General John Hayten, Deputy Chief of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, that the United States will withdraw troops not only from Afghanistan, but also from Iraq. According to him, this is necessary for, to focus on threats "in the short term", outgoing from Russia, and in the "long term" - from China.
About, is it so or not, what awaits Iraq after the withdrawal of American troops, is it very likely for Baghdad to completely fall under the protectorate of neighboring Iran and what will, if the Americans leave not only from Afghanistan, Iraq, but also from Syria, a Rosbalt columnist asked an expert on the Middle East and US policy in this region to tell, Chief Researcher, Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences Alexandra Shumilina.
- Do you agree with those arguments, led by American General Hayten, talking about the reasons for the withdrawal of American troops not only from Afghanistan, but also from Iraq?
- And that, and there. Here to remind, that the United States began to declare the inevitable withdrawal of its troops from Iraq during the presidency of George W. Bush, who introduced them there to 2003 year. Consensus, who was in American society and in Congress in 2001 year, when the US military was sent to Afghanistan, two years later it's gone. This action then caused the already well-known split between Washington and its allies., with a neutral position on this issue on the part of Russia.
By the end of Bush Jr.'s second term, the White House announced the inevitability of the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in the very foreseeable future.. This thesis was also supported by Bush's successor, Barack Obama. (true, without any specific graphs, but the installation was unambiguous). The next American president, Donald Trump, agreed with this position.. However, given the changed conditions in the region, this is also the Syrian crisis., and the emergence of the "Islamic State" (banned in the Russian terrorist organization), and his attack on Iraq, these plans were postponed for an indefinite future. Then no one could say about the specific timing of the withdrawal of the American military..
- Why today Washington decided to withdraw its contingent from Iraq?
- The Joe Biden administration found the current conditions in the region more conducive to, to withdraw American troops not only from Afghanistan and Iraq, but also from other "hot spots". Including already announced the withdrawal of the US military from the Gulf countries, although so far and without a clear timetable. So this is the long-term principle of the United States..
- But General Hayten linked the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq with threats, outgoing from Russia and China ...
- This can be attributed to the "new circumstances" of the withdrawal of the US military from these countries. of course, the last few years, Russia has been officially viewed by Washington as an adversary, as a threat, somewhat less, than China, but on a par with him and Iran.
As the conclusion of the few US military (about two thousand people) from Iraq will help to strengthen them on the Russian or, more precisely, anti-Russian direction is already a matter of the military.
General Haiten talks about the European theater of potential war, About Russia. At the same time we know, that the United States, through the representatives of the new administration, has already stated, that there can be no military intervention on their part in the situation around Ukraine. If necessary, there may be other ways to provide assistance to the Ukrainian side - military assistance in the form of arms supplies, counseling and so on.
The main direction of military-strategic thinking in the Pentagon and political in Washington is now determined by the situation around Ukraine. How the US pivot points will be located there, we will see at the end of this - the beginning of next year. Much still depends on Turkey's position, from the interaction of the United States with her ...
- In fact, US gives Iraq to Iran, which is already there seriously enough now. It turns out, that the long-term confrontation between Washington and Tehran was lost by the Americans?
- I would say, that this is a strong exaggeration. Iranians in Iraq, of course, present, but they do not prevail there and are not too influential. Furthermore, even Iraqi Shiites (in Iran, the Shiite direction of Islam prevails and Tehran actively supports co-religionists as in Iraq, and in other countries of the Middle East, — «Rosbalt») not ready to interact with Iran in everything. of course, after the Americans left, Baghdad will get closer to Tehran, the Iraqi government will be forced to maneuver, backed by Western coalition forces, minimum international contingent, who will remain there as consultants and so on. Influence of Iran in Iraq, of course, will intensify, but not totally.
I, by the way, I do not think, that the American contingent, who has been in Iraq so far, had a strong impact on limiting Tehran's capabilities in this country.
- In connection with the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, the question arises about the fate of a small US military contingent in northeastern Syria. If they bring him back home too, the territories, who together with the Americans now control the Kurds, will come under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Do you agree with this forecast?
- Not really. Military-political thought in Washington with regard to Syria is developing in this way, there, one side, would like to prevent the defeat of the Kurdish forces by the Turks, and on the other, try to achieve some kind of balance between the Kurds and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and also transfer the dominant role in northern Syria to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Erdogan, like the whole Turkish elite, not ready for any interaction with Assad, us, especially, to concessions to him in Idlib or any other areas of northern Syria.
- I.e, Do you think, that northeastern Syria, which is now occupied by Kurdish formations and the American military, will come under the control of Turkey?
- Probably, Yes. Now we see, how Biden tries to mend relations with Erdogan, overcome those obstacles, which were between Turkey and the USA, and place a bet on Ankara, as the dominant force in northern Syria. But about the complete withdrawal of American troops from here, as, by the way, and from Iraq, out of the question. While the decisions on the termination of operations of the American army in Iraq and on the partial withdrawal of troops are being discussed.
Interviewed by Alexander Zhelenin