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The idea of replacing the US contingent in Syria with Saudi troops is doomed to failure

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The idea of replacing the US contingent in Syria with Saudi troops is doomed to failure

Written by Dmitry Minin; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

The White House has had a hot new idea – to leave Syria but also stay there at the same time by deploying an Arab contingent to US military bases, primarily from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). So to Arabize one of the bloodiest wars of our time in keeping with the bitter memory of Vietnamization.

It seems that the plan was worked out during the almost month-long stay of Saudi Arabia’s defence minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in America. And the plan’s existence was announced on 17 April by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, during a joint press conference with the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Following the missile attack on Syria, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, reiterated that President Donald Trump still wants an early withdrawal of US troops from the country. The introduction of a Saudi contingent in their place seems to Washington to be in the interests of the United States. And the US government has not just suggested to Saudi Arabia that it replace the American contingent, but to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well. They would take a back seat to the Saudis, however. There is also talk of these regimes providing money to rebuild Syria’s destroyed north. It seems they wouldn’t just be counting on military force, but on “buying” the local population as well.

It does raise a question, of course: have the Americans asked the Syrian government or its own allies – the Kurds and, at the very least, Turkey, Russia and Iran – about the desirability of such a replacement? No, of course they haven’t. Even while withdrawing, the US is unable to forget about its “exclusivity”. For many reasons, however, the idea of replacing Americans with Arabs is doomed to failure.

That Damascus will resolutely resist the proposed reoccupation of its territory by the forces of a “fraternal country” is obvious. It can only lead to more fighting and a rise in regional tensions. Almost as well-equipped as the Americans, the Saudis will never be a worthy opponent of the battle-hardened Syrian army. They have already shown what they’re capable of in the endless war in Yemen, where barefoot Houthis are inflicting one embarrassing defeat after another. Riyadh’s intention to fight a “decisive battle” against Iran on foreign soil will not be realised, either. With its ally Iraq behind it, Tehran would soon have the advantage.

All in all, not a single one of Syria’s neighbours is in favour of the arrival of Saudi troops to replace the Americans except Israel. Iraq is categorically against the idea, since it wants to avoid having to deal with an upsurge in fighting between Sunnis and Shi’ites on its borders. Turkey has no need for the Saudis either, because they would undermine its influence in the Ankara-controlled area of northern Syria. Suffice it to say that the nearly 30,000 troops now under Turkey’s wing from Eastern Ghouta, which was recently liberated by government troops, have been on Riyadh’s payroll for the entire war. Turkey has every reason to fear that Saudi Arabia will use these and other groups to assert its dominance over the area. Libya is also against the appearance of Saudi Arabia on the Syrian stage, fearing that clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites will move to within its own borders. Even Jordan, which is dependent on Washington and London, is weary of the initiative. As a pragmatic politician, King Abdullah II of Jordan has a good idea of all the possible negative repercussions of such an undertaking.

The proposals have also been criticised by Egypt, which has completely ruled out its involvement in their realisation. Mohammad Rashad, a senior official in Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, expressed himself in no uncertain terms: “The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries and cannot be leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy in a certain area.” Rashad continued: ““This is not acceptable. No one should dare to direct or give orders to Egypt’s army.” The statement is an indirect response to an appeal by the US president’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, to the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, Abbas Mustafa Kamil, inviting Cairo to be involved in the project.

Just as many problems await the Saudis in and around the area of their proposed location. To begin with, the Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who control the area with the help of the US will certainly not welcome their arrival. It would mean the Kurds giving up control of the local Arab population in favour of the incoming contingent and losing most of the power they have won. It is quite possible that the Americans are secretly pushing for a scenario in which, as well as Arabization, there will also be a “dekurdization” of northern Syria, but at someone else’s hands. Then it would seem as if they are not betraying the Kurds, while calming Arab national feelings and ironing out differences with the Turks at the same time. Don’t think that the Kurds will remain passive bystanders in this situation, however. Chances are they will occupy the vacated US bases and refuse to let anyone in. It is even possible they will finally realise that, in the current situation, the most sensible course of action to resolve the Kurdish national question would be an alliance with Damascus. For the time being, Damascus is prepared to extend the rights of Kurds, but should they find themselves on the losing side later on, their window of opportunity will gradually close.

