Syria: 10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago this month, 15 March, to be exact….Syrians took to the streets as part of what the media entitled the Arab Spring….Syrians were protesting for a better nation….little did the know that they had stared down a path that would bring about the destruction of “norm” for the nation.

Syria’s brutal conflict enters its 10th year Sunday with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime consolidating its hold over a war-wracked country with a decimated economy where foreign powers flex their muscle.

When Syrians took to the streets on March 15, 2011, they could scarcely have imagined their anti-government protests would turn into a complex war entangling rebels, jihadists and outside forces.

At least 384,000 people have since died, including more than 116,000 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Saturday.

The conflict has displaced more than 11 million people internally and abroad.

https://www.afp.com/en/news/3954/syrias-brutal-war-enters-10th-year-doc-1pw2w46

When I worked in the Middle East I was stationed in Aleppo….an old city where the concept of the “coffeehouse” began…..today there is very little left to the city….nothing I could recognize.

A sad anniversary for Syria.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Why No Ceasefire For Syria?

Actually there is a short ceasefire around Idlib….but it has not expanded out from there.

We have managed to get a ceasefire with the Taleban in Afghanistan….then why cannot the US and others figure out a way to do the same for war torn Syria?

At least the UN is trying to find a solution….which is a good thing right?

Not if you are the US foreign policy makers!

The ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib Province took effect on Friday, and has been holding so far. With every other nation on board, the US blocked a joint UN statement backing the ceasefire, saying it was “premature” to do so.

The ceasefire was brokered by Turkey and Russia, and that’s almost certainly the problem from the US perspective. The US broadly refuses to back any Syria agreements Russia is involved in.

US officials had also been loudly backing Turkey’s military offensive in Idlib, and probably aren’t happy that Turkey has made a deal not to go to war. US officials weren’t super on board with directly participating in a Turkey-instigated war, but were only too happy to give lip-service to it.

Having the UN back a ceasefire, even if it is one not expected to necessarily survive, is usually the norm, though the US may find, in seeking backing for its Afghan deal, they may face similar resistance.

(antiwar.com)

God forbid that we could have a peace movement in the making….the M-IC will not allow it to spread much further than the ceasefire in Afghanistan.

The veto by the US at the UN illustrates just how much power these “captains of industry” have over our government and its policies.

Plus that silly idea of a “safe zone” is back…..it still will not work….

After six hours of talks on the Syria conflict last week in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came away with a deal. The Assad regime and the jihadist-dominated opposition in Idlib would follow a cease-fire, a buffer zone—jointly patrolled by Russian and Turkish forces—would be established to the north and south of the M-4 highway, and the frontlines would stabilize for the time being. The agreement is nothing but a band-aid, a pause in the Syrian army’s operations and a way to temporarily forestall a rush of another one million Syrian civilians into Turkey.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/syria-safe-zone-idea-back-and-it-still-wont-work-130942

Turkey’s Erdagon has demanded support for his adventurism in Syria from NATO, US and EU

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded more support from his NATO and European Union allies over the war in Syria as fighting rages in Idlib, and a refugee crisis unfolds at the Turkish-Greek border. 

Erdogan flew to Brussels for talks with EU and NATO leaders after tensions rose over the fate of tens of thousands of refugees trying to enter EU-member Greece since Ankara said last month it would no longer try to keep them on its soil.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/erdogan-demands-concrete-support-eu-nato-syria-200309183710499.html

Is Erdagon trying to relive the old days of sultans and war.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Turkey Vs Syria

Turkey has invaded Northern Syria last month on the pretense of going after the Kurds…..and ever since the Syrians have been trading barbs with Turkey and now the new is not good…..

Fighting in Syria’s Idlib Province has escalated substantially on Thursday, with Turkish forces attacking the Syrian military, and claiming to have killed over 50 soldiers, and Russia ultimately sending in warplanes to stop the fight, warning Turkey away from continued action.

Turkish officials said Syria had killed two Turkish soldiers who were in Idlib to “establish peace” and that their attack was in retaliation. President Erdogan has threatened strikes anywhere in Turkey over injuries to soldiers.

Turkish-backed rebels were involved in the attacks, and supported by Turkish artillery strikes. Syria ultimately requested Russian help, and a Russian Su-24 launched some strikes against attacking forces. Russia also contacted Turkey and told them to stop shelling.

