This week, Leore Ben-Chorin @lbenchorin asks: "How will the United States’ retreat from the Middle East impact the region in the short- and long-term? How will it affect the Syrian civil war?" See Ivo's response in the newest installment of #AskIvo. Be sure submit your question for the next episode to @IvoHDaalder using #AskIvo.
This is Ask Ivo, a new series where you get to ask me any question about global issues of concern to you. Leore asks: "How will the US retreat from the Middle East affect the region in the short- and in the long-term, and what impact will it have on the Syrian civil war?
That's a great question, Leore, but first, let's be clear about what the American retreat from the Middle East really is, because in some ways, under President Trump, the United States has recommitted itself in support of its allies and friends in Israel, in the Gulf, and to strengthen the opposition that the US has with those countries against Iran. But in other ways, of course, the United States' involvement in the Middle East is far less than it used to be.
Not that long ago, we had 160,000 troops in Iraq; We were threatening to go to war against Syria; And, of course, we were always strongly supportive of our friends Israel and Egypt. And that's gone down, in part, because in Iraq, there no longer is the kind of civil war that we've seen before, and in Syria, we've only been really focused on the Islamic State, and not on rebuilding Syria as a viable society.
To that extent, Russia has gained more control and more interest in what's going on in the region, and other countries are starting to say, "Who else can we turn and work with in order to solve our problems?
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