AMERICA'S real interest in the Middle East is not the liberation of Syria, nor the defeat of Islamic State (ISIS) but the “containment of Iran”, a former ambassador has claimed.
Melkulangara Bhadrakumar, a former ambassador to both Turkey and Uzbekistan, said: “It appears that the US is not looking for an anti-terrorist coalition to fight the ISIS in Syria in a concerted manner… A question that arises here is whether it is the defeat of the Islamic State that is the US’ number one priority in Syria or the containment of Iran.”
US Middle East interests could lie with Iran, not Syria
Mr Bhadrakumar, writing for the online journal Strategic Culture Foundation, added: “In the US estimation, rolling back Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has become a pressing demand by its regional allies – Israel and Saudi Arabia principally – and it is, therefore, integral to the restoration of American hegemony in the Middle East.
“In the fullness of time, once Syria stabilises, if northern and eastern Syria were to remain under US’ control or as its 'sphere of influence', it could create conditions for the laying of gas pipelines connecting Qatar to the European market, which indeed has been an idea on the backburner for almost a decade.”
Images show the deadly conflict in Syria Mon, March 13, 2017
Devastating images show the horrifying aftermath from the on-going war in Syria
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Still image shows Russian Bastion coastal missile launchers launching Oniks missiles at unknown location in Syria
The one-time Indian ambassador, cited the testimony by US Central Command Chief General Joseph Votel during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9.
Mr Bhadrakumar claims that Gen Votel stated that Iran was responsible for propping up the Syrian government.
A US soldier stands guard on the roof of the US embassy in Damascus
Because of this real involvement in the area, the US is not keen to join in an obvious alliance with Russia and other rebel forces to defeat ISIS as well as having an ambivalent stance against other extremists groups.
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Mr Bhadrakumar claims that the US should back Khalifa Haftar, the 73-year-old Libyan armed forces commander who remains loyal to the elected government in the north African country.
A question that arises here is whether it is the defeat of the Islamic State that is the US’ number one priority in Syria or the containment of Iran
He wrote: “Khalifa Haftar is the only figure in the chaotic Libyan landscape with the capability to vanquish the terrorist groups and bring some modicum of stability to the country in a conceivable future.”
He continued: “However, what we are witnessing is instead a Obama-era policy of low-intensity western intervention and covert support for the Islamist Benghazi militia to push back at Haftar.
Former Indian ambassador to Turkey and Uzbekistan Melkulangara Bhadrakumar
US President Donald Trump
“If it is the rollback of Iran’s regional influence that seems to be the US’ number one priority in Syria, when it comes to Libya, it seems to be the old story of gaining control of its vast oil resources. Unsurprisingly, Libya’s oil ports have become the focus of months of fighting.”