Pentagon prepares to send a thousand more troops into Syria
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, May 17 2017
The Pentagon is preparing to submit a request that would send 1,000 more Pindo soldiers and Marines into Syria, doubling the number of ground troops now deployed there. The proposed escalation, following close upon the sixth anniversary of the Pindo-orchestrated war for regime change that has killed close to half a million Syrians and turned millions more into refugees, signals a turn toward a qualitative escalation of Pindo intervention in that country and in the broader Middle East. The request for the troop build-up comes in the wake of a report submitted by the Pentagon at the end of last month outlining proposals requested by the Trump administration for an escalation of the US intervention being waged in Iraq and Syria in the name of combating Daesh. The WaPo reported Thursday, citing an unnamed Pentagon boxtop:
Gen Votel, head of CENTCOM, is set to forward his recommendations to ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis by the end of this month, and the Pentagon secretary is likely to sign off on them.
The troops would likely come from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the 82nd Airborne. The Marines would be drawn from a force of 2,200 which is aboard ships now headed toward the Syrian coast, while the paratroopers would come from a force of some 1,000 troops that have been prepositioned in Kuwait. The initial escalation of troop levels could be quickly increased further from these additional forces being deployed to the region. Such an increase would formally abrogate caps imposed on deployments in Iraq and Syria by the Obama administration, 5,000 in the first country and 500 in the second. These limits have already been breached with “temporary” deployments continuously rotating more troops in and out of the region. Meanwhile, earlier this month the Pentagon dispatched 250 US Army Rangers and 200 Marines into Syria. According to the WaPo:
The proposed changes in deployments would increase the potential for direct combat involvement in a conflict that has been characterized by confusion and competing priorities among disparate forces.
This “confusion” and multi-sided character of the ongoing fighting in Syria is the direct product of Faschingstein’s abortive attