When all US decisions fail in the Middle East

Published 01.11.2019 16:47
Updated 20.12.2019 01:23

When a series of anti-government uprisings known as the Arab Spring spread across much of the Islamic world in the early 2010s, people around the world welcomed the fall of long-standing dictatorships in the Arabic world.

Triggered by the self-immolation of a street vendor, street protests in Tunisia concluded with a full-fledged revolution. The ousting of long-time President Ben Ali was followed by free and democratic elections, which led to a thorough democratization of the Tunisian state. Yet the Tunisian revolution is far from over. Tunisians continue to struggle with establishing a new constitution that would raise the democratic standards of the country.

When the street protests spread from Tunisia to Egypt in 2011, Tahrir Square rapidly became the heart of the Egyptian revolution. At the end of a bloody and committed resistance, the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011.

Meanwhile, a wave of social protests engulfed almost all of the Arab lands. Social riots shook Libya, while street protests in Bahrain were suppressed by Saudi Arabia, as the majority of the protestors were Shiites.

The democratic elections in Egypt concluded with the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood, which rose to political power by establishing an alliance with Salafi Muslims. Supported by Western governments, secular leaders such as Mohamed ElBaradei were defeated by the century-long organizational legacy of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The social riots in Libya rapidly turned into a military intervention by NATO after France, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted a bombing campaign against Moammar Gadhafi's forces. Eventually, Gadhafi was brutally slaughtered by his own citizens. The sudden intervention by NATO in Libya, which was led mainly by France, and the death of Gadhafi raised questions about the future of the Arab Spring. Soon after, the Egyptian revolution was defeated by a coup d’état.

When social protests spread to Syria, the Syrian regime reacted with violence. As an efficient opposition group in Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood initially stayed away from the rise of social riots in the country. It seemed that the memory of the Hama massacre in 1982, in which 30,000 people were slaughtered by then-President Hafez Assad, was still fresh in the minds of the Syrian people. In a short span of time, however, the Syrian protests turned into a full-scale civil war.

At the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, which was composed of 60 countries, including the United States and Turkey, defended the ousting of the Bashar Assad regime. Being the traditional ally of the Syrian regime, Iran openly and directly sided with it.

Although the Barack Obama administration supported the fall of the Syrian government, it was also attempting to integrate Iran into the world order. This contradictory approach would soon conclude with the West losing control of Iran, which then unexpectedly penetrated Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Anxiously watching al-Qaida's rise to power after the prospective fall of the Syrian government, the Obama administration acted in favor of Iranian interests. When U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was killed, the U.S. decided to renounce their goal of regime change in Syria.

Around this time, an even more ferocious terrorist organization, Daesh, entered the scene. Originally a spy ring, Daesh was initially supported by various Western intelligence organizations, while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provided it a steady supply of weapons.

In response, Iran and the Syrian regime pulled out of northern Syria and left it to the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), creating a troublesome challenge for Turkey. As the U.S. abandoned their alliance with Turkey, they made an alliance with the YPG, a terrorist organization with organic ties to the PKK.

In Syria, neither the PKK/YPG nor Daesh fought against the Syrian regime. Instead, they waged a war against Syrian oppositional groups. Aware of its inability to protect the Syrian regime, Iran summoned Russia to the battlefield. Making good use of the vices of the Obama administration, Russia soon succeeded in sustaining the Assad regime via strategical maneuvers.

At the end of such a complicated international struggle in Syria, the U.S. remained alone with the PKK/YPG. When President Donald Trump attempted to straighten out the situation out by terminating their alliance with the PKK/YPG, his attempt was met with widespread resistance in the U.S.

In order to abandon this decade-long policy of forming alliances with terrorist organizations, Trump has to convince the American public that the interests of the U.S. coincide with those of Turkey, its long-standing NATO ally.

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