Over the past several weeks, US military actions within Syria have been less and less ISIS-centric, with a handful of operations targeting Shi’ite militias in southern Syria, and even shooting down a Syrian government aircraft over the weekend.
This isn’t just the US idly getting into one-off fights in the course of a war they’re already fighting in Syria, but rather is reflective of a push by White House officials, with multiple National Security Council members looking at the Syrian War less as a fight against ISIS and more as a chance to pick a fight with Iran.
The Pentagon has made clear they object, with Defense Secretary James Mattis personally rejecting multiple proposals related to this. Still, attacks on Shi’ite militias whenever they got sort of close to a US-backed rebel base, and a public narrative presenting the militias as necessarily in league with Iran, have found the US heading down that path anyhow.
This isn’t a new battle. The Pentagon has been battling the CIA in recent years in a rather public fight over the war, with the CIA keen to make the war about regime change, and by extension fighting Iran, while the Pentagon has sought to keep the focus on fighting ISIS.
This is increasingly becoming a battle with the White House, as the administration’s review of policy toward various different nations has included a review of Iran, and as with all the other reviews, it seems to be leaning heavily toward picking new fights, and in the case of Iran, that fight is most readily fought in Syria.
Since the early days of Syria’s Civil War, there have been hawks viewing it as a potential proxy war against a key Iranian ally, and that view has only grown, which combined with the Trump Administration’s general hostility toward Iran, is pushing the US into widening their involvement in Syria.
21 thoughts on “White House Wants to Widen Syria War, Despite Pentagon Objections”
Trump should be absolutely impeached for this. What a freakin hypocrite this snake has become.
Yeah right like G.W. Bush was impeached over Iraq! No wait, he was re-elected instead. In fact, Trump is still way too much in line with decades of belligerent US Middle East policies. It’s possible the military has cemented itself into the fabric of the region by now. Pulling back might mean bringing the fragile structure down with it. Karma is a…
It seems quite the opposite; the military is trying to prevent itself from being un-cemented from the region as the regional structure strengthens into its place in the Eurasian century.
The neo-CIA’s proxy war solutions have managed to all but purge the U.S. from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. A forced military presence is not the same as real insider influence with the real local ruling elites, needing no overt threat of force at all.
Ironic given that it was from within the CIA that some of the strongest opposition to the Iraq war first arose, and covert soft power connections were supposed to be their specialty.
Trump=politician=hypocrite. It goes with the territory.
The Pentagon and the CIA both share Imperial ambitions, but the neocons have the CIA now, and have led the U.S. from one geostrategic disaster to another.
Its not a good situation; the public can scrutinize the official military far easier than the shadow government enforcers. The CIA appears to be running amok with its own version of disaster capitalism and disaster economics.
The Pentagon was always opportunistic but disaster prevention wasn’t an anathema to them. Perhaps the Deep Spooks think preventing the Eurasian century is disaster prevention, but they’ve hastened its arrival by making it a global peace and survival necessity for just about everyone not high on the Anglosphere, which is turning out to be most of the planet.
Disaster capitalism is mostly the broken window fallacy of economics as elucidated by Enlightenment philosopher Frederic Bastiat over 150 years ago in 1850. Except the perps today don’t care that its a fallacy as long is they get paid in the short term.
The military is left to pick up the sharp pieces with a limited budget while
the CIA enjoys a black budget as well as its share of the public pot.
Some pieces can never be picked up ever again. Bits of Syria maybe, but
Iran is moving further out of range into secure Eurasian orbit, never to
return to Western orbit.
The latest from Pepe Escobar at Sputniknews is “The West Can’t Smell What Eurasia is Cooking” (June 16, 2017). Pepe presents the ascension of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Council as the supplantation of the G7. Iran is set to join soon; Russia and China strongly desire it. Perhaps India may try and veto as a favour to the U.S. and its British Commonweal connections.
In any case that’s probably why the frantic push is on to get Iran, before it can join the SCO and become nigh-impossible to target kinetically or economically in any meaningful way.
“but the neocons have the CIA now”
They have the whole intelligence community.
As that community plays a role in the attack on Trump on behalf of neocon hawks of Team Hillary, it is also betraying her Democrats. It will cut Trump some slack in a deal to get its war. And Trump is caving in, in ways that Obama resisted.
They get their war on Iran, and Trump gets to stay President, suddenly “Presidential” and the “evidence” controlled by the intelligence community just evaporates.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, they are getting a war with Russia instead of Iran, and they are likely to lose it the way they have every other war they started (a lot of them).
The neocons couldn’t have the entire intel community or we wouldn’t be discussing it with nearly as much info as we have. Its a rather large community of some 17 agencies operating with a fair amount of secrecy and independence.
The split was evident during the U.S. elections with white hat efforts fronted by retired spy psych Dr. Steve Pieczenik coming out to expose Hilary even as the official leaderships of some worked to stop Trump. The CIA especially showed its hand in the Democratic Party; a serious breach of national security insofar as they’re not supposed to be that politicized and certainly not making international news about owning a major political party.
Trump is obviously in over his head and the patriot DS elements have since backed off supporting him too strongly, Kushner being a liability as well as Trump’s own missteps. However, with Kushner reduced by his own legal troubles, Trump the deal maker is starting to re-emerge. Maybe he was always there.
There’s not likely to be a war with Russia or Iran. Actions in Syria seem more last ditch posturing, a message to Putin not to shut the U.S. entirely out of Syria, but also a message to Trump opponents wanting escalation.
Syria is not worth going WW IV over; Russia may have no other options but the U.S. does. Trump very much appears to be pitching deals to the elites opposing him, not his base, saying this is the real price tag, are you willing top pay it, because there’s no getting around it. Its not very pleasant to hear. The answer should be an obvious no to further escalation, but time will reveal their answer.
That is the most hopeful view, but it assumes a level of control and calculation by Trump that seems unlikely, given his obvious limitations.
Versus Hilary’s obvious record of fail and the absence of any other viable White House candidate.
Global Research reports the Kurds may be ethnic cleansing Arabs from Raqqa, “US Coalition Cleansing Raqqa of Arabs to Expand Kurdish ‘Autonomous Region'”, a story they have been highlighting for the past few days since Andrew Korybko broke the story on June 15 at globalvillagespace .com.
Its a little early to tell; if the surviving Raqqans are refused right of return and the Kurds actually annex Raqqa, a more solid claim of ethnic cleansing can be made. Until then, its just the U.S. military calling the IS tactic of using human shields the only way it knows how.
Russia won’t turn a blind eye to ethnic cleansing; if this report is true, it kills any deal before it starts.
“looking at the Syrian War less as a fight against ISIS and more as a chance to pick a fight with Iran”
They are getting a fight with Russia, not with Iran. They are looking in the wrong direction, while it comes up on their blind side. It is like standing with back to the ocean waves, certain to get smashed.
The US acts as a vile and despicable moron with foreign and commercial interests pulling the strings.
Career military like Gen. Mattis actually care about troops deaths and don’t want escalation. 30-year old neocon warmongers like Ezra Cohen-Watnik couldn’t care less about American lives.
What day, date and time did the U.S. Congress make a lawful Declaration of War against any entity in Syria?
This is an unlawful invading action against Syria … just as it would be against any sovereign nation without the U.S. Congress having Constitutionally having made a lawful Declaration of War … as mandated under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11.
— “George Washington: “The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” (1793.)
So true! The Syrian intervention is wildly unconstitutional and illegal. We are bound by the Geneva Conventions (which Congress ratified in the 1980s) to not engage in aggressive war and attacks on civilian populations. But, when in the 21st Century did that ever stop the CIA, the MIC and the Neocons from doing anything they damn well felt like?
I would not rush to the conclusion that we know who is really advocating what. So, let me stick with the known-knowns.
Trump has made the decision that he was not going to get into the details of the plan to defeat ISIS. He made it clear that generals are in charge, and they alone decide how the military action will be conducted, with what resources and partners.
And from day one, it was clear that generals were following Hillary plan to perfection. Kurds or euphemistically called Syrian Democratic Forces, were the ground troops, that would with the US and coalition air forces help, defeat ISIS and maintain peace until the final settlement of Syrian war. This was — from day one — doomed to fail, as Clinton planners clearly knew it would. The objective was only to bamboozle the public into believing that ground forces were not needed. We all remember Hillary’s dramatic pronouncements in presidential debates about NEVER to use American “boots on the ground”. However, with the plan clearly not being ever able to achieve the goal, it was hoped to then start inching towards all sorts of escalation.
But what has happened is more problematic then the clever Hillary plan ever anticipated. Kurds do not have the manpower to hold even part of Raqqa governorate, never mind the rest of Syria-Iraq border areas and Syria-Jordan border areas. Worse yet, Kurds did not progress fast enough — in spite of ISIS literally withdrawing and abandoning villages to Kurds, and moving their fighters into confrontation with Syrian Army. So, suddenly Deir Azzor has seen more ISIS fighters, coming from Raqqa. The upshot? Syrian Army has been moving into Raqqa region, and taking large swaths of ISIS territory. The attack on Syrian forces has NOTHING to do with confrontation with Kurds. It is the bad plan going sour, as Kurds were unable to move fast enough, and Syrian Army chased ISIS from areas that we (US) already promised to Kurds. Turkey is moving back in to insure that Afrin Kurds do not get any ideas of breaking through, and getting into Raqqa. Another problem caused by haste to implement Hillary plan is Al-Tanf. Hillary’s plan was to keep the border area of Iraq and Syria permanently under some form of “international” control, that is, create a toll booth between two countries to prevent infrastructure and economic development independence. But as ISIS was melting fast, Syrian forces moved towards Al-Tanf, to meet Iraqi forces on the other end. In a very hasty move, US forces moved to stop Syrian Army, and then created a base there in the name of protecting some of our imaginary friends, “rebels” with a name but not known before. In response, Syrian Army just pushed past Al-Tanf, and at the distance of about 50 miles, managed to reach border and meet with Iraqi troops. Now, they are fortifying border, and getting reinforcements. In our media, these are always called “Shia mililitia”, “Hezbollah”, or anything that can be linked to Iran.
