Published On: Sun, Sep 14th, 2014

The US Intervention in The Syrian War Circle

Matar Matar | The Syrian Times | 26 Aug 2014

Dr. Akl Kayrouz, apolitical analyst, and Dr. Matar Matar, a political commentator were hosted on Al-Etejah TV by Marwa Osman in Middle East Stream program to discuss the possible US military intervention against the Islamic State, in Syria.

In my discussion I will summarize what I’ve said:

1- The “Rebound Effect”: The problem started because of the first US mistake when they invaded Iraq, and toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, and completed in 2011 after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq before establishing the piece and they left a dysfunctional state behind them. And George W Bush has said in 2006 that if we withdraw our troops from Iraq now, we will leave a terrorist state behind us” and he was right. This withdrawal in addition to the political dysfunction in Iraq because of marginalization of Sunnis, led to reactivating the Islamic State of Iraq, starting from 2011.

2- The US interest in this war is coming from Iraq not from Syria, so if ISIS was located only in Syria not in Iraq for example, Obama’s administration will not intervene.

3- The problem with IS, it’s a self-funded and considered the richest terrorist organization over the world. They sell oil, and they extort for kidnapped people. ISIS has raised about $66M last year from extortion, according to the Telegraph article published yesterday.

4- To counter terrorism, Turkey must take harsh measures against Syrian oil smugglers. Also Turkey must take serious steps to counter the flow of foreign fighters from its land, some reports estimated the number of foreign fighters who joined ISIS in July with 6,300 jihadists, and this is considered a sharp rise compared to Oct 2006 according to Sinjar records which were captured by US troops in Iraq near Sinjar mountain in Sep 2007.

5- The US is skeptical to coordinate with the Syrian army, and that never happened on the Syrian ground, especially considering the alliance between Assad and Iran and Hizb Allah. But if such coordination will take place, there must be a price to be paid for the US, here is the time for bargaining game under the table. US may rely on the Kurds in Syria as in Iraq, as its troops on the Syrian ground.

6-  This war is a “MUST WIN WAR “: we have to acknowledge that the ISIS advancing in Syria and Iraq is a failure for all parties, who gambled to defeat ISIS but they failed so far; the opposition militants couldn’t defeat it and the Syrian army couldn’t defeat it; this is why we need a regional and international help to eradicate ISIS from Syria and Iraq.

7- From the regional powers; Saudi Arabia must not be considered a reliable partner in the war on terrorism; because although the US has requested from the monarchy to take extra measures against recruiting Saudi fighters to the ISI back in 2007 after they found 305 Saudi fighters out of 700 foreign fighters were recruited in ISI 2007. Also don’t forget that 15 out of 19 hijackers who carried out 9/11 attacks were Saudis, but yet Saudi Arabia to take any actions in countering terrorism, neither funding nor recruiting. All what Saudi authorities have done was to list ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra on the Saudi list of terrorist organizations.

8- We must not forget that ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra are two faces of the same coin, ISIS is much richer and has more foreign fighters but JA has more Syrians, but both carry the same agenda and goals, establishing Sharia Law and Islamic State.

9- Iraq and Syria have the same enemy since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2003, when car bombing was carried out on Dec 22nd 2011 in Baghdad killing about 68 Iraqis, and next day of Dec 23rd the first car bombing after 2011 went off in heart of Damascus killing about 40 Syrians. At that time the Syrian opposition accused the Syrian regime for doing this to attract the international community attention that what’s happening in Syria is a war against terrorism.

10- To defeat ISIS we must acknowledge the need for political reconciliation in Syria, we need such a reconciliation to minimize the polarization of the Syrian society. Many efforts have been tried, the last one was in Genève II early this year which has failed because of difference in understanding the power sharing in Syria. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have encouraged to fail this meeting.

11- When we have one power facing ISIS we can win this war, but when we have three powers fighting weakening each other, then the end of this war in Syria is not seen in the near future.


Note: I have mentioned during the interview that Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi, the previous leader of ISI, was killed in 2009, but actually he was killed in 2010.

The War Circle in Syria-14-Sep-2014


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