President Joe Biden recently tapped Dana Stroul to lead the Pentagon’s Middle East desk, according to Axios and other reports. She'll serve as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East after a previous stint as a senior official on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as a longtime fellow at the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
She had also previously worked on Mideast policy at the Pentagon under the Obama administration. As we noted before, this and other appointments gives more alarming context to Biden's constant message on the foreign policy front that "America is back" and is "ready to lead the world" once again.
Stroul was recently on record as touting that America "owns" one-third of Syrian territory, particularly the resource-rich northeast region. So much for the administration "distancing" itself from Trump policies... (given Trump was the first to repeatedly and bluntly state the US was there "securing" Syria's oil).
At a US gov-funded think tank, this official who oversaw Congress' Syria Study Group outlines the continued regime-change strategy.— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 5, 2019
She says the US military "owned" 1/3rd of Syrian territory, including its oil/wheat-rich region. And the US is trying to block reconstruction funds pic.twitter.com/NIEJ9elxhs
Stroul made the comments during a televised think tank event in D.C. hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in October 2019.
"The United States still had compelling forms of leverage on the table to shape an outcome that was more conducive and protective of US interests," she explained at the time. She had been co-chair of the Syria Study Group, previously described by journalist Ben Norton as a "bi-partisan working group appointed by Congress to draft a new US war plan for Syria."
Here's how the new Biden-appointed head of the Pentagon's Middle East desk described the US occupation of Syria and Pentagon strategic objectives there:
"The first one was the one-third of Syrian territory that was owned via the US military with its local partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces. Now this was a light footprint on the US military, only about a thousand troops over the course of the Syria Study Group’s report; and then the tens of thousands of forces, both Kurdish and Arab, under the Syria Democratic Forces.
And that one-third of Syria is the resource-rich – it’s the economic powerhouse of Syria. So where the hydrocarbons are, which obviously is very much in the public debate here in Washington these days, as well as the agricultural powerhouse."
"We argued that it wasn’t just about this one-third of Syrian territory that the US military and our military presence owned, both to fight ISIS (Daesh) and also as leverage for affecting the overall political process for the broader Syria conflict," she added of her policy recommendations.
Look at those photos while you hear Biden's pick to head Pentagon's Middle East Desk, Dana Stroul, say the oil-rich territory is "owned" by the US military.— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) January 29, 2021
"Take the oil" is not just a Trump thing. pic.twitter.com/UqiN8VC7MU
This "leverage" which has included devastating sanctions is now driving Syria into economic collapse and with much of the population now unable to access food and fuel.
Biden's newly appointed Mideast official was literally bragging about "owning" the "agricultural powerhouse" of Syria as ordinary Syrians starve.
The Pentagon busy "spreading democracy" and plundering the oil in the process:
At another think tank panel discussion in June of 2019, Stroul further advocated the war is about standing up to Russia in the Middle East:
"This isn't just about a Syrian conflict, this is about great power competition and what we're going to do about Russia and the foothold it's been given in the Middle East," she said.
Stroul's appointment is as clear a sign as any that regime change targeting Assad is still on the table, and the US occupation of the country is not drawing down any time soon; instead it is only likely to expand in order to also "confront" Russia and Iran.