So, now, sitting at Al-Tanf, US is really cut off from ISIS on the other end. The only option left now is to OPENLY ATTACK SYRIAN AND IRAQI FORCES at the border, or to give ISIS reinforcements by attacking Syrian Army that is now fighting for Deir Azzor. Not much has been told about the city that has been for years surrounded by ISIS, and supplied only through air drops. US actually helped ISIS when Syrian Army at Deir Azzor was bombed by US — killing nearly 100 soldiers.
So, if this is the best our generals can do — implement Obama’s and Hillary’s plan — than it is time for questions. I am not sure how can White House ask for expanding the war, when Trump has explicitly turned over strategy, and resources over to Pentagon. It is Pentagon that must analyze the causes for failure, and adjust their plan to destroy ISIS. Pretending that all other actors are not fighting ISIS — is no longer possible, as the results of the last several months show.
It is true that Trump’s NSC is staffed with armchair hawks, but will Trump betray military? Not likely. If Pentagon needs to find solutions that do not involve starting WWIII, that should remain the option.
As of now, in spite of very conciliatory noises coming out of our war rooms, Russia has not backed away from the cut off of de-conflicting mechanism, and declaring control over Syria West of Euphrates. While there are Syrian forces east of Euphrates, including Hassakah, border with Iraq, and other points, US had controlled the air space over ISIS territory from day one of ISIS coming to the scene.
And even if we can forget the fact that this is an illegal war under the pretext of fighting terrorists, we cannot just write off the fact that the default Hillary plan adopted by Pentagon, is going off the rails. The solution is not to open another front when two of them are already failing.
Nice analysis. However, you forgot that Trump passing the buck to the generals doesn’t let him off the hook. He’s allowing the generals to implement what you call the Hillary/Obama plan. It’s now the Trump/Hillary/Obama plan, which seems unfair to H as she was never President and was also never as Sec of State and a Senator placed in charge of military planning or strategy. Trump is the President and is responsible. What happened to, ‘the buck stops here?’
In terms of population and economy, Russia is like a 90lb woman armed only with pistol against a 200lb thug (USG) who not only is armed with several guns but also has little dipshits like Britain, France and Germany to provoke Russia.
What can Russia do? Put bullet in the head of the NATO (US) via a nuclear weapon. Then the other little dipshits will likely run for cover. But if they don’t, being raped and murdered by a gang of thugs isn’t as bad as the quick bullet.
This is scary.
Russian women snipers were among the deadliest of WW II.
Wouldn’t a war with Iran benefit Russia? Price of oil would go up. Europe’s growing distrust with USA would increase. USA would blow through another couple of trillion dollars. It seems the Russians don’t think war is nearly as good an idea as Americans do. So even if it theoretically would benefit them they still seek to prevent it.
No, although the answer is more complex than just oil. There’s now enough oil gushing in the world to keep prices down for years with or without Iranian production.
Iran is more or less a Russian ally and they’ve been promoting Iranian entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the new Eurasian G7 (that is now 8) great economic powers, none of which are Western. This is why the U.S. is pushing for war with Iran, to prevent it from permanently entering Eurasian orbit or being useful to Eurasia. Secondarily, they want to prevent Iran from becoming a regional check to Israel, which is the main benefactor of the failure of Iran and the U.S. to reconcile.
Zero Hedge has reprinted a story by Foreign Policy detailing the U.S. hand in the CIA Iranian anti-democracy coup in 1953, “64 Years Later CIA finally Releases Details on Iranian Coup”. The CIA ended the Middle East’s then and only real democracy, igniting resentments that led to the Iranian 1979 Revolution. The Iranian revolution permanently removed it from the Western side of the Great Game.
Iran is critical to access the central Asian ‘Stans, the southern nations of Halford MacKinder’s World Heartland. Russia forms the central and northern bulk of the Eurasian/World Heartland. Iran more or less secures Russia; even if it does not border Russia directly.
Iran is more properly part of Mackinder’s outer islands, redefined by Nicholas Spykman as the Rimland. Rimland theory describes an arc of countries surrounding Russia as an arc of instability critical to controlling the Heartland of the Heartland itslef cannot be controlled. Iran is very stable at the moment, and the U.S. is itching to give it the chaos treatment before it can recover and become a true regional power again.
The World Heartland is a natural geographical seat of power. The North American Great Plains forms a similar but far smaller global heartland to the World Heartland. From a Heartland, a nation theoretically has the resources and natural defenses to rule the world, as the U.S. clearly demonstrates.
F. William Engdahl wrote a critical article “The Eurasian Centry is Now Unstoppable” (Oct. 4 2017, New Eastern Ourtlook) that explains today’s Mackinderan context very well; the Eurasians are now playing MacKinder, and playing it right, through peaceful economic and political cooperation, not war.
This is the end result of the president allowing the delegation of declaring war to be held to the pentagram and removed from congress, of course the generals who work for the MIC are going to decide on war to enrich themselves and the Corporations dedicated to financing and supplying BOTH SIDES!
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