The US long has played a duplicitous game in Syria and Iraq, thus we should be wary (and certainly weary) of its recent reaffirmations of a resolve to combat ISIS, its more reluctant admission that Jubhat al-Nusra is also a terrorist army, and its willingness to cooperate with Russia in a few strategic matters.
The US signed on to the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) truce but has not stopped its meddling in Syria, nor its tired routine that “Assad must go.” While State Sect’y Kerry has been the administration’s back-pedaller in chief, he also has threatened a “Plan B” would be unleashed upon Syria if the truce did not develop in a favorable direction. Kerry gave the world until August, but it seems Plan B is already operative.
The US is shifting its tactics in wake of the successes of the SAA following the Russian interventions. But is not easy to read the strategies nor intent of the US in this new round of the ISIS wars, in part because the intents are many and contradictory, and in part because, in these battles, the US excels only in duplicity. The actors as well as the actions are exceedingly complex, probably chaotic.
The CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the President seem to be fighting different wars at times, and there are divisions within the divisions. Over the last 8 months, US policy-drivers has swung between neo-conservative insanity, given voice and appropriations power in Congress by McCain and Graham, and more reasonable and realistic voices of the US imperium, such as General Dempsey and John Kerry.
Recently, from a similar milieu, former Defense Sect’y Chuck Hagel gave an interview urging “balance” and an ameliorative tone with the rest of the globe. His critiques focus on an unthinking US imperative to “police” the world. This is precisely the imperative, cynically made moralizing, of “liberal interventionists” everywhere. I have charted the ups and downs of these two sides of our hard and harder war-mongering elites over the last 9 months. The volatility of the political shifts resembles that of the markets.
Other politicians give even greater reason for hope, or would, if they were heard by the US public or even dimly reflected in the discourses of our two “alternative” candidates, Trump and Sanders. Certainly, Tulsi Gabbard is Congress’ most eloquent voice of reason in foreign affairs. Her caution about foreign adventures is not that of John Kerry or General Dempsey; it envisions peace with our neighbors, not a more stealthy takeover. Her recent warning to the new troops to remember who they are there to fight in Syria was a bracing novelty.
Virginia State Senator Dick Black here gives an astoundingly in-depth 48-minute presentation of US support for the takfiri terrorists on his return from Syria. He assesses US policy not just misguided, but “insane.” He will probably be called a terrorist in his next campaign. These eloquent voices of simple reason, so exceptional in these times, still seem to be political ‘outsiders’, and hardly in the circles of the true “deciders” (quoting W).
In the next posts, I will try to discern and decry the “deciders'” intents behind apparent US strategy in Syria (and Iraq) now that the Russian campaigns re-set the field and the so-called truce has established that ISIS and al-Nusra are terrorist organizations.
Of one thing we can be sure Plan B entails: the US intends to hold on to the major oil-producing regions of Syria and Iraq. We do not yet know which proxies and puppets will be used to secure them, and which may be sacrificed. “The Kurds”, many different kinds, will play a big role. The House of Barzani has already turned over Iraqi Kurdistan’s sovereignty to DC, Tel Aviv, and Ankara.
The Syrian Kurds of the Rojava Republic, however, and their armed forces, the YPG, now play a most crucial role in the new arrangement/s. As the US has been forced to curtail some of its most ambitious objectives (in the south), the Syrian Kurds have gained in prominence, and play the leading role in the US’ new hope for al-Hasaka and northeast Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). So far the Syrian Kurds have juggled their friendships with Russia and US deftly, but they are in a dangerous game (as they well know.)
Nationalist Turkey is not happy about this development, foreseen for some time. Erdogan, Turkish intelligence (MIT) and other ISIS supporting Turkish factions — not real Sunnis but Wahhabis; not ethnically diverse servants of the House of Osman, but nationalist bigots, not true Muslims or even Islamists, but Grey Wolf militants — are outraged.
