DECEMBER 9, 2022
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US looking for an excuse to leave Iraq, Syria: Russian MP

US looking for an excuse to leave Iraq, Syria: Russian MP

A Russian lawmaker last week claimed that the United States is seeking an excuse to withdraw from Iraq and Syria “nicely,” adding that he expects the fate of these two Middle Eastern countries to be like the fate of Afghanistan. 

When ISIS controlled swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territories in 2014, a US-led coalition was formed to defeat the group. Iraqi and Kurdish forces ended the territorial rule of ISIS in both countries by 2019. In recent years, pro-Iran militia groups in Iraq have been calling for the withdrawal of American troops from the country. Washington has not announced any plans to leave.

Alexey Chepa, a deputy at the Russian State Duma, told Rudaw’s Kamiz Shadadi last week that the US is looking for an excuse to withdraw from Iraq and Syria. 

“I believe that the fate of US bases in Iraq and Syria will be like [the fate of US troops] in Afghanistan. Americans will leave this place. They will try to find an excuse to leave in a nice way,” he said, adding that such a decision will have an impact on the upcoming elections in the US. 

US troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021 after 20 years of war against Taliban, a war which the group ultimately emerged victorious from and seized the country from the US-supported Afghan government. 

US bases in Iraq and Syria have been struck by dozens of rocket and drone attacks over the past month by pro-Iran militias in reaction to Washington’s support for Israel in its war against Gaza.

Chepa also said that if US troops leave, Russia will play a role in the post-US era in the region. 

Over 13,000 people, including more than 5,000 children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since early October, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The bombardment is part of Israel’s retaliation to an attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed around 1,200 people. 

The Russian parliamentarian said the only solution for the Israel-Hamas war is the establishment of a Palestinian state. 

“The clashes are ongoing. Every day, we see the news [about this]. Sadly, people are constantly being killed. We witness what is happening in hospitals, universities, and schools. We also see a huge number of IDPs. Declaration of Palestinian state is the only solution,” he stated. 

He added that the presence of foreign forces in the Mediterranean Sea escalates the issue. 

The two-state solution is a proposal that has been discussed for decades and has gained renewed traction since the start of the latest war, with Western leaders calling for its implementation.

Six weeks into the war, Israel has received multiple calls for a ceasefire from the United Nations and rights groups. The United Nations Security Council last week called for urgent “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to allow for the delivery of aid.

Asked if the Israel-Hamas war spills over to other parts of the Middle East what will happen to Kurds, Chepa said that Russia can help Kurds.  

“The Kurdish issue which was created tens of years ago … will not be resolved so that there is room for a controlled conflict. This is called Anglo-Saxon policy. The involvement of other countries in this conflict could cause a heavy result for the world,” he said. 

“The position of Russia is very much different from the position of other countries. We wanted to see a unified policy of Kurds as well. They are always divided in their policies. We understand this,” he added. 

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