Must We Stay In Syria?

Just a few short months ago our president stated that our troops would be leaving Syria because ISIS had been defeated…..first ISIS has not been defeated just given a bloody nose and second, the MIC did not give Trump permission to take troops out of Syria….but I wrote about it back then……https://lobotero.com/2019/01/21/then-there-is-syria-5/

Now that the MIC has gotten their way and US troops will remain in Syria to protect Israel what will be the hidden costs of such a decision?

President Donald Trump was right to want to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and should not have let his advisers overrule him. The rationales the administration gives for keeping U.S. forces in Syria are impossibly ambitious, and vehicles for escalation. Elements of the administration, starting with John Bolton, the national security adviser, seem eager to use U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq as bait for a war with Iran.

We have occasionally hoped that Congress might bestir itself to vote on the U.S. war in Syria, or even end it. Instead, its members mostly criticized the possibility of withdrawal, avoided any vote on the war, and now have sponsored an expert report setting out an extravagant set of missions for the small U.S. force remaining there.

Last December, when Trump suddenly announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria and declared ISIL militarily defeated, foreign policy pundits across the political spectrum were appalled. The nation’s major op-ed pages wailed. With a few exceptions, most of whom are running for president, the Senate overcame its partisan divide to condemn the withdrawal of troops. Trump’s own secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, and his special envoy to the “Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” Brett McGurk, resigned in protest over the decision.

 
This should be the lesson for lawmakers…..once the US starts a war it is incapable of ending it.
 
Just saying!

 

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Those Chemical Attacks

Everything that has happened in Syria in the last decade is the rest of those dastardly chemical attacks….the US build up and the US attacks to punish this dastardly affront to civilization….the attacks of which I wrote in 2018……https://lobotero.com/2018/05/02/syria-saga-continues/

Now a MIT rocket scientist writes about those attacks….

 “The evidence is overwhelming that the gas attacks were staged,” Award-winning scientist and MIT professor emeritus Theodore Postol told The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté in a newly published interview.

The interview with the noted MIT rocket scientist comes after Fox’s Tucker Carlson featured rare mainstream coverage of the bombshell leaked OPCW report on his show Thursday night.

The “smoking gun” memo refutes key events surrounding the April 2018 alleged chemical gas attack in Douma, Syria – which resulted at the time in massive US and allied airstrikes on Damascus, including the launch of over one hundred Tomahawk cruise missiles.

As we summarized previously of the leaked chemical weapons engineer report from the world’s chief international chemical weapons watchdog group:

The document, whose authenticity the OPCW has confirmed, contends that the official story which was used to justify an air strike by the US, UK and France about poison gas being dropped on civilians from Syrian government helicopters is scientifically implausible, saying “In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.” 

Watch the interview below:

MIT Rocket Scientist: Leaked Document Shows Syrian Chemical Attacks Were Staged

I bring up this history because they are at it again……this from 23May19……https://consortiumnews.com/2019/05/22/us-accuses-syria-of-more-chemical-attacks-just-as-chemical-weapons-narrative-crumbles/

Most people are not aware of just how involved the MSM is in the selling of military action……it is the best propaganda tool the government has at its disposal.

The MSM is not a neutral purveyor of the news of the day……it is nothing more than propaganda on a daily basis to condition the American public to accept whatever issue the government feels is important.

So you want example…..okay…Israel!  Military involvement! Pick an issue…any issue…..if it is a major story of the day then it is spun to get the reaction that is wanted……and the American people walk along as if in a trance and accept whatever they, MSM, is spinning.

Making The Case For Syria

Recently the President said he wanted the troops in Syria to come home….(by the way on this the president and I agree completely)…..and the M-IC and the media and pundits lost their tiny minds……but not to worry the Congress has the M-IC back on this…..

A bipartisan letter signed by nearly 400 US Congress members is calling on President Trump to remain militarily engaged within Syria, while claiming to be “deeply concerned” about extremists in the country.

President Trump had announced a pullout from Syria in December, but had already disavowed it repeatedly by February. Still, lawmakers want to keep emphasizing how enthusiastic about the Syrian War they are, and push Trump into escalating it against various other parties.

Once a war about ISIS, the letter urges Trump to “increase pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to their activities in Syria.” The US already treated Syria as something of a proxy war, and the letter suggests they do away with all pretext and just make it into a war against Iran and Russia over Syria.

The lead signers of the letter were top party leaders and ranking committee members in both the House and the Senate. This once again underscores that on matters of war, Democrats and Republicans within leadership positions are almost completely in-line on keeping the wars going.

(antiwar.com)

I would say money well spent!

But in case that letter is not doing the job….and new problem has arisen that would need Americans to remain……

The State Department said on Tuesday that the Syrian government might be renewing its use of chemical weapons, citing a suspected chlorine attack in northwest Syria, and maintaining that any use of such weapons would lead the United States and its allies to “respond quickly and appropriately.”

The Trump administration said the suspected attack took place on Sunday in the Idlib area, the final stronghold of rebels who have tried to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

In the fall, Mr. Assad appeared to be on the verge of ordering an invasion of the area, where millions of civilians live or are seeking safe harbor, before a cease-fire agreement was put into effect between rebel groups and the Syrian government. But since April, the Syrian military, with help from Russian forces, has started an air bombing campaign in Idlib to retake the territory in what is expected to be a slow and bloody campaign.

(NY Times)

As usual the Media is doing their part at passing on the government approved narrative….another use of the tool of propaganda.

Chemicals huh?  What about the white phosphorus used by Israel against Palestinians?  Or is that not the same thing?

Hey MSM!  Goebbels would be proud!

Can You Say, “Idlib”?

A small city and province in Northwest Syria where the last forces of the murderous group ISIS are held up for their “last stand”…..but don’t tell anybody…the tale is that they are in Eastern Syria….

Fighting has been fierce and as ISIS is defeated its members will slink away and wait for the rise to begin again……

ISIS has been a barbarous group with mass killings, drownings, beheadings, stonings, etc……and when they are defeated (at least disbanded as a force) then the world will be right and peace will prevail.

NOT!

Does anyone remember Al-Qaeda?

That group that gave us the attacks on 9/11…..remember now?

It appears that as ISIS departs the region AQ is stepping in as the controller of the region…..

 Late last year, Turkey-backed rebels were decisively overwhelmed by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in the Idlib Province, in northern Syria. While Turkey’s allies made mention of resolving this, as an attempt to prevent Syria attacking the area during a ceasefire with Turkey, al-Qaeda never left, and their control has only grown.

So while Turkey controls some of northern Aleppo Province, the Idlib Province is now almost entirely under the control of al-Qaeda, and they are ruling under an increasingly strict Islamist rule.

Al-Qaeda’s activities are forcing a lot of aid groups to cease activity in the area, and a lot of locals say that they object being ruled over by the faction. They say exactly who supports al-Qaeda is never clear, and so far there is no sign of any resistance.

 
ISIS was an extreme form of Islam….as is the beliefs of al-Qaeda…..and the US was supplying AQ in the fight against ISIS…..
 
What will the control of the region by AQ mean in the bigger War on Terror?
 
The news is, as reported on CNN, the final push against ISIS has begun and there is a chance that in 5 days or so the ISIS threat will be no more….the people may be dead but the idea remains….so dead is not a proper term to describe the event.
 
But could ISIS resurrect itself in Syria?
 

The Islamic State is decimated but not eradicated in Syria, the Pentagon inspector general reports, and “ISIS remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that ‘could likely resurge in Syria’ absent continued counterterrorism pressure.”

In light of the last two decades of American foreign policy and the realistic near-future of the nations we’ve occupied, this report should serve as one more piece of evidence that it is time to end U.S. intervention in Syria. Using the chance of a relatively small-scale ISIS resurgence as a reason to delay U.S. withdrawal from Syria is both pointless and reckless, a needless and counterproductive means of exposing America to further risk of great-power conflict while accomplishing little in a war Congress never duly authorized two successive administrations to fight.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/02/isis-might-come-back-s-just-one-more-reason-get-out-syria/154973/

The events in Syria has no bearing on the security of the US…..so bring the troops home and focus on making the country great again….(I seem to have heard that slogan before)…….

 
 
 

FLASH! Troops Coming Home!

But first did you see the major news story on Sunday?  Prince Philip will give up his drivers license ….Seriously? This is the best the MSM can do? Now there is a story that NO ONE gives a sh*t about!

Sorry let’s talk troops.

There has been a back and forth about our troops in Syria….prez sez they come home…..DOD sez maybe but not now…..prez sez there is no time table…..DOD sez…………..

More news (but it could change before I finish typing) about our weary troops in Syria…..

The most specificity any officials have offered on the US plan for Syria, Pentagon officials confirmed Thursday that the current in-military timeline is to have all US troops out of the country by the end of April.

Officials confirmed this could be altered by policy changes in the future, but that for now the intention is to withdraw a significant number of the forces by mid-March, and the rest by the end of April.

The State Department was quick to contradict on this matter, saying that there is no timeline for withdrawing from Syria, and that the US is still committed to protecting the Kurdish YPG, and expelling all Iranian troops from Syria.

The White House did not directly comment on this matter, but it seems that the military is not interpreting Trump’s call for an “orderly pullout” as an excuse for an indefinite delay, while the State Department is still waiting for further changes in policy before admitting that troops are leaving.

This may, for the administration, prove to be the best of both worlds, as it allows the Pentagon to carry out the withdrawal that Trump ordered in December, while everyone else keeps up the pretense that nothing is finalized.

This is good news if it is true…..but it is also a chance that it is a con job like everything else this president does.  (I admit that I do not like or trust Trump but I do agree with his plan to bring the troops home)

Now ask….why is Congress dead set against the troop withdrawal?

In Syria Washington chose to enter a civil war of minimal security concern to America. Syria was allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Washington’s previous forays in similarly imploding Middle Eastern nations—Lebanon and Libya—turned out badly. The executive branch concocted ever more outlandish duties for American military personnel: extirpate ISIS, exclude Iran, confront Russia, pacify Turkey, protect Kurds, and pressure Damascus. Yet Congress never voted on the continual usurpation of legislative power.
Members also sat like potted plants as presidents illegally made war in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and threatened to unilaterally strike Iran, North Korea, and now Venezuela. Legislators preferred to avoid committing themselves. If the ensuing conflict goes well, then they will applaud the president; if it goes badly, then they will criticize his impetuous incompetence. They routinely refuse to live up to their constitutional responsibilities, unless forced to do, as when President Barack Obama tossed the issue of bombing Syria to Congress.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/capitol-hill-cowards-why-congress-trying-undermine-trumps-troop

The news is that the last stronghold for ISIS is under attack and the battle is going well……soon all the territory lost to ISIS will be retaken……(lost territory does not mean the group is defeated)…..

But Syria is a history of lousy excuses……

When former president Barack Obama authorized the invasion and occupation of Syria in 2015, he did so in complete defiance of both US and international law. Congress had not then declared war on Syria and has not since then offered any formal legal basis for Obama’s actions. And since Syria is a United Nations member state which has never attacked the US nor indicated any intent to do so, the invasion/occupation constitutes a war of aggression – “the supreme international crime,” as Nuremberg Tribunal judge Norman Birkett called it.

Despite the complete absence of any compelling military or political reason for invading and occupying Syria, and despite the complete illegality of that invasion and occupation, these Senators believe that Trump should reverse his decision and keep US troops at risk in a land whether they’re neither needed nor welcome.

After all, if US troops aren’t there, US troops can’t be killed there, and US troops need to be killed there every once in a while to justify keeping them there in perpetuity. The Senators’ campaign donors in the “defense” industry need them kept there. Government contracts and stock dividends depend on it!

That’s the caliber of mind and morality the voters of South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island send to Washington, DC. Can’t say I blame the voters for wanting those guys to go somewhere, anywhere other than South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, or Rhode Island. If nothing else it probably raises those states’ average IQs and reduces their petty crime rates.

(antiwar.com)

Syria has been a cluster fuck for decades and Obama onward did nothing to change that…..PERIOD!

All Those Wars!

We have a couple of wars that most have no dear why any longer.

A couple months ago Trump said troops would be leaving Syria and a partial draw down for Afghanistan…….and the Neo cons went batcrap crazy with the MSM joining into the chorus….

Trump then stepped back from his pronouncements.

Having drifted back and forth a few times on the US withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, President Trump seemed solid on leaving last week, but facing growing opposition from the Senate now shows signs of backtracking once again.

Previously talking up how the wars in Afghanistan and Syria can’t last forever, Trump is now saying he wants a “smaller number” of troops to stay in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban already making it clear that was a non-starter for the peace deal.

In Syria, Trump is now focused on the idea that the pullout can only happen after assuring that “Israel is protected,” which is as close to a recipe for permanent warfare as one can get. Israeli officials have made clear they want the war to be about Iran, not ISIS.

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/02/03/trump-backtracks-on-syria-afghan-withdrawals-facing-growing-senate-pressure/

Then Trump had a SOTU where he taunted the ending of use less wars….

The Congress seems to be a big obstacle for the president……instead of caving to the warmongers in Congress he should push back on the cowardice…..

Who says Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything? Washington closed ranks Thursday behind two wars President Donald Trump has proposed winding down as the Senate voted 68-23 to advance a resolution warning against “precipitous withdrawal” from Afghanistan and Syria.

Afghanistan is now the longest war in U.S. history, making any withdrawal seem anything but “precipitous.” Syria hasn’t even been authorized by Congress. In both cases, our men and women in the armed forces have already achieved the goals that are militarily attainable. “It doesn’t get much more pathetic,” Congressman Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, said of the Senate vote.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-should-call-congresss-bluff-on-our-endless-wars/

 

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.