Syria! Whatcha Gonna Do?

I have watched the saga around the Syrian conflict go from devastation to a draw down to a slow down to a not leaving any time soon.

Bolton threatens Syria (Syria is not alone in the threats)…..something these warmongers do almost daily….

a State Department official said “(w)e have no timeline for our military forces to withdraw from” the country. Delay may turn out to be not at all.

On Sunday, a senior Iraqi parliamentarian said

“(t)he  Americans have built a military base in Erbil (in) the Iraqi Kurdistan region to use…against Iraq’s neighboring countries, in particular Iran and Syria.”

Iraqi media said the Pentagon has 14 military bases in the country – along with a reported 18 in Syria. The US is highly unlikely to abandon them, especially ones considered most strategically important.

An earlier report indicated the Pentagon intends establishing a permanent base along the Iraqi border with Syria. Turkey reportedly established one or more military bases in northwestern Aleppo.

On Saturday, a senior Trump regime official said US forces may remain indefinitely at the (illegally established) al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders

https://www.globalresearch.ca/bolton-threatens-syria-us-troop-withdrawal-on-hold-permanent-us-military-base-on-syria-iraqi-border/5664843

This conflict has never been an easy one to follow…Obama made it murky and then Trump came in and it became damn near bleak.

So may I ask….what the Hell is the US Syria policy?

Does anyone know for certain just what US policy is in Syria? And by “anyone,” we include the folks in the White House and the State Department.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly canceled a scheduled sitdown with National Security Advisor John Bolton, then went on live TV to berate him. His gripe: Bolton had suggested the US won’t totally withdraw its forces from Syria until the safety of its Kurdish allies is assured, mostly from Turkish attack.

It’s just the latest whirl in the policy merry-go-round that’s spun ever since President Trump dropped his surprise announcement of a Syria withdrawal “as quickly as possible.”

https://nypost.com/2019/01/08/does-anybody-know-what-americas-syria-policy-is/

Just thought I would ask.

Trump has said that Syria is nothing more than “sand and death”…..but according to Neocon thought….we should never underestimate the importance of Syria….

When Donald Trump described Syria last week as a place of “sand and death”, without “vast wealth”, it would have helped him to first check his remarks with a contemporary historian.

That person might have been able to tell the US president that during a significant period of the last century, as it still is today, Syria was the centrepiece of competition between leaders in the Levant and Egypt, so that whoever controlled the country could pretend to a degree of regional dominance.

As Patrick Seale wrote in his classic book The Struggle for Syria, the nation’s “centrality derives from the fact that it lies at the heart of the Arab-Asian power system where, for good or ill, it affects every political relationship in the region”. With Mr Trump saying that his aim in the Middle East is to contain Iran, it made no sense for him to describe Syria dismissively. Without a strategy towards Syria, it is unlikely the US will succeed in curbing Iran.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/history-proves-syria-s-strategic-importance-should-not-be-underestimated-1.811201

It all comes down to Syria is nothing but a spot to confront Iran….not the devastation….not the death….not the refugees….none of that matters to the US as long as they can stick to Iran.

How sad is that?

But Bolton has flexed his tiny muscles and overrules Trump on the Syrian draw down….

National Security Advisor John Bolton has in effect overruled President Donald Trump’s troop withdrawal decision. This will have fateful consequences for America’s national interests, and none of them are good. Speaking in Israel, Bolton stated that two conditions must be met before a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the conditions amount to a recipe for indefinitely prolonging the deployment. One is that the United States must “make sure ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again”—an objective that is impossible for the two thousand U.S. troops in Syria to achieve. With the mini-state of ISIS largely gone, whatever threat the group poses is a matter not of military control of a patch of Syria—a patch of “sand and death”, as Trump put it —but instead of ideology, politics, fear, and hatred that cannot be described on a battle map.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/syria-policy-hawks%E2%80%99-talons-sink-deeper-trump-41017

Apparently Trump is too ignorant to realize the insubordination of Bolton…..will Trump realize his brain fart?

https://theweek.com/articles/816140/shameful-insubordination-john-bolton

But guess what……generals said when asked about Bolton’s turn around on Syria…”We do not take orders from Bolton”…….

