BEYOND MISSION CREEP: U.S. Planning to Send 1,000 More Ground Troops into Syria
by Patrick Henningsen - 21st Century Wire
March 17, 2017
Just as 21WIRE reported last week – the US mainstream media are still black-balling any substantial reporting about US boots on the ground in Syria. Instead, America’s media are obsessing over Trump’s tax returns, various Russian conspiracy theories, and Michael Flynn’s Moscow public speaking engagement in 2015.
With this latest Pentagon announcement of an additional 1,000 US troops to Syria, that would bring the total combat deployment to approximately 4,000 inside of Syria.
BREAKING: Israeli jets attack Syria government position, draw return fire.
Considering the amount of media coverage and political debate over the 5,000 US military personnel send to Iraq over the last 3 years – one must ask why the silence in US media about the stealth build-up for a major battle in Raqqa, Syria.
Previously, 21WIRE reported how the United States has sent in combat troops to support YPG fighters (Kurdish People’s Protect Units in Syria) – much to the dismay of Turkey, and to the annoyance of both Russian and Syrian planners. Turkey has been pressing the US to change its strategy for fighting Islamic State in Syria by abandoning the YPG whom it deems as terrorists (in league with the Kurdish PKK in Turkey).
The other aspect of this is being ignored by western media and their legion of panel ‘experts’. There are a number of rival factions and militias being backed by the US besides the Syrian Democratic Forces (comprised of Kurdish YPG). the US-led Coalition have substantial investments in Sunni extremist (terrorist) fighting groups allied under the Al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria) umbrella. Consider how back in late 2015, the US deployed 5o US Special Forces in Syria as ‘human shields’ – arguably to salvage its ‘rebels’ assets being ravaged by Russian airstrikes. After the Coalition’s epic loss when Al Nusra-led brigades were driven out of terrorist stronghold in East Aleppo, one must ask if there an element of this in US positioning around Manbij and Raqqa?
With so many stakeholders, the margin for error is extremely thin. The situation is fraught with risk for all parties.
NOTE: This is taking place amid a political storm in Washington – as the entire Democratic Party, half the Republican Party and the whole of the US mainstream media are all trying to bring down the Trump Administration. If Raqqa is deemed a success, it will effectively give Trump a win. If it is deemed a disaster, then it will be used to fuel the anti-Trump resistance in the US. If the White House is too desperate for a win, then the prospect of a mistake or miscalculation become riskier. If a major world war is to be triggered – it could very well happen here.
Clearly, the US and others are planning a massive operation to lay siege to Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in Syria. However, if the other similar allied operation in Mosul, Iraq is anything to go by, then expect massive civilian casualties in this battle too. The civilian carnage has been mostly censored from mainstream in the US and Europe, the ‘Coalition’ are afraid of the negative public relations backlash in the event that western public received too much negative news about the haphazard operation in Mosul. After early reports of massive civilian casualties in late 2016, it seems that the Pentagon have given the order to mainstream editorial desks to back off on negative reporting. How else can we explain how hundreds, and possibly thousands, of civilians killed in this month alone – has managed to escape any and all media scrutiny?
To underline this matter, yesterday, Human Rights Watch issued two new reports accusing Iraqi troops of using indiscriminate shelling into civilian areas in the fight to liberate Mosul from ISIS control.
Based these recent reports, it’s becoming more clear that US-led Coalition is sacrificing civilians in their objective to target ISIS fighters.To make matters worse, ISIS, like Al Nusra terrorists in Aleppo, have been using Mosul civilians as human shields. The only difference in this comparison is that western media were condemning the Syrian and Russian militaries for their anti-terror operations in Aleppo, while giving a free pass to clear US Coalition atrocities against civilians in Mosul.
Forget about any word from the US State Dept. either – as they run point on the cover-up:
All indications are that Raqqa could be even worse than Mosul. In addition to the civilian death toll for Raqqa, there is also the certainty of another Mosul repeat – a massive exodus of refugees out of the city, and heading somewhere – possibly towards Turkey.
The other conversation which has been deemed off limits by US and western media – is the fact that this US deployment inside of Syria is completely illegal under every international law, as well as in total violation of the US Constitution. US were not invited by the Syrian government – therefore, like its fellow NATO member Turkey, the US has effectively invaded Syria.
US involvement in Syria is now way past mission creep.
More on more US troops in Syria from the Washington Post….
U.S. military likely to send as many as 1,000 more ground troops into Syria ahead of Raqqa offensive, officials say.
The U.S. military has drawn up early plans that would deploy up to 1,000 more troops into northern Syria in the coming weeks, expanding the American presence in the country ahead of the offensive on the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, according to U.S. defense officials familiar with the matter.
The deployment, if approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Trump, would potentially double the number of U.S. forces in Syria and increase the potential for direct U.S. combat involvement in a conflict that has been characterized by confusion and competing priorities among disparate forces.
Trump, who charged former president Barack Obama with being weak on Syria, gave the Pentagon 30 days to prepare a new plan to counter the Islamic State, and Mattis submitted a broad outline to the White House at the end of February. Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, has been filling in more details for that outline, including by how much to increase the U.S. ground presence in Syria. Votel is set to forward his recommendations to Mattis by the end of the month, and the Pentagon secretary is likely to sign off on them, according to a defense official familiar with the deliberations.
While the new contingent of U.S. troops would initially not play a combat role, they would be entering an increasingly complex and dangerous battlefield. In recent weeks, U.S. Army Rangers have been sent to the city of Manbij west of Raqqa to deter Russian, Turkish and Syrian opposition forces all operating in the area, while a Marine artillery battery recently deployed near Raqqa has already come under fire, according to a defense official with direct knowledge of their operations.
The moves would also mark a departure from the Obama administration, which resisted committing more ground troops to Syria.
The implementation of the proposed plan, however, relies on a number of variables that have yet to be determined, including how much to arm Kurdish and Arab troops on the ground, and what part regional actors, such as Turkey, might have in the Raqqa campaign…
Continue this story at The Washington Post
READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files
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