Between Iraq and a hard place: US' Syria withdrawal

The UAE remains in favour of a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)

Published: Wed 19 Dec 2018, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Dec 2018, 8:23 PM

News that the US military is, rather abruptly, planning a full and rapid withdrawal of troops from Syria doesn't bode well for the long-term peace prospects in the country. Even as Syria is close to capturing all the territory earlier held by Daesh, the terrorist organisation has the ability to raise its sinister head again if it is not quashed for good.
The terror outfit has a history of relocating after defeat, as it did after being uprooted from neighbouring Iraq. The US was blamed by some for leaving the job unfinished in Iraq at that time, and history may repeat itself if US troops leave the people of Syria vulnerable to the power play of Iran and Russia.
The Syrian war has so far claimed over 500,000 lives, and if the decision of US troops to quit Syria at this juncture is actually seen through, it will be contrary to what the US Secretary of Defense James Norman Mattis has been advocating so far. "Getting rid of the caliphate doesn't mean you then blindly say, 'Ok, we got rid of it,' march out, and then wonder why the caliphate comes back," Mattis told reporters in September. "And how many times have we seen - look at even Iraq where they're still on the hunt for them. And they're still trying to come back."
The UAE has played an active humanitarian role in Syria and has been deeply concerned by the presence and use of chemical weapons by the Bashar Al Assad regime against its own citizens. The UAE remains in favour of a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Abrupt withdrawal of US troops, however, may end up hurting the peace process.

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