Then There Is Syria!

Trump has said he will withdraw troops from Syria……CoS Bolton said not so fast….Military generals say they will follow the order of the president to draw down troops…it has been fun watching this story play out…..who will win?

Will the president bow to the Neocon warmongers and keep troops in Syria or will he, Trump, do what he promised on the campaign?

The war industry is pulling all punches and rolling out why the US should stay in Syria…..

The warmongers are using the deaths of 4 Americans in Syria by suicide bomber as reason to stay the course…..

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that a suicide attack in the Syrian town of Manbij against American troops in the city, might have aimed to affect the U.S. administration’s decision to pullout forces in Syria. 

Four U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in the attack on Wednesday, a U.S. official told Reuters

 
The “War Whores” (a great title) scramble to keep the US at war in Syria……
 A suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria has reportedly killed 19 people including four Americans, two of whom were US soldiers and two of whom worked with the US military. ISIS, which has an extensive history of falsely claiming responsibility for attacks it had nothing to do with, has claimed responsibilityfor the attack. Despite the fact that ISIS would claim responsibility for a housewife stepping on a Lego block, and despite the complete absence of evidence that it had anything to do with the deadly explosion, all the usual cheerleaders of endless war are pointing to the Manbij suicide bombing and shrieking “See?? Trump said ISIS is defeated and it’s not!”

“ISIS is still a very real threat here,” CNN international corespondent Clarissa Ward told Jake Tapper from northern Syria. “And the real concern that we are hearing over and over again on the ground, Jake, is that when US troops withdraw, a power vacuum is created, and that only gives them more strength.”

Virulent Syria war pundit Charles Lister, who is notorious for praising Al Qaeda and is a senior fellow at the Gulf state-funded neoconservative think tank Middle East Institute, told AFP that this attack invalidates Donald Trump’s order last month to withdraw troops from Syria.

https://theantimedia.com/syria-attack-means-troops-must-remain/

All the back and forth in DC means little….the Army chief has made his choice……

For the first time, a senior U.S. military official has commented on President Trump’s late-December decision to quit Syria, confirming publicly that American troops are planning to leave once ISIS is defeated on the ground.

“We are determined to finish that off and then hand the battle off to our indigenous partners,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said on Wednesday.

His comments came hours after a suicide bomber killed four people in Manbij, Syria, including two U.S. troops, a Defense Department civilian, and one contractor. Three more were injured in the blast, for which ISIS declared responsibility.

https://www.defenseone.com/news/2019/01/army-chief-confirms-us-will-hand-isis-fight-syria/154237/

Some groups see the pull-out as a good thing for it will give the US more wiggle room in the Middle East…..

On December 29, Russia and Turkey agreed to coordinate their ground operations in Syria after high-level consultations. The move related to Turkey’s declared intention of invading Rojava. At this stage, the U.S., Russia, Turkey and President Assad all agreed that Daesh must be completely eradicated, but their assessments of the organization’s strength and its chances of making a comeback varied widely.

Russia’s interest was to back Mr. Assad. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared before meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Moscow would consider Turkish military intervention “in the perspective of protection for Syria’s territorial integrity.”

https://www.gisreportsonline.com/withdrawal-from-syria-george-washingtons-warning-revisited,politics,2767.html

All the tit for tat in DC about the move to leave Syria but the American people are okay with the policy…..

The long life of the Afghan war makes it hard to remember how popular it was when it began. As the fighting began, 80 percent of America supported it. Nobody in Congress except Rep. Barbara Lee (D–Calif.) was prescient enough to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force and its open-ended-enough-to-attack-a-dozen-more-countries wording. Not until 2014 did a majority of Americans begin to regret that the war ever started.

Now some polls suggest it’s nearly as unpopular as the wildly unpopular ill-fated war in Iraq.

http://reason.com/archives/2019/01/11/americans-ok-with-leaving-syria-and-afgh

Syria is still a point for argument…..but if the “war whores” (I love that title) get all their ducks in a row then we will stay engaged in Syria.  The attack gave these people the ammo they need to make a case for staying……

An ISIS suicide bombing in Syria’s Manbij killed four US troops. This caused a minor redesign in the narrative from hawkish US politicians and media pundits who were opposed to the US withdrawal from Syria. They’re exactly as opposed as before, only now Manbij is the excuse.

