I have been warning about the brewing showdown in Syria and how it could quickly escalate in minutes to the brink of World War III. A key warning embedded in my analyses was that if not properly managed, the Turks would enter the war against the Kurds, which are the most effective US proxy against ISIL. I warned that should this occur; the Kurds would be once again left for dead by the US in order to maintain its strategic alliance with the Turks. This would not only place the US fully in league with the Al-Qaeda aligned Al-Nusra Front and other Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions, but would also alienate the Kurds to great detriment of the anti-ISIL effort. Well, these warnings have gone unheeded and this week we are seeing the first solid open source reports of the factions beginning to turn against the US. This is a watershed moment that if not immediately mitigated through changes in US strategic policy, will result in the US being completely ejected from Syria and Iraq, the creation of a terrorist caliphate, or World War III. Those are your policy choices.
Based on the gross mishandling of the situation in Syria, I continue to predict further blunders and an ultimate strategic failure in the region, which will force US forces to completely withdraw from Iraq and Syria. This is honestly the best case scenario. The worst situation is a full blown regional war erupting that quickly escalates to the point of a conventional war breaking out between US and Russian forces now both occupying and operating within Syria. As I said previously, I do not believe there are any good options left. All of the political off ramps to avoid greater problems have been quite literally bombed. This collision course of forces is now imminent as the buffer zone between opposing strategic powers has shrunk with the reduction of ISIL occupied territory.
What this means is that over the coming weeks and months, we will move to the climatic political showdown in Syria where US forces and their proxies as well as Turkey and its terrorist proxies meet head to head with and are directly engaged by Russian and Iranian backed Syrian government forces. At this point, one step forward by the US will end any pretense of this being an undeclared war against ISIL and a full blown, illegal war against Syria, Iran, and Russia (and China by proxy). It will mean that someone must blink or World War III begins. If the US blinks, it will be a massive strategic failure and the US will be forced from Syria and eventually Iraq. If Russia blinks, Syria will become a radical Islamic terrorist state, which will create an even bigger threat to the region and world. If neither blinks, then there must be more war.
Dangerously, I have good reason to believe most in the US policy circles have not even thought this through, much less have developed viable options to deal with this imminent catastrophe in the making. It appears most just assume that once it gets to this point, all sides will call for a ceasefire, freeze the battle lines, and then turn to the U.N. to work out a plan that will formalize Syria broken into regions. To say this isn’t going to work is an understatement. The factions involved all are fatalistic in their belief that this is a fight to the end for survival. Until one side achieves a decisive victory, this war will continue. Even worse, if it is the American/Turkish backed Islamic extremists that are victorious, ISIL will achieve its dream, just under a different name, of establishing a new caliphate. If this suicidal endstate is achieved by the mentally ill leadership in the US, the regions problems will not be over, they will just be beginning and they will end with Armageddon.
By Guiles Hendrik
September 17, 2016