Syria, Trump's Christmas gift for Putin
President Trump has announced that he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, following his campaign promise. Despite opposition from lawmakers and international observers, Trump dubiously claimed that ISIS has been defeated, insisting on handing over strategic influence in the war-torn country to Russia.
If something is clear within the panorama of the Civil War in Syria, it’s that it has never been about terrorism.
Since the Middle Eastern country detonated into internal war in 2014, the Syrian territory has become a jewel of political and strategic disputes at the international level.
Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia have intervened in the civil war to seize a piece of cake from an economically fundamental area to any world power.
At a critical moment for the Trump Administration - which faces an investigation for alleged collusion with Moscow in the 2016 elections - the U.S. president has decided to give what will possibly be his last gift to Vladimir Putin.
According to announcement by the president on Twitter, the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Syria, alleging the "defeat" of the terrorist group, Islamic State, better known as ISIS.
However, the issue in that region was never terrorism.
The U.S. intervention in the country was driven by the use of chemical weapons by the government of Bashar Al-Assad against its citizens, an orchestrated massacre supported by Moscow.
While U.S. troops collaborated with the encirclement of the jihadist group in Syria - which finally "lost its last bastion" in the town of Hajin on December 14, as the BBC explained - the issue in the Arab country is not limited to counter-terrorism strategies.
In a letter to the president, Senators Lindsey Graham, Jeanne Shaheen, Joni Ernst, Angus S. King, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio rejected the administration's move to withdraw from the country and argued that "ISIS is not the only threat."
"The brutal dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad continues to weigh heavily on the Syrian people, and we fear that the withdrawal of our troops may embolden Bashar Al-Assad to take further steps to solidify his power," the statement said.
The senators insisted that the measure could also embolden regimes such as Iran and, especially, Russia.
"As you are aware, both Iran and Russia have used the Syrian conflict as a stage to magnify their influence in the region," the senators wrote. "Any sign of weakness perceived by Iran or by Russia will only result in their increased presence in the region and the decrease in the trust of our partners and allies."
For Victoria Nuland, Executive Director of the Center for a New American Security, and former Deputy State Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Trump's decision is "a New Year's gift to President Bashar Al-Assad, the Islamic State, the Kremlin, and Tehran."
In a column written for the Washington Post, Nuland reiterates that the issue of ISIS ended months ago and that the withdrawal of U.S. troops will only give permission to ISIS and Iran to "surge again."
But, the most important thing, according to the former secretary's analysis, is the move that Russia will make almost immediately.
"After years of pretending to negotiate a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis with Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin can ignore the entreaties of Trump's envoys because the United States will have no military skin in the game to back its diplomacy," she explained, warning that the Kremlin will eventually consolidate "its control over the rest of Syria for Assad."
Although Moscow will remain unnoticed in the region, it will "broaden its tacit support for the Iranian-backed militias that already serve as de facto local police forces in western Syria."
Finally, both Iran and Russia can divide the booty of the oil fields of Deir al-Zour, and end up victorious, all thanks to Trump’s retreat.