In many aspects of the crises in Syria and Iraq, many of our people, just like the parties involved in the battle, avoid talking about the core dimension of what is happening. It is related to the new dimension of the resistance movement against the occupation and American influence in the region and against the ‘Israeli’ occupation of Arab lands.
This does not mean that the people’s agenda in these countries must be completely neglected. Even though it may be late at times priorities make people in this region notice that the sudden and significant support they received from the Americans, the Westerners and their allies is not aimed at developing their lives as human beings but changing the nature and behavior of the existing governments. Their goal will never be to promote the rights of citizens, but to suppress any attempt to rebel against the world regime colonizing and plundering our wealth.
Therefore, and without remaining prisoners of the unfortunately useless debate about the nature of the crisis and its background, the actual common denominator between the conflicting sides and those present on the ground, is the conflict over the strategic role of this region – not only in shaping the future of the Middle East but in the development of new rules of influence in our region. This should lead us explicitly to compare the current phase of the enormous conflicts in Iraq and Syria with the less heated battles taking place in Palestine and Lebanon.
The one who wants to ignore the reality of the fundamental change of the conflict with the Americans and ‘Israel’ after the July 2006 war is unreasonable. On that day, the US-‘Israeli’ project was not only stalled, but the feasibility of the resistance option was fixed. This is what compelled the forces of the resistance axis and its governments to move to a new stage of planning and action. Therefore, it was expected that the enemy would move to another stage. Based on that, it can be asserted that the central role of the war on Syria is the targeting of the “Crescent of Resistance”. Firstly, it is the real, non-formal incubator for the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, and secondly it is the vital area of both. Syria represents the knot that holds the axis of resistance that extends from Tehran to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Moreover, Syria has become an important supplier for the resistance’s military arsenal, some of which are strategic in nature.
That is why we have seen several rounds of conflict throughout the last six years. It was also natural that all parties of the axis of resistance engage in the battle. It was also normal to work with an exceptional force to remove the Palestinian resistance forces from this battle. Today, everyone acknowledges the difficulty of overthrowing the regime in Syria. All this made the enemy move to the stage of disrupting the function of the Syrian regime on the level of resistance in the region. The recent focus has been on removing the Syrian army’s control of the Iraqi border, given the conviction of the Americans, ‘Israelis’ and their Arab allies that having a Syrian-Iraqi contact on the border sections would perpetuate the resistant crescent from Tehran to Lebanon and Palestine.
Hence, the new US strategy emerged, which in recent months has focused on trying to impose its control -where it can – along the border between the two countries. From one side, it will work to control the Kurdish factions and the “Syrian Democratic Forces” in the north of Syria, and work to help the armed factions affiliated with the US or the “MOC” room in the south-east, to capture the area extending south until the Al-Tanf crossing. This is accompanied by clear and direct American support for the armed groups in the face of the advance of the Syrian army and Hezbollah in the southern region, in conjunction with the imposition of a “veto” on the participation of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units in the battles of Mosul and drawing red lines preventing it from advancing towards Tal Afar and its west.
But what actually happened was that the “mobilization” forces reached the border in the Umm Ghrais area (west of Kairouan and south of the Sinjar mountains), which is in practice a clear violation of the American red lines, allowing for a new equation based on imposing control over sections of the border despite US objections.
Suffice it to say control over additional border sections by the forces of the resistance axis (represented by the Iraqi “mobilization”, the Syrian forces and Hezbollah) is enough to break the American objective of closing the border, making any American control of the rest of the border useless.
Practically, it can be said that what happened in the north – even though the “mobilization” only controls less than 15 km of land – is the first step that opens the strategic land crossings between the parties of the resistance axis.
From a practical standpoint this means undermining the entire American strategy to prevent Syrian-Iraqi contact. Thus, controlling border sections between the two countries and achieving the territorial geographical link between Baghdad and Damascus mean strategically dropping all the effects of the Syrian war, i.e. everything related to dropping the functional role of the Syrian regime within the axis of resistance.
What is expected in the next stage can open the door to great surprises. In spite of the direct American military deployment, the confrontation was not resolved in the south with the arrival of the Syrian army and Hezbollah to a distance of less than 80 km from the crossing of Al-Tanaf, especially since one week was sufficient to expel “Daesh” from 9000 square kilometers in the Homs desert. The groups within the terror organization suffered an unprecedented defeat, in particular as they left behind a huge amount of medium and heavy weapons.
On the one hand, preparations are being made by the Syrian army and Hezbollah for the battle to recover the city of Sokhna [northeast of Palmyra], which opens the door for a two-way battle: lifting the siege on Deir al-Zour and restoring control over the Syrian side of the Qaim crossing with Iraq. Yet, the debate is strong within Iraq about the possibility of taking part in the decisive battle in western Anbar, which puts the Iraqi forces and the “popular mobilization” on one side of the Qaim border. This plan is contrary to the American plan, which seeks to establish an alliance between Syrian and Iraqi tribes that would spread on both sides of the border under joint supervision with Jordan. This region remains far from being controlled or influenced by the resistance forces in both countries.
On the other hand, there is an ongoing finger-biting game with the Americans who are trying to impose a constant reality, preventing the resistance axis from getting closer to these points. The US is laying down rules that are even being coordinated with the Russian side, which may not want its allies in Syria to confront the Americans along the southern part of the border with Iraq, but is not giving up its role in helping the Syrian army to end the presence of “Daesh” in this entire region.
The objective of the resistance forces in preventing the overthrow of the government in Syria is achieved. The objective of these forces in besieging the hostile groups is being achieved day by day. Meanwhile, the objective of opening a large gap along the border with Iraq has entered the implementation stage. The resistance forces are not expected to retreat from expanding, establishing a foothold and protecting it no matter what. This reminds everyone that the rules of engagement in Syria or Iraq are still governed by consensus involving all parties. We are, therefore, very likely to face direct and actual confrontation between Syria’s allies including Hezbollah or the Revolutionary Guards and the American forces if they decide to engage directly in the battle alongside the armed groups. Given the background of the decision by Syria’s allies, the possibility must be dealt with very seriously, indicating a new form of confrontation in Syria and perhaps outside of it.