Why US military attacks targets in Syria after Palestinian-Israeli conflict

China Military Online
Li Weichao
2023-11-17 17:31:00

U.S. military base in Iraq.

U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East were repeatedly attacked after a new round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out. A U.S. military officer said on November 13 that U.S. and international troops stationed in northeastern Syria had been attacked by drones and rockets at least four times in the past 24 hours, but no casualties were caused. Military observer Liang Yongchun believes that one reason why U.S. military bases in the Middle East have been frequently attacked is that the U.S. blindly favored Israel after the Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out, which aroused strong indignation among the Arab people in the region.

It has been more than 12 years since the Syrian crisis broke out and the U.S. military penetrated Syria in March 2011. Liang said that when civil strife occurred in Syria in 2011, the U.S. troops took the opportunity to infiltrate the Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria on the excuse of fighting against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. Later, after the IS was eliminated, the U.S. military remained there in order to check and balance Iran and Russia. Over the past 12 years, the U.S. has stayed in Syria in the name of counter-terrorism, which caused a protracted Syrian crisis.

Before the recent attack, the U.S. troops launched strikes on Iran-related targets in Syria on November 12, local time. The targets included a training facility and a safe house of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and an associated armed organization. Liang analyzed that U.S. President Joe Biden personally ordered the retaliatory strike, which served not only as a warning to Iran but also as a demonstration of his strong leadership so as to boost his chances for re-election.

On November 9, Sabrina Singh, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, said that the U.S. military and the U.S.-led coalition faced at least 46 attacks from October 17 to November 9. Among them, 24 occurred in Iraq and 22 in Syria. Given that most attacks on the U.S. military happened in Iraq, where U.S. forces and contractors are stationed, why did the U.S. prioritize striking targets in Syria?

Liang believes that the Golan Heights in southwest Syria is still occupied by Israel, and if Syria seizes the opportunity to reclaim the Golan Heights, Israel will inevitably find itself in a vulnerable position. Therefore, the U.S. first took action in Syria to warn the surrounding countries not to act rashly. This would help Israel maintain control over its external situation and ensure that the Israeli military could concentrate its attention on the operations in the Gaza Strip.

Editor's note: Originally published on military.cnr.cn, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.

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