And for Saudi Arabia, a direct clash with the Islamic State (IS), which, according to the official version, is the terrorist group that the Saudis must go to Syria to fight, could prove fatal. The truth is that many of the IS militants still fighting in Syria are mujahideen from Saudi Arabia and their ability to indoctrinate their fellow countrymen should not be underestimated. It could happen that any direct contact between the Saudi contingent and IS militants will eventually extend the latter’s influence to the Kingdom, something that the Islamic State has long dreamed of. In the countries of the Persian Gulf, there are already some who think it would perhaps be better to hire Sudanese nationals, Pakistanis or some other poor souls for the operation.

The new plan for America to save face in the Middle East is just as chimerical as all of America’s previous attempts at a global reorganisation of the region. The outcome of Arabization will not be any better than the outcome of Vietnamization was all those decades ago. And this will continue to be the case until Washington starts taking into account the positions of all interested parties, including Damascus.

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  • Joe

    Fact is US knows it cannot defend the area vs Assad’s forces and let the dying or rather the slaughter be others not US soldiers.

    It’s so obvious there is no chance of US staying in Syria without being slaughtered.

    • FlorianGeyer

      As they were by IED’s for years in Iraq :)

  • 1691

    The most simple solution would be for the americans to go back home. Isis is beaten up; no reason to stay. Take the glory, say that you defeated isis, say whatever you want, just go!

    • bvgp

      Qatar is still causing problems in North Africa and the leadership of the Terrorist Militias is based now in Istanbul – where Erdogan has him on side with the Russian for “De Escalation”. The Terrorists are all lead from Qatar via War Lord Abdel Hakim Belhaj (Al Nusra) who has fled Libya and is now based in Istanbul..While he is there causing Terror for Qatar and Turkey in Egypt, Libya, Niger, Mali etc – Saudi will get involved. And so will Egypt and Libya on an “Intelligence” level.

      What Saudi will do is get rid of Nusra,

  • bvgp

    Joint Turkish – Saudi training – in TURKEY – yesterday arrival:

    https://www.albayan.ae/one-world/arabs/2018-04-29-1.3250918

    • bvgp

      Arab Media is definitely worth keeping an eye on – and by that I mean Arab Media that is not based around the Levent. UAE and Egypt have had huge success combating Terrorism in Libya with Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter. Russia abandoned the LIbyans and refused to help them unless they were permitted to put Russian bases there. It was decided at the time that would provoke huge anger from USA, UK and put Europe in an intolerable situation – as well as Africa. African Union were involved in the decision as was Egypt. Saudi intelligence were involved and have been a huge contributor to tracking the Mafia networks across Europe that have been arming Terrorists in Libya and North Africa and have won the approval of many countries. I think this is how it has happened.

      YOu state in your article that Saudi has been funding in Syria – this is not actually the case. I’ve said it before and I have said it again. Film has emerged in 2015 of double agent of Arah Al Sham who filmed a “Pay Party’ of Arah Al Sham and they are/ were funded totally by the USA. Probably the UK also . The vast majority of the Terrorists have been recruited and organised by Qatar who has translated Foreign Policy into the Region.

      • bvgp

        The Qatar blockade is genuine – due to the Terror in LIbya and Egypt. Etc. And funnily enough it’s all the exact same Terrorist networks that Qatar have organised in Syria. It’s a double edged sword though because it’s pushing Qatar towards Iran and Turkey and from a Geo Strategic Point towards Russia. Qatar is a massive fly in the ointment.

        • bvgp

          And the USA KNOWS Qatar is a massive fly in the ointment.

          • bvgp

            In fact the USA is FEEDING that fly in the ointment. Saudi will get involved in Syria because of Qatar. And if anyone wants to publish that Qatar are innocent of that in LIbya and Syria then you are suffering from Delusional Psychosis. Many, many, MANY Activists are. Libyan Media and social media of those fighting ISIS and Aq in LIbya since 2014 – they are HONEST. If never caught them in a lie. NEVER. Saudi has had some huge successes in LIbya – they have played an Intelligence role and that’s it. Nothing else. But to ignore Libya and what;s gone on there makes all Analysts USELESS analysts.

          • 1691

            Ok, stop talking to yourself. Enough. You have earned your shekel. Go home now.

          • FlorianGeyer

            I was thinking the same thing and ‘bvgp’s’ continual blaming of Qatar for all the ills of Middle East Terrorism is a Bridge Too Far.

            Qatar has supported the US proxy terrorists BUT the Saudi’s have always coveted Qatar’i national assets and the Saudi’s and Gulf States are all funding terrorism.

            Partly because without US protection the various Royal families would soon be separated from their heads and the US ‘protection racket’ uses terrorism to sell hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons every year to the fearful monarchy’s.

          • Pave Way IV

            Qatar used to be a groveling UK vassal state. They probably still are, but need the US troops there for security meat. Hmmm…. two masters – that never ends well.

          • Pave Way IV

            But the US will ignore that as long as Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base is useful. CENTCOM runs all Middle Eastern air operations out of theerer. Al Thani just got assurance from the US that they’ll remain in Al Udeid for the next 15 years.

            Aside from nearly all US inflight refueling aircraft, the B1-Bs returned to the base on Apr. 3rd, and were part of the Syrian attack on the 14th. They’re convenient for air-launching cruise missiles at Syria, or any other countries that Israel/Saudi Arabia want destroyed. Which will eventually mean Iran… but only if Iran doesn’t level the base first.

    • Pave Way IV

      Annual, two-day Turkish-hosted military exercise: Germany, the United States, Azerbaijan, Britain, Qatar, Pakistan, Poland, Belgium and Saudi Arabia participated in 2016. The translation says it’s one of the largest military exercises, but this is only the largest hosted by and conducted in Turkey. 7,000 or so troops in 2017 plus naval and air assets.

  • Rob

    The White helmets want new faces for acting. The wage is only few dates, cookies, biscuits and an attack of some hundred cruise missiles on your country. LOL. So this is the organisation that work for ba*sta’r_ds trump, may and macron. Shame.

  • Bob

    Who knows what Trump is actually doing – is he proposing this primarily as a domestic political ploy in US to out flank the Neo-Con war party, who have him heavily boxed in? Because by saying the Gulf States should shoulder the regional burden, and when they invariably completely fail to do so, Trump is appealing to his domestic electoral base – with a basic message of ‘they won’t do it so why should we’ for US disengaging from Syria. The fact that the globalists have just sent Macron to Washington to try and convince Trump to stay on, as the occupation force in Syria, may suggest something about state of all the conflicting information.

    • Ariel Cohen

      Good point and well said . .

  • Pave Way IV

    Mohammad Rashad, a senior official in Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, expressed himself in no uncertain terms: “The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries and cannot be leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy in a certain area.” Rashad continued: “This is not acceptable. No one should dare to direct or give orders to Egypt’s army.”

    (((US National Security Advisor Bolton))): “This is not acceptable. I order Egypt to send troops. No one should dare to disobey my orders! CENTCOM, begin your invasion of Egypt NOW. Kill them… kill them ALL!”

    • PZIVJ

      This just in:
      “Trump has offered Egypt 2.6 billion tax payer dollars, if they where to refrain from acting like a strong independent county in the ME” And Bolton walked out of meeting pissed off. :D

      • Pave Way IV

        “According to a March 2017 report by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service, between 1948 and 2016 the United States gave Egypt $77.4 billion in bilateral foreign aid, including $1.3 billion a year in military aid from 1987 to the present.”

        Not to be outdone of course by the #1 US taxpayer-hosted parasite:

        “The Congressional Research Service’s conservative estimate of total cumulative US aid to Israel from 1949 through 2015 is $127.4 billion (not adjusted for inflation).”

        I just can’t afford to be a US citizen anymore – we’re like a sieve for our own taxes. Not a drop left to quench our own thirst, but at least we get to wear the sieve on our head as protection from evil Russian mind-control weaponry.
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d018169c31a855d8d87d0df3ad3ad60e78f74d035574d4d2413e9bc385affc88.png

        • Jesus

          The foreign and military aid to Egypt was due to the peace agreement signed between Egypt and Israel at the White House in 1979.

          • PZIVJ

            Camp David Accords where a highlight for Jimmy Carter.
            So sad that other leaders in the west can not follow his example. :(

          • Ariel Cohen

            He was a good president, but under incredible pressure constantly from the banksters and JWO . .

          • Jesus

            That is when Israel did not have a neocon representation in the executive branch, and had to accept something that was worked on tediously by both sides. It was in the middle 80’s when Israel’s policies were imposed on the US, and the foundation of NWO started to establish their financial gains and power to become a force to reckon within various governments. This is when the multibillionaires of today started to establish their empires and start to grow their tentacles of oppression.

        • testera

          I don’t think that proud Pastafarian woman in picture has anything to do with that money. :)

          • Pave Way IV

            She was all I could find at the moment. You would think there would be an extensive collection of people with sieves or colanders on the intertubes, but noooo. Considering that, I have to ask myself WTF good is the internet, anyway?

  • bvgp

    I am not going to disagree at all with Libya refusing to participate – but the reason is not Shia. There is ZERO chance of Sunni Shia scuffles erupting in LIbya as a result of their participation – BECAUSE NOT ONE SHIA RESIDES IN LIBYA!!!!!! There simply isn’t one. LIbya is and has been for centuries the bastion of the purest form of Malaki Sunni left on the planet. And the mercenaries employed by the US tec to destabilise and take control of Libya were all about destroying that – along with Israel and Qatar – but mostly UK Foreign Policy there.

    The reason Libya wouldn’t get involved is because the Army is still at War there, is still sanctioned and is so lacking in money they haven’t been able to pay wages for years. This is changing – though – and there is news that 5000 troops are preparing to move to an “Unspecified” location. However I would advise everyone not to start getting any big ideas about that – there is still Tripoli to take – Terrorist Militias still have that on lockdown and then there is the mater of the borders and the people trafficking which is no where near stopped. And France – Italy etc wants that stopped.

    The Fake News that Hafter was dead was played out a bit to allow the Terrorists to make their consolidated moved in his faked absence. They are controlled now by Abdel Hakim Belhaj via Istanbul where ERdogan and Russia are trying to get them on side for De Escalation in Syria. However, Erdogan, and indeed Russia would still like a foothold in Libya so they may not be doing much to control these Terrorists in LIbya and it is certainly being considered as a “Threat” to Libya.

  • Michał Hunicz

    I would love to see Saudis replacing Americans – cause they would be easily defeated, looking at Saudi “power” in Yemen!

  • bvgp

    I think you are all missing the point regarding ISIS additionally – Saudi isn’t being drafted to get rid of ISIS, the USA has stated they won’t pull out until they have done that. In LIbya, the Organisation of ISIS – as it was in Syria – was via Al Qaeda initially. Ayman Zawahiri. In LIbya they – al the groups have been treated as one and the same thing – ISIS and Al Qaeda – in Syria a few years ago they were all the same thing – if you all remember? All operating together. same Agenda – all from one and only one Syria Operation Showroom.

    Egypt and UAE have got rid of it – mostly by backing Khalifa Hafter. But with Saudi Intelligence Services.

    The Political Wing is the “Justice and Construction Party” (Muslim Brotherhood) and there are documentary links in LIbya – easily proved, and the Military General of 100% of the Co Ordication in Syria and Libya is “Abel Hakim Belhaj” – deputy to Ayman Zawahiri.

    It’s Al Nusra – Al Qaeda that Saudi will be there to get rid of. And that has always been a Qatari Division. Plus Erdogan is Muslim Brotherhood. And the HQ is QATAR.

