A day after announcing that the U.S. would be coming out of Syria “very soon”, Donald Trump has ordered the suspension of over $200 million in funds earmarked for “recovery efforts” in Syria.
Reportedly, Mr Trump called for the spending freeze after reading a news report that said the US had committed the funds for recovery efforts in Syria, which has been wracked by a more than seven-year civil war.
In reference to the 2,000 American troops stationed as part of a US-led coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS) armed group, he said: “Let the other people take care of it now.”
“We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. What we have for it? Nothing. Remember I used to say ‘keep the oil’ as a civilian. We never kept the oil. If we kept the oil, we would have been OK. If we kept the oil, we wouldn’t have ISIS. Because you know who kept a lot of the oil? ISIS. That’s how they funded themselves. They kept the oil. We didn’t keep the oil. Stupid, stupid,” Trump was quoted saying yesterday.
However, this move would mean a reversal of Washington’s latest Syria strategy announced just two months ago by the then secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who has since been fired.
Many US State Department officials believe that Syria needs several years to stabilize, and raised concerns that the jihadist group could return if U.S. army withdraws from Syria.
This would also bring a huge shift in the foreign policy of the states. The U.S. no longer would be seen as the safe keepers of the world security safeguarding democracy and freedom around the world.
However, this isn’t the only thing that’s a matter of concern. Many officials are concerned about Iran’s influence inside Syria, and some think a US withdrawal would cede the country to Russia, which has long supported Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Amidst all the chaos and the war for power in Syria, it’s the death of humanity that’s more saddening than the death of the human themselves.
The war in Syria is growing like a tumor–worsening in some areas and infecting surrounding states. In the words of the director of the Middle East and North Africa program Joost Hiltermann, “Most of the conflicts that you see now have nothing to do with Syria. They just happen to be fought there.”
With 400,000 people dead, the conflict in Syria is no longer just about the future of Assad, the Syrian people or even ISIS, which has now lost most of its territory. What began as a civil war has now escalated into a battle of geographical dominance and the war in Syria has entered a new dangerous phase.