Executive Intelligence Review


Bolton Still Pursuing Forever War in Syria

March 11, 2019 (EIRNS)—The U.S. may be in the process of significantly drawing down its troops in Syria, at President Donald Trump’s insistence, but National Security Advisor John Bolton is doing his best to ensure that the permanent war policy behind the Obama’s original troop deployment doesn’t change. During an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” on March 10, Bolton expressed optimism that Britain and France will happily send more troops to Syria as the U.S. draws down its forces to the level of about 400 troops.

“Certainly, in conversations this past week with my British and French counterparts, I’m very optimistic that they’re going to participate,” he told ABC News yesterday. “It hasn’t happened formally yet, but they’re looking at it,” he said, and declaring that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford is working to set up the force. Bolton’s comments followed a report by Al-Monitor, last week, citing both named and unnamed European officials indicating that neither Britain nor France, nor any other country, would likely be replacing the 1,600 to 2,000 troops that the U.S. will be pulling out of Syria.

Bolton assured anchor Martha Raddatz that there was no contradiction between Trump’s declaration that the ISIS caliphate has been defeated and Centcom Commander Gen. Joseph Votel’s testimony that ISIS is still a threat to be reckoned with. Trump “has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS in total. We know that’s not the case,” Bolton said.

“But one reason that the President has committed to keeping an American presence in Iraq and a small part of an observer force in Syria is against the possibility that there would be a real resurgence of ISIS, and we would then have the ability to deal with that if that arose.”

While the military-backed regime-change war in Syria has clearly failed, due to Russian intervention, the economic war goes on, as observed by Syrian President Bashar al Assad, himself, during the visit of Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong to Damascus, yesterday. He said Syria was suffering an “economic siege” due to the imposed U.S. and EU economic sanctions.

“International political tools have changed,” Assad continued. Instead of dialogue, foreign powers have adopted “a different approach, consisting of boycott, ambassador withdrawal, economic siege, and the use of terrorism,” he said.

In covering Assad’s remarks, AFP notes that the U.S. has moved to stem petroleum shipping to Syria, and that major oil and gas fields remain out of the government’s control in the northeast of the country, contributing to the hardship that the Syrian population is suffering.