Syria: A Drop In The Bucket

As a combat veteran I feel it is my duty to keep an eye on our many conflicts and especially the ones that involve our troops in the thick of the fighting.

Word came down last week that more troops will be sent to Syria in the final push to the ISIS capital of Raqqa.  This time the Marines got the call of arms….

US forces in Syria have begun airdropping troops behind ISIS lines near the town of al-Tabqa, and near the important Tabqa Dam. The exact details of the airdrop are still emerging but they are said to include some US Marines as well as a number of Kurdish forces.

The area around Tabqa is just the latest in a series of targets for the Kurdish YPG as they attempt to surround the ISIS capital of Raqqa. Tabqa is about 25 miles west of the capital, and Kurdish YPG forces mostly control the area north of the city, though they’ve also made some efforts to take the northeast.

The airdrops, which began on Tuesday, were the first US airdrops of Kurdish forces so far in Syria, and the deployment of US Marines with them points to the continued escalation of direct US military involvement on the ground by the Trump Administration.

In recent weeks, the US has also deployed hundreds of other US Marines with howitzers into the area north of Raqqa, aiming to provide support for advances toward the city. While the Pentagon officially labeled the howitzer Marines “advisers,” there appears to be little doubt that they, along with the new airdropped troops, will be involved in combat in the course of this deployment.

(antiwar.com)

Is this the beginning of the end for ISIS in Syria?  Or will it be the end of the beginning of US troop involvement in Syria?

Of course as usual this mean NOTHING to most Americans…but it worries me for the future.

What if the U.S. Invaded Syria and Nobody Noticed?

I have been watching the conflict in Syria since the beginning….I have watched the players form, fight, change sides and destroy……and in all that time the US has been slowly but slowly building up its forces in the region….as if there was something big about to happen.

We have a new president and he has promised to destroy ISIS and even considered an all out conflict in Syria….with whom we are not quite sure…..in all this time few Americans have noticed the conflict beyond some passing diatribe about the past history of the region……

The media should be covering this more

While everyone was paying attention to the latest crazy Trump story, United States Marines deployed to Syria.

Did you hear about that? If you didn’t, it’s not your fault. The news has been all Trump all the time.

Source: What if the U.S. Invaded Syria and Nobody Noticed?

What will it take to get Americans to actually care that the country is heading head long into another war that will turn into yet another quagmire?
To answer the question….NO one will notice….most are too busy with their little lives to care about our troops and their families or the damage this is doing to us internationally.

More Fodder For The Fire?

We know about the Russian thing……we consider the wiretapping thing…..we are amazed at the stupidity of the “Trumpcare” plan……and we shake our heads at the immature prattle on Twitter by the leader of the free world.

All that concern and NO one pays attention to the tasks our troops are asked to do…..and very fewer could care less…..

I have taken upon myself to keep my readers updated on what the country is asking our troops to do….

Initially having deployed to the general vicinity in October as part of a naval mission, US Marines from the 11th Expeditionary Unit have over the past few weeks quietly gone ashore in Syria and moved to the area around the ISIS capital of Raqqa, establishing an artillery base.

Details are still scant. Officials refused to confirm the size of the unit or other details, beyond them having a number of M777 howitzers, and a support unit of infantry Marines along with them, marking the first time US artillery has been deployed into Syria.

The idea in this case is to have advanced US artillery on hand, with US troops firing it, in support of the Kurdish YPG’s eventual invasion of the city of Raqqa. The US announced the invasion fo Raqqa last year, and so far Kurdish forces have only surrounded parts of the city.

It is unknown how many US troops are now active in Syria. When President Trump took office, estimates were around 300, but a number of Army Rangers were deployed over the weekend into Manbij, and these deployments apparently happened before that, though we’re only just hearing about them now.

(antiwar.com)

More troops to be sent to ME as a “reserve” force to be used as necessary……

In a dramatic shift away from the long-standing US policy of having the president decide directly on troop levels for various wars, President Trump is said to be considering a deployment of a substantial “reserve” force to Kuwait, which would them be available for commanders in Iraq and Syria to draw upon at will.

The deployment is estimated to be somewhere around 1,000 troops, and Pentagon officials say it would allow commanders to “respond to unforeseen opportunities” in the wars in Iraq and Syria, without having to ask the president for more troops.

This appears to be among the options being considered for ongoing escalation of the US war against ISIS, with reports that the Pentagon has recommended a large supplemental ground force for Syria, with an eye toward getting “rapid results” in fighting against ISIS.