While this particular flare-up is over, fighting looks to just be getting started. Russia called the situation a “worst case scenario,” and has demanded that Turkey stop backing terrorist groups in Idlib. Turkey has vowed they will not leave Idlib to Syria, and reiterated demands that Syria unconditionally cede the province to the mostly al-Qaeda-led rebels therein.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that a military operation in northwest Syria to expel Syrian forces from Idlib is only “a matter of time,” as Turkey continues to send more troops into the area.

Turkey has launched multiple attacks against the Syrian military in the past month, mostly to try to slow Syrian military advances against al-Qaeda. Erdogan has repeatedly demanded Syria abandon the Idlib Province to the Islamist groups, and now intends to try to directly force this.

Erdogan presented this new war as necessary because talks with Russia failed to get them to expel Syria from this Syrian province. Russia, however, is warning Turkey against trying to impose a military solution in northwest Syria.

Turkey is trying to present operations in support of al-Qaeda’s territorial control as a humanitarian necessity, and Syria’s fighting as endangering civilians.

(antiwar.com)

And since the US has troops in Syria watching the oil in Northern Syria….will they be drawn into any conflict between Syria and Turkey?

Will the Middle East become ground zero for yet another war?

The UN Charter’s preamble explained that “the scourge of war…twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” — referring to two global wars.

Is a third one coming at a time when today’s super-weapons make earlier ones seem like toys by comparison? 

Will the curse of Middle East oil escalate new millennium wars? Oil is a strategic source of world power. Controlling it is a way to control nations.

Middle East countries have over half the world’s proved reserves. Regional resource wars aim to control them.

Preemptive US wars have nothing to do with protecting national security at a time when the nation’s only threats are invented, a phony pretext to smash one nation after another in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, threatening others elsewhere.

The Middle East: Ground Zero for Possible Global War?

All I can say is….”here we go again”…….

I Read, I Write, You Know

Turkey continues to step up fighting in northern Syria, running up against Russian forces, and giving the appearance of an imminent war in the Idlib Province. Turkey’s willingness to escalate seems to have been picked up by US encouragement, and now Turkey seems to be leading the call to get the US dragged into this conflict as well.

US interests in the Idlib Province are virtually non-existent. Any US-backed rebels that were once there have been wiped out, or aligned to some Islamist group long ago. Arguments for intervention are that Idlib is becoming a flashpoint between Russia and Turkey.

Which is more Turkey’s problem than America’s though Turkey is suggesting that they are in talks with the US on sending Patriot missiles to Idlib to contest Russian warplanes, and are requesting US warplanes start patrolling the areas around Idlib.

“lego ergo scribo”

Stuck in the Mud Of Interventionism

Sorry sports fans but all the efforts by the propaganda machine has made leaving Syria and the quagmire it has created virtually impossible.

I supported Trump’s plan to bring our troops home from Syria but the M-IC put all their assets to work and the plan changed.

There is one think tank that is doing what it is suppose to do…make the case for the Pentagon to stay and stay in Syria.

This is why I do not like or think think tanks are a good source for truth and facts…..they bend the findings of research to suit their benefactors desires….in other words they design their conclusion and then manipulate everything to suit that conclusion….the Syria situation is NO different.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) released a report on November 21st titled “Russia’s Dead-End Diplomacy in Syria.” The report focuses on Russia’s role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and calls for the U.S. to maintain a presence in Syria.

The ISW presents itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.” In reality, the ISW is a neocon think tank funded by some of the country’s largest defense contractors. The ISW has a significant influence in Washington, and its chairman even has direct access to President Trump.

The report argues that Assad does not have the resources to regain and maintain control of the rest of Syria and that his victory would not bring stability. As far as Russia’s role, the report says, “The Kremlin seeks to thwart any Western effort to replace Assad and to instead reach a superficial political settlement that legitimizes his regime and neutralizes his opposition.”

The Think Tank Dedicated To Keeping the US in the Syria Quagmire

I admit that I do use the Institute for the Study of War from time to time……our foreign policy is tied to our use of conflict to settle differences so while I do not think the ISW is a good source it does serve its purposes.

