The US Has Officially Lost the War in Syria: Report

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Written by Darius Shahtahmasebi; Originally appeared at TheAntiMedia.org

By ending the “secret” CIA program to arm and train Syrian rebels attempting to topple Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Trump administration has accepted defeat in Syria, according to the Century Foundation, a prominent New York-based think tank.

The Century Foundation believes this signals an end to America’s commitment to achieving regime change in Syria and claims Washington’s attempt to topple Assad was half-hearted to begin with.

The US Has Officially Lost the War in Syria: Report

That being said, the Century Foundation also concedes that the program was doomed from the outset, stating:

“The problem with the program, which was reportedly running the CIA nearly a billion dollars a year, was not that it was under resourced or ‘insufficient in scale.’ The problem was that its logic was wrong and out of sync with the basic dynamics of the insurgency.” [emphasis added]

Whatever the program had going for it, its ludicrous nature came to light after the conflict took full swing and opposition groups gathered momentum, as the think tank explained:

“But the covert program’s theory of the case also fell apart when when [sic] it became clear that the armed opposition—which was supposed to extract political concessions from the regime—was increasingly permeated by sectarian extremists and de-linked from the civilian interlocutors with which the regime was meant to compromise. [emphasis added]

The think tank then went further to explain why this might signal the end of the regime change operation in Syria, as America’s allies have started to lose interest in pursuing an agenda they can no longer realistically achieve:

“Moreover, it’s not clear many opposition backers will be willing to continue with this or a similar effort absent America’s political cover and leading role. Opposition sponsors—including most of the Gulf states—are exhausted, if not checked out on the opposition entirely. Saudi Arabia, preoccupied now with its war in Yemen, is no longer seriously invested in regime change in Syria. Turkey has also give[n] up on regime change, instead preferring to negotiate with Russia over de-escalation and pursue its narrow national security ends. Qatar has been a rogue actor, participating in the joint arms program but also independently supporting Islamist factions in partnership with Turkey. But, as Qatar’s dispute with Saudi and the United Arab Emirates drags on, its standing internationally and with the United States specifically is precarious. Donald Trump is already telling fundraisers that Qatar funds terrorism—if Qatar decides this is the opportune moment to go all-in on the Nusra Front, well, that’s its prerogative.” [emphasis added]

There is plenty of evidence to indicate that the U.S. aimed to achieve regime change as early as 2012 — or at the latest by 2013 — yet Assad has shown no signs of stepping down some five years later. Though this is clear to the outside world, the problem is that the United States is never one to accept defeat outright. Not, at least, until they have completely left their destructive mark on everything that moves in the very country they are struggling to forcibly bring to its knees.

In other words, the Century Foundation makes some insightful points but doesn’t touch on the fact that the Pentagon backs groups in Syria that pose an equal threat to the Syrian state and is still continuing to back these groups quite heavily. The report doesn’t touch on the fact that, although it is common knowledge that the U.S. is partnering with the Kurds, the Trump administration is actually attempting to give the Kurds as much Syrian territory as possible, conveniently taking Syria’s most oil-rich region in the process. This would take the region directly out of the hands of the Syrian government, which retains an isolated military outpost there.

What happens if the Syrian government decides it doesn’t want the American-backed Kurds to take their most oil-rich city? Will regime change be back on the agenda?

It is worth noting that the Trump administration has merely axed one program that has proved incredibly ineffective and counter-intuitive but has not rolled back any of its other operations in Syria. Nevertheless, as the Century Foundation explains in its report, the U.S. has basically killed the CIA’s support base for Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliates (which, at the very least, is progress to a degree).

Despite this, the mainstream media has attempted to paint this issue as one in which Trump has handed Russia and Syria a treacherous victory in the Syrian conflict. At its peak, the CIA program was costing $1 billion a year to teach Syrian rebels potential terrorist tactics, yet Assad has only strengthened his position in the face of such an aggressive covert program.