After days of back and forth over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pullout American troops from Syria, a U.S. military official said Friday the process of withdrawal has begun, declining to comment on specific timetables or movements.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria” has started.

“Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” the Baghdad-based official said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/11/us_official_says_troop_withdrawal_from_syria_has_started_114098.html

I see that our Syrian policy is as murky as always.  None have been able to answer the one question…..just what is the US Syrian policy?

Can you?

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Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, (Pause) Bomb Iran

I can hear the late senator John McCain singing that song during the 2008 presidential election…..it is the mantra of the Neocons and their masters the Israelis for decades. Since 1979 the Israelis have preyed on the US neocon hatred for what the Iranians did to the US in that year.

SO when the news came out the Bolton had asked for plans for an attack on Iran made none of us old farts surprised…it it old hat to Neocon behavior…..

The attack—three mortar shells launched into Baghdad’s diplomatic sector by Iranian militants—injured no one, but the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that it “triggered unusual alarm” inside the Trump administration. National Security Adviser John Bolton responded by asking the Pentagon to draw up plans to attack Iran, a request so unusual and a response considered so outsize by many senior administration officials that it “definitely rattled people,” one such official tells the Journal. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.” An NSC rep says it simply “coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats.” Bolton has long advocated regime change in Tehran, notes the Journal, and penned a 2015 New York Times op-ed with the headline, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
I have been writing about this news for decades,….ever so oftewn the Neocons, when in control, throw a story like this one out there for the MSM to feed on for awhile……https://lobotero.com/2018/07/31/bomb-bomb-iran/

Those Unpopular Wars

I know the old professor sounds like a stuck record…but until the napping masses wake up I shall continue to be stuck…..on an antiwar footing.

Trump is pulling out of Syria (so they say still no real evidence)(and now Trump is walking back his proclamation) and all the pundits that are paid handsomely for the pro-war analysis have come forward to crap on the announcement.

Then there are the pundits that say that Americans are tired of these unpopular wars….really?  Which ones are unpopular?  Who have they talked to to ascertain the unpopularity of these wars?

If these wars are so unpopular why is there few speaking out against them?

I have readers that are against our many entanglements but beyond that I hear very little about war from those on the street….so I ask again…..just who are these people that find our many wars distasteful?

The truth is that most Americans give little thought to these wars, regardless what some pundits try to push…..if the war is forgotten then why keep fighting?

A nation that doesn’t remember the men and women sent to fight on its behalf has no business whatsoever sending more. And a democracy that spends more time debating kneeling before the flag than the justification for issuing folded ones desperately needs to get reacquainted with the Constitution – and its moral compass.

Our loved ones didn’t sign up to serve a president. They signed up to serve the American people, most of whom have no idea what they’re fighting for.

https://original.antiwar.com/Stacy_Bannerman/2018/10/11/if-you-forget-about-a-war-its-time-to-end-it/

Let’s be real shall we……war makes no sense anymore…..the only ones that keep the whole idea of conquest are the defense industry only because that is their profits.

America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.

Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/war-doesnt-make-sense-anymore/

Finally the Neocons have wiggled their way back into the spotlight of war…..

Two years ago, as Donald Trump ascended to the presidency, you might have thought that, if nothing else, neoconservatives had finally been put out to pasture. In the campaign, Trump had blasted the neocons’ signature policy, the war in Iraq, as a “big fat mistake,” and repudiated their ostensible program of turning nations into liberal democracies. He paid no political price with voters, and probably the opposite, as white evangelicals once drawn to George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” flocked to Trump in record numbers.

Even allowing for Trump’s opportunism and inconsistencies, his election victory appeared to deal a double blow to the neoconservative persuasion. It not only broke the neocons’ hold on the Republican Party, but also, in the same stroke, revealed that they lacked a popular constituency. There they were, free-floating pundits, alone and exposed—neither intellectually credible nor politically representative.

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/01/02/return-of-the-neocons/

With the return of the Neocons comes the old plan…the “preventive war” (is that an oxymoron or what?)

In a December column in the Washington Post, reformed conservative Max Boot bemoaned the emergence of competing visions for American foreign policy, led by Trumpian skeptics on the right and progressive leaders, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, on the left. These visions, Boot said, were in opposition to his own beloved doctrine of primacy and an American-led international order.

