The US has a new strategy for dealing with the Syrian conflict, which would focus more heavily on pushing Iran and its proxies out of the country, according to sources familiar with the plan.

Importantly, this would not involve the US directly targeting/killing Iranian soldiers/proxies for anything other than self-defence – a violation of the current US authorization for using force in Syria.

Instead, the plan would emphasise political and diplomatic efforts, by squeezing the Syrian economy. For instance, it would withhold reconstruction aid from places in Syria where Iranian forces are present and impose sanctions on Iranian companies working on reconstruction in Syria.

Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said: “There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria.”

Some US defence officials are worried that this increased focus on Iran could increase the US military’s involvement in Syria or possibly violate the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act (AUMF), which limits US action to targeting groups responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks and their associates.

However, we know from documents seized from Bin Laden’s compound in 2011 that Iran provided support to 9/11 plotters in the aftermath of the attacks, so it seems that we can see the Iranian Regime as an Al Qaeda associate.

While one defence official said that the White House and State Department would increase the pressure on Iran through economic and diplomatic means, i.e. more sanctions.

Ending Iran’s malign influence in Syria is one of the key goals of the Trump administration, which means that Iranian-backed forces must leave Syria.

In April, Trump said that he wanted to bring US troops out of Syria, but US officials and international allies persuaded him to stay, convincing him that this was an opportunity to get tough on Iran and citing that a US withdrawal would create a vacuum that enemies of the US would be happy to fill.

Since then, Trump has also put increased sanctions against Iran, so that the mullahs will have less money to pay their troops in Syria, something that appears to be effective so far.

He has also changed the US strategy for Syria, which no longer calls for the removal of Assad, but instead states that the new government cannot have close ties to Iran and must be willing to prosecute those who have committed crimes against humanity.

Source » ncr-iran