This past weekend Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, made some controversial remarks in an exclusive interview with Jake Tapper of CNN. For the purposes of this article I want to draw attention to her statements regarding regime change in Syria, as well as the Trump Administrations intentions to ‘remove the Iranian influence from the country.’
I paraphrase here, the actual quote is “We put Iran on notice, because that — we need to get that influence out of there.” Adding that “there’s multiple priorities” for Donald Trump and the US military in Syria, including “getting Assad out…..defeat ISIS….Thirdly, get the Iranian influence out.”
There are several reasons why these statements are critically important, but lets begin with the fact that Iran is close military allies with Russia and China, whom have all signed mutual defense pacts with one another. This simply means that not only is each countries military willing to work in conjunction with one another, but any attack on Iran, China or Russia is an attack on all of those countries – similar in many ways to the way the strategic NATO alliance operates.
As for how “Islam” fits into the discussion, you might have noticed that Iran is a very devout country in terms of their religious interpretations. What people should understand is that in accordance with the laws of Islam, a Muslim can not go to War with anyone unless War has been declared upon them. If for example Iran wanted to wage War against the United States, Iran could not do so until War was declared upon them or the United States attacked them outright.
The ayatollah of Iran expressed this sentiment a few weeks ago when, in response to Donald Trumps “Muslim Travel Ban,” he stated that Iran would never declare War upon anyone, but added “lets see if our Western counterparts are willing to say the same.” Essentially daring the United States to go to War with the country, while also drawing attention the fact the over the last several decades, no country on Earth has caused more Wars than the United States.
As for how all of this relates to Syria, I want to point out how, short of engaging in War with their soldiers, pushing Iran out of the country would be virtually impossible at this point in time. What has gone largely under-reported in Western society is that Iranian soldiers have been fighting side by side with Russian and Syrian forces for many months now. In fact, Iranian presence was critical for Russian forces to retake East Aleppo from rebel control. This is also where the story gets a bit complicated.
Even though Iranian soldiers were first invited into Syria by the Russian military, following the conclusion of several successful battles, such as East Aleppo, Turkish, Russian and Syrian forces asked Iran’s military to withdraw from the battlefield. A request to which Iranian soldiers refused, because the country was dead set on protecting the Shia minority populations in the country.
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) January 4, 2017
As for why Russia and Syria asked Iran to exit the battlefield, it was because of the countries sheer brutality in Warfare. For example, on multiple occasions the Iranian military refused to acknowledge any peace negotiations orchestrated by the Russian/Syrian Government and rebel factions. In one instance, after the rebels brokered a deal to exit East Aleppo peacefully, when the rebel soldiers attempted to cross the front-lines they were gunned down by Iranian forces – who said they did not recognize the cease-fire because they did not negotiate it themselves.
This was also not an isolated incident and Iran has continued to demonstrate a dangerous level of violence over the years, including in Yemen.
— إنفوجرافيك السعودية (@Infographic_ksa) November 19, 2016
For better or worse, when President Obama let Iran off the leash with the Iranian nuclear deal in 2015, the country went to quick work developing many military and business partnerships around the world. With the news of 3 billion dollar deal with Boeing last week, this has continued on through this day. What makes all of this even more complicated is the fact that Iran has also gone on to sign contracts worth hundreds of billions of dollars with several US allies, including Turkey and Egypt.
This is also the primary reason why Donald Trump was forced to honor and uphold the Obama Administrations nuclear deal, because revoking it would have negatively impacted business transactions for many US allies in the process.
Going forward, members of the Trump Administration have said they do not want to engage in another ground War in foreign soil, yet over the course of the last week have said that they expect to see Assad removed from power and want to eliminate Iranian presence from the country. Looking at the situation rationally, how can either of these objectives be accomplished without starting an all out War? Honestly, if Iran’s own allies can not get their troops to leave the country, how in the world does the US intend to do so?
The fact of the matter is that there is no way to achieve the Trump Administrations goals in Syria without starting another War. As it stands today the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and the War there remains, the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and the War there remains. Would anyone expect a new War in Syria to result in anything different for our country and our troops?
If the US does not change its strategy or goals for Syria in the very near future, unfortunately, the US could be looking at engaging in yet another War with no foreseeable end in site.