“For decades, elites in the United States had a consensus on foreign policy: They believed that championing a liberal world order was in our interest,” he writes. But now “we are seeing a new left-right axis emerge around protectionism and isolationism—the very policies whose failure during the 1930s ultimately led to the internationalist consensus of the postwar period.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-temptation-for-preventative-war-just-wont-go-away/

Sad to say……”war is good business….invest your children”

After Thought:  Has anyone noticed that since Trump has walked back his original proclamation and the US will stay in Syria the warmongering media has gone silent on the deal?

What Of Libya?

Then there is Libya…..it has not made the headlines in the West for some time now…….and probably will not make much news in this new year…..but there is something that needs to be watched when it comes to Libya.

The conflict has not been abated and yet there is a situation where a warlord could be the permanent leader of Libya…..think Qaddafi and then think of a CIA thug, Haftar…….yes a CIA thug….Haftar has been a CIA asset since the 1980s and now he is in the cat bird seat……..

A Gadhafi-era general turned CIA asset with multiple failed coups d’etats under his belt, Gen. Khalifa Hafter is still around in northern Libya, securing oil-rich  parts of the nation and fighting various regional Islamist groups.

While this has often appeared to be fighting for fighting’s sake, or an attempt to get endorsements from different would-be governments, Gen. Hafter is quickly finding himself in favor internationally, as the world looks to stabilize Libya, and sees the aging warlord as a potential solution.

Western countries are all quick to insist Hafter is “indispensable,” and even the White House said they see a role for him “in any future of Libya,” though they did stop short of endorsing him as an outright military ruler, something he’s long sought.

Western support is fairly cynical, of course. European oil companies with assets in Libya all officially support the UN-backed government publicly, but since Hafter physically controls almost all of their assets, they can’t be too public in opposing him.

(antiwar.com)

But the Russians have another idea….and its name is Qaddafi.

Do not look for the spirit of warlord past…..it is Saif….the son of the deceased leader……

Russia has a new potential leader for Libya. His name is Qaddafi.

The former dictator’s son, Saif al-Islam, this month became the latest in a long line of Libyans to seek Moscow’s support as President Vladimir Putin steps up Russia’s role in the energy-rich North African state.

With the U.S. all but absent, the Kremlin sees an opening to become the key power broker in Libya, rudderless and divided since Muammar Qaddafi’s overthrow and death in 2011. Russia is likely to be emboldened in that aim by U.S. plans to pull out of Syria.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-20/russia-has-a-plan-for-libya-another-qaddafi

All this is setting the stage for a return to the 1980s….Qaddafi versus the CIA…..only violence and death can be the outcome.  Libya does not need any more of those …….it needs a peaceful existence for its war torn population.

Sadly that is not in the books as long as there is a return to the 1980s.

Another American Captured

Another American has made the news…but this one is not an accused spy…..this is one is a terrorist…..this one is allied with ISIS (you remember them right?)……

Warren Christopher Clark, American, 34, has made news….he will get his few fleeting moments in the spotlight….

This person has been captured with other ISIS fighters in Syria…..

At least one American—a former substitute teacher from Texas—has been captured with ISIS in Syria, say Kurdish forces. The Kurds say they captured a second American as well, but the citizenship of that man is much iffier, reports the New York Times. In a news release, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they caught Warren Christopher Clark, 34, with ISIS fighters in northeast Syria. Clark graduated from the University of Houston and worked as a substitute teacher of English as a Second Language in Fort Bend before taking similar jobs in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, reports the Houston Chronicle. Clark has been in the news before, when investigators at George Washington University turned up a resume and cover letter he once sent to ISIS looking for a job.

“Dear Director, I am looking to get a position teaching English to students in the Islamic State,” Clark wrote in the letter, which was found inside an Iraqi house. “I believe that a successful teacher can understand a student’s strengths and weaknesses and is able to use that understanding to help students build on their understanding of the English language.” NBC News reported last year that Clark had converted to Islam around 2004 and become radicalized online. The Kurdish military group says it also captured an American named Zaid Abed al-Hamid, but it wasn’t clear whether Hamid was actually a US citizen. The US military has not confirmed the capture of either man yet, reports Stars and Stripes. If confirmed, they would be the fifth and sixth Americans captured on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, per the Times.

