PETALING JAYA: US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan is influenced by the prospect of imminent defeat and the increasing financial cost of war, says Dr Chandra Muzaffar.
The political scientist said it is estimated that the Syrian war would cost US$15.3bil (RM63.8bil) next year and that the amount is even higher for Afghanistan.
“With 16,000 troops in the country, the war costs US taxpayers US$45bil (RM188bil) a year.
“Between 2010 and 2012, when the United States had 100,000 troops on the ground, the Afghan war cost US$100bil (RM417bil) a year,” he said.
Dr Chandra added that under Trump, US military expenditure had remained high at US$610bil (RM2.5 trillion) last year.
Yet the US role in combating terrorism was limited in Syria, the International Movement for a Just World president said.
He said it was the Syrian army, backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian militias and the Russian military, that was primarily responsible for defeating the multitude of terrorist outfits in the country between 2012 and 2017.
Moreover, he claimed that there were organisations associated with the United States, Britain and France and countries in the region such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey that provided assistance to some prominent terrorist outfits.
“Suppressing the independence and sovereignty of the Syrian nation and not combating terrorism was the real reason behind the active intervention and involvement of numerous actors from within and without the region in the seven-year Syrian conflict,” he added.
Dr Chandra said Trump realised even before he became president that he would not be able to achieve the aim for US intervention in Syria, which is to oust President Bashar al-Assad in order to achieve regime change in pursuit of the US-Israeli hegemony agenda.
“By getting out of Syria in particular, the United States has made it easier for certain powers from within and without the region to exert even more influence over the politics of that country and that of its neighbours to the detriment of the West,” he said.
The end of the US military operation in Syria may accelerate efforts within the country to bring about much needed constitutional and political reforms, which Bashar had tried to initiate in 2001, Dr Chandra said.
He also said Bashar would have to work closely with allies, Iran and Russia, but it was the Syrian people who would determine the destiny of their nation.
On Afghanistan, Dr Chandra said the US military presence had enhanced the Taliban’s reputation as a resistance force among the ordinary people.
“The eventual total withdrawal of the 16,000 US soldiers will allow the Afghan people to determine their future, which will be influenced to some extent by Afghanistan’s important neighbours, namely Pakistan, Iran, China, India and Russia,” he said.
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