U.S. ‘Plan B’ for the Middle East. The Occupation of One Third of Syria’s Territory

Map from Anadolu Agency, published in Orient Net [18]

 

The television network RT asked me for a comment around the recent visit to Raqqa done by the USAID program chief together with the CENTCOM Commander. [1]

Before addressing the humanitarian situation in Raqqa associated with the reconstruction issue (80 percent of Raqqa dwellings remain “inhabitable”, according to the UN), I will focus on the current U.S. geopolitics in the area, against the backdrop of the U.S. emerging ‘Plan B’ on Syria. So far, the implementation of this new design has signified the virtual occupation of nearly a third of Syria’s territory. A hallmark of the situation consisting in the illegal occupation of Syrian territory by U.S. troops.

The first project of the US on Syria aimed to obtain a regime change. It was pretty much a “default” policy applied by the US in the Middle East at the times of the Obama / Hillary Clinton administration. Partly of its mechanism has been described by Senator Dick Clark (an excerpt of Senator Clark’s declarations is found in the video here below. Click on the image for the excerpt-footage).

The strategy of “regime change”, which can we call “U.S. Plan A on Syria”, failed.

The Syrian government –with help of its allies Russia, Iran and Hezbollah- instead continues victorious and unabated in its pursuit to retake the full sovereignty of its nation’s territory.

From a humanitarian angle, the failure of the said Plan A conveyed disastrous consequences. The number of fatalities due to the war in Syria have reached 400,000. To that, a massive displacement of refugees has to be added.

Furthermore, viewed in geopolitical and military terms, the strategy of establishing, funding, arming and training a miscellaneous jihadist opposition was also a setback, or even backfiring – as it ended fostering the combat capability of ISIS forces, through US armament which made its way to ISIS hands. (See The Hill report in the box below).

The optimism which emerged when Donald Trump became the U.S. president was of brief duration. The hope about a possible stop of US interference in Syria, based on Trump’s declarations while he was still a candidate, vanished when President Trump announced that he had delegated to the Pentagon and his Defense Minister Mattis, the tasks of profiling and give expression to U.S. military actions abroad. [2]

Unlike the situation during the Obama administration, it is now up to the Pentagon to decide specific targets and scope of military operations.

80% of Raqqa was left “uninhabitable” – UN

The priorities in “reconstructing” the battered city and territory around are instead militarily

The recent visit to Raqqa by the head of the USAID program, Mr Mark Green, accompanied by the chief of the U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, was interpreted in some media as an on-site assessment for a future reconstruction plan of Raqqa –to be done by the U.S. government. It was otherwise noted that the visit constituted “the most senior U.S. civilian official of the Trump administration” in Raqqa, after the defeat of ISIS. [1]

In fact, the media reports on the visit focused mainly on declarations by the General Joseph Votel, who emerged as the central gestalt of the delegation.

What the western media failed to mention, is that three days before the visit of Votel and Green it was known that the US military had initiated the reconstruction of the formerly Syrian Air-force base at al-Tabqa, located near Raqqa. So, the exploration-visit in Raqqa and surrounding areas may have mainly been relevant to construction/reconstruction assessments of the said usurped military airbase in al-Tanf, which is legal property of Syria.

The Al-Tabqah Military Airbase (photo below) is not the only military compound that the US has unilaterally decided to establish. The other military base is situated in al-Tanf, near the border with Iraq. [7]

Regarding the kind of projects that USAID would be prone to support in the area, those will be definitely tied to the current US geopolitical project. That is what USAID is all about.

Propaganda-wise, the ‘Plan B’ geopolitical project rests on two premises which are under construction. One is the collapse of the peace talks in Geneva (and the corresponding boycott of the Sochi meeting) – see down below. The other premise is an expected international support for a direct military intervention in Syria (nearly, a deepening of the operations that have already started) motivated in staged “chemical attacks” massacres. [8]

One pivotal element in the staging of those “chemical-attack” false flags is the presence of “White Helmets” in those territories. The White Helmets and other “humanitarian” organizations financed by the U.S. have been the channels for delivering the “testimonies” from the staged scenarios.

The point being that USAID is one main financing source of the White Helmets and similar ‘humanitarian’ organizations operating in the propaganda campaign against Syria. [9] Naturally, a similar initiative implemented by USAID in the Syrian zones now under direct US military control or influence, can be expected.

One other classical role of USAID in that kind of ‘reconstruction’ endeavours has been the fostering and/or coordination of U.S. corporate investments profiting in such war-related areas –wars in which the US has had the initiative in bolstering. [10] And of course, the boost in exports of US products, even if this have resulted in detriment of the economic development of the ‘helped’ regions. [11]

Meanwhile in Washington. The US ‘Plan B’ on Syria is officially announced

In my interpretation, the US need the collapse of the peace talks as a pretext to advance and consolidate its occupation of Syria. And the ultimate geopolitical goal is not only the fragmentation of Syria.  By means of giving the the Kurdish administration the notion of sovereignty on the occupied territory, and have their proxies to “invite” the US forces in, the Pentagon plans to solve the gross legal problem of their unauthorized military staying in Syria.

The ultimate geopolitical aim is, however, the further utilization of the fragmented area (which constitutes about the third of Syria’s territory). Once that the ‘legal’ status in northern Syria has been achieved, the U.S. will stay to implement its goals to destabilize not only Syria, but also Iran, and converting the Middle East in its new backyard.

That the Trump administration, or to put it more appropriate, that the Pentagon has decided to aggressively confront Iran is not a speculation. The U.S. government has unequivocally declared that its troops will remain in Syria, regardless if ISIS would be completely defeated. [17]

The military occupation covering a third of Syria’s territory

The yellow part is about an area comprising estimated 11,583 square miles, which is the equivalent of a third of the territory of Syria.

Raghida Dergman, founder and Executive Chairman of Beirut Institute, recently wrote in Huffington post: [19]

“US presence in Syria is massive and involves thousands of troops in several strategic bases…The richest one-third of Syria’s territory is effectively under US control.”

A closer demographic look indicates that in the area lives nearly a quarter of the population of Syria.

How many U-S- troops are already in Syria is not possible to ascertain. When the U.s. government officially reported that there were 500 troops, the figure was instead 2,000 –as later acknowledged. Now that the official figure become 2,000 one could just wonder how many thousands that figure could mean in reality.

According to Orient News Net, which sourced its information in the Turkish Anadolu Agency, the above map would show the ten sites were U.S. troops were stationed by July 2017: “Two airbases, eight military points in PKK/PYD-controlled areas. US Special Forces located in military points in Hasakah, Raqqa and Manbij.” [18]

 

Full article: U.S. ‘Plan B’ for the Middle East. The Occupation of One Third of Syria’s Territory (GlobalResearch)

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