The statement that President Obama made a few days ago, in which he said that thus far he does not have a specific strategy in Iraq and Syria, provoked a broad debate in America. Many people directed fierce criticism at him, while others rushed to his defense.
Those criticizing Obama considered this statement evidence that he is a weak, hesitant, irresolute president who lacks the capacity to deal decisively with large crises. One Republican senator even said that “if the president has no strategy, maybe it’s time for a new president.”
Those defending Obama considered the statement evidence that he does not want to adopt rash positions or measures; rather, he prefers to deliberate and proceed carefully so that his decisions are well-advised. Some said that Obama’s statement fits within the framework of the fundamental principle to which the White House is adhering in its foreign policy: “Don’t do stupid stuff.”
Meanwhile, many American analysts and researchers have contributed their own visions of the strategy that America must follow in confronting the Islamic State and recommended policies and practical steps that must be taken.
The truth is that the entire debate sparked by Obama’s statement is. to a large extent. frivolous. Put more precisely, this debate is not really about whether or not Obama has a strategy; rather, it is a debate stemming from disagreements over the kind of specific steps that the American administration must take to confront the Islamic State.
Who says that Obama has no clear, specific strategy? On the contrary, the American administration has a perfectly clear strategy on Iraq, Syria and the Arab region as a whole.
To begin with, it should be noted that America’s grand strategy in the world as a whole is not determined by just the White House and the president — any president. In America, the emplacement of strategies is a complex process in which many influential powers — the various intelligence agencies and national security apparatuses, the lobbies of the defense industry and other big industries, the influential political pressure groups, and so forth — participate.
Of course, the role of the president and the presidential office is important, but there are boundaries that it cannot overstep with regards to strategies and grand strategic courses. In this regard, America, as we said, has a perfectly clear-cut strategy on Iraq, Syria and the wider Arab region.
America knows precisely the grand strategic goals that it wants to achieve in the region, and it knows precisely the means by which to achieve them. It also knows precisely the end results that it hopes its strategy will produce. In fact, we have talked repeatedly about the dimensions of this American strategy.
For example, in the case of Iraq and Syria, on which the aforementioned debate in America focused, the situation is clear. America does not want to eliminate the Islamic State and does not want Iraq to be stable or united. America does not want Assad to be removed, nor does it want Syria to be stable or united. Avoiding these things is among America’s strategic goals at present.
At the same time, America wants the current situation in Iraq and Syria to act as doorway into a discussion about what it calls “Sunni terrorism” in the region, and an opportunity to paint it as the biggest danger threatening the West and the world as a whole. Of course, beyond that, it has other strategic goals in the wider Arab region.
America wants the situation in Iraq and Syria to act as a gateway into the chaos that it wants to see in all Arab countries. It wants to use the situation to weaken and dismantle the Arab states and to deprive them of control over their land, society and fate. For America, all of these things are clear strategic goals and methods of achieving them. The U.S. imagines that if it follows this strategy, the Arab states will divide, disintegrate and disappear.
Hence, as we said earlier, the idea that the American administration has no strategy is completely untrue. In essence, the current debate revolves around the kind of measures and methods that America must utilize at the present time to implement this strategy. For example, should it launch military strikes in Syria or not? If so, to what extent? And so forth.
We say this because we, the residents of these Arab countries, must have a perfectly clear picture. We must not be fooled by this debate occurring in the U.S., or imagine that the American government does not yet know what it wants or the fate it wishes for our countries.
We must be completely aware of America’s wicked schemes against our countries.
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