Turkey’s courageous journalists and MPs continue to expose the Erdogan regime’s crimes, while crimes against them continue. The Turks have gotten ISIS to bomb Kilis, the Kurdish town on the Turkish side of the border, and have brought artillery to bear on the region. The US will send Patriot missiles to help out, even though their allies the Kurds are likely to suffer most, for the umpteenth time. Erdogan stays in power the same way the Bush-Clinton cartel stay on tops here, by total media control. This can last only so long.
Stinking from the Russian expose on Erdogan’s lucrative ISIS links, the US now turns its nose at the old ally. Now the US press now dutifully complains about Erdogan’s dictatorial streak, though the State Department treads carefully. The subject of Turkish support for ISIS has also been broached, but just a little, hier bei UnS. That hits a little too close to home.
Saudi Arabia’s FM Adel al-Jubair, looking hot under the collar, shrilly complains that Plan B shoulda started a long time ago. The Saudi royal family, except the blissfully unaware king, suspect they are not on the good side of Plan B at all. They know the US is cutting losses, and the Wahhabist puppets may be first to lose their royal heads. The US is finally letting a lawsuit proceed about the infamous 28 pages redacted from the Congressional 9/11 report. Everyone knows they implicate the royal family, as former Senator Bob Graham has most pressingly conveyed.
ISIS too may be on the chopping block; at least it may lose an arm or two. The US now threatens full-scale attacks on Mosul and Raqqa, the two strongest ISIS holds in Iraq and Syria. This may be punishment for losing Palmyra.In the meantime US airstrikes mercilessly pummel the civilian infrastructure and population of Mosul, just to give its ISIS captors a lesson.
Indeed, the proxy army of Erdogan and McCain now has vigorously renewed attacks around the desert city, and undertaken bloody suicide bombings in Baghdad.An alliance of the still-willing, the hardliners, contemplates a new initiative, led by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the most endangered.
It is not just the Russian bombing campaign that changed the direction of this war; it is the Russian information campaign against Turkey. The ISIS-Turkey link has been exposed to the world, if but little yet to the US public. But if the US press now lambasts Erdogan, there is good reason for the US terror-training elites to cut their losses. It too may serve an economy of downsizing. They also may wish more direct, and a degree less ILLegitimate, control over the main oil-producing regions in northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq.
What is the US up to? The State Department Spokesman from Outer Space Tries to Explain Those Boots on the Ground
As previously reported, 250 new Spec Ops are headed to Syria. After long asserting that the US would put no “boots on the ground” in Syria, then, after letting on that 50 were already there, Obama finally and fully reversed course, including the course of history, a few weeks ago. The newest contingent of 250 is not huge, in simple numbers, but the addition of these highly-trained troops amounts to a massive multiplier of US operational potential.
Of course, Obama and “post-reality” State Department spokesman Mark Toner now have entirely forgotten that they ever said the US would commit no troops to Syria, though 16 mentions have been recorded.
If we now learn that “50”, or “300” SpecOps are in Syria, or a few thousand US troops are in Iraq, we may assume the true number is some multiple of that.We must assume, based on past experience, that the US continues to falsify its true intents as well, and of course, it must obscure its past systematic support of terrorism and takfiri mercenary armies, no matter what its present schemes entail.
It is quite easy to read the actions of its proxies however: the FSA, Ahrar al Sham, and new favorite Muhammad Alloush’s Jaysh al-Islam, as well as the two groups the US was forced, at Geneva, to recognize as terrorist organizations but continues to support, Jubhat al-Nusra, and ISIS, as well as major US puppets in the region, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. (Israel is no puppet but one of the idiotic ‘masterminds’.) It is plain from their actions that the principle US intent is to undermine the ceasefire and seize control of what they can of Assad’s Syria, though toppling him now seems out of reach.
