Will Trump be able to defy the 'Israel Lobby' in withdrawing troops from Syria? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Will Trump be able to defy the 'Israel Lobby' in withdrawing troops from Syria?

The opposition of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress against Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Syria continues. The “Israel Lobby” and the institutions related to it are trying to either convince Trump to cancel his decision or to slow down the withdrawal process as much as they can.

In his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump made a promise to his voters saying, “We will bring our troops in Syria and Afghanistan back home, we will withdraw from the stupid wars in the Middle East.” Trump wants to keep his promise, however he is also afraid to lose the support of the “Israel Lobby” in the elections that are going to take place in 2020. The main element of the U.S.’s Middle East policy is Israel. Trump’s National Security team, on the other hand, is controlled by the pro-Israeli “Neocons”. Let me remind you that, as of January 1, the U.S. and Israel withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As for a reason, they say that the decisions of the organization bothered Israel.

It is already a known fact that Israel supports the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror elements for the creation of a corridor in the Middle East that spans to the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel wants small ethnic statelets around its borders. The struggle between these statelets will serve Israel’s purposes. The partition of Iraq by the U.S. served Israel’s purposes. It seems that the U.S.’s position in Syria is also designed to serve Israel’s interests.

The Neo-cons made up excuses to justify the invasion of Iraq. There might be new provocations to keep U.S. soldiers in Syria. Obama also promised to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, but he couldn’t do it. Is Trump going to share the same fate? It depends on whether he is going to keep his promises or not regarding his “Syria decision.” Among those who opposed Trump’s decision, one of the harshest reactions came from the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. After his meeting with Trump his statement saying, “I learned things that I didn’t know. Now, I’m optimistic” was mind-boggling. Graham has the same mindset as National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at least hopes that these three will slow Trump down.

Israel wants to multilaterally benefit from the U.S.’s military presence in Syria: to have more leverage against Iran, to expand the illegal settlements in the West Bank as much as possible, to get the annexation of Golan Heights recognized, to open a corridor of unrest from Syria’s northeastern region to the Mediterranean under the PKK/PYD’s control. A bill about the recognition of the annexation of Golan Heights has already been introduced into the U.S. Senate. Some other bills in favor of Israel are already on the agenda of the new Senate as well. A bill introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio includes four separate bills introduced to Congress earlier in a single package. This bill was supported both by the Republicans and the Democrats. The sponsors of Rubio’s bill are top republican leader Mitch McConnell and the head of the Foreign Relations Committee Jim Risch.

Rubio’s bill includes articles which allow allocating funds to Israel to buy American weapons and the transferal of U.S. arms to Israel in case of emergencies. The bill also brings restrictions to the “Boycott Israel” movement organized by the civilian Americans who protest against the Israeli government’s approval of the illegal settlements in the West Bank. This movement is known as “BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).” Many Western and American artists canceled their concerts after the BDS’s calls. In addition to Israel, the pro-Israeli politicians in the U.S. Congress are very disturbed by the BDS.

To summarize, there is a great effort to nullify Trump’s Syria decision in the U.S. Congress, and even to transform the “withdrawal plan” into a “staying plan”. Trump first declared that the withdrawal process will be fast, but then he changed his tune and said that the withdrawal process will be slow and cautious. It seems that Trump is cornered by the “lobby” supported by the opposition in Washington.

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