Officials from Iran and Russia have heavily critiqued United States foreign policy in regards to Syria, making accusations that the U.S. cares not for defeating the Islamic State but are instead pursue ulterior motives in the form of economic gain. Russia’s Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, implied that the United States had failed in the war on terrorism and had neglected Syria during an international security conference this week. Shoigu stated that, “It is hard to believe that the powerful coalition could not fight terrorists in the region. It is evident that the coalition had another aim: to undermine the situation in the region, and deploy its military and economical presence in the area.”
Iran’s Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, who attended the same conference echoed a similar rhetoric. Hatami said, “As long as the main factors contributing to Daesh [ISIS] continue to persist, and invading countries continue to be armed by Western countries, particularly the United States, and as long as the US has chosen not to shoulder responsibility for its unwise policies in the international arena, the threat of terrorism is expected to emerge from another place.”
President Trump has said that the United States is set to pull out of Syria but with the current series of events it would be catastrophic once again. The Turkish military is threatening Manbij, pockets of the Islamic State resistance still exist in the south, and a resurgence of sleeper cell attacks are happening in Kirkuk while Iraq and the KRG settle their differences it is hard to take the claims seriously. That being said, the Obama administration made the same mistake in Afghanistan and we as a nation are once again deploying troops to secure the region. Trump was quoted saying, “Our primary mission in terms of Syria was getting rid of ISIS. We’ve almost completed that task. And we’ll be making a decision very quickly in coordination with others in the area as to what we’ll do.”
Head of the United States Central Command and leading commander of the anti-ISIS coalition, General Joe Votel did not share the president’s sentiment. Votel stated that, “The hard part I think is in front of us and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes, addressing the long-term issues of reconstruction and other things that will have to be done. Of course there is a military role in this, certainly in the stabilization phase.”
In a unified statement from Russian President Valimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani of Iran, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey made their nations intentions for the future of Syria known. The statement read, “The presidents expressed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that the conflict could be ended only through a negotiated political process. They rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries.”
Ironically all three of these nations have conducted their own proxy wars around the world and have undermined the stability of foreign entities. The Russian/Ukrainian war over the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and support of Separatist factions in Donetsk. The Turkish military incursion into Afrin paired with the use of FSA militias to attack both Afrin and Manbij, a Islamic extremist based terrorist group. Iran’s support of the Hashd al-Shaabi militias (PMF and PMU) in land grabbing Kirkuk from the Kurds in northern Iraq. It would seem that the pot is still calling the kettle black.
Featured Image Courtesy of Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons