The U.S. is considering a plan to keep some forces in the al-Tanaf base in southeastern Syria to counter “Iranian activities,” despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all American troops from the war-torn country, the Foreign Policy magazine reported on January 25 citing officials.
“Al-Tanaf is a critical element in the effort to prevent Iran from establishing a ground line of communications from Iran through Iraq through Syria to southern Lebanon in support of Lebanese Hezbollah,” a former senior U.S. military commander told the Washington-based magazine.
More than 200 U.S. service members are deployed in al-Tanaf base, which is located near Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan. Washington claim that its troops are training and advising the local Revolutionary Commando Army to counter the threat of ISIS, which contradict with their real intention that’s countering the supposed Iranian threat.
It remains unclear how the U.S. will justify its decision to keep troops in al-Tanaf after the defeat of ISIS, especially that Iran is a state actor. Even the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is not designated as a terrorist group by Washington. Officials told Foreign Policy that marinating a military presence there will pose a legal challenge to Trump’s administration.
Beside this legal challenge, the U.S. is also facing a humanitarian challenge as their presence in al-Tanaf is blocking much need aid for thousands of displaced civilians in the nearby al-Rukban camp.
On top of all of these challenges, Washington’s main proxy in al-Tanaf, the Revolutionary Commando Army, is known to be incompetent and lacking any moral grounds. Recently, Syrian activists revealed that the group’s spokesman was caught raping a 10-year old girl from the al-Rukban camp.
The mainstream media is clearly trying to promote the need to keep the U.S. military presence in al-Tanaf.