US' Main Target In Syria Is Iran; ISIS Comes Second

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Melkulangara Bhadrakumar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The common thread running through the two major ‘hot spots’ in the Middle East today – the conflicts in Syria and Libya – is undoubtedly the threat to international security from the extremist groups operating in these theatres. Therefore, Syria and Libya become test cases of the efficacy of the international community – Russia and the United States in particular – working together to steer these conflicts toward a denouement that results in the elimination of the terrorist threat and the stabilization of the situation in the two countries.

There is a history of Russian-American engagement over Syria during the Barack Obama administration, which was surprisingly intense at times – and productive too occasionally, such as over the removal of chemical weapons from Syria or in the creation of the International Syria Support Group as a platform for a peace process.

In the final analysis, of course, the Russian-American engagement over Syria turned out to be sub-optimal in results, which is not surprising, given the steady erosion of mutual trust in the overall relationship as a result of the Obama administration’s containment strategies toward Russia through the last year or two of his presidency.

Plainly put, it will not be an exaggeration to say that Russia and the US are virtually in ground zero today in terms of their cooperation and coordination in meeting the terrorist challenges in Syria. The final months of the Barack Obama presidency witnessed even a calamitous decline in the US-Russia ties.

High hopes were raised when Donald Trump emerged victorious in the US presidential election last November and the expectation was that a brave new dawn of accelerating US-Russia cooperation in fighting the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in Syria was breaking.

But so far that has not happened, and day by day the prospect seems to be altogether fading. There has been some degree of common ground between the US and Russia to ensure that a conflict situation did not arise recently over control of the strategic town of Manbij to the east of Aleppo in northern Syria, detracting attention away from the all-important offensive on Raqqa.

Presumably, this remained an understanding specific to the fluid situation around Manbij, which were limited in scope and were rather tactical in content and completely devoid of any strategic underpinning evolved through political and diplomatic exchanges.

The fact of the matter is that conflicting signals are emanating out of Washington. Although Trump administration is yet to spell out its policies in the Middle East, the statement made by the US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel at the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9 contains the Pentagon’s approach that do not augur well for an effective anti-terrorist campaign in Syria.

Gen. Votel’s testimony took place nine days after the Pentagon submitted its report on a new Middle East strategy to the White House and its postulates must be deemed to be authoritative – most certainly, they cannot be out of sync with the policymaking discourses going on in Washington at present. What emerges from Gen. Votel’s statement are mainly the following:

- Unless the «root causes of instability» in Syria are addressed, the defeat of the ISIS may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory.


- Iran is responsible for propping up the Syrian government.


- In the «current resource-constrained environment», US’ main preoccupation in Syria will be the operations to seize Raqqa and, secondly, the security operations «along the Jordanian border» to cut off the ISIS’ supply routes. (The game plan seems to be to cut off Iran’s access to Lebanon via land route so that Israel gets a free hand to take out Hezbollah.)


- Turkey, despite its transgressions in northern Syria, remains a key NATO ally and has a pivotal role to play in the fight against terrorism. (Significantly, Trump administration has deferred a final decision on Raqqa operations until the Turkish referendum on April 16 got over.)


- Russia and Iran are pursuing geopolitical objectives in Syria. (Gen. Votel totally ignored the two countries’ contributions in the war against terrorist groups and made no references to it.)


- The Pentagon visualizes cooperation with Russia in Syria at the military level in terms of «enhancing our de-confliction mechanisms».

It appears that the US is not looking for an anti-terrorist coalition to fight the ISIS in Syria in a concerted manner, which Russia would have liked. Washington’s preference seems to be for a limited alliance under its leadership, comprising the US’ European partners, Turkey and the GCC states. (The recent conclave in Washington on Syria, which excluded Russia and Iran, falls into perspective.)

A question that arises here is whether it is the defeat of the Islamic State that is the US’ number one priority in Syria or the containment of Iran.

In the US estimation, rolling back Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has become a pressing demand by its regional allies – Israel and Saudi Arabia principally – and it is, therefore, integral to the restoration of American hegemony in the Middle East.

In the fullness of time, once Syria stabilizes, if northern and eastern Syria were to remain under US’ control or as its «sphere of influence», it could create conditions for the laying of gas pipelines connecting Qatar to the European market, which indeed has been an idea on the backburner for almost a decade.

Curiously, the recent developments in Libya also point toward a similar ambivalent approach on the part of the US toward the fight against the extremist groups. If Trump were to keep his word about the war against terrorism being the urgent and top most priority, the US ought to be backing Khalifa Haftar who is the only figure in the chaotic Libyan landscape with the capability to vanquish the terrorist groups and bring some modicum of stability to the country in a conceivable future.

