US airstrike on Syrian militia aims to cut route to Iran: Robert Fisk

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The struggle between the US and the Syrian regime for controlling the south-eastern Syrian frontier was the real motive behind last Thursday’s US air strikes which killed six pro-Assad militias and wounded 25 others, wrote The Independent‘s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk.

In his analysis published on Friday entitled; “US air strikes in Syria: Why America really attacked pro-Assad militia convoy?” Fisk argues that the militias were on their way to the border town of al-Tanf to set up base in order to keep control of the Iraq-Syria route – “the supply line for Iran to maintain its forces in Syria”.

“The Syrian-Iraqi frontier town of al-Tanf may turn out to be a key strategic point in the struggle of the Assad government to regain its national territory and keep open its border to Iraq and, by extension, to Iran. It lies only 30 miles from Iraq – but because the Jordanian-Syrian-Iraqi borders join immediately to the south – al-Tanf also lies the same distance from Jordan – where the American-trained militia are based,” wrote Fisk.

Arguing that the Pentagon’s suggestion that the attack was part of Washington’s battle against ISIS “is to stretch the truth beyond credibility,” Fisk wrote, adding, “cutting Syria off from Iraq – and thus from Iran – appears to be a far more immediate operational aim of US forces in Syria than the elimination of the Sunni ‘Caliphate’ cult that Washington claims to be its principal enemy in the Middle East.”

In an earlier article published on Thursday in The Independent, Fisk had quoted Sharmine Narwani, a former senior associate of St Antony’s College, who had pointed out that the real logic behind US support towards the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take Raqqa is to cut Syria off from Iraq before the upcoming war between Sunni Muslims of the Middle East against the Shia Muslims that would directly involve Iran and Saudi Arabia.

US President Donald Trump is currently in Saudi Arabia on his first official visit to a foreign country. The President is expected to announce “one of the largest arms sales deals in US history – somewhere in the region of $98bn to $128bn worth of arms. That could add up to $350bn over ten years,” reported The Independent on Wednesday.