US President wants to pull out troops …

… but Germany, France and Great Britain insist on continuing the war effort

by Karl Müller

It should not come as a surprise that the responsible German, French and British politicians are vigorously criticising the decision of the US government to withdraw its troops from Syria and to cut the US troop contingent in Afghanistan by half. They are not yet focused on peace – do they still believe in a final victory?

On 18 December 2018 the German Nachdenkseiten (https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=47919) again called attention to the source of final victory fantasies by publishing extracts of two speeches by US Americans in German translation: one by the former US general Wesley Clark (commander-in-chief for the NATO troops during the Kosovo War in 1999), given on 3 October 2007 in San Francisco, the other by George Friedman (former head of the private news agency Stratfor), given on 4 February 2015 in Chicago. Both speeches have been well known for a long time – but we tend to forget so fast.
Here we will only refer to the former US general’s speech. More than ten years ago, Wesley Clark spoke about his experiences when visiting the Pentagon while he was still an active US general. Clark explained that after 11 September 2001 there had been a “policy coup”: “Some hard-nosed people took over the direction of American policy […]” He illustrated this statement with the example of the war plans contrived 2001 in the Pentagon, citing an officer working there he had talked to: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defence’s office and it says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries within five years. We’re going to start with Iraq and then we’ll move on to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

Paul Wolfowitz: “The Soviets won’t stop us”

Clark realised that these plans had a long lead time. He remembered talking to Paul Wolfowitz in 1991 after the Second Gulf War. Wolfowitz was disappointed that Saddam Hussein had not been overthrown. Still he was satisfied with the result of the war: “We have learned that we can use our military in the Middle East region and the Soviets won’t stop us.”
And then Clark summed up, putting it straight: “This country was taken over by a group of people with a policy coup. Wolfowitz and Cheney and Rumsfeld and you could name a half dozen other collaborators from the ‘Project for a New American Century’. They wanted us to destabilise the Middle East, turn it upside down, and make it under our control.”

The war in Syria

Many are aware that the US have fostered the war against the Syrian government and the Syrian state from the beginning, that is since 2011, with various means and that troops have officially been stationed in Syria for a while now. But the official narrative about the war of an international coalition against the IS is, if at all, only reflects a small part of the truth. More than ten years ago Wesley Clark spoke about the real plans. Today it is necessary to add: Unfortunately, the US American war party has extended beyond the Neo-Conservatives. The narrative of the “War on Terrorism” was meant to conceal the fact that operation of all military and non-military forces in Syria, which had been active there without an invitation by the Syrian government, violated and still violate valid international law so that the withdrawal of all these foreign forces is nothing but a legal matter of course – not to mention the legal prosecution of these acts and the justified claims for compensation. After all, as a consequence of this foreign intervention, never approved by the Syrian government, the war in Syria has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

The US plan has not worked out

But the US plan has not worked out. Russian and Iranian support for the Syrian government and for Syria has thwarted it. The US President’s attempts to explain the now planned withdrawal are debatable. But it is a fact: The US government’s decision to withdraw US troops from the country is not only a logical consequence from a military defeat but also a first step towards restoring law. We can agree with the reaction of the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov who reservedly welcomed the US American announcement: “Any withdrawal of troops illegally present in a country is a step in the right direction.” It remains to be seen if the US American handing over the baton to Turkey will find a legally permissible route. The minimum prerequisite would be an agreement between the Turkish and Syrian governments. The responsible persons, who are resigning and protesting loudly, however, have to explain their position in all this.
The parting US Secretary of Defence Mattis has already done so. For him the US withdrawal is a setback relative to “countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.” (Source: New York Times, 21 December 2018), explicitly mentioning China and Russia. Interestingly the exact same tenor is coming from Germany. Is it concern for the welfare of Syria and the Syrians? Hardly!

Germany, France and Great Britain present themselves as a war party

Yes, the official reactions from Germany, France and Great Britain have put transatlantic relations upside down. In face of an ongoing breach of international law, what kind of “argument” is French President Macron’s criticism of the US withdrawal: “An ally must be reliable.”? In light Macron demands nothing other than “the honor between crooks”. On 21 December the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” ran the headline “Paris and London want to continue the fight in Syria”. How is this different from the “return of the gamblers”? The German parties in the Bundestag – with the exception of Die Linke and the AfD – have formed a grand coalition of “let’s move on”, targeting Donald Trump in particular. But obviously the opponent is not just a person but a policy rejecting the current globalisation-imperialism.
Where, I am wondering and appalled, is the German contribution to law and peace? Where is respect for the Grundgesetz? – And once again the German speaking mainstream media are seconding like puppets.     •

US withdrawal from Syria is overdue

“The withdrawal of US troops from Syria is right and necessary. The anti-IS operation led by the USA with the participation of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) is in Syria, whether in Syrian airspace or on Syrian soil, contrary to international law. This is also the opinion of the Scientific Service of the German Bundestag in a report commissioned by me, among others. But the withdrawal is not only to be welcomed from a legal perspective, but also from a political point of view”, said Alexander Neu, for the parliamentary group Die Linke, cairman in the Defence Committee.
Neu continues: “Anyone who regrets the USA’s withdrawal from Syria or regards it as a mistake overlooks the fact that the chaos in the Middle East region was essentially created by the USA and its allies. The USA openly pursues its geopolitical and geo-economic interests – sometimes more and sometimes less. The IS is the result of the USA’s illegal war of aggression against Iraq in 2003 for the purpose of overthrowing the government. The fact that the IS could also spill over into Syria also has to do with the regime change fantasies of the West. To this day, there is a strong desire in the western capitals to install a pro-Western regime in Syria. The Western ‘engagement’ in Syria was never problem-solving but aggravated the conflict and was carried out on the backs of the people of Syria. […]”

Source: Extract from a press release by Alexander S. Neu, 21.12.2018; https://www.linksfraktion.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/detail/us-abzug-aus-syrien-ist-ueberfaellig/

(Translation Current Concerns)