July 11, 2018 | Press Release

FDD study: US Should Develop Syria Policy that Includes Syrian End State Devoid of Iran’s Influence

(Washington, D.C., July 11, 2018) – The Trump Administration should make it established U.S. policy to achieve an end state in Syria that is free of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces and officially support Israel’s campaign against Iran in Syria, according to a report issued today by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

The report comes as President Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin July 16 in Helsinki, where the two leaders are expected to address Russia’s role in reducing Iran’s malign influence in war-ravaged Syria.

It also comes as Israel has increased the tempo of airstrikes against forces affiliated with the Assad regime and with the IRGC.

In “Controlled Chaos: The Escalation of Conflict between Israel and Iran in War-Torn Syria,” authors Tony Badran, Matthew RJ Brodsky and Jonathan Schanzer write that the Trump administration should maintain its presence at the Al-Tanf base to deny Iran a contiguous land bridge to the Mediterranean Sea. It should also continue and intensify its sanctions against Iran with a specific focus on sanctioning the IRGC and other Iranian proxies. The U.S. should also impose maximum economic pressure against the Assad regime in response to its war crimes and ongoing human rights abuses.

Schanzer is Senior Vice President for Research at FDD, where Badran is a Research Fellow specializing in Syria and Lebanon. Brodsky is a Senior Fellow at the Security Studies Group focusing on the Middle East.

“The Chaos in Syria has been building for years, and while it’s largely been confined, Iran’s efforts to change the equation is a strategic threat to the United States and its regional allies,” Badran said. “To prevent a war with Iran and its proxies, Israel has paradoxically had little choice but to escalate. The United States should support Israel’s position, not only to deter Russia and to degrade Iranian power, but to advance America’s own interests and the administration’s declared policy of pushing back against Iran in the region.”

Other key recommendations include:

  • Washington should discourage Jordan from reengaging in trade relations with Syria, and the U.S. should deny the Assad regime access to oil and gas fields in northern and eastern Syria.
  • As some reports suggest that aid operations in Syria have helped finance the Assad regime, the U.S. should increase scrutiny of UN agencies and international non-government organizations operating in Syria.
  • U.S. Iran policies should be reflected in America’s relations with other countries in the region, including Lebanon – which has served Iran’s interests even while accepting U.S. aid – and Iraq, which should outlaw Iran-backed Shiite militias.

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About FDD:
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a Washington, DC-based non-partisan policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. Visit our website at www.defenddemocracy.org and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.


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