    President Assad would be well advised to hold talks with Saudi. Idlib is a huge problem. And Saudi – due to Libya and them trying to eradicate Malaki Sunni – 100% – allied with the UK and Israel, want Al Nusra GONE. FOREVER. You can advise and ill advise as much as you want. Trump has played sa Master Card here. And Macron will be well behind it. (Paris Brussels Attacks) …..

    All you analysts can never get yourselves away from the Saudi – US OIl deals and propping up the Fed Reserve Banking. You always leave Islam out of it. And if you think Saudi is Wahabbi (no such word)….then you need to stop right now.

    Malaki was the founder and teacher of Sunni Islam. And the Zionists tried to kill it off in Libya. It’s a very PEACEFUL sect. And the crimes in Libya – well – just read the Herland Report from Norway. Look at the People trafficking and horrific torture. For money . To arm Qatar’s Militants.

    Those of you who turned you back on Libya just because it isn’t a Russia/Iran thing – or a China thing – this is where you will not never to able to see what’s gonna happen in Syria from now on and why everything is mis analysed and you will get a shock, every single time.

    If I was in President Assad’s shoes right now – I’d be talking to Saudi. It has to be done. Saudi want that nest of RATS in Idlib gone and they want that RAT Abdel Hakim Belhaj. And I don’t think anything is going to stop them.

  • bvgp

    Russia has made a massive mistake leaving Idlib to flourish under Al Qaeda, Erdogan has done fuck all about it because of Qatar alliance, (HQ) – all these Terrorist Networks have the same leaders and same organisations in 100% of Countries. USA and Qatar and Al Nusra has always been the crowing joy of Erdogan also. They are still running rampage in Libya and Egypt, and Mali and Niger (where the Tuareg are now getting mass murdered – (CIVILIANS – the men are being killed and the women trafficked for forced Prostitution). And they are 100% responsible for 100% of the People Trafficking.

    And just look at what they have done to Afrin. I said from day one – why is Russia allowing Erdogan to deal with Afrin before Al Qaeda is dealt with in Idlib?

    Right get back to your DRONING on about the Saudi’s being 100% responsibe for everything. I’m glad I have a facebook ban I don’t have to listen to most of the Activist daily drivel for a while.

    But you are all of you – even the BEST of you beginning to sound like Terrorist Sympathisers. You are so focused on Saudi all the time thanks to fake activists that go to Syria and report and talk about how it’s all Saudis fault, you all of you sound like Fake Activists and Terrorist Sympathisers too.

    Al Qaeda has been from day one a UK and US and Israel Tri Partite. If facebook and internet activism had existed in 1979, then Saudi would never have been infested with it. It is not them. YOu are just trying to deflect from the FACT that Al Qaeda has always been since day 1, a UK USA ISraeli Tri Partite – for the Syria and LIbya wars they employed QATAR to help them.

    And whereas in 1979 Saudi didn’t have one soldier or piece of military equipment tp do anything about stopping AQ in Afghanistan as a UK USA Israeli Tri Partite Proxy, things have changed now.

    • Pave Way IV

      “…But you are all of you – even the BEST of you beginning to sound like Terrorist Sympathisers…

      Yeah, you can count me in. That is, if ‘Terrorist Sympathiser’ means supporting anyone who wants to kill fanatical Saudi Wahhabi head-choppers, their corrupted form of Islam and their financial backers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. I’m not ignoring the US, UK and Israeli contribution, but I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for me to criticize them here the US. If not, it soon will be. You know… Bolton and all.

      If facebook and internet activism had existed in 1979, then Saudi would never have been infested with it [al Qaeda]. It is not them.

      Funny how al Qaeda and bin Laden lost interest in ‘infesting’ Saudi Arabia after the US troops left (for Qatar) in 2003. Saudi Arabia was still on their to-do list, but someone (?) was throwing money and arms at them to chop heads somewhere else. Anywhere else but Saudi Arabia. Odd, since the holy cities and Saudi oil money were kind of a big deal to al Qaeda.