Indeed, Haftar also happens to be a figure well-known to the US security establishment and US intelligence. However, what we are witnessing is instead a Obama-era policy of low-intensity western intervention and covert support for the Islamist Benghazi militia to push back at Haftar.

If it is the rollback of Iran’s regional influence that seems to be the US’ number one priority in Syria, when it comes to Libya, it seems to be the old story of gaining control of its vast oil resources. Unsurprisingly, Libya’s oil ports have become the focus of months of fighting.

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Sector Catalyst's picture
Here’s how the US, Israel, al-Qaeda and ISIS work together in Syria

ISIS: The ‘Enemy’ the US Created, Armed, and Funded


The US arming of ISIS


Documented Proof ISIS Is a Creation of The United States of America


America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group


How the US Supports the Islamic State (ISIS): One “Accidental Airdrop” vs Billions in Covert Military Aid:


West Supporting Terrorism Behind The Scenes


More Evidence of Turkey’s Support of the Islamic State (ISIS), in Liaison with US and NATO:


Joint Chiefs Of Staff Official – US Military Gave Intel To Assad, While CIA Funded & Armed Isis–_US_Military_Gave_Intel_to_Assad%2C_While_CIA_Funded_%26_Armed_ISIS/47973/0/38/38/Y/M.html


Declassified Documents: Obama Ordered CIA To Train ISIS


ISIS, Al Qaeda And The CIA: The Documented Connection


ISIS Showcases Massive Arsenal Of American-Made Weapons In New Video


General Wesley Clark: ISIS Serves Interests Of US Allies Turkey And Saudi Arabia


How the US Supports the Islamic State (ISIS): One “Accidental Airdrop” vs Billions in Covert Military Aid


Did John McCain Meet with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Alleged Head of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh)?


How the Public Get Suckered:


ISIS: The jihadist movement stamped “Made in America”


USA, Turkey and Israel Act As Air Force for ISIS


Poll shows 81 percent of Syrians believe US created ISIS


1 yr, 6,700 airstrikes & $4bn after Obama vowed to ‘destroy’ ISIS, jihadists still on offensive


Putin Outed ISIS’s G20 Financiers: But Not a Single Western Media Outlet Has Reported It


ISIS Begins Selling Iraqi Crude Oil from Turkey to Israel


Democrat erupts on Obama for 'World War 3 potential'


Western Gov'ts Create 'Perfect Climate' for Terror by Funding Extremists


ISIS: The jihadist movement stamped “Made in America”


USA, Turkey and Israel Act As Air Force for ISIS


US Sponsored Genocide in Syria

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Iran: The Most Active State Sponsor of Terrorism

The U.S. government classifies the Islamic Republic of Iran as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” The U.S. has designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984.

What is state-sponsored terrorism?

State-sponsored terrorism is a state’s deliberate use of terrorism or assistance to terrorist organizations as a foreign policy tool against other countries or groups of people. It can refer to either direct attacks by the state or support of terrorist organizations through the provision of weapons, funds, training, and sanctuary.

Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism by Iran:

Since the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, one of the defining hallmarks of the Iranian regime has been its habitual use of terrorism against the United States and its allies throughout the world and its ties to terrorist organizations. In addition to carrying out direct attacks, Iran has committed terrorism by proxy through Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, militias in Iraq, and a plethora of other terrorist groups. Iran has a long history of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Israel, mainly through bombings, abductions, and hijackings. Iranian dissidents and opposition leaders living in exile have also been subject to assassination.

The U.S. government noted that in 2012 there was “a marked resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism,” with Iran and Hezbollah’s terrorist activity reaching “a tempo unseen since the 1990s.”

- See more at:

US State Department

Victor999's picture

Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah is a terrorist group but enemies of Israel acting in defence of their countries.  The other terrorist groups you mention are supported primarily by Salafist interests coming out of Saudi Arabia and Turkey - the Taliban, Chechen terrorists, various Chinese, Central Asian terrorists, and many, many others, mainly of Sunni origin.


Your statement makes absolutely no sense, which is a strong indicator of a poisoned, manipulated mind.  See a shrink.

