“Trump Admin Commits to Forever War in Syria against Iran”

Informed Comment: “Since the al-Assad regime has won the civil war, it does not feel it needs to make a grand political compromise with the rebels, who only have three significant pockets of resistance left: Idlib Province in the north, the East Ghouta neighborhood in the vicinity of Damascus, and Deraa south of the capital. All together, these three account for about 2 million people. The YPG Kurds of the north and northeast constitute another 2 million, but they are not rebels against the regime per se and probably would be willing to rejoin Syria if it were reformulated as a federal state with substantial states’ rights. They also now rule over about a million Arab Syrians in Raqqa. So the remnants of the rebels rule about 11 percent of the some 18 million Syrians still inside the country. The YPG Kurds have about 16 percent of the population. That is 27%. Let’s say there are rebel pockets amounting to another 3%, giving the regime 70% of the population. Tillerson says Damascus only rules half the territory, but that statistic is irrelevant since the eastern desert is thinly populated It is like the US government losing control of Wyoming, which is a big place but, no offense, few people live there. And remember that the 11% that is Kurds, while they are not under government control, have been willing to cooperate with the Syrian Arab Army against the Arab fundamentalists and would likely do a deal with Damascus if the US left.”

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