Remaining in eastern Syria allows the U.S. to deny Bashar al-Assad access to vital oil fields and the financial means to rebuild the territory of his loyalists while starving his opponents.He put it a little differently during his April 6 visit to the John Batchelor Show to discuss the NRO article:
Where we [the U .S.] are currently positioned in eastern Syria, we're over where a lot of the oil wealth is located. If we left, you would have Syria and Iran -- the whole axis -- able to take that over, and then with that money they're then able to reconstruct Syria. But of course they would only be doing that with the allies that they that have while continuing to starve their own people."(Podcast 2:28 minute mark)
For John Batchelor's information (I doubt Mr Brodsky would be interested):
How do you tell a “moderate rebel” (sic) of Ghouta from one of the ordinary residents of Ghouta? All you need to do is contrast the good health and clothes of the first lot with the emaciated bodies and rags of the second lot.
The Syrian Arab Army has just discovered that Irbine, an area in the liberated Ghouta, holds stocks of foodstuffs and a hospital that is very well equipped. However, the UN and humanitarian NGOs have given assurances that it was the “regime” that was starving the population to death and denying it access to health care.
The Syrian Arab Army has entered into areas of Ghouta that are still under the control of Nato [backed] “moderate rebels”. Their entry has allowed confirmation of a huge network of tunnels in areas of Ghouta. It contains a mega-corridor enabling 4 x 4s and lorries to circulate to supply the fighters whilst they were holding those ordinarily residents there as slaves. [*]That's from Voltaire Network's April 7 report The “moderate rebels” evacuated from Ghouta.
The Syrian government and its military do not starve fellow Syrians, which include even the moderate head-choppers. (See the VN report for a photo of unmasked moderate rebels in Ghouta displaying human heads as trophies.)
In fact Syria's government has gone to lengths in order to prevent Syrians from starvation -- a fact that the media controlled by the government's enemies omits from reporting. Remember the Syrian government's food assistance to families of moderate head-choppers in Eastern Aleppo? That was why so many of the wives didn't want to get on the buses to Idlib after the government negotiated an agreement with several of the rebel forces -- it was because of the food and housing assistance the Syrian government gave them while their husbands were fighting to take down the government.
The Syrian government does not believe in starving people as a military tactic, and besides a starved Syrian is not a vote for the government. The starvation tactic only makes sense to Americans and other foreign regimes trying to take over Syria; that's because Syria is not their country and Syrians are not their people. That's how they think.
But looked at from Assad's angle, starving the Syrian enemies of his government is not only morally wrong it's also stupid when it comes time to negotiate. (The Syrian government has by now negotiated countless truces with Syrian anti-government fighters -- a well-established fact I have mentioned several times over the years.)
Americans in Washington and their allies against Syria's government have demonstrated that they find nothing wrong with the suffering inflicted on Syrians by foreigners. The U.S.-NATO refusal to even attempt to shut down the oil trade in Syria between ISIS and Turkey, until the Russians exposed the outrage, was one such demonstration.
Now those same Americans have control of much of the oil in Syria. They continue in the tradition of ISIS of making things as difficult for the Syrian people as they can.
The reason, given by Matthew Brodsky in his NRO article, is that Washington wants "financial leverage to help determine Syria’s future while preventing the return of ISIS."
A large ISIS force never left Syria; when they were run out of Raqqa by U.S. proxy fighters they simply changed from being occupiers to guerrilla fighters. To return to Mr Brodsky's explanation for John Batchelor's audience:
In essence what we would have done [if the U.S. hadn't captured Syrian oilfields] is that the entire American presence there would have been basically to fight then on behalf of the Assad regime because the Assad regime and Iran will end up taking that [the oilfields] over. That is obviously, to me, not in America's interest.Why Iran would want or need to take over those oilfields is a question Mr Brodsky wouldn't be able to answer. But it would be in America's interest to offer help to Syria's government. That's if Washington is serious about offsetting Iran's influence with the government.
Why hasn't the U.S. deployed this time-honored method of currying favor with a foreign government? I think a chief reason is that the Saudi regime doesn't want it done -- and I suspect Washington is now in too shaky a position with the petrodollar to ignore Al Saud's wishes on matters regarding Syria.
Regarding the oilfields, I'm not sure that Syria's government would be able to export oil at this time even if they controlled the fields. In any case the government would use much of the oil just to help Syrian civilians survive.
However, helping Syrians survive in their country is not a Saudi interest. The Saudi interest is placing a puppet government in Damascus. For this they'll continue instructing the U.S. and every regime heavily reliant on Saudi and oil wealth investments (Britain, France, etc.) to do what they want regarding Syria.
I note that in his article and conversation, Mr Brodsky skated past the issue of Syrian sovereignty. Perhaps that's because Americans who support the illegal invasion of Syria by the U.S. and other UN members have only the lamest answers or no answer to the question. Here is what a former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs replied to Sputnik Radio's direct question on April 7:
Sputnik: Why is the US continuing to violate Syria's sovereignty?
Richard Murphy: Let's see what happens at the meetings. The latest meeting involved Russia, Iran and Turkey in Istanbul [Ankara] presumably looking for a reconciliation within Syria and other arrangements which will respect Russian interests as well as Turkish and Iranian interests.That isn't even verbal squirming; Mr Murphy simply refused to answer the question. The closest to a clear answer came with President Trump's order of National Guards to the U.S. border with Mexico. Sovereignty is for America, not for Syria.
Finally, a question directed more to John Batchelor than his guest or National Review Online. Why does Matthew Brodsky's entire conversation ignore that the American aggression he supports would be warranted only if Syria's government had declared war on the USA?
What kind of parents raised him, or what professors taught him, that he should think it's okay for successive American regimes to act toward Syria in the manner of the Nazis invading Europe? And on even thinner excuses than the Hitlerites used to rationalize their aggression toward other nations?
A note about the report at Voltaire Network. For readers who don't closely follow events in Syria and so might be confused about the mention of Idlib:
The 'rebels' in Ghouta were transferred first, at Syrian government expense, to Idlib Province -- a step the VN report doesn't mention. Then, as VN reports, "emirate countries' -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. -- bussed in several of the transferred fighters.
You may trust the transfers don't stay in the emirates for long. They're repurposed to fight against Yemen or in Libya or anywhere else the emirates want the use of proxy forces.
These revolving door transfers are now SOP: Syria's military asks rebels, How would like a free, safe bus ride to Idlib if you'll stop fighting us? Then the Saudis or whomever get to choose from the latest arrivals in Idlib.
The rejects stay in Idlib and fight it out with al Qaeda proxies or other rejects that Turkey's regime doesn't snap up to fight the Kurds or send back to Syria to fight the SAA.
For readers who've been wondering why the SAA keeps shipping 'em to Idlib -- the Idlib transfer strategy can be considered conflict resolution on a shoestring budget and a way of whittling down the number of foreign fighters in Syria without having to expend Syrian Army blood.