N0TME's picture

and many, many others, mainly of <<wahhabi>> Sunni origin.

fx's picture

The biggest state-sponsor of terrorists has been the US of A, and that#s a fact. Think of the Mujaheddin, think of the Contras in Nicaragua, think of Libya , think of Syria...
They will never fight ISIS as it is the creation of Mo$$ad and serves the US interests to some extent. The US bombed Assads's forces in Deir ed-Zor for a full hour clearing the way for ISIS to take a highly important strategic hill there. An accident, of course. NOt.

political_proxy's picture

israel is the top of the terror heap -they own (control) the US of A

Jubal Early's picture

"The U.S. government classifies the Islamic Republic of Iran as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism.”"

lol.  Projection Much?  911, Boston Bombing, Sandy Hook, San Bernandino, Orlando, and on and on and on and on.  Terrorist acts commited by the US government against its own people.  Those are direct acts of Terrorism, not those committed by proxy's like Al Queda and ISIS.  Almost certainly they were also committed under guidance of the US's master:  Israel.  There is the also the issue of the CIA coup and the installation of the Zionist puppet Shah from 1954-1979, but that is far worse than terrorism.

Here is a list of terrorist acts committed directly by Iran against the US:


Please correct me if I am wrong by providing a list of Iranian acts of terrorism against the US.

Otherwise all I can say is that you are an ignorant fool.




Dominus Ludificatio's picture

"Terrorism"   Jewish mafia most popular word for their own  criminal activity.

HRClinton's picture

You mean that Trump lied?  Again?

Color me shocked that he might be owned by the MIC, AIPAC and Wall St. 

As long as he tickles your Libertarian fantasies, it's all good, right? Because only Liberals are hypocrites, right? 

"Après moi, le deluge" is apt for Trump - for those few who are literate enough to understand the reference.  

risk.averse's picture

Worst kind of intellectual is an arrogant intellectual

BennyBoy's picture


Syria: Another pipeline war. With the Saudi, Israel, US pipeline vs Iran, Russia pipeline. Its worth 100's of billions of dollars. Oil corporations and their minions, governments around the world, are murdering, stealing land and pushing refugees into europe to become oil consumers.

Who coulda seen this shit storm coming? Again.

sinbad2's picture

If there was peace in the world, the U$ would collapse, the country is based on war.

Victor999's picture

Correct - the US was conceived in war.  It's national anthem is even a tribute to its wars.

francis scott falseflag's picture


A tribute to its False Flag.  fixed it 4 u

I should know.  

la la la la

mosfet's picture

Translation: We need a bigger enemy than ISIS to keep Trump's defense money rolling in.

//Also, check out the movie War Dogs

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) mosfet Mar 21, 2017 1:48 AM

If Kushner & Netanyahu want war with Iran, then guess what?

ThirdWorldDude's picture

(((They've))) even come out of the closet with their 'new and improved blueprint'® for fucking up the Middle East. Now that their pet jihadists are on the verge of extinction, it's finally time for Uncle Scam to take things into its own hands...

All for Israhell's children!

DirkDiggler11's picture

The US should not lose another member of the armed services in the Middle East for the next 100 years.

Stsy the hell out and left the goat fuckers murder each other,

Gen. Ripper's picture

Blast off and nuke the desert from space. We have enough oil and goats here already

peterk's picture

The ONLY way to kill  the US  military is to  KILL the $US.

If putin was smart he would organise a  coup/rebellion  in saudi arabia, and  destroy  $US denomination of  saudi oil, which leaves

russia with the biggest  oil suuplies..  and THEN get shine to sell teir US BOND holdings.

All up  the US dollar will be destroyed, rates go up.

Russia  can handle 20% interest rates, they  just did it.. but the US cant handle even   a quater of that.


TO defeat the US military you must destroy its funding source... the battle feild will then follow.

HRClinton's picture

Alternatively, Russia, China and Iran could switch to honest money, backed by hard assets and gold.

But they don't have the courage or decency to do that either.

just the tip's picture

upvoted you for the putin reference.  as much as i have admired putin's restraint and how he handles himself, i just do not understand what he is doing, or why he is doing whatever it is he is doing.  the only way for assad and putin to fight this cia/mi6/mossad monster is to create their own isis and turn them loose on KSA and/or israel.  if isis are such bloodthirsty raghead savages, why have they not once attacked israel?  why do IAF aircraft give isis cover in syria as do US aircraft?  putin should have given KSA a taste of their own medicine long ago.  i don't understand his short or long game.  while everyone else says putin is playing chess, he appears to me to be playing checkers.

mary mary's picture

Russia makes mistakes, like everyone else.  Russia gave money to Hillary's campaign.  Should have given money to Trump's campaign instead.  Or do like GS and JPM and C: give money to both campaigns.

