Will Trump finally get the US out of Syria? From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
More war in wretched Syria. Half the population are now refugees; entire cities lie shattered by bombing; bands of crazed gunmen run rampant; US, French, Israeli and Russian warplanes bomb widely.
Now, adding to the chaos, President Donald Trump has finally given Turkey, NATO’s second military power, the green light to invade parts of northeastern Syria after he apparently ordered a token force of US troops there to withdraw.
This, of course, puts the Turks in a growing confrontation with the region’s Kurds, who have occupied large swaths of the area during Syria’s civil war. The Kurdish militia, known as YPG (confusingly part of the so-called Free Syrian Army), is armed, lavishly financed and directed by the CIA and Pentagon.
Russia may be far more instrumental to a Middle East peace than the US has been. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Lebanese Arabic news broadcaster Al-Mayadeen is reporting that Russia has begun organizing “reconciliation talks” between Syria and Turkey, in what would be an unprecedented development, given President Erdogan’s position has long been that Turkey won’t negotiate with Damascus so long as Assad is in power.
The Middle East broadcaster cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said, “Moscow will ask for start of talks between Damascus and Ankara”.
Russia’s TASS has also confirmed the initiative, making it the first significant attempt to bring the two sides to the table, given Ankara severed diplomatic ties with Damascus in 2012. Turkey could indeed be ready given it has finally gotten its way in Syria — with a long planned attack on Syrian Kurds along the border in northern Syria, which began Wednesday with an air and ground offensive.
It especially complicates things when two of the allies with whom you are entangled fight each other. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:
In March of 2018, US president Donald Trump promised “we’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon.” That December, he issued an order to begin withdrawing US troops. Apparently the order never got executed. Most of a year later, US forces remain.
Now Trump and his opponents are arguing over his decision to move a few dozen of those troops around within Syria, to get them out of the way of a Turkish invasion force massing on the border. Both sides are pretending that a tiny troop movement constitutes the supposed withdrawal he ordered last December.
This minor situation illustrates a major problem that two early presidents warned us about.
“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world,” George Washington said in his farewell address.
Four years later, Thomas Jefferson called for “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none” in his inaugural address.
Sometimes you’re better off being the US’s enemy than its friend. Just ask the Kurds. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
While Trump’s apparent decision to pull the U.S. military out of Syria is welcome, full context and the plight of the doomed Kurds reminds us of the tragedy of American interventionism.
First, the (mostly) good news: President Trump appears poised, finally, to endthe US military mission in Northeast Syria. The move would constitute the first actual follow-through on the promises of candidate Trump to avoid “stupid” and terminate “endless” Mideast wars. That’s no small thing. Furthermore, while the outcome in Syria is likely to be messy, if not tragic, I’ve long argued for an end to America’s ill-advised, all risk no reward, quagmire in Syria. With Assad – thanks to ample backing from Iran and Russia – victorious in the long civil war, the US military tenuously ensconced in Northeast Syria without true congressional authorization, and Washington’s mission more muddled than ever, it’s become increasingly unclear what some 1,000 troops can reasonably hope to accomplish in the war-torn country.
Nevertheless, the way the mission appears to be ending promises great (if ultimately unavoidable) human suffering, especially for Syria’s Kurdish minority. Specifically, Trump has sold out his Kurdish partners, the main ground force that defeated the territorial Islamic State from 2014-19, suffering some 11,000 battle deaths in the process. It’s not just that the US military is leaving, but Washington has veritably green-lighted an impending Turkish Army and Air Force invasion of Northeast Syria. The result will be war – since the courageous Kurds are unlikely to back down – slaughter, potential ethnic cleansing, and perhaps even the resurgence of ISIS during the inevitable tumult.
There have been signs of change coming since Trump rightly refused to go to war with Iran over their shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone.
Starting with a major shake up of his cabinet by firing National Security Director John Bolton to his tepid response to the Houthi attack on the Saudi Aramco Abqaiq facility, Trump has sought to defuse a situation that had flown way to close to the sun and threatened to burn millions.
These five tweets taken in context of the past few days, however, blow the lid off a number of narratives as well as ongoing operations.
It’s haunting how accurately our first president predicted our “foreign entanglements” with Riyadh.
President Donald Trump wants to outsource U.S. policy to Riyadh. After the recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, he tweeted that his administration was “locked and loaded,” but was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” He later ordered American forces to Saudi Arabia to garrison the Middle East’s most brutally repressive and dangerously aggressive state.
Since he himself ventured to Riyadh in 2017—his first foreign trip—Trump has consistently sacrificed America’s national interests in catering to the preferences of the Saudi royal family. His administration backed the regime’s brutal attack on Yemen, ignored Riyadh’s continuing support for Islamic radicalism, and said little about their mounting human rights violations. Now he is acting as if American armed forces constitute the royals’ personal bodyguards, at the crown prince’s beck and call.
There’s a new sheriff in town in the Middle East. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
According to reports in both Israeli and Arabic regional media, Israel this past week was preparing to expand major airstrikes against “Iran-backed” targets in Syria, but Moscow imposed its red line. The Independent has published a story describing that Russia’s military in Syria threatened to shoot down any invading Israeli warplanes using fighter jets or their S-400 system.
The Jerusalem Post, citing sources in the UK Independent (Arabia), writes just after the latest meeting in Sochi between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin:
According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli airstrikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S400 Anti-aircraft missiles. The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice, and that during August, Moscow stopped an airstrike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S300 missile battery is placed.
Netanyahu’s hasty trip to meet with Putin on Thursday – even in the final days before Tuesday’s key election – was reportedly with a goal to press the Russian president on essentially ignoring Israel’s attacks in Syria.
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