The US Steps Up

The US has troops in Iraq and Syria in the fight against ISIS…that is ground troops….but their main job is to “advise and assist” the local forces in this fight…..but news has come out that US has stepped up and lauched an all US raid inside Syria……

US ground troops invaded eastern Syria on Sunday and attacked a group of ISIS fighters in Deir Ezzor Province, the Pentagon has confirmed. The incident took place in an unnamed small town along the Euphrates River, and the Pentagon said the goal was to capture ISIS leadership.

No captures appear to have happened, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, though two “leaders,” both heretofore unnamed in media reports on ISIS’ leadership, were said to have been among the 25 ISIS fighters slain. No US casualties were reported.

The Pentagon did not confirm the casualties, and according to local witnesses the operation lasted about 90 minutes, with US troops arriving in helicopters and departing the same way. Local news outlet Deirezzor 24 reported that US troops took a number of bodies with them.

Facing Kurdish advances in Raqqa and an Iraqi invasion in Mosul, Deir Ezzor is materially the last province which ISIS holds the overwhelming majority of, and in which they face little opposition. Syrian government forces control part of the provincial capital, but the surrounding area is virtually exclusively ISIS.

This incident amounts to the first major US ground offensive inside Syria, as the troops deployed into Syria on a more or less permanent basis are embedded with Kurdish YPG forces in relatively small numbers, and largely not on the front lines.

(antiwar.com)

Is this action a new phase for the use of US troops in this fight?

Could this be a “here we go again” sort of thing?

A “Fighting” American Speaks

Everybody has an opinion on what to do in Syria….these “ideas” range from “making sand glow” to full engagement to “get the Hell out”….

I read an interesting thought by someone who has actually fought in Syria….I trust his thoughts more so than those of people that have never fought in a war…..in my opinion those that stayed home have nothing to say worth listening to….but I digress…

This is from a soldier that was fighting with the Kurds……

“This reminds me of when I was fighting ISIS,” Robert Amos told me, improbably, one sunny September day as we rode in a white Jeep through the streets of downtown Washington, DC. The vehicle was packed with four elderly Kurdish passengers in sweaters and suit jackets, members of the American Kurdish Information Network, a nonprofit organization. They complained in their native Kurmanji dialect about the broken air conditioner, and Amos occasionally chimed in with phrases that he learned during six months he spent as a soldier with the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, the predominately Kurdish militia that controls a 200-mile stretch of territory in northern Syria known as Rojava.

Source: This American Fought ISIS. Now He’s Trying to Get Washington to Untangle Its Syria Policy | Mother Jones

Every “lawmaker” should heed the words of this person….since NONE of them had enough guts to fight and die in this conflict (well maybe not all)….commonsense is needed….and commonsense does not inhabit Washington on any level.

Does Syria Have A Future?

Note:  I have a massive amount of “drafts” in waiting…..as we start a new year I need to drop some on you guys and clean out the file….hopefully these will give my readers something to consider…….there is so much about to happen that I need the space…..please bear with me.

Now moving on to the rest of the day……

Most Americans are aware of the situation in Syria…but not all.  The destruction of the country is of little concern of us but it is paramount to anyone living in Syria or that has family in the war torn country.

There is a ceasefire….well a partial ceasefire…..

There are some that like to look at a way to solve any further complications once this civil war is over…..I have written a couple of posts about a possible future….

https://lobotero.com/2016/08/09/syria-a-balkanizing-future/

https://lobotero.com/2016/08/30/the-partition-of-syria/

 

As you can see most of the “solutions” have little to do with saving Syria but rather dividing it up that will cause even more problems down the road…

Our new president has offered up a plan…..well sort of a plan…..

Donald Trump’s “Thank You” tour rolled into Hershey, Pa., Thursday night, where he promised to do something to end suffering in Syria. “When I look at what’s going on in Syria, it’s so sad,” he said, per the New York Times. “It’s so sad, and we’re going to help people.” He promised to “build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people will have a chance,” and said Gulf states would help pay for the move. Analysts have warned that such a move could set up a confrontation with Russia, and the Times notes that this is the first time Trump has repeated his “safe zones” promise since he started receiving security briefings.

Just where would these so-called “safe zones” be located?  Or how would the “safety” be guaranteed?

These are more campaign promises than an actual plan.

“Peace For Our Time”

Those are the now infamous words uttered by Neville Chamberlain after is meeting with Hitler over the annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia….the path that proved to lead to a larger conflict.

These days it is words that could be applied to the conflict in Syria….with the same results in the end.

The Syrian army has announced a nationwide ceasefire, the AP reports. In a statement carried by state news agency SANA on Thursday, the military command “declares a comprehensive nationwide cessation of hostilities as of midnight.” State TV says the ceasefire paves the way for reactivating negotiations to end the conflict and says the ceasefire comes after the “successes achieved by the armed forces,” an apparent reference to the capture of rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo earlier this month. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia and Turkey will guarantee the truce, and he’s ordered the Russian military to scale down its presence in Syria, where it has provided crucial support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Turkey supports the opposition.

Putin didn’t say how many troops and weapons will be withdrawn and noted Russia will continue “fighting international terrorism in Syria” and supporting Assad’s military. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry says groups regarded as terror organizations by the UN Security Council will be excluded from the ceasefire, apparently referring to ISIS and the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Front. It says the government and the opposition have agreed to halt attacks, including aerial attacks, and not to expand territories under their control in a way that would be detrimental to each other. Meanwhile, Ahmad Ramadan of the Syrian National Coalition said in text messages to the AP that members of the Free Syrian Army, a loose alliance of several moderate rebel factions, will abide by the truce but retaliate to violations by government and allied forces. The ceasefire is to be followed by renewed peace negotiations to end the nearly six-year conflict.

Seriously?

Chamberlain had to deal with one lunatic…this time around it is far more complicated than in 1938….this time there is many more lunatics than in the past.

Syria Ceasefire Agreed, backed by Russia and Turkey | World Affairs Journal

ISIS and the AQ affiliate are not part of this ceasefire….so how does this constitute a ceasefire in the entire country?  So the war on these groups will continue, right?  How does that constitute a countrywide ceasefire?

I could say this is a good first step….but knowing the players…..will be a momentary lull.

I mean with so many players what could possibly go wrong, right?

There Is A Syrian Plan?

The Civil War has been raging in Syria for years and it appears that we are NO closer to an end game than we were last year…..but wait!

According to the Tasnim News Agency Iran, Turkey and Russia have issued a statement on the future of Syria……

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran, Russia and Turkey issued a joint statement on Tuesday, calling for continued cooperation on Syria and reiterating their respect for Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

Source: Tasnim News Agency – Iran, Russia, Turkey Underline Respect for Syria’s Territorial Integrity

So far I have not been able to confirm this elsewhere so there is a possibility that this is just a propaganda piece….but it needed to be covered because of the implications.

Whereas the statement above is a bit of positive news there are others in the Middle East that do not see the “good” of this plan…..

This is an op-ed piece in another news source in the Middle East, al-Monitor….

Despite successful cooperation with Moscow to help retake Aleppo, Tehran is likely to remain suspicious of Russian intentions and maneuvering in Syria.

On Dec. 8, Moscow announced a new round of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, to try to find a solution for the embattled city and possibly the entire country. As anticipated from the moment the talks were announced, and like the previous peace efforts by the two powers, the new diplomatic initiative did not lead to a successful outcome. Indeed, as early as Dec. 12, it was declared that the dialogue had ended in deadlock.

Of interest, however, is that Iran was once again not a part of Russia’s diplomatic maneuvering on Syria, and this raises questions about Tehran’s place in Russia’s overall Syrian strategy. In fact, although Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bugdanov said that he had informed Iran of the latest US proposal, the Iranians denied receiving information in this regard.

Source: Three reasons Iran should worry over Russia’s Syria plans

Conflicting views of the situation in Syria…..seems it is not only the West that has these types of thoughts….

Just wanted to let my readers know that the divisions over Syria are not just a western problem……

The only thought I have is….Syria is so screwed!

Two Big Battles

The news out of the Middle East is always taking a back seat to the antics of politicians and celebs…..but regardless how much we try it is impossible to ignore the big battles taking place…..

First, the one that is making all the news so far….Aleppo, Syria.

It appears as if the battle for Syria’s largest city is about to draw to a close….if so….what is next for the city?

What are the immediate implications of the regime’s victory in Aleppo?

Aleppo illustrates the bleak state of the Syrian war, more than five years into the conflict. The regime and its allies are defeating rebel groups by employing an expanded version of their long-favoured military approach: massive collective punishment, including siege tactics and relentless bombardment targeting civilians. With crucial support from Russian air power and Iran-backed foreign fighters, this set of tactics has enabled the regime to compensate, for now at least, for its eroding military and limited base of reliable Syrian fighters.

Source: What Comes After the Bloody Battle for Aleppo? | Crisis Group

The next major battle is in Iraq….in and around the city of Mosul….first reports were that the Iraqi army and its militia allies were making great headway against the forces if ISIS…..but those glowing reports have ceased….why?

Since the battle to retake Mosul began in mid-October, Iraqi and coalition spokesmen have touted the significant number of villages retaken around the periphery of Mosul by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and the fact that they reportedly recaptured Mosul’s al-Salam hospital, barely a mile from the Tigris. Yet an examination of the battlefield reveals that from the perspective of ISIS, it could be argued that the fight is going better than expected. Such a belief is not without substance.

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi claimed last week that he was very pleased with his troops’ progress. “We have seen the whole organization collapsing in terms of standing in the face of our own armed forces,” he said, adding that the “success of liberating a huge area indicates that Daesh does not have the gut[s]” to stand and fight. Yet the number of villages and square kilometers of land retaken tells only part of the story, and may be deceptive by itself.

Source: Is the Battle for Mosul Doomed? | The National Interest Blog

These are the foreign policy situations that Trump and his gang will be dealing with….does anyone see a light at the end of this tunnel?

NATO Advisers In Syria Captured

Over the weekend I read a news report about NATO advisers in Syria….the report states that 14 were captured in a bunker in Aleppo when the city was being liberated……

At least 14 US-led coalition military advisers have been captured by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in the city of Aleppo, according to media reports. The event allegedly took place in the morning on December 16, 2016 (Voltaire.net): 

21stcenturywire.com also provided a list of names of the coalition’s military advisers captured in Aleppo, citing a Syrian member of Parliament:

Fares Shehabi, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December (emphasis added):

Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
David Scott Winer – USA
David Shlomo Aram – Israel
Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan

I have been trying to confirm this report…..so far most of the info comes from some “fringe” sites….I have been searching the sites in the Middle East and so far I have come up with little….so until I get some conformation I am calling this “suspect”…..

If and when I get my confirmation then I will post on this again…..until then….