Will the CIA do its “thing” to wrangle intel out of this guy?

This dude is so screwed!  As he should be!  Can you say which way to the nearest “black site”?

That War on Terror

9/11 was the start of a long war on terror.  I have written many articles on this “war” (archives will get you to them all)…and in all those posts I have tried to point out one thing…

The War on Terror is a war on a tactic not an entity……and as such needs a new approach…..

But first, this war on a tactic…..

The United States is engaged in an unusual global war, fighting a tactic rather than an enemy nation. Unlike traditional warfare, it is possible that this war between the US and terrorist networks will not produce a clear winner. The US and its allies have been involved in military engagements over the past decade and a half, costing the US taxpayer an estimated $1.5 to $5.6 trillion dollars. The longer the US remains embroiled in this armed conflict, the less likely it is that such a war ends favorably from an American perspective. While US defense strategy will need to include counter-terrorism efforts for decades to come, it is time to end the war by beginning to reframe the narrative behind the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

In the context of the GWOT, terrorism refers most frequently to random attacks on civilians by groups who seek to conduct religious war against the United States. In using these terrorist tactics, these groups specifically intend to sow widespread fear. Recent polls show that a growing number of Americans feel “less safe” than they did before 9/11.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/stop-fighting-war-against-tactic

Every country is trying to fight this GWOT the same way….traditional, even Napoleonic tactics, this will not win this so-called war…..

This is an excellent paper written by a grad student in International Relations…..

Confronting new threats requires new thinking. Anachronistic understandings of security primarily arise from ideological suppositions that not only continue to frustrate prudent policy but also create increased insecurity. State failures, and the geopolitical disorder that followed, were born out of policies generated by reified thinking as to what constitutes material threats in a world order transfigured by the end of the Cold War. Yet Cold War thinking remains the guiding principle when approaching contemporary threats to state and international security alike (Jacob, 2017, xviii). Interrogating ideology—a category that begs attention in international relations—helps account for counterproductive security practices. An examination of Cold War theories, global “war on terror” practices, and the passé interplay between the two illuminates the ideological and structural checks that vex geopolitical order in this new century.

https://www.e-ir.info/2018/10/18/cold-war-theories-war-on-terror-practices/

The chance of a terror attack as not been lessen if anything it has made more likely.

So is the ‘war’ a waste of money?

Thoughts?

Does Anyone Remember Kobane?

Of course you do not….it is one of those stories that only matters as it is happening…..

Kobane, Syria…..a battle of 2014…….

Rojava Cantons Syrian Kurdistan

Northern Syria was the site of a major battle between the forces of “good” and ISIS….there was death, devastation and destruction…..in the end the forces for “good” won the day and ISIS was driven from the region of Northern Syria….thanks in part to the Kurds and the Turks……

If you would like to step back to those days……https://www.aljazeera.com/topics/city/kobane.html

All that is old news right?

Not really…..it seems that another old enemy of the West has stepped into the vacuum left by ISIS……our old “friend” al- Qaeda……

About a week of heavy rebel infighting in northern Syria’s Aleppo Province continues to rage, with the Turkish-backed rebel factions deploying growing numbers of reinforcements in the area to try to stave off gains by al-Qaeda’s Tahrir al-Sham faction.

Al-Qaeda reported last week that the Turkish rebels attacked them first. After that, al-Qaeda launched a major, growing counteroffensive, and has seized at least 20 towns and villages of the immediate area along the Aleppo-Idlib border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is also reporting some major losses being sustained in this fighting, saying the Noureddin al-Zinki having lost more than 100 fighters in fighting against al-Qaeda.

Russia reportedly carried out an airstrike against one of the seized towns, killing two civilians. While Turkey seems to be trying to get a handle on this situation, mounting al-Qaeda gains could force Syria and Russia to get more involved in rebel territory just to keep it from being unified under al-Qaeda forces.

(antiwar.com)

It appears that the jihadist are not through with Northern Syria just yet…..the lack of reporting about the doings of AQ would have one believe that they are no longer a problem….

An old enemy is not gone and is not forgotten….at least by IST.

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