      “…Al Qaeda has been from day one a UK and US and Israel Tri Partite…”

      See, the first thing I think of when I think of head-choppers – any of them – is that they all seem to be nutjob militants that follow the aggressively exported version of Saudi Wahhabism. The export version was meant to mobilize Sunnis for a war with Iran after their revolution. I’ll count Saudi-funded Deobandism madrassas in Pakistan as Saudi Wahhabism.The Deobandi scholars and clerics there rolled at the sight of the first bag of riyals from Saudi Wahhabi leaders. Qatar and the UAE internally have Wahhabism-lite (10% less head-chopping), but their paid head-chopper militants in Syria and Iraq only get to practice the full-strength fanatical export version of Saudi Wahhabism. Now the US, UK and Israel have obviously exploited the militants to their ends, but indirectly. The head-choppers had to exist first, and that’s thanks to mostly Saudi, some Qatari and some UAE financial backers.

    • Ronald

      The Qatar PM said in an interview that the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have spent 132 billion in trying to achieve “regime change” in Syria, outing Assad and breaking Syria down into powerless autonomous provinces.
      No one has suggested that Saudi Arabia is the only one sponsoring jihadists. It is well documented that the US/UK have funded and armed Al Qaeda.
      It is also documented that bin Laden and Bush Sr. originally created Al Qaeda in Afghanistan using KSA money, lots of it.
      Your suggestion that there is not one Shia in Libya is one thing you got right.
      To suggest that there is no Wahabbi, is only correct because you spelt it wrong, it is Wahhabi, from the Hanbali school, and it is based in Saudi Arabia.
      Rather than suggesting we are “terrorist sympathizers”, you might try to clarify who Qatar is funding and who the Saudis are funding without confusing the issue, unless that is your intent.

  • John Brown

    Its over Turkey is now 100% on the side of Russia, Syria, Iran and China. Turkey is now withdrawing its gold from the Jewish federal reserve. This is a declaration of war by Turkey against the racist supremacist global Jewish confederate slave empire and its Jewish federal reserve dollar and the Jewish SWIFT system, 1 million times more important then what happens in Syria, this is the real war.
    This is the equivalent of a military nuclear strike against the racist genocidal global Jewish slave empire

  • Barba_Papa

    Vietnamization, Afghanization, Iraqization and now Arabization. It always gets touted as the magical buzzword when the ground gets too hot under America’s feet in a war. And the outcome is always the same. The Americans will leave and let others deal with the fallout. And in some cases face the music of inevitable defeat.

  • frankly

    Nobody would give a flying rat’s ass who was in charge if there wasn’t so much money to be made with oil, drugs and war. You can blame the Saudis but ultimately who gave them the money. It’s like a the drug cartels in South America, who gave them such power? The drug users! Jimmy Carter wanted to make the US energy independent, they could not get rid of him fast enough. So the demise of the petro dollar is going to starve the host and the parasite will die. It’s not looking to go quietly.

  • Garga

    God knows how much I’d like to see SAA kicks their bottoms, but Saudis won’t go to Syria.
    First, they’re incapable of fight and they know it, hence the using of Sudanese and Maghrebi mercenaries. Second, as the article says they’re very ripe for ISIS indoctrination, no wonder there, they’re both Wahhabis and their troops may actually believe that it’s the truth and turn against them or bring back the trouble to their “kingdom”.

    What I think is, all these are just signals from the US to Turkey, that I won’t sell you to Kurds. The US needs to keep Turkey as a NATO ally and Turks too have no intention of leaving it, but don’t want their desire to remaining be too obvious.
    .
    I guess we’ll see the effectiveness of this strategy in the next round of Astana talks. Perhaps Turkey volunteers to do the job but pretend Saudis are doing it?

    Wow, since when the Americans became strategists? ;)

    • chris chuba

      The Russians absolutely must give the Syrians the S300. Without air support any troops left in that part of Syria are fodder for the SAA and allies when they choose to take it back. They have never lost a battle when they are able to concentrate their forces.

  • SurfaceBook

    this is the idea from John Bolton , precisely as he said in his NYT op-ed years ago

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/25/opinion/john-bolton-to-defeat-isis-create-a-sunni-state.html

    John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State

  • mohsin shaikh ahmed

    so nice and informative artical
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