The US Attack near Deir ez-Zor as Seen from the Middle East
“The American bombing in Deir ez-Zor, pieces of evidence and responses”, “An outrageous back stab”, “What is behind the American onslaught?” – those are the headlines one could run across while looking through the Middle Eastern media sources on the recent raid of the international coalition led by the United States against the position of the Syrian armed forces in the above mentioned city.
The deaths of dozens of Syrian soldiers sparked a wave of harsh criticism of Washington across the region. Some Arab commentators have rejected the official interpretation of the attacks as a “fatal error” of the US Air Force, that was allegedly trying to hit ISIS. Instead, they are drawing attention to a number of crucial details of the events that have been unfolding in Syria.
Thus, according to the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, before that fatal attack neither the United States nor the international coalition forces made any attempts to bomb this area that was largely occupied by ISIS. This also remains true when we are to take a look at the other areas of Syria, where radical militants are occupying large chunks of territories in a bid to push the government forces back.
And even before the latest bombardment, Syrian troops have repeatedly come under fire of the so-called US-led coalition back in September 2014.
The latest attack is being perceived by the above-mentioned newspaper through Washington’s desires to put an end to a string of successful advancements of the Syrian forces, who have recently recaptured the city of Palmyra with the extensive amount of support provided by Russia’s aircraft. For putting an end to the Deir ez-Zor advancement, the United States added fuel to the fire of armed clashes in the north of the country, especially in the Aleppo area.
The US has been trying push the Syrian army forces back, preventing Damascus from using its oil and economic resources in the east of the country.
The attempts to squeeze the Syrian army out of the areas in the east corresponds with a number of previously announced scenarios. Like the project of the deceased Saudi King Abdullah to unite the nomadic Arab tribes in the border triangle of Syria, Iraq and Jordan and subject them to the Saudi rule. It would go in direct correspondence with the creation of a Sunni controlled area in the Iraqi Anbar province and a number of Syrian territories too.
Yet another motive of the latest bombardment is a political one. According to the Secretary-General of the pan-Arab National Forum, Dr. Ziad Hafez, the attacks against the positions of the Syrian army were carried out in a bid to undermine the US-Russian peace talks, that could potentially lead to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
After all, there’s a long list of opponents to the possible truce both acorss the Middle East and in the US itself, including the sitting US administration.
Several Arab commentators indicate there’s conflicting statements and positions within the US towards the cease-fire agreement. They recall that during the long negotiations between Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State, John Kerry the latter had to wait for three hours to obtain a “go” from Washington.
The airstrike against Syrian forces is being perceived by the Arab newspaper Al-Kasyun as the first indicator of a break up deep within the American ruling elite. This was an avid demonstration of what could the “party of war” in Washington achieve. It manifests itself openly in an attempt to prevent the implementation of the agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States, or to at least undermine its value. Moreover, there we are witnessing prominent American politicians working hand-in-hand with radical Islamists in Syria, the newspaper notes.
After all, the agreement was heavily criticized by all the militant groups fighting against Damascus. Once it was announced, the social networks of radical militants were flooded with the same slogan “No truce, shame.”
At the same time, the UAE newspaper Al-Bayan says that, despite the tensions in relations between the US and Russia, the White House is keen to find an understanding before the new president is elected to show at least some success in its foreign policies, in particular in the fight against ISIS. Washington is also governed by the desire to avoid a direct confrontation with Russian military forces both on the ground and above it in Syria. This newspaper believes that the situation in Syria is still under control of both Damascus and Moscow, and they are not interested in letting it slip away.
Yury Zinin, Leading Research Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
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