It seems more likely that the U.S., which has vacillated between advocating and abandoning the strategy of regime change in the most schizophrenic of ways, is probably considering other approaches in regard to the Syrian conflict. At the very least, we should take note of the fact that Iran is Syria’s closest ally, and regime change in Iran has become an official U.S. strategy.

The other problem with this entire assessment is that no one is asking why on earth the United States is at war with Syria to begin with — not in relation to fighting the terror group ISIS, but more specifically, why the CIA was spending $1 billion a year to train rebels to overthrow a sovereign government in the first place.

Do we just accept this and dismiss it as unworthy of further scrutiny and criticism? If Russia spent $1 billion a year training rebels to overthrow the U.S. government, nobody would stand for it; and quite rightly so.

While the U.S. is accepting defeat when it comes to the Obama administration’s Syria strategy, its wars remain completely active in the Middle East. If anything, predicting the Trump administration’s next move is the tricky part, but you can be almost certain that the next move will not see anything close to a withdrawal from Syria or the wider Middle East region.

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  • Hrky75

    US support of various Al Qaida affiliates and phantom FSA kept parts of Sunni Arab Syrian population at odds with Alawite-led but in essence secular and nationalist government. Iranian support for Assad helped US and Wahabi ideologues market the war as a part of broader Sunni-Shia conflict. Subtract Sunni extremists and FSA “revolutionaries” from the Syrian equation and replace them with Kurds. Give those Kurds 1/3 of Syria inhabited by 80% Arab population – what do you get?! Straight forward Arab vs. Kurd shitshow. You’ll have Syrian Muslim Brothers forgetting how much they hate Alawites in general and Assad family in particular volunteering to go and die in an anti-Kurd jihad – after all virgin is a virgin no matter who did you die fighting. It may yet be a perfect way to mend the fences in Syria and get Syrians to rally under the flag of Syrian nationalism again. At the expense of Kurds, of course, that will once again gamble away a chance to better their political and national position in the region. Well done USA – not even Putin could’ve done better…

    • Ace

      A good analysis. I wonder, however, if there is a real Sunni-Shia divide. The SAA has many Sunni troops and pre-war Syria seemed to have a clearly successful sui generis secular arrangement with a national agreement to make the minority Alawites “it”. Sunni jihadis backed by Saudi, UAE and Qatar scum sought the usual stupidity and mindless excess. Quite artificial and definitely not a civil war.

      • Hrky75

        Sunni-Shia divide exists only in the heads of inbred Saudi princes and in the wet dreams of Zionist Neocon trash. Syria has thoroughly debunked that myth…

  • Pave Way IV

    There was never anything for the US to ‘win’ in Syria. While there was some benefits to the US for replacing Assad with a US puppet, the REAL objective was always Iran. The US simply needed a destabilized, weak and/or partitioned Syria before it can start executing plans for a war with Iran. In that sense, ‘mission accomplished’ for the US in Syria. This was the exact same scheme used in Iraq. The US ‘won’ nothing, but it did succeed in dividing the country, weakening it militarily and driving it into chaos for decades.

    Now the focus of my US leaders will be to provoke Iran, demonize its leaders and create false flags leading to war. Again, there is no intent to conquer Iran. The US seeks to destabilize, weaken and partition it. It does not take a mass military attack/invasion to do that, so debating the success of WW II battle tactics or weapons superiority is useless.

    Israel is the real winner in Syria.

    Israel wanted to make sure Syria could never prevent or retaliate against an Israeli nuclear strike on them. At the same time, Israel wanted to make sure they could punish Syria whenever they wanted by conventional airstrikes. In addition, Israel did not want Iran to have any intelligence and surveillance capability over Israel. The Syrian air defense and electronic surveillance line on hills along the Golan border had to be destroyed and (if possible) the land taken from Syria. They’re still working on the land-theft part, but the entire line of defense sites were destroyed. In that sense, Israel won.

