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US Policy towards Syria

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Meher Ali Shahab
The United States foreign policy towards the Middle East always remains change. To entangle a war like situation has now considered as the hobby of the United States. But the US enters only in those matters where it has some sort of interests. When we see the history of the US engagement in the ME, region we turn back to the era when this region discovered many energy resources. The US is an energy hungry country with a huge industrial sector with low natural resources. It remains always easy for the US to put its foot into the authoritarian states of the ME. The US intervention in Iraq in 2003 was the most renowned one which was basically to overthrow the authoritarian regime of Saddam Hussein but with their withdrawal the world came to know that there were some other motives too, most especially the oil politics. The US policy toward Syria since the 1980s has ranged from confrontation and containment to cautious engagement. Successive Congresses and Administrations have sought to end Syria’s support for Hezbollah and Palestinian extremists; encourage peace talks with Israel and address Syria’s missile stockpiles, chemical weapons, and clandestine nuclear activities. The US also had been varying policies towards Syria too because of its close ties with Russia. In the cold war era President Hafiz ul Assad not only looked towards the former Soviet Union but also provided space for them to establish bases there. Even after the cold war Bashar ul Assad regime sought Russian assistance in the development of their countries’ military, economy and other areas. So today Syria is the only country which has a Russian Naval Base and an air base in Turtos and Latakia respectively. President Asad has retracted the prospect of limited political reform, while aligning his government with Iran and non-state actors such as Hamas and Hezbollah in a complex rivalry with the United States and its Arab and non-Arab allies (including Israel). Syria’s long-standing partnership with Russia has remained intact and is now the focus of intense diplomatic attention for the US. Hezbollah in Lebanon also may be aiding the Asad government, and the Shiite-dominated government in Iraq may be purposely ignoring Iranian arms shipments crossing its territory or air space into Syria. Syria is nowadays the concern of not only the regional actor but of the global actors too. Whatever there has being gone in the continuation of the Arab Spring and the aftermath situation, which resulted in to a civil war and now it has become an international theater of war. Beyond the conflict’s internal combatants, there are many international and regional dimensions to the fighting in Syria. The US is also playing its part of game in this ground, its policies are neither black nor white rather is something grey. It is on the one hand is supporting the Kurds in Iraq and Syria against the terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Nusraa front on the other hand is against the Bashar ul Assad regime who is also fighting against the same terrorist organizations. The United States and members of the European Union have placed strong sanctions on the Syrian government, but have stopped short of offering direct lethal assistance to opposition groups out of fear that more weaponry will only exacerbate the violence. Turkey is another important external player in Syria, which is also a friend of the US as well as the member of NATO. As the US, Turkey is also against the Syrian government so has been involved in supplying ammunitions to the rebellions. Turkey can be use by the US if it has to involve directly against the Assad regime. As a NATO member, if Turkey, attacked by Syria, could invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which relates to collective self-defense by NATO members, including the United States. Though the US is not directly supporting the Syrian opposition but through Turkey.After the Russian intervention in the last years, the US astonished but did not prefer to enter in the mud fearing to escalate the war. However, continued to strike on the ISIS considering it as threat not only for the region but also for the whole globe. The US sought peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict but it is unclear how the United States or other parties can hasten an end to the violence in Syria. According to a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll released in March, almost two-thirds of Americans oppose any form of U.S. military intervention in Syria. The US wants to become the major player on the negotiations table but seek to overthrow the Assad regime. While regime change in Syria may benefit the United States and its allies by weakening Iran, seeking it also may complicate efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire and protect Syrian civilians, because it could encourage Syrian authorities and their allies to take a zero-sum approach to the crisis. Regarding the refuges created by the conflict the US stance is simple that they would be treated well but also fears that the terrorists of the ISIS may also cross the borders so advices the neighboring countries to keep check on them.

There are various NGOs from the United States, who are looking after the refugees there in Turkey, Iraq and Jordan etc. The United States has pledged millions of dollar in humanitarian aid to international organizations seeking to provide relief to Syrians.

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