, training, and advice.”
The U.S. government’s claim to be occupying Syria in order to fight ISIS is undercut by a series of low-profile admissions concealed from a wide audience. In overlooked statements and briefings, U.S. officials have disclosed that American forces are barely doing any fighting against ISIS in Syria, and for good reason: as is also quietly acknowledged, fighting ISIS is not the actual reason why they’re there.
In reality, after a decade-long, multi-billion-dollar CIA dirty war that failed to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the US is using its soldiers — along with crippling sanctions — to keep Syria divided, impoverished, and unable to rebuild.
In its latest quarterly assessment of the U.S. mission against ISIS in Syria, the Pentagon’s Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) depicts a battlefield where the U.S. is effectively idle. In practice, it is the Syrian government and its allies that are conducting the vast majority of anti-ISIS operations and bear the brunt of the militant group’s violence. The IG report also portrays ISIS as largely contained, with little prospect of expanding beyond its isolated desert hideouts.
Continue reading at Aaron Mate’s Substack