    Hezbollah is battle-hardened and better equipped, but Israel will always have their US lapdogs on call for a Hezbollah attack. Hezbollah is much stronger, but not strong enough to take on Israel and the US simultaneously.

    In addition, Israel is well-entrenched in the Kurdish PYD party and their Asayish police force. Israel doesn’t care about cannon-fodder YPG/YPJ. The Kurd’s PYD party are Kurdish Bolsheviks – that’s how Israel will control the Syrian Kurds and have permanent access to the stolen Syrian land and resources.

    • Hrky75

      I agree in essence with your analysis with one exception. The whole thing was not initiated by US – it was always Zionist operation. If US just wanted to lessen Iranian influence in Syria, to a degree , they could have worked with Assad. He wanted to implement economic and limited political reforms, liberalize the country – as much as it’s possible to do in a Muslim country in the ME. Only thing he needed in return was to get the Golan back – something that old man Hafez never managed to do. Small price to pay for the US and a thing that would’ve made Bashar “a savior of the Motherland and Islam” and get him enough leverage at home and among Arabs to negotiate a comprehensive peace settlement with Israel. Unfortunately Israel wants security, all the land it acquired illegally and more land if possible. Hillary summed it all up best in one of her e-mails – Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly.- Now we all know that Iran was nowhere near getting a nuke – it was all fake Israeli intel and Bibi’s infamous UN bomb cartoon. But even if it was about Iranian nukes – Iran is upholding it’s side of the deal for a year now and US/Zionists still want to destroy Syria. Nothing to do with Iran – everything to do with real estate…

    • Cyriak Papasissis

      Israel is hardly the winner. If the Americans are the big losers , the Israelis are simply the losers . America has managed to draw firmly the Iranians in Iraq and Syria , where they saved the day for both legitimate governments. The Iranian-trained PMU are going to become soon part of the Iraqi Army , and the efforts to transform the Iraqi Army into a pliable American tool , infested with agents of influence , as is the fixed American practice , will come to naught. Iran-Iraq are going to be entangled in the most closest strategic, economic, military partnership , something the Iranians could only have had hoped in their wildest dreams. Add to them Syria and Lebanon , for the first time in such close proximity and with geopolitical common goals , and a compact contiguous landmass from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean emerges , powered by common vision , with broad agreement in the outlook of their civic bodies. The visit in 2015 of the Maronite Patriarch to President Assad , as well as the one by Saad Harriri, is telling, more than just symbolic. And all of them under the Russian umbrella. The Russian & Chinese investments are going to pacify the war-torn lands , in a few years transforming them positively , and make them parts of the One Belt One Road economic initiative. They will recuperate in relatively short time , they will witness explosive growth , having learned in the harshest possible way the lessons of allowing foreign agents to penetrate and gain ground peddling sectarianism.

      • Barba_Papa

        As usual the Israelis have no long term foreign policy vision other then getting rid of their current biggest enemy. They were the champions in getting Saddam removed, which ended up making Iran its biggest enemy, and Iraq in the Iranian sphere of influence.

        It’s all fine and dandy throwing your enemies into chaos, but nothing lasts forever, and when that chaos inevitably ends, whoever ends up on top, may not like who started that chaos. They should do well to remember what happened to the Crusader states. Who could only survive as long as the Arabs were divided. Until Saladin united them all, after which it was soon game over for the Crusader states.

      • Daniel

        Well Israel is the winner since Syria now will be forever indebted to Russia and it’s Zionist banks. Israel does not care if the US or Russia controls the country. Syria is done as a sovereign state.

