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US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of nearly all US troops from northern Syria has cemented Russia’s status as the predominant global military power actively engaged in the Middle East.
After six years, the tanks of the Syrian Arab Army are rolling back into Qamishli, Raqqa, Tabqa, Tal Tamr, Kobani, Manbij, al-Malikiya and the other towns east of the Euphrates. This is taking place not because the SDF has been militarily defeated. Rather, as needs to be stated plainly, it has been betrayed. By its allies.
Baghdadi’s death is certainly a victory, although it does not affirm Trump’s reasoning for his precipitous withdrawal from much of northeastern Syria nor his abandonment of the US partnership with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)... Nor does Baghdadi’s death mean the threat posed by the Islamic State is over.