Do not take a “think tank” white paper at face value….find out who funds them and you will know how accurate their findings are.

We are in Syria for the foreseeable future and for what?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Syrian Oil Saga

Recently Trump move troops out of Syria just to redeploy them in Eastern Syria around the oil fields…..I wrote about what I thought about the idea of the US basically taken Syrian oil……https://lobotero.com/2019/11/05/syria-the-confusion-and-the-chaos/

I have not seen anything that would lead me believe that the US has the best motives about the Syrian oil….

Whether to control the oil or flat out take the oil, US statements on the new military mission in Syria are heavily oil-themed. Other reports, however, suggest that the operation is a lot more complicated than that.

In reality, a lot of the goal is nation-building, with US forces meant to both keep the Syrian government out of this part of Syria, and try to “bring prosperity” to the region, propping up a potential territory of rebels.

This is again built around the assumption that the US can manufacture an autonomous, prosperous region, using the oilfields as the revenue source, and then steer that region toward hostility with the rest of Syria.

This will likely end up being a plan easier for the Trump Administration to sell than overt theft of oil, as it allows the US to retain its primary focus, military hostility toward Syria with an eye toward eventual regime change.

To that end, the US keeps condemning Syria and Russia for airstrikes in the Idlib Province of northwestern Syria, and is demanding a full halt to strikes to resolve the situation through the UN. Ironically, the US has also opposed that UN reconciliation process, because it’s not going to end with regime change.

Pentagon officials are also pointing out that their military presence in Syria implies US military authority to open fire on Syrian government representatives if any of them try to reclaim control over the Syrian oilfields.

(antiwar.com)

I still say that the oil is that of Syria not the US and as such we should have NO voice in how it is used…..and yet the Pentagon says they have the right to order our troops to shoot on sight….no matter who……

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields.

The briefing came less than two weeks after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, “That’s our mission, to secure the oil fields” in the Deir ez-Zor area of eastern Syria. President Donald Trump’s comments before and after that remark —”We’re going to be protecting [the oil], and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future,” and “The oil… can help us, because we should be able to take some”— were seized on by critics who claimed Trump was suggesting violating international law by plundering another country’s resources and openly saying the U.S. was pursuing war for oil.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/08/pentagon-claims-us-authority-shoot-any-syrian-govt-official-who-tries-take-control

I reiterate…..what gives the US the right to basically steal Syrian oil?

Apparently Trump decides and it is still the policy of this admin…..

Speaking during a visit with Turkey’s President Erdogan, President Trump sought the simplify the US role in Syria, saying Turkey’s issues over the border were thousands of years in the making.

“We’re keeping the oil, we have the oil, the oil is secure,” Trump insisted in comments, adding that “we kept troops in Syria only for the oil.” This is in keeping with Trump’s talking points of recent weeks, which emphasize the idea that the US is going to take Syria’s oil.

The insistence that the US is there “only for the oil,” however, is a critical point, because it runs directly contrary to every comment made by anyone else in the administration in recent weeks.

Pentagon officials have played up the idea of the US fighting with Syrian troops, Russian troops,and ISIS as reasons for staying in the country. Some have been dismissive of the idea that the US would be keeping the oil at all, despite President Trump very clearly, repeatedly saying that’s exactly what he intends to have happen.

(antiwar.com)

Is there a legal question that needs answering?

Following new meetings with defense leaders last week, President Trump has signaled intentions to expand his new war in Syria, which is a war entirely built around military control of oilfields in Eastern Syria from which he intends to extract oil.

All of this is raising ever-growing legal questions, both about what the legal ramifications of an overt war for oil would be, and about what the military is actually supposed to do in this environment, and against whom.

President Trump has so far side-stepped questions about the legality of taking other countries’ oil by arguing that it’s a lot of money the US could make every month in doing so. As far as military orders, those still haven’t been issued, and moreover officials concede a lot of details are “yet to be worked out.”

Despite lack of clarity on what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and who it’s against, the US troops in Syria are doing something, and Kurdish YPG forces were also reported to have gotten involved, sending some troops of their own to help guard the oil fields.

The Kurds are reportedly helping the US guard the oil from ISIS, and while that’s a pretty straightforward mission for the Kurds, it’s a lot more complicated for the US, with a lot of the people the US is keeping away from the oil having nothing to do with ISIS.

