Assad is back for good in Syria – and with Trump’s blessing,

John R. Bradley

Amid the confusion and the almost deafening cries of treachery and collusion over Donald Trump’s relations with Russia, few noticed the most tangible outcome of this week’s Helsinki summit. In the lead-up to his face-to-face talk with Vladimir Putin, senior US and Russian diplomats — in close coordination with leaders from mutual ally Israel — brokered a deal among all the warring parties (bar the Islamist terrorists) finally to end the devastating seven-year Syrian civil war.  […]

The Syrian rebels who spent so long begging for American help and arms can now expect to be entirely abandoned. As part of the de-escalation process, Trump is said to be eager to withdraw the 2,000 or so US special forces still stationed in Syria. This way he could (rightly) claim to be honouring his campaign pledge to keep US soldiers out of interminable foreign conflicts whenever possible, while — in a ‘Mission Accomplished’ photo op — announcing the defeat of Islamic State in Syria. And all in time for US midterm elections in November. […]

No one is likely to congratulate Trump for having skilfully navigated the Syrian minefield. But his decision to leave Syria’s fate to the Syrians (and their new friends in Russia) is the bravest and most logical decision by a US president when it comes to the Middle East since Eisenhower ordered Britain, France and Israel to withdraw from Suez. His comments at the Helsinki press conference underlined how little interest he has in the conflict: he sees it as someone else’s war. And if American withdrawal means handing Russia a large sphere of influence in the Middle East, another Mediterranean asset to go along with Ukraine, then so be it. Läs artikel