U.S. about to be kicked out of much of the Middle East
Just a few days ago the plan was for the U.S. to retain control of oil and gas fields in eastern Syria and the Al Tanf base in the south. Everyone wins - except for people in Syria.
It isn't going to work out that way.
After five days of bloodshed, Turkey agreed to a temporary ceasefire at the behest of the Russians. Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan then flew to Sochi to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two agreed to a deal that benefits everyone except the U.S.
Under that deal, Turkey will stick to its newly acquired buffer zone in Northern Syria, the Kurds will be allowed to withdraw with their lives, and Assad won’t attack the Turks, who have been fighting the regime in collaboration with Syrian rebels.
And all that oil that’s in the north--Syria’s fossil fuel heartland--will go to Assad one way or another, with Russia the beneficiary with the exclusive rights to exploit Syrian oil.
IOW, the Kurds have no choice but to stand aside and let Assad take back Syria's oil.
Russia is also demanding that we leave al-Tanf as well.
That's OK because those troops are only being withdrawn to Iraq.
U.S. forces relocating from Syria to Iraq need to exit Iraq within four weeks, according to Iraq’s defense minister.
U.S. troops “transiting” in Iraq must depart the country before moving to Kuwait, Qatar or the U.S., Iraq’s Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari told The Associated Press Wednesday after meeting with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
The statement comes after Iraq’s military said Tuesday that U.S. troops were not welcome to permanently stay in Iraq.
Esper, who arrived in Baghdad earlier on Wednesday, initially said over the weekend that U.S. troops would head to Iraq where they would conduct counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State. Although he said things could change, he said that was the “game plan” at the time.
But on Tuesday, Esper said during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that U.S. troops would “temporarily” head to Iraq before ultimately heading home. He also expressed similar sentiments to reporters later.