Ghordius's picture

Russia gave money to Hillary's campaign? eh? do you have anything to back up this claim?

besnook's picture

don't you mean israel is targeting iran? there is no reason in the world why iran should be an enemy of the usa. they have lots of oil and gas. israel has.........

iran is the natural ally of the usa in the mideast. they would keep a lid on israel and the house of saud and the other sheikdoms.

the zionazis do not have the interests of the usa first, nor does trump.

Victor999's picture

Whilst Iran is a natural ally of the US, the US does not act of its own accord, being controlled by Jews.  So no, though you are correct, it just ain't so.

keep the bastards honest's picture

Golan Heights are Syrian lands occupied  by Isr. Syria is at war with Isr since the 1960's because of that. Isr gave  medical help to ISIS  and has been bombing in Syria. Of the last four planes one was knocked down by Syria, one hit but flew. Isr said it will just bomb the Syrian defences. But Russia is giving targets to Syria of any invaders.

BobEore's picture

I was following along with the flow of this piece pretty well, until

In the US estimation, rolling back Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has become a pressing demand by its regional allies – Israel and Saudi Arabia principally – and it is, therefore, integral to the restoration of American hegemony in the Middle East.

jarred me out of semi-slumber. Huh? Doesn't the author know that the mandate of Trumpistan foreign policy is to remove America from conflict zones - and place it's attention firmly back onto pressing matters of economic recovery? American hegemony in the middle east is not part of that agenda dude! Which though forced me to look up to see who the author might be? Another jarring shock - M K Bhadrakumar is no witless western sock puppet collaborationist hired to write shill pieces for Russian media. Having followed his own blog for years, he's earned my respect as a seasoned witness to diplomatic intriques as they go on in the real world of power backstage of the media dog n pony shows. 

So what's he doing here? And writing in a manner so decidely different from his own voice? Another diminished voice of one time authority now in the pocket of the ONEMEDIA? Don't know - can't say - only time will reveal. B.K. as much as anyone knows that America is in the process of withdrawing inwards, preparatory to the destructive civil war being prepared... and into the vacuum of power produced will slide Srael, once again. Iran no longer factors into it's geopolitical equations - the firing of Preet Bharara signaled to those awake enough to understand - the Iran card has been played - and since it' the joker in all decks, the time has come for a new phase in Srael's domination of the middle eastern economy - when Persia is invited into junior partnership with Moscow and Tel aviv - having been sufficiently humbled by the long standing sanctions and embargoes enough to finally accept the bone offered. As MK has apparently done!

emersonreturn's picture

bobE, i upvoted you because your perspective is the reason i come to ZH...a different pov.  causes me to draw back & re-examine.  with so many pieces at play it's easy to miss the bigger pattern.  we shall see. 

BobEore's picture

Appreciate the feedback...

and KNOW very well that the great majority of those who read these threads seldom, if ever comment. Lost in the sea of what these days are mostly sock puppet voices here, is the coterie of folks intent upon making up their own minds about things - but faced with an increasing scarcity of real information from which to do so!

whatsupdoc's picture

Ramp it up Syria, Russia and Iran...  Those troops are nothing but trouble.

Lots of expensive military hardware (take out choppers and aircraft) and body bags...

The nation that wars against everyone else to some degree or other will die eventually.

Usura's picture

Iran should not underestimate western resolve.  Israel is fully prepared to fight to the last American.

Lost in translation's picture

America has made more enemies than She can possibly hope to survive.

zeroboris's picture

I can't see any difference between the old and new Middle East strategies of the US. Can anybody explain the difference? Less support of Kurds to win resentful Erdogan back or what?

HRClinton's picture

Let me help you out...

Plan A: Pipeline to Turkey, via Syria.

Plan B: Silk Road. Support Kurds, to have them skirmish with Turkey and prevent the Southern Silk Road via Iran. Cannot allow a Northern or Southern Silk Road to Europe, or the Empire is finished.

It's always been about the Petrodollar, Oil flows, Russia and China. NK and Iran are proxy attacks at their sponsors.

DoctOZ's picture

Once we limit Iran the rest will come easy.

Fireman's picture

"Limit Iran"...that's not so glib when Palestine is a pile of smoking rubble with grilled khasarian interlopers under every rock.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

Obama continued Bush's 'neocon' wars, surveillance state after appearing to be totally different.

Trump simply Obamaed the Right.

Kushner, Adelson, flirting with Woolsey and Bolton etc...

