Antoine El Asmar
Nothing is higher in Washington than the astonishment and vertigo that afflicted decision-making circles in the American institutions, from the White House and Congress to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a result of the Afghan developments, while the Central Intelligence Agency is working on a comprehensive assessment of what happened and ways to address it after the withdrawal of US forces from Kabul turned into a setback with political dimensions. It is clear that both Beijing and Moscow are seeking to employ it in the context of the frantic race for areas of influence. It was clear that the Iranian lobby and pressure groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood rushed to explore the possibility of investing in what is happening and filling any potential vacuum, based on the famous geopolitical constant that nature cannot tolerate a vacuum.
It is clear that a mistake was made in evaluating the fate of the American agreements with the Taliban as a result of talks that began in 2020 in Doha during the previous administration, and continued until they ended with an agreement to complete withdrawal by September 11, 2021. The repressed accusation is not hidden until now, to the first concerned with formulating Washington’s policy In Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalman Khalilzad is the special envoy to Kabul and the maker of roles, presidents and policies.
It is also clear that there is a growing fear among groups affiliated with or affiliated with Washington in the region, that their Afghan policy might withdraw in order to abandon areas such as Syria and Iraq, and perhaps Lebanon, due to the small American presence there.
The visit of the Congressional delegation to Beirut headed by the Democratic Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy increased the ambiguity of the American position.
1- In form, the delegation did not meet with any of the groups affiliated with or affiliated with Washington, as its meetings were limited to official ones, in addition to meetings with groups of civil society, groups that Washington relied on to make the desired breakthrough in the political structure through the parliamentary elections. It is no secret that the US administration cares for these people, which is direct and indirect political and material care. It was not a coincidence or a detail that the advertising campaign launched by one of these groups in conjunction with the visit of the congressional delegation, and its budget was estimated at 500,000 fresh dollars, which is an exceptional, surprising and relatively early electoral spending at a time when the majority of Lebanese suffer from a stifling economic, social and financial crisis.
2- In terms of content, the delegation in its meetings simulated Washington’s interest in the region in terms of the nuclear agreement, as it was not definitive about the Lebanese benefiting from Iranian oil, even if it mentioned sanctions and advised not to rely on this oil. And it became clear that Washington’s main concern in the Middle East is to rearrange the region on the impact of handing over its administration to Sunni and Shiite political Islam, in addition to the Israeli contribution to that administration process, in preparation for a gradual military withdrawal, and most likely later politically if the tripartite administration it relies on to organize the region succeeds. In order to devote himself to the major confrontation with China and Russia.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood sought to alleviate the allies’ concerns, by assuring that “the Afghanistan scenario will not be repeated in Iraq and Syria, and that US forces will not withdraw from there.” Hood’s words came against the backdrop of what was reported in the past few hours that the US forces evacuated 3 military bases in northeastern Syria belonging to the international coalition to combat ISIS, which was denied by coalition spokesman Wayne Maroto, speaking of “regular visits to civilian supply convoys to the temporary facilities of to the United States.”
This ambiguous and ambiguous aspect of the American position in Lebanon did not respond to the allies, especially the traditional parties. Perhaps it was the reason for the faltering of government consultations, with the obvious hardening of positions, which would further delay the cesarean delivery.
Some attribute this hardening to a new fear that the American retreat in the region will erode the gains of the traditional allied parties and advance the interest of the new allies from the most active civil society groups at the current parliamentary elections level, which may mean more fabricated political complications in order to raise the voice of objection to the elections. The new American policy in Lebanon.