      • John Brown

        Nice try Israel Cyriak Papasissis Mossad. Racist supremacist Israel is the clear winner. A state which was part of the resistance has been devastated and it will take at least 10 years if not more to recover and there will be a new war with the Kurds against Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Russia and China by the fall. The region around Israel has been depopulated of Goyims assisting; the Yinon plan for a greater racist supremacist Israel and mass migrants sent to Europe by racist Jews will destabilize Europe another racist supremacist Zionist goal.
        The only part which may not be a win for Israel will be if Turkey exists the Jewish dominated NATO pact to enter the Russia China sphere of influence.
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65272ba33698043a57e8677e4dfb9b290550d79a0d39a7be6eeff14a12a9f86e.jpg

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      They didn’t have their lapdogs back in 2006 and they were politely told to put on big boy pants and get themselves out of it. The US wasn’t interested in helping Israel then because they pointed out that Israel had 80,000 reserves to use or pull out all together was an option.

    • sam_koll

      Ah, But now Israel is stuck with Russian peace keepers on the other side of the Syrian border. I don’t think Netenyahoo likes them apples

  • Rodney Loder

    Trump is the revision of the revision, Obama realised he wasn’t able to lose the flab coming from his going too far with his concessions on US stepping down a bit, rednecks thought Oh, !! we don’t need to go at it any more, We’re so strong so good so exceptional, it’s time to rest on our laurels, that’s what revision is. What happened next was that, it was realised that in the real world and not the jew fabricated one, the US is only all about rednecks so the Democrats opted for Trump instead of Hillary to patch things up, this meant that arrogance needed a face lift and until that was possible Trump will have to do, the article is saying that the face lift is coming to Syria not going, but I’m not so sure, my Salafist Brothers have been hoodwinked, they are going to be mader than a cut snake, what we need is reality not more jew fantasy.

    • Kell

      When are your Salafist brothers going to start attacking Israel instead of other muslims?

      • Rodney Loder

        That was what the Brotherhood stood for, same thing happened in Afghanistan, Salafist Call stands for realism not crazy stuff.

  • Mountains

    The US can go or come but one thing is certain the war will not end in the middle east and might escalate behind imagination at any given time

  • MeThinks

    On approach from a different direction
    The Kurds have oil The Shiites have oil in both of their dominant regions, Their is however a lack of oil in so called Sunni dominated area of Iraq that is until you factor in the Syrian area of Deir Ezzor…reeks of the shi*t stain on planet earth neocon

    • MeThinks

      SDF is attempt to salvage ISIS

    • Ronald

      The Sunni dominated area of Iraq is that still held by ISIS , and there is most of Iraq’s oil .

  • MeThinks

    Russian Iranian convergence

  • John

    I liked the article very much and the thoughtful commentary on here even more. Thank you all.

    This what I am looking at. The US, as well as the GCC, EU, Turkey, Israel and whomever else is/was involved, has just taken a massive hit. Globalization took one in the chest. A long planned and heavily financed insurgency, has been wiped off the playing field. It´s all over save a bunch more screaming. The impact will have long developing projects and plans, being sequentially blown out of the water now, as the effects of this loss reverberate around the world.

    Us policy, backing, cheerleading and leadership will not come back from this one. There are too many nuts, in what used to be the henhouse; Washington D.C.. Major events, as well as tiny ones, have different outcomes then possibly perceived. There is large scale, extremely negative baggage, in the fall out on this fiasco. One is the outright blind stupidity of what the ´superior minded´ tried to pull on this country. It is one grand and humiliating defeat. There will be more grind to this, more drama. But, the path is set. The Occidentals are on their way out of power in this part of the world. I wish well to all.

  • Kell
  • northerntruthseeker .

    This article asks the question as to why the US was so hell bent on overthrowing the Syrian government in the first place, and the answer it avoids is simple…. ISRAEL… The goddamn Jewish pricks in that hell hole have always wanted Syria destroyed and they aimed at using their American puppets to do the dastardly deed…. Luckily for all of us they have now failed miserably….BUT now these scoundrels are resorting to their “Plan B” which is to carve a large chunk of Syria off and call it “Kurdistan”……

  • Paul N Texas

    This “think tank” needs to think again. We are not fighting Assad. We are fighting (and winning) against ISIS. Silly story.