Unspoken is that the US mission is to keep Syria’s oil away from Syria, and experts are being very clear that that notion is very illegal under international law. So far that doesn’t seem to be phasing officials, but anyone participating outside of US command is going to be trying to style this as about ISIS.

(antiwar.com)

I still do not see the legality of the US occupation of Syrian oilfields.

Not to worry the president will make it all much clearer…..

President Trump’s position on the Syrian War aims to further simplify matters. Turkey’s President Erdogan says he is worried about Turkey’s border with Syria, and President Trump sees an opportunity to contrast his own war, saying “we left troops behind only for the oil.”

In the context of US-Turkey relations, this seems very straightforward and avoids conflicts of interest. Admitting that the whole US war is for oil isn’t the panacea Trump thinks it is, however, and he’s running up against other US officials on this issue.

Lawmakers are couching the Syrian War as being about protecting the Kurds, while the Pentagon’s leadership sees it heavily built around fighting ISIS and continuing to work toward regime change in Syria. Some even suggest it’s about countering Russia.

Trump’s all-oil agenda directly contradicts everyone else, and gives the impression that the US is being deliberately evasive about its military agenda and where US foreign policy is going.

Trump’s comments may simply reflect his agenda and what he cares about in Syria, just the oil. At the same time, other top officials plainly see the legal complications to overtly looting oil during a military occupation, and are downplaying that matter hoping nothing ever comes of it, or that at the very least they can avoid culpability by making their role in the war something else.

(antiwar.com)

I am so glad it has been cleared up….how about you?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego ergo Scribo”

Please Explain Syria

We were told that our troops would be leaving Northern Syria and coming home….then they were going to a base in Northwest Iraq (Iraq said they could not stay)…then we were told that a small group of troops would go to Syria to protect the oil fields……..what is the deal here?

https://lobotero.com/2019/11/05/syria-the-confusion-and-the-chaos/

Apparently it is ‘official’ US troops to Eastern Syrian to take Syrian oil…..it must be important because we will build two new bases in Syria…

Reports out of eastern Syria, citing local sources, say that the US appears to be preparing to build two substantial military bases in the Soor area, near major oilfields which the Trump Administration intends to retain.

Since President Trump announced in October that his military goals in Syria were being entirely revised around the idea of keeping control over oilfeilds, and talked of extracting oil from the area, US military deployments have centered on oilfields in the east.

It makes some sense then that the US would be building bases in that area, since it’s where the troops are staying. If anything though, this rush of material shows both how hasty the oil-taking decision was, and how long the US is likely to end up stuck in Syria trying to get oil out of there.

Russian outlets have predicted the oil the US intends to appropriate will be worth around $30 million per month, though President Trump has claimed a much higher value of $45 million per month in his own comments.

Either way, the cost of keeping US troops in Syria exclusively to try to take the oil is not insubstantial, and the cost of building and operating entire new US bases is only going to add to that cost.

The assumption seems to be that the oil will pay for this in the end, though the legal basis for taking the oil simply does not exist, and so far no US company has indicated even a hint of interest in getting drawn into this difficult effort. 

(antiwar.com)

What happened to all the news reporting that Trump was betrayer everybody in the Middle East with his troop withdrawal…..it swas a false narrative that the MSM bought into hiok line and sinker….and they were WRONG!

That noise you can hear is Donald Trump flip–flopping in the sand. Last week, American troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles moved to occupy oil fields in Syria. The escalation came just half an hour after Trump had tweeted that all US soldiers had left the country and would be coming home. As so often, the President says one thing, then orders the military to do the other. On Twitter, Trump is ending the endless wars. In the real world, he is perpetuating them.

Trump’s focus is not really Syria, of course. It is the presidential election next year, and his precious voter base. But he can’t seem to decide if his supporters are peaceniks or bloodthirsty chauvinists. His problem is that they are both and neither. He’s beginning to learn that the relationship between foreign policy and domestic politics is more complicated than perhaps he realised.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/11/the-story-behind-donald-trumps-fake-withdrawal-from-syria/

The troops have returned gto Syria and in a big way…..

We now have troops once again in Syria….so what is their ‘directive on engagement’?

Well right now….there is NOT one!

