Why the United States Should Leave Syria

April 5, 2023 Topic: Syria Region: Middle East Blog Brand: Lebanon Watch Tags: SyriaIranTurkeyYpgPKKISISForever Wars

Why the United States Should Leave Syria

Washington’s insistence on staying in Syria under the pretext of “containing ISIS” is rather weak.

When examining the consequences of the U.S. actions in the last thirty years, one can argue that by taking it upon itself to destroy Iran’s enemies from Saddam to ISIS, “America has Fought Iran’s Wars in the Middle East.” The weary American public now wonders why Iran, China, and Russia have become ever more influential in the Middle East and the United States is losing clout despite Washington having spent more than $8 trillion and lost more than 5,000 servicemembers. 

As the Ukrainian war rages on and talk of a war with China is abundant, the last thing America would want is to get bogged down in the Middle East by initiating another forever war with Iran. The United State ought to revise its Middle East strategy. Maintaining a small presence in the name of protecting the YPG and “countering Iran” is counterproductive. The Senate has repealed the Iraq War authorization, a move in the right direction. American policymakers should do the same for Syria. Instead of constantly alienating Turkey, a NATO ally and a major local powerhouse, by unconditionally supporting its arch PKK/YPG foe, Washington needs to take advantage of Ankara’s increasing military, political, and social clout not only in the Middle East but also in the Caucasus and the Black Sea.

Ali Demirdas, Ph.D. in political science from the University of South Carolina, Fulbright scholar, professor of international affairs at the College of Charleston (2011–2018). You can follow him on Twitter @AliDemirdasPhD.

Image: DVIDS.