We don’t hear much about our war in Syria these days…we are too busy watching the revolving door of the Trump White House to be bothered with the armed conflicts of the Middle East.
Let me catch you up a bit….recently the US attacked a position in Syria that killed many Russian citizens, some say they were mercenaries, but that matters not….this situation could explode in our face…..
Recent escalations in Syria, including the US strike on pro-regime forces in Deir ez-Zor — which killed Russian combatants — is raising speculation about potential fallout from Moscow’s strategy in Syria and possible escalation between the Russian and American militaries.
The strike occurred Feb. 7, yet the exact number of Russians killed in the fight with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has ranged in various news sources from 10 to 200 soldiers and mercenaries in Russia’s employ. The number of US airstrikes also has remained as a matter of speculation.
One of the interesting aspects of the Trump era is the extent to which our political culture is obsessing over marginalia while truly significant events transpire largely out of sight and out of mind. For example, late last year the Iraqi government announced the defeat of the ISIS caliphate within Iraqi borders — a significant moment, no doubt — but that same day Donald Trump got in a Twitter spat with the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel over the crowd size at a Pensacola rally. Guess which event got more coverage?
Part of this dynamic, of course, is the president’s fault. He should have trumpeted the allied victory and charted the road ahead. The caliphate was in ruins, but ISIS still exists. Where do we go from here? And part of this is the media’s fault. It’s just easier to follow the president’s lead. After all, that’s where the clicks are. It’s harder to look at the world and discern which stories truly matter.
While the US and Russia are facing off…..a game of who will blink first…..silently ISIS is making a comeback (and you thought it was over)……
Abu Fadi, was killed 10 days ago in a fight with Isis in eastern Syria when the vehicle he was in was hit by a heat-seeking missile. “He was driving a bulldozer which was building an earth rampart when Isis hit it with a missile we call a ‘fuzia’,” said Baran Omari, the commander of his unit in the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“Isis attacked us in the village of Bagin in Deir Ezzor province [in eastern Syria],” he explained, adding that his men had been able to kill those who fired the missile. He described Khalaf, who was about 50 when he died, as a very brave man because he had the peculiarly dangerous job of constructing tactical earth fortifications in the middle of battles.
While the different armies are all battling one enemy or another…..Turkey vs Kurds, US vs whoever they can drone attack, Russia vs the “other guys” and Syria fights everyone…..the country is not bad enough the Trump WH is considering expanding the US footprint in Syria……
The White House is said to be considering a new round of military action against the Syrian government sometime soon, with recent media reports of chlorine gas exposure in Eastern Ghouta serving as a pretext for the attacks.
President Trump has requested the Pentagon to provide him various options for such a military attack, nominally to “punish the Assad government” over the unproven allegations of chlorine gas attacks.
That would be the second time in less than a year this has happened, as in April, 2017 the US fired a flurry of 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base, which at the time they said was over claims of chlorine gas attacks as well.
There was never any concrete proof of the allegations which served as a basis for the April attacks, which means that while there’s no solid evidence for these new allegations, that is unlikely to be an obstacle to a new US attack.
There were reports as recently as Friday that the Trump Administration wanted such attacks to be “equal to or greater than the one used last year,” and while that’s clearly not set in stone, such an attack is likely to further cement the US as being in open warfare against the Syrian government.
Do we really need another enemy? Do we really need yet another war?
Does the US really need to stay in Syria?
It is difficult to overstate how chaotic, violent, and intractable the situation in Syria has become. Regional powers such as the Syrian regime, Russia, Iran, and Turkey—along with hundreds of rebel groups—employ armed forces or violent militia in search of competing objectives. But not every intractable situation demands the blood of our servicemembers and treasure of our taxpayers be spent trying to solve it.
In this cesspool of violence—before creeping into full-blown occupation and nation-building, a proven no-win situation for the U.S.—Washington should immediately redeploy U.S. Forces to higher priority missions actually related to our core interests.
The US needs to just do what it needs to do…..pull the troops out and save lives.