The United States agreed to a deal with Russia on Syria’s chemical weapons, as it has learnt from past mistakes and wants to try and limit its role in the conflict in Syria, an expert on West Asian affairs from the US said here on Friday.

“The US has learnt from its past mistakes and will try to limit its role in the conflict in Syria, which is why it agreed to the U.S-Russian deal, to destroy the chemical weapons, through diplomatic efforts,” said Steven Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), during a lecture on U.S relations and the Middle East at the University of Madras.

“A majority of Americans are against the idea of war, following the failure of US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. I don’t think the US government would intervene in the internal affairs of Syria,” he added.

In his address, Dr. Cook cited three reasons for US presence in the Persian Gulf: first, to ensure free flow of oil and gas; secondly, to ensure the security of Israel in the region; and to prevent other nations from posing a threat to US interests in the Middle East.

He said India would face a similar situation in the future as it was dependent on the Persian Gulf for 63 per cent of its resources such as oil and gas. “The Indian Navy is likely to patrol the Persian Gulf in a bid to ensure free flow of oil from the region, like the U.S,” said Dr. Cook, on a lighter note.

He further mentioned that in a span of five years, the US will be less interested in the Persian Gulf as it will turn self-sufficient in terms of natural resources.

Responding to queries from students about the crisis in Egypt and the rest of West Asia, Mr. Cook said the Arab springs were a result of authoritarian rule, especially in the case of Egypt and Tunisia. The crisis was not imposed by America.

“The authoritarian states create instability in the region and alienate the society, leading to chaos,” Dr. Cook said.

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