So after weeks of centering their talking points on saving the Kurds from Turkey, the focus now is on the idea that ISIS is emboldened by the announced US pullout, and that continuing the pullout will only make the withdrawing soldiers a target.

Their solution is to keep US troops in Syria, which ironically is also ISIS’ solution. Having lost their caliphate and become a desert-centric insurgency with little territory, the US pullout would be a big blow to ISIS’ already crumbling relevance as an international movement.

The easiest way for ISIS to stay relevant is to keep US troops close-by to occasional fight and attack. This would keep anti-US recruits flowing in, and international funding for their leadership.

In a way, this isn’t dissimilar to the hawks’ desire to keep US forces in Syria, as it is another chance for the advocates of the war to remain relevant, and to keep the money flowing on the American side of the war.

(antiwar.com)

The “Syria Saga” is far from over.

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More US Deaths–2019

With all the debate on whether we are pulling out of Syria or not there is one thing that never changes….the chance of being killed in service to the country.

4 American soldiers were killed in Manjib, Syria by a suicide bomber…..

Described as the deadliest attack against US troops in Syria, a suicide bombing in the city of Manbij killed at least 15 people, including four US troops, and wounded a number of others, including three US troops.

The attack was claimed by ISIS, and that started an immediate furor among opponents of the announced US withdrawal from Syria, notably Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who suggested the very idea of the pullout had provoked the attack by emboldening ISIS.

This is almost certain to grow dramatically, with huge numbers of lawmakers and media pundits opposing the Syria pullout bound to present this as vindication for keeping the war going.

This is not just a convenient case for hawks to be mad, but also for ISIS themselves. ISIS, like its al-Qaeda predecessors, is very keen to keep US forces in the immediate vicinity as a way to keep them globally relevant. As with al-Qaeda in places like Afghanistan, the US has long been willing to give them exactly what they want.

So while now many are gearing up to try to further slow, if not outright stop, the Syria pullout, the reality of the situation is that if the US had kept to the reported 30-day pullout in the first place, the troops attacked today almost certainly would’ve already been out of Syria.

The names have not been released….I shall update this post as soon as the names are available…..

The sad thing is to see the media and war hawks try and use this incident of sadness as a rallying cry to stay the course in Syria. (A separate post to follow soon)

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?

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”?

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.

Learn Stuff!

Not To Worry Syria

The president has decided that he was mistaken…..it took all MSM to convince him to stay in Syria…..

In response to domestic pressure, Trump agreed to extend the deadline for withdrawal of thousands of US troops from the northeaster Syrian province of al-Hasaka from the initial 30 days previously announced until April this year.  Journalistic warmongers and hawks in think-tanks and among the US establishment have been railing at Trump with implausible arguments for maintaining the presence of US forces in Syria. The attacks on Trump are mainly justified on the pretext of protecting the US allies, the Kurds, from possible extermination by the Turks. Other analysts dare to repeat the absurd US mantra that “ISIS has between 20,000 and 30,000 militants in Syria and Iraq” to justify the continuous occupation of northeast Syria. If these arguments were not enough, others claim that Trump would be  delivering the north of Syria to Iranian and Russian scarecrows, or that he would be facilitating the “Iranian-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut connection”. Trump remains determined to pull out, despite his allies Israel, France and the UK begging him to stay longer in the Levant. 

https://www.globalresearch.ca/trump-bows-to-domestic-pressure-by-delaying-his-withdrawal-from-syria-a-storm-is-gathering-in-the-levant/5664612

After doing what he does best…waffle…..the slowing of a withdrawal of our troops from Syria has dangerous implications…..

 President Trump’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, after initial reports that he planned for a “rapid” withdrawal, are raising a lot of questions. These center heavily on how this apparently unilateral slowing of the pullout is reconciled with previous promises to closely coordinate with Turkey.

The decision to withdraw, after all, came by all indications at the behest of the Turkish government, and at least in part as a way for the US to avoid getting mixed up in an imminent Turkish war against the Kurdish YPG, with whom they are embedded.

But after the US pullout went from a reported 30 days to “around four months,” does that mean Turkey’s timetable has also slowed for attacking Manbij? If not, Manbij could be attacked by Turkey with US forces inside the city, and the Syrian Army present to try to keep the invading Turks away. This results from the Kurds quickly allying with Syria’s government after the pullout was announced. That could be even messier than the initial invasion envisioned.

https://theantimedia.com/trump-syria-pullout-raises-serious-questions/

I warned my readers not to take Trump seriously….I said when the withdrawal announcement was made that he would waffle and change his mind…..he is NOT a reliable player on the international stage…..if anything he is a fool.