The trouble is that Vichy Washington is Israeli (and globalist) occupied territory that is happy to take as much American blood and treasure as it can to remake the middle east for Israel and crush all opposition to The One Bank and whatever Potemkin global democracy it will provide.

The US will need a second revolution which will also be a civil war. The federal ZOG and the judeocorporate media... they are actively HOSTILE to Americans.

Because they see Americans merely as tax cows and cannon fodder for Ersatz Israel and the destruction of ethnic European majorities all over the world.

And I don't advocate revolution/civil war/violence...

I advocate the states ignoring unconstitutional orders from Vichy DC, and the zealous defense of Truth: The New Hate Speech.

I also advocate banning political parties, breaking up large banks and even large corps like google and farcebook, and a strict 'No Fat Chicks' policy in our military.

Sandmann's picture

Obama "did" nothing. He was simply a front man to entertain the media

Sandmann's picture

The US is pre-programmed for global war. The Korea issue will determine the first-strike policy of China and Russia as a defensive posture. Israel thinks it can provoke Syria to draw out Russian S-300 batteries for evaluation.

War is inevitable. There is nothing Washington can do now to halt the impetus. The hazing of Trump by the US War Establishment shows it is not possible to change course.

Europe will NOT increase Defence Spending because it knows where that got them in 1914 with sending signals to other participants to mobilise.

The US is going to see the whole Post-1945 World Order collapse around it as UK goes into Post-BreXit turmoil and EU disintegrates. No sane person in China or Russia or India or Iran thinks it possible to avoid the coming wars the US is preparing

keep the bastards honest's picture

The US has done war game after war game model re war with Russia and every time it has lost.

Russia has kept calm because its just a matter of time before  the barbarian US can no  longer send money to Isr or ISIS .. not long.

Even tho 8 senior Russians have died. Planes shot down. Russians in eastern Ukr given hell and killed. Has kept calm.

Kaeako's picture

ISIS is defeated. It's 1945 Germany and the allies and various belligerents are rushing to consume as much of the corpse as possible before the fighting stops. What happens after is the interesting part. This talk of focusing on ISIS, eradicating terrorism yada yada yada is cheap propaganda on all sides.

onmail1's picture

OK prepare ur basement
for the nuclear holocaust

Its already world war
No one wants to do any sensible thing

Looks like EvilHomObamma is still running US ops
as a godfather of US military / CIA

Run for cover
(Actually its the curse of Jesus to zooish which
no one can repeal )

Fireman's picture

USSA'S next major war will be with itself. We all know it's coming because KARMA always gets the bad guy in the end. To imagine that the filth in Washing town would dare start a nuclear "exchange" with China and Russia is to disregard the litany of lost wars that the anglozionazi death cult scum in the Washing town sewer have unleashed against pajama clad, flip flop wearing peasants in the last 80 years. USSA does NOT fight real armies; EVER. Get ready to balkanize the death cult entity. It's unstoppable.



the satanic pedophile filt# are going down, with or without Bilge Pump Don!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"US' Main Target In Syria Is Iran; ISIS Comes Second"

Two wishes for the U.S. military...

Have lotsa "fun" and "best of luck" on that announced project!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture


Make certain that there aren't any Russians in their midst!...

You know what happened to you last year in "Deir-ez-Zor"!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

If a "containment strategy" is in the works as General Scr-otel says... He's going to need a helluva lot more assets on the ground supporting his ISIS contingent which is losing it's "shirt" every day counting forward from September 2015! AND stay in the Green Zone in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time as they are ready to come apart at the seams as we speak!

Those air strikes on civilians ( in West Mosul that you're not hearing about or seeing on CNN/MSNBC/FOX ain't helping the Iraqi military protect "white devils" in Baghdad that is for certain!

I don't see the Turks prepared to do all the "heavy lifting" should they cut economic ties with the Russians completely which is already affecting their agriculture imports.

Lets see how long the Turks back their leadership when they cut ties with the Russian Federation completely?!!!

I don't see it happening. And if it does happen we'll be seeing WWIII in Syria with an event there that will be "all-in" up to Uncle S's waistline.

sheikurbootie's picture

Stupid article.

The ONLY thing happening is the military is not reporting exactly what they're doing.

The press is pissing all over themselves for not having free stories about our plans and procedures.

Trump said he would let the Generals fight the war with the gloves OFF.  In otherwords, the sole purpose of the military is to KILL.  So, few liberals understand this.  It's not a police force, the sole purpose of the military is to kill the enemy and destroy his will to fight.