1.11.2009

U.S. Syria Strike: Changing Strategic Rules in the Middle East

The U.S. strike in Syria was really surprising and came in timing difficult to understand or analyze. So, 'why now,' is an open question waiting for more information and some further leaks from U.S. officials.

The questions is why the U.S. waited for more than five years to make this movement, although it had some detailed information about activities orchestrating violence in Iraq out of Syria. Many relevant details were provided to Syrian regime by the U.S. in this regard.

For now, I will focus on the significance of this strike, which is clear and has many ramifications and aspects.

First of all, this U.S. action is directed at humiliating Syrian Baath regime. This approach was adopted by the American administration since the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, which intended to by as humiliating as possible to the Baath regime, and so it was.

Moreover, this action constitutes a clear message to the French administration, which unilaterally violated the western isolation of the Syrian Baath regime. It also somehow conveys some degradation to the French role in the region. It clearly shows who has the upper hand in the region, and that the U.S. still can act in its own way in the Middle East making new realities there.

This action, also, conveys a strong message to Iran in a very difficult time for Iran as oil price going down along with Iran's financial strength. It is indicating further means and options available to the U.S. and posing new threats Iran should seriously consider.

As regards Syrian Baath regime and Iraq security, this regime now would think seriously before continuing previous activities toward Iraq security or overlooking these activities. This may contribute to improving Iraq security, which can be seen in the next few months.

The U.S. strike in Syria is not tactical, rather it is strategic, and strategically affects the region. It was leaked that the orders of this strike came from Washington not the U.S. Command in Iraq; and this serves as an evidence of the strategic nature of this action.

This strike changes some essential rules in the region's geopolitics, and opens the door to a new stage of more open game in the Middle East as it puts an end to some conventional norms effective since the change in Iraq. Finally, it makes a new reality in counter-terrorism efforts as it indicates that state sovereignty through territorial integrity is no more a barrier to tackling international terrorism activities in the Middle East.

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