The exit from Afghanistan by the United States after two decades of conflict and occupation was executed so poorly that some allies are finding themselves quietly asking if they could actually trust Washington when it actually matters during a crisis.
In the view of some analysts the question is not if such a crisis will emerge but rather how long will it take for the event to materialize. Could such an event actually occur before the end of 2021? Or even more of a chilling question where will it take place.
One possible location where such an event could take place is in the Middle East. Once again this is a country where the US Policy has been a source of controversy for almost a decade. There have been Airstrikes by the US and there is a small presence of the US Military on the ground as well. Not surprisingly there have been mixed signals sent by the Biden Administration as well hinting to what the Foreign Policy will be moving forward.
It appears that the uncertainty from the Administration is unfolding in Syria. In late September 2021 a delegation of the SDC (Syrian Democratic Council) paid a visit to Washington. They met with Administration Officials and Members of Congress to thank them for their committment to the security in Northeast Syria, the protections of freedom of religion and diversity which are both written into the Constitution of Northeast Syria as well as discussing development aid for the region as well.
The SDC considers this trip to Washington productive towards maintaining hopes for peace in Northeastern Syria.
Recent statements by Secretary of State Blinken regarding Syria are raising some concerns regarding what a future policy towards Syria will look like. He has stated that Washington will not stand in the way of efforts by neighboring states of Syria to end its Diplomatic isolation and rehabilitation of President Assad.
Earlier this year the Secretary stated that the Administration would not encourage the return of Syria from isolation. Why the change? One of the first signs of a change was energy deal signed between Syria, Egypt and Jordan that would address the energy crisis in Lebanon. The U.S. Ambassador in Beirut stated that this deal would not be in violation of any American sanctions program currently in force against Syria.
Another concern is regarding the Caesar Sanctions Act. Unlike the previous administration which designated 113 individuals for sanctions for their dealings with the Assad regime, The Biden Administration has only designated a handful entities for sanctions. The Administration had earlier this year stated that “governments and businesses need to be careful that their proposed or envisioned transactions don’t expose them to potential sanctions under the (Caesar) act.”
Some of these actions removes some of the leverage that the US has had in the past in trying to promote Humanitarian access to the parts of Syria that have been torn by conflict. There have not been any concessions made by either the Assad regime or its backers in Moscow and Tehran regarding ending the conflict or providing access. The role of Turkey in the conflict has to be part of the calculus when any decision is made.
These actions by the Biden Administration have been covert in nature and not widely reported by US Media Outlets.
They need more scrutiny and to be monitored more closely.