July 01, 2019

Whether the U.S. fails or succeeds in Syria, tough choices lie ahead

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: The Los Angeles Times

Journalist Nabih Bulos

As the perennial jousting between the U.S. and Iran focuses on drones, nuclear enrichment and safe passage of oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz, Washington is struggling on a lesser watched front in the region: northeastern Syria.

That’s where the U.S. led a coalition of European and regional nations in support of a Kurdish-dominated group of militias against Islamic State extremists, lavishing the Kurds with weapons, training, air cover and the assistance of thousands of U.S. soldiers and contractors.

With Islamic State having been ousted from all the territory it held, the Kurdish-led fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, now control one-third of Syria. Washington wants to solidify that control, promote the SDF as a viable government and deny the resource-rich region to Syrian President Bashar Assad and his backers in Iran and Russia — even as President Trump has pushed to withdraw all U.S. personnel.

But such ongoing Kurdish-led control clashes with competing local and international rivalries, and faces strong pushback from allies and enemies alike.

Read the full article and more in The Los Angeles Times.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...