I am an antiwar person and I totally agree with Trump on his withdrawal…….but do not stop with Syria….Afghanistan…..Iraq…..

Even as the Pentagon stammered and the retired generals, ex-CIA chiefs, and war hawks from both major political parties took to the cable news to warn against the prospect of less war—or at least U.S. involvement in them—peace groups on Wednesday afternoon applauded news reporting that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. ground forces from Syria.

“President Trump is absolutely right to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria,” said Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, in response to reporting from the New York Times and others.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/12/19/anti-war-voices-course-trump-should-withdraw-us-troops-syria-and-afghanistan-and

Time for all American adventurism to cease and bring our troops home for a much needed rest.

Iran: Chilling Presidential Words

I have listened to the many speeches and pressers from this president…..at best his words are not much more than babble from a buffoon…..if you had something to say then he would not have to ad lib his way through a presser……90 minutes of lies and half truths…..

But let’s go to Syria.

Trump has sent the pro war media and the Neocons into a tizzy fit when he announced that the US would withdraw from Syria and a draw down of troops in Afghanistan.

The warmongers stroked out and then set about belittling everything the president has said and the MSM is their tool of choice.

I am waiting to see how the statements by the president will play with the Neocons and the warmongers…..which words?

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, President Trump acknowledged that while Iran is also pulling people out of Syria, they “can frankly do whatever they want there.” He added that the he doesn’t want to be in Syria forever.

While this is likely intended more as a statement of fact than policy, it’s gaining a lot of attention, particularly in the international press. This is likely because the existing Pentagon narrative, before Trump ordered the pullout, was that Iran was a primary reason for the US to keep troops in Syria forever.

While US troops were sent to Syria to fight ISIS, as the defeat of ISIS grew near a lot of officials started shifting the narrative to one of forcing Iran out, which itself was defined broadly as expelling Shi’ite militias deemed friendly to Iran.

That broadening of the definition of Iran, which allowed Israel to at times claim preposterous numbers of “Iranian forces” in Syria, would also make Trump’s acknowledgement of an Iranian drawdown unusual.  Though true, any number of actual Iranian advisers leaving Syria would be a trivially small percentage of the “Iranian forces” when one factors in vast militias from Iraq and Pakistan.

(antiwar.com)

Not something the war hawks want to hear when mentioning Iran….the only country that will “freak” over Iran in Syria is Israel…..they have needed an actual enemy over the years and after 1979 Iran fits the bill perfectly.

But really…..what is this obsession over Iran in Syria?

Ambassador James Jeffrey, the U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement, disclosed to Russian reporters last week that U.S. and Russian mercenaries have clashed in Syria multiple times in the last several months. While he did not offer any specifics, he said “U.S. forces are legitimately in Syria, supporting local forces [in the fight against the Islamic State] … they exercise the right of self-defense when they feel threatened.”

But the U.S. has admitted that ISIS has largely been defeated, and the Trump administration has ordered troops to stay put indefinitely in Syria to counter against Iranian influence, the administration’s current comprehensive foreign policy bogeyman. As national security adviser John Bolton told the UN General Assembly in September, “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/americas-latest-unnecessary-obsession-iran-in-syria

But let’s say that we can say the Russia and Iran have won the Syrian conflict….what will it matter in the grand scheme?

President Trump has decided to pull all U.S. troops from Syria despite Pentagon objections. If these reports turn out to be accurate, the academic, public, and political debate over who ‘lost’ Syria will rage for days or weeks. Opponents of this decision will claim that a U.S. withdrawal hands both Russia and Iran a significant ‘victory’ in the contest for regional influence in the Middle East. However, these criticisms are overblown.  Russia and Iran were positioned from the beginning to be the dominant influencers in the course of Syria’s civil war.  Moreover, what passes for a short-term win for Moscow and Tehran will likely prove to be a rather hollow and Pyrrhic victory.

https://www.fpri.org/article/2018/12/russian-and-iranian-victory-in-syria-does-it-matter/

How will the War Hawks change the mind of this president?

Use a time tested technique……let the alt-Right media start in on him and he will cave.

Until then we are getting out of Syria (for now)…….