Pentagon official warns Middle Eastern countries against aligning with China and Russia

Morning Star | June 02, 2021

President Joe Biden

SENIOR Pentagon official Dana Stroul warned Middle Eastern countries against aligning with Russia or China for security on Tuesday.

Speaking in an online webinar at the Middle East Institute, she urged support for the US instead, insisting that nations would gain more from strategic relationships with Washington.

“To me, the choice is clear between what you can get from China or Russia and what you can get from the United States,” she said.

The deputy assistant secretary of defence implied that developing relations with Moscow or Beijing could “risk their partnerships with the United States.”

The re-election of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week, with official results awarding him 95 per cent of the vote, is said by analysts to represent the failure of US foreign policy in the region.

Washington has long sought to oust the Ba’athist leader, with President Joe Biden extending sanctions against Syria earlier this month.

Just six-weeks into his presidency Mr Biden launched missile strikes against the nation.

He was vice-president during Operation Timber Sycamore, a covert Central Intelligence Agency programme that saw millions in cash, weapons and training delivered to a myriad of jihadist groups in Syria who aimed to overthrow President Assad.

But his attempts at regime change have failed, leading some nations to reassess their relationship with the Syrian government.

Greece and Cyprus became the latest countries to announce plans to reopen their embassies in Damascus.

China is believed to be preparing to aid reconstruction in Syria, which has been plagued by more than a decade of war.

In a congratulatory message on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “China firmly supports Syria in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

He offered support to revitalise the economy and help the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.



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