US pragmatism and the Syrian conflict

US pragmatism and the Syrian conflict
Comment: The US isn't moving towards a more pragmatic strategy to protect its interests in the Middle East: it has been following that strategy all along.
3 min read
18 Mar, 2015
The suffering of Syrians means little weighed against the interests of a superpower [Mustafa Hafiz/Anadolu/Getty]
Two years ago, founding chairman of the Business Executives for National Security, Stanley Weiss, wrote an overview of the strategies on which the US bases its position on the conflict in Syria.

Weiss writes in major international newspapers, commenting on the latest developments of hot topics. His article on Washington's strategies toward Syria explains how the US administration is close to giving in to the temptation of a moral collapse of its position on the Syrian people's just cause.

Weiss' strategems

In his article, Weiss explained five strategies on which the US administration's behaviour toward the conflict in Syria is based.

The first strategy is about answering the question about players serving US interests. "Give them significant support, with this unambiguous proviso, that they work with us in fighting both the jihadist and all allies of Iran, not just the regime," writes Weiss.

When the friend moves back to us, welcome him into the fold, but let him know he is on probation.

The second strategy: "Remember in the Middle East betrayal is a sport. Be ready to reward and punish. In that part of the world, making clear that actions have consequences is respected - even more, letting bad actions have no consequences is despised. So when the friend moves back to us, welcome him into the fold, but let him know he is on probation."

The third strategy: "Also remember that friends will be defined by tribal as well as religious affiliations. Tribal loyalties can cross sectarian lines, with some tribes split between Shia and Sunni. Long-standing rivalries and vendettas will play a role in who our allies are - with "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" rule more than political or religious ideology often determining who cooperates with us. We need to pay much more attention to alliance building with tribes."

The fourth strategy concerns politics and regional options: "Exert maximum pressure on the Saudis to stop the flow of aid to radicals in the rebel movement. If the Saudis want to help bring down Assad, tell them to use their agents and funds to disrupt Iranian support for the regime."

The fifth strategy: "Listen to our non-Syrian allies in the region. Israelis, Turks and non-Hizballah Lebanese. Determine in particular whom in Syria they trust and how to best engage with those elements."

The strategies "can make America a winner in this critical contest overseas", Weiss concludes.

Support for freedom is a flimsy cover

Weiss' article, published in The World Post on 23 June 2013, shows the American position has nothing to do with freedom in Syria. On the contrary, it takes a more painful path, deliberately excluding the causes of freedom and ending tyranny, and aggravating the civil war to serve its interests.

It is known that the oppressive Syrian regime has benefited the US on many occasions, achieving security and stability by muzzling possible confrontation with Israel. Thus, John Kerry's recent statements on accepting the idea of Assad remaining in power and negotiating with him reflected what has been the real US position on the conflict since the beginning. This is one of the signs of America's moral collapse in the region, justifying frequently repeated advice not to allow the US to interfere in any regional conflicts.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.