What Are Biden’s Plans in Syria? Military, Advisers Await Guidance

Ex-Ambassador says US should just leave

Among the wars inherited by the Biden Administration, Syria has much in common with Afghanistan, as barely any US troops are left there, and they don’t seem to be doing much of anything. What are Biden’s plans in Syria?

That’s still not clear, as military officials and advisers say that they are expecting a review and awaiting guidance. This will impact some 900 troops at a base near an oil and natural gas facility.

President Trump had envisioned these troops just staying forever, stealing oil from Syria as reparations for the US invasion that Syria never sought nor welcomed. The US military never welcomed that plan either, but now say they’re making no plans to leave.

That’s not to say that everyone is embracing the status quo. Robert Ford, the US Ambassador to Syria when all of this began, is calling on Biden to finish the pullout, saying ISIS is “largely contained” and no threat to the US, and that he doesn’t believe it’s worth leaving US troops there.

Convincing the US not to be militarily involved somewhere is a tall order, and reflecting that, the State Department says that the US has no plans to normalize relations with Syria. This could be a long-term problem for getting those troops out, because the US leadership sees normalization and hostilities as the two possible states. If the US is to remain hostile to Syria, the troops will likely stay, even if they aren’t doing anything, just to underscore how hostile they are.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.