Loudmouthed, egotistical, and ignorant, Donald Trump embodies the “ugly American” stereotype to the dot. When he recently reversed himself and said that instead of leaving Syria the US would stay “only to secure the oil,” he inadvertently confessed to a war crime.
All US presidents commit war crimes. But most of them are smart enough not to admit it. They invade sovereign states, slaughter millions of people, plundering resources, overthrowing governments, and wreaking international mayhem, but claim to “defend human rights and democracy.” Trump, who is rightly reviled by his opponents as a serial liar, is actually no more of a liar than other American rulers. The difference is that Trump is a bad liar, an incompetent liar, a liar so brazenly shameless that he seemingly neither knows nor cares what the truth might be and how a more skillful politician might cleverly hide it.
Ironically, the legendarily mendacious Trump occasionally blurts out truths or near-truths that the mainstream regards as unspeakable: the US is ruled by a criminal Deep State; George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11; dancing Middle Easterners in New Jersey (Israeli Mossad agents, as it happens) wildly celebrated those attacks; Bill Clinton is a credibly-accused serial rapist; Obama and Hillary Clinton created Da‘ish; and more. Trump’s admission that the war of Syrian destabilization was largely a scramble for energy resources takes its place in a long line of embarrassingly truthful utterances.
Ironically, Trump’s undisguised unpleasantness may help bring peace to Syria and the region. The American occupation intends to use a mere 2,000 US soldiers to “secure the oil.” Those soldiers are sitting ducks for attacks by irregular forces. Virtually all parties in the region, including most of America’s erstwhile allies, now loathe Trump and the US and want them to leave. Trump is setting up himself and the US as the universally-hated scapegoat whose expulsion could unify the region and bring a modicum of peace.
Though the Syrian government cannot directly attack the American plunderers, it is likely to recover its oil as predicted by Russian military strategist Konstantin Sivkov. In his article “Donald Trump’s Syrian crossroads: Americans will be driven out by the ‘dehkan farmers’” Sivkov explains that Syrian President Bashar al-Asad’s first order of business is to finish taking back Idlib. Thereafter he and his allies can focus on ending the American occupation by working with their former enemies, including Turkey and its Arab tribal friends who have suffered from encroachments by US-supported Kurds. Sivkov predicts an eruption of attacks on the small American oil-stealing contingent:
Irregular armed formations can force them [the Americans] to leave by causing unacceptable damages… For strikes they will use drones and shells (both industrial and artisanal production). Routes of movement of the American troops and convoys will be mined. Flank attacks using MANPADS and rocket launchers are expected.
The bloated US military-industrial sector has wasted trillions of dollars trying to build “Star Wars” defenses against ICBMs. Yet as the Houthis showed in recent attacks against US-protected Saudi oil facilities, the Americans have no effective air defenses against cheap artisanal drones! US air defense systems typically rely on Stinger-style heat-seeker systems that work against jet and turboprop aircraft engines, but can’t find the simplest drones.
Likewise the US cannot defend against short-range rockets. Sivkov writes,
The Americans have no antidote against rockets at all. Meanwhile, as experience shows, the militants may use single launchers of industrial production on a simple tripod, for example for 122-mm shells from “Grad” or similar models and make their own makeshift rockets. They can get help from irregular armed groups who already have such experience, such as Hizbullah, which is itself willing to join the fight against the Americans. At the same time, as in the example with the UAV, the requirements for accuracy are extremely lax — the target is large and you just need to hit it.
Just as the US bases themselves are vulnerable, so are the communications and supply routes they depend on. Even if Iraq’s government doesn’t decide to retaliate against US destabilization efforts by ejecting the US andthereby closing its supply lines to Syria, anti-US Syrian insurgent forces, covertly supported not only by Damascus but also by Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Hizbullah, should be able to win their anti-US-occupation insurgency much more quickly and decisively than have the anti-occupation insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, whose victory has taken the better part of two decades.
One factor that will help Syria win quickly is the looming US presidential elections. Trump’s announced exit from Syria was motivated (like all of Trump’s behavior) not by ethical considerations but by selfish political expediency. Trump knows that Americans are sick of the 9/11 wars. He understands, like most Americans, that those wars were launched on lies, and will be remembered as the “worst single mistake in US history.” Trump may not be the “very stable genius” he fancies himself, but he is not so stupid as to think that dragging the US into yet another quagmire would do anything but doom his re-election effort. So when the anti-Syrian-oil-theft insurgency starts inflicting serious damage on the American pillagers, Trump will likely seek to win political points by finally keeping his promise to completely withdraw US forces.
The coming insurgency against US occupation of Syrian oil will likely erupt just as US election season kicks into high gear in mid-2020. Until then Damascus will need to continue securing control of Idlib and environs, while quietly laying the groundwork for the coming effort to push the US out of the oilfields and other areas in the south near the Jordan and Iraq borders. As of late November 2019 Syria has been continuing to recover portions of Idlib province from the takfiri mercenaries, liberating village after village, with new small victories coming on a weekly or even daily basis.
The US is stealing Syrian oil and supporting secessionist Kurds in hopes of gaining leverage over an eventual diplomatic settlement of the Syrian conflict. But Damascus has no reason to take the Geneva so-called peace process seriously, least of all the American “Asad must go” position, when all of the important players agree that the Americans can, should, and will be forced to comply with Trump’s promise to fully and unconditionally exit from Syria. So unfortunately the world will probably have to wait another year or so for the US to flee Syria under fire, thereby establishing facts on the ground that will allow Damascus to reestablish control of its territory and resources.