I have been remiss in my postings on the Middle East…the theater in DC has been just too much to ignore…at least for me…..I need to get back to my first interest and start keeping my readers abreast of the situations that could involve them at any turn.
The Middle East since the US invaded Iraq has been in the process of a re-alignment…..the war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been getting warmer and warmer….to the point of a scared KSA to form an alliance with Israel…..
After years of bitter rivalry, the Saudis and the Iranians are considering how they can dial down their mutual animosity. The formerly powerful Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of Persian Gulf monarchs is atomizing because Saudi Arabia is losing its grip. And Washington’s former domination of the region appears to be in decline.
Some of these developments are long-standing, pre-dating the cruise missile and drone assault that knocked out 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s oil production. But the double shock—Turkey’s lunge into Syria and the September missile attack—is accelerating these changes.
Middle East: a Complex Re-alignment
And this realignment will come with a cost thanks to the foreign policy of Trump and his family of thugs……our ability will be greatly diminished…..
This is an analysis from a defense think tank so it will be a bit skewed…..
The twin crises in Syria and Iraq are altering the region’s battlefields and geopolitical dynamics. Russia, Turkey, Iran, the Assad regime, and ISIS are sweeping in as U.S. troops withdraw from northeastern Syria. In neighboring Iraq, widespread popular protests are creating military and political opportunities for Iran and its proxies. Here are some of the grim implications for U.S. national security:
As an educated Middle East wonk I have asked just what the Hell Trump is doing in Syria….he removed troops….then sent them back to take Syrian oil….and a wordy back and forth……but the simple question is what the Hell is Trump doing?
Conflicting statements from the Trump insiders makes it more difficult to understand…..
To Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley and the rest of the military brass, the U.S. objective is the same as it ever was: “the enduring defeat of ISIS.” Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Milley placed the number of U.S. troops in Syria somewhere between 500 to 600, but most certainly less than 1,000. President Trump’s decision to park hundreds of troops next to Syria’s eastern oil fields is presumably just an extension of the original mission. Nothing to see here folks: we are pressing on.
Ask Defense Secretary Mark Esper the same question, however, and you will get a different answer. In Esper’s telling, preventing the Islamic State from retaking the oil fields is only one goal on a longer list, to include ensuring the Syrian Kurds receive all of the profits and blocking the Assad regime and the Russians from accessing the area. About 250 miles to the south, a couple of hundred U.S. soldiers stationed at al-Tanf along the Iraq-Syria border are executing what is an altogether different mission entirely: disrupting Iran’s attempt to establish an uninterrupted supply route from Iraq through Syria to Lebanon.
To quote my grandmother….”that makes everything as clear as mud”……
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