United States troops stationed in Syria have yet to receive guidance on their mission, including the basic rules of engagement, according to a military official in a CNN report published Monday.

Some military commanders deployed to Eastern Syria were reportedly still waiting to receive their directives to guard oil fields in the region. For some of these troops, it was unclear where their destinations would be and how long they were expected to stay there, according to CNN.

https://www.insider.com/us-troops-guarding-oil-fields-syria-rules-of-engagement-2019-11

The more I read…the more I cannot see what the end game will be….as usual it is chaos nothing disciplined….and that is the foreign policy we get when the 3 Stooges run the policies……and I am not alone here….

Confusion has prevailed regarding the purposes of the U.S. troop presence in Syria, and whether the declared purposes are the actual ones. Originally the expedition was widely understood to be all about combating the Islamic State (ISIS) after the group had established a mini-state on a large portion of Syrian and Iraqi territory. Then hawks within the Trump administration and President Trump himself, in a classic case of mission creep, declared that the U.S. troops were also in Syria to “watch Iran”. Later variations of the creeped-up mission included not only watching Iran but also, through some unexplained mechanism, getting Iran and maybe Russia to abandon their positions in Syria.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/donald-trumps-take-oil-strategy-syria-mistake-92991

All this wrong on many levels….but other than that it will come back and bite the US in the ass…..PERIOD!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

A Master Stroke In Foreign Policy

I have given my opinion on the action taken by Pres. Trump and Syria…..and I am sure that there are many out there that have formed their opinion from their favorite news source….those sources are making the case of the “poor Kurds” being betrayed by the US and how that will play with our foreign policy in the future.

If my opinions are needed then I offer my post at the time of the US withdrawal……https://lobotero.com/2019/10/16/but-the-kurds-are-our-friends/

All the MSM has been in the pockets of the warmongering Neocons and condemned the withdrawal of American troops….even FOX has not been in Trump’s corner for this situation.

In all fairness I want to post an article that is 100% in Trump’s corner for the pull out…….

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria is a brilliant strategic move that simultaneously achieves all of our major objectives in the region.

Perhaps because it has been so long since America had a coherent foreign policy strategy, the political establishment is aghast at the president’s action, predicting all manner of calamitous consequences. The same “experts,” however, have been responsible for the myriad foreign policy disasters that have befallen this country over the past two decades, so their discomfiture should be taken with a rather small grain of salt.

In one deft move that doesn’t put a single American life at risk, President Trump achieved a regional solution to ISIS, undermined Iran’s capacity for foreign aggression, and disentangled the United States from an alliance of convenience that threatened to create major diplomatic headaches down the road.

Contrary to claims that withdrawing American special forces from Northern Syria will enable ISIS to resurrect itself, for instance, the arrangement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan merely shifts responsibility for the few remaining ISIS fighters onto Turkey.

The successful operation to take out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi only makes it even less likely that the terrorist group will reemerge.

https://www.amgreatness.com/2019/10/30/trumps-withdrawal-from-syria-is-a-foreign-policy-masterstroke/

Please read this article…..like I said 100% in support on the action taken by Trump.

I agree with the troops coming home but I do not agree with allowing Turkey a free hand in Northern Syria…..it is time for the US to end its endless wars but this is not the best way to achieve that end.

But as this article states we now have a coherent foreign policy….that I cannot agree with and think it is at best wishful thinking not a reality…..plus the confidence that ISIS is defeated is also wrong.

I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that our foreign policy is coherent….chaotic yes, coherent NO.

American foreign policy is increasingly falling into disarray and incoherence. President Trump’s doctrine of principled realism, in my opinion, is the correct approach. Principled realism in international politics where nations go to war, however, requires disciplined leadership and decision-making to ensure the world does not resort to unnecessary violence. Any willingness to forego a sense of global responsibility should give pause to American citizens, allies and partners. The question here is whether this doctrine of principled realism has devolved to unprincipled realism to endemic confusion.

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/465329-the-trump-doctrine-principled-realism-or-endemic-confusion

But then that is my opinion and I would like to hear yours on this situation……the 3 Stooges are in charge of our foreign policy…..Pompeo, Rudy and Trump……NONE know what they are doing.

So do I think that all this was some master stroke of foreign policy?  NO!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego ergo Scribo”