The United States’ imperial intervention in the Syrian Civil War may have just escalated further with the creation of a US military base in northern Syria. According to Al Jazeera, US troops have taken control of Rmeilan airfield in Syria’s northern province of Hasakah to support Kurdish fighters against ISIS. An official with the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SPD) confirmed the report.
A US military base in Syria commits America to a prolonged military occupation in the country, which parallels its decade-plus long military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The predictable military drift from air strikes to taking territory provides a perpetual pretext for US intervention in Syria and the region, as the Rmeilan airfield borders both Iraq and Turkey.
An attack on the base by Turkey, an avowed opponent of an independent Kurdish state, would mean Turkey had committed an act of war against the United States. Turkey has already exacerbated its relations with another nuclear power when it shot down a Russian jet. Will Turkey roll the dice again to mark its perceived territory?
So much for increasing stability.
With a new military base the US is also playing even more into ISIS’ apocalyptic vision of waging a cosmic battle against Christendom – sure to bring more followers and greater support for ISIS in the Islamic world. Another in a long line of boosts for ISIS courtesy of the US.
It is almost impressive to see how quickly US policymakers have forgotten that the rise of ISIS is a direct result of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, even after high-level architects of that war have conceded the point. Apparently, truth never penetrates the thinking of the deep state as the desire to continually and mindlessly expand the US military footprint appears to be all-consuming.
Amazingly, this imperial expansion is actually taking place as the White House still struggles to define what the mission is in Syria, let alone articulate any sound strategy to achieve it. The Obama Administration careens between denunciations of Syrian President Assad and hitting the panic button on the threat of ISIS.
There is little evidence ISIS poses a serious threat to the United States outside of inspiring a ready supply of the already well-armed and deranged, and even flimsier evidence that the Assad government poses any risk whatsoever to core US interests. It is hard to imagine a greater example of something that goes to the not our problem department than the Sunni-Shiite divide or Saudi Arabia’s proxy battle with Iran.
Rather than creating another military base, the US should be doing everything possible to extricate itself from these on-going tragedies, many of which are a result of US intervention in the first place. The War on Terror has created more terrorism; time to sit out a few rounds.