(antiwar.com)

Source: Exclusive: U.S. weighs deploying up to 1,000 ‘reserve’ troops for IS fight | Reuters

Least we forget about Afghanistan……

Speaking today to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Centcom Commander Gen. Joseph Votel confirmed that he “expects” that more US ground troops will be deployed to Afghanistan soon, though he insisted the exact details are still being worked out.

Votel indicated that the additional troops, once sent, would be used to “improve” the capabilities of Afghan forces on the ground. He said he also agrees with Gen. Nicholson, who last month said he wants “a few thousand” more troops in Afghanistan.

This reflects the reality of how poorly the war is going, with recent assessments showing the Taliban has more territory now than at any time since the 2001 occupation began, and that Afghan security forces continue to lose ground at an alarming rate. US officials were previously hyping vague “progress” in Afghanistan, but are now more worried about preventing an outright loss of the country, which means continuing to throw more troops at the situation.

(antiwar.com)

More fodder for the fire…..our troops are being sacrificed to preserve the wealth and the greed of the M-IC….we are accomplishing nothing other than the waste of life…the lives of USA troops.

I wish Americans would care as much about our troops as they do about the Kardashians…..maybe that is too much to ask.

As The Middle East Simmers

WE have a new president and a new outlook for the Middle East…..although not many of us know exactly what that new outlook is or how it will play out.

The RAND Corporation takes a look at the possibility of our “new” game plan in the Middle East……

During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump said he would bomb the oil fields controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). After the bombing, he would send in U.S. troops to protect the oil fields against their recapture. But then he said, “I would love not to be over there. … That’s not our fight.”

These comments reflect the mixed feelings of many Americans who would applaud escalating the fight against the terrorists but, at the same time, would prefer that the U.S. get out of these conflicts altogether.

Source: For US, Many Options but No Clear Path in Middle East | World Affairs Journal

News has come out that there are a substantial amount of US troops fighting in Syria….as well as Iraq.  But we need to think about our ops in Syria for this is a most dangerous situation that could very well backfire and the US will emerge with crap on its face…..

As his spitballing press conference reminded us ad nauseam, President Trump is not ready to let the bygones of the election be bygones—and where U.S. policy toward Syria is concerned, that might not be such a bad thing.

Perhaps the president’s most cogent attack on Hillary Clinton’s record as secretary of state during their race was his critique of her signature military intervention in Libya. “Look at what she did in Libya with [late leader Moammar] Gadhafi,” he argued during the second presidential debate. “Gadhafi is out. It’s a mess. And, by the way, ISIS has a good chunk of their oil. I am sure you probably have heard that. It was a disaster.”

Source: Ground War in Syria Would Be a Huge Mistake | RealClearDefense

Another study about Syria……

Rolling around 200 Marines backed with howitzers into northern Syria, the United States is shifting from working quietly behind the scenes in Syria’s conflict, turning instead toward overt displays of U.S. force in an attempt to shape the fight.

The latest deployment widens America’s footprint in a highly toxic battlefield, with U.S. credibility and prestige on the line. It also risks drawing troops into a long and costly war with unpredictable outcomes.

Source: Analysis: US troop increase risks tangling in Syria’s war

Like I have said…there is NO clear path to success in Syria…..if there is no way to win this thing then why sacrifice more American troops?

A question that demands an answer!

Get Comfortable………We Gonna Stay

We all know by now about the off the cuff comment Trump made about Iraqi oil….but in case you have been in a coma…..

One of the recurring themes of Donald Trump’s national security strategy is his plan to “take the oil” in Iraq and from areas controlled by Islamic State (Isis) extremists. It would drain Isis’s coffers and reimburse the US for the costs of its military commitments in the Middle East, the candidate insists.

At a forum hosted by NBC on 7 September, Trump suggested oil seizure would have been a way to pay for the Iraq war, saying: “We go in, we spend $3tn, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then … what happens is we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils.”

He added: “One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is Isis would not have been able to take oil and use that oil to fuel themselves.”

The idea predates Trump’s presidential campaign. As far back as 2011, he was telling the Wall Street Journal that this was his policy for Iraq. “You heard me, I would take the oil,” he said. “I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take the oil.” And he insisted to ABC News that this did not amount to national theft

(the guardian)

Of course it is being spun that he was just thinking out loud….and then news hit the fan about something that out Joint Chiefs added to the conversation…..

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says that the Pentagon is considering a “long-term commitment” to operations in Iraq, intending to keep troops in the country after the ISIS war, with an eye toward keeping Iraq’s military propped up.

Exactly what form this would take remains to be seen, as the US already has thousands of ground troops in Iraq, and they have already made a point to say that their existing operation has “no fixed end date.” US officials have previously indicated that the US would likely be in Iraq more or less forever, believing ISIS or something similar would crop up if the US was ever not occupying the nation.

Dunford’s comments suggest the US is considering something above and beyond this, but might portend both an increase in US military aid to Iraq and an even bigger deployment of ground troops in a nation-building capacity, though this would clearly run contrary to President Trump’s position that the US is spending too much money having troops abroad in so many different countries.

(antiwar.com)

That statement raises so many questions for us foreign policy wonks.  Will they be there to protect American businesses in the Iraqi oil industry?  If the Iraqi military will never be up to the task, then why keep pouring money down that rabbit hole?

Like I said….questions.

The Name Game

Was it IS…or ISIS….or Da’nesh…..or maybe ISIL?  For years we all have our way of referring to the bastards in the terrorist group by name…..me?  I have always used ISIS.  But the government, until now, has called it ISIL whenever they referred to the group.

Well sports fans the confusion is now officially over…..for now.

The US Department of Defence has produced a change of terminology in the war against the Islamic State group.

The name preferred by the Obama administration – the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) – has been dropped.

But the name favoured by President Donald Trump – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has now been adopted by the Pentagon.

A memo dated February 13 from the office of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says the switch to “ISIS” make the Pentagon “consistent with” Trump’s language in the January 28 directive, in which he called for a new plan to defeat the militant group.

Rest easy….now that this issue has been settled maybe now we can concentrate on beating the crap out of them…..

Speaking of that……after a campaign promise of defeating ISIS soundly by then candidate Trump…we have the new plan to do just that…..

Full details of the plan have not been released yet, but the long-promised Pentagon proposal to escalate the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been delivered today, and is said to includes options for large deployments of additional troops to Syria, as well as increased targeting of ISIS the world over.

The plan for the Pentagon is to “rapidly” defeat ISIS, with the assumption that throwing more US troops at the situation will make it go faster. Officials at the Pentagon conceded this strategy might need to be further refined before implemented on the ground.

So far all we have are the talking points….but the one point that is disturbing……”options for large deployments of additional troops to Syria”…..so we are gonna invade and occupy another Middle East country?

Sounds like just more of the same….NOT a prescription for victory.

You may sleep well tonight.

The New “Game Of Drones”

Did you watch the Oscars?  Why?

The country is going to crap and you spend your time watching mindless sh*t!

Okay my rant is over…time to get serious.

While the MSM has everyone diverted to lesser news…like a stolen jersey or who pays protesters or how many Tweets some people attempt there is something happen that could be a game changer in the War on Terror….but you were too distracted to care.

I have written many times here on IST about the American drone program (a search for IST will give one all the posts) used by the US military to fight their wars….I understand their use as it saves lives of the troops involved in the conflict but I also dislike their constant use for the drones cannot differentiate between combatants and civilians….as a result we have killed more civilians than bad guys and the numbers expand.

I point this out because it appears that ISIS has developed a drone program to be used as the one for the US……

Islamic State fighters are launching an ever-wider assortment of deadly drones, even as their UAV factories come under heavy attack.

Grenade launchers, kamikaze bombers, flying decoys, eyes-in-the-sky, and soapbox-derby dinosaurs: as the Islamic State group loses neighborhood after Mosul neighborhood, it is still dispatching a wide variety of UAVs on deadly missions.

“Over the last two months, coalition forces have observed about one adversary drone every day around Mosul,” a U.S. Central Command official told Defense One.

Source: The Drones of ISIS – Defense One

Then once this program was discovered they started with world predictions of doom for the rest of us…..

Killer drones guided by Islamic State terrorists have made their debut in Northern Iraq, prompting concern about a new terror weapon outside of Iraq.

“I can verify that the enemy has used drones to release grenade-sized munitions,” wrote U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, chief spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, in an email from Baghdad. He went on to say that Iraqi forces closing in on Islamic State’s last-remaining high-population stronghold in Iraq are dealing with them.

Source: ISIS drones could target Europe – Washington Times

Right now their, ISIS, program is far from sophisticated but each time they are employed the more they learn about their operation……

As they (however they are) say…it is only a matter of time.