U.S. to benefit more from Middle East’s new situation: expert

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BEIRUT – The United States has been trying to gain more from changes in the Middle East, as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Force’s (SDF) influence grows on the battlefield, according to one expert’s recent comments.
A number of armed forces in both Iraq and Syria have benefitted from the patronage of countries like the U.S. and Russia. A gradually weakened national border and the emergence of paramilitary forces have also added to the new pattern of forces in the Middle East.

“For example, in Iraq, the Kurdish border versus the Arab border is probably a strong border. Any of the other borders aren’t as important. For example, the border between Iraq and Syria in the west of Iraq is not that important, is not that strong. So what I think these states will probably remain because we are not really in the business of changing states every few years,” said Renad Mansour, a visiting scholar from Carnegie Middle East Center.

Under the new situation, Russia once proposed the U.S. carry out joint military action to fight against the extremist groups, but was rejected.

Mansour believes there were mainly two reasons for that rejection. First, the U.S and Russia have different, and possibly contradictory, definitions for terrorism. Second, the U.S. needed to cooperate with Turkey to curb Russia’s power expansion in the Middle East.

Though the armed forces supported by the U.S., like Syria’s rebels and Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces, were carrying out military operations against the extremist groups, they have not yet reached key cities like Mosul and al-Raqqah.

According to Mansour, the U.S. was just trying to find quicker solutions in the Middle East to expand its influence.

“It’s a sense of confusion, a sense of trying to find, as I said, quick solutions, and bandage to really structural problems. And so far that is the case it’s problematic. So rather than America having this kind of strategy to change the maps, I think America is struggling to understand where the new maps are that are emerging, many of which are consequences of its previous interventions and actions in the region,” said Mansour.