If the US is eyeing more direct control of the oil-producing regions of Syria, probably from al-Hasaka, and will play a less direct role in the west, it seems intent that its proxies around Aleppo and Damascus continue to be fed supplies to be used in a war of attrition against the SAA and the Syrian people. Chemical weapons have been brazenly used in the last weeks, by Ahrar al-Sham in Syria and ISIS in Iraq. Across the board, the US seems intent to spark a war of all-against-all in the west of Syria. It is no surprise, if we look at the global view. In an upcoming post, I will review a dozen different US provocations of Russia and China in the last weeks. The true Axis of Evil is taking its losses in Syria badly. Its potential losses on the trembling petrodollar will also be updated shortly.
Speaking of duplicity, the US also falsifies the sentiments of wizened Syrians and Iraqis. These now know much better the wiles of the Western imperium, than does their servile US ‘electorate’. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has called the reported deployment of 150 US troops to Rmeilan airport in the Northeast of the country as “an unacceptable and illegal intervention” which came without authorization from the Syrian government. In Foggy Bottom and at the NYTimes, nobody’s hearing a word.
I concur with Harrison Koehli‘s assessment, “Ordinary Syrians (also) know the game. In response to the U.S.’s illegal invasion of around 150 U.S. troops in Hasaka, in northern Syria, residents and local authorities protested the move: “We are categorically against the impermissible and flagrant violation of our country’s sovereignty. We will not allow American boots on our soil. We are also against any plans for a division or federalization of Syria,” Al-Hasaka Governor Mohammad Zaal said during the rally in Hasaka, the state news agency reported. A similar rally had earlier been held in the neighboring town of Qamishli.
(This in fact is what government ought to do. One of the founding institutions of the American Revolution was the Committee of Correspondence, which was responsible to get transparent information to the community, as well as the more famous Committee of Safety, whose intent is obvious.)
Despite the anti-ISIS rhetoric, everyone not enslaved by the Western media blackout now knows who the US typically supports, and who it typically destroys. If Syrian infrastructure and civilian population has suffered far more grievously than ISIS or al-Nusra in two-year campaigns of the 60-something country US-led coalition, the same is sadly true for US interventions in Iraq. We earlier linked to several tragic “friendly-fire” episodes where Iraqi troops on the verge of victories over ISIS were bombarded with dozens of deaths. Mosul in particular has been decimated by recent US attacks, as this sad report confirms.
As a year ago, US attacks are directed first and foremost at civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves. Sometimes they apologize, or say it was ‘collateral damage’. But ISIS has never had to sustain any serious attack from US forces. Will that now change? Will a real attack be made on Mosul? Only if the US can be sure the Iraqi army is outnumbered or outplayed by US subordinates. Will an attack on Raqqa be made? This seems more likely, but not a given. We will look more closely at the Kurds and ISIS in the next post.
Proxies come and proxies go, but the US is really there to control the most precious oil production regions of the two countries, either directly or through Kurds (which ones will sign on?) and/or ISIS — and to oppose the further consolidation of SAA and Russian advances. This is the essence of “Plan B”, which Kerry threatened to unleash in August if the ceasefire does not produce results to the US liking. But the quick upsurge in US “boots” on the ground in both Syria and Iraq, and the quick upsurge in rhetorical posturing, suggests Plan B is already operative, and not much different from Plan A, except the unspoken, begrudging acknowledgement of a few new “facts on the ground”, like “Assad will stay.”
Actions also suggest some US puppets and proxies are irretrievably sullied, and the contagion has surely spread hier bei UnS. (Brennan is already dreaming himself dressed as Lady Macbeth,”Out, out, damned spot…”). The eventual removal of ISIS represents simply the decennial shift in Gladio-style patsies and proxies. Likewise, nearby puppet kings and dictators and perhaps party bosses too may now be tumbled.The Fourth Reich swears no “entangling alliances”, except with Israel and Great Britain.
US blood may have been shed against ISIS once again, but there is no reason to believe ‘white hats’ or Sy Hersh’s rational actors in the Pentagon now are ascendant. We may hope, but there is no concrete reason to believe US anti-ISIS attacks are genuine, or will be sustained beyond the usual few days of press-worthy coverage. There is yet no reason to believe, in short, that the simple factual reason of Tulsi Gabbard or Dick Black has gained traction amongst our “deciders.”