Will the US take its hands off Syria?

Abdullah Muradoglu

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who resigned as a reaction to Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria,had set the date he will leave his position as Feb. 28, 2019. However, Mattis also criticized Trump in public by writing a detailed letter of resignation. In response, Trump announced that Patrick Shanahan, whom he appointed to the position temporarily, will begin his duties on Jan. 1, 2019. Trump also shared messages heavily criticizing Mattis.

Another resignation related to the Syria decision came from Special Representative to the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh Brett McGurk. It was expected that McGurk will leave his position at the beginning of 2019. That is why Trump accused McGurk of being a grandstander.

Shanahan was the “second man” in the Secretary of State after Mattis. Shanahan, who is a mechanical engineer, is close both to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Shanahan is also linked to the “American Military-Industrial Complex”. He worked at Boeing in top-level positions. Boeing, the world’s biggest airplane and helicopter producer, is one of the five companies that holds the lion’s share in US defense expenditures.

Trump’s Syria decision disturbed Israel as well as the Neocons who want a “perpetual war.” The Netanyahu government is now pressuring Trump to recognize the decision to annex “Golan Heights”, which Tel Aviv has been occupying since 1967. Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton presented a bill in this regard to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. Neocons are calling Trump to declare that Golan Heights belongs to Israel by referring to the bill. By the way, we should remind here that Mattis canceled his visit to Israel which was expected to take place in the following weeks. The main subject of this visit was Syria.

Netanyahu, who couldn’t convince Trump to stay in Syria, is going to meet face-to-face with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brazil, who is known as an ally of Israel. Jair Bolsonaro came out victorious in the presidential elections in Brazil. Bolsonaro is going to start his term on Jan. 1, 2019. Pompeo will lead the US delegation attending the inauguration ceremony.  Bolsonaro, who is known as “Tropical Trump,” declared that he is going to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Will the US completely take its hands off Syria or is there another plan? One of the writers of the “Foxnews.com,” retired General Anthony Tata, requesting Trump to replace the US soldiers with private military contractors was mind puzzling. General Tata was the US and Allied Power’s deputy commander between 2006 and 2007 in Afghanistan. General Tata, who stated that “As a businessman, President Trump understands the efficiency of privatizing government services,” said that “Replacing our troops with private military contractors in Syria could give the president, our nation, and our allies in eastern Syria a win-win opportunity.”

Tata’s suggestion reminds us of the Afghanistan project belonging to Erik Prince, who is the founder of the private security company “Blackwater,” known for its bad history in Iraq. It is also known that Prince has close relations and business links with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, also known as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s mentor. The project Prince presented to Trump through Steve Bannon, the chief strategist of the White House of the time, was suggesting the replacement of US soldiers with private security companies. The project which was said to be supported by Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner was the American version of the “British East India Company.” Prince, who wanted to take advantage of Trump’s desire to withdraw from Afghanistan, was restrained by then-National Security Advisor General McMaster and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Tata’s suggestions and Prince’s “Afghanistan project” are almost identical. One wonders, is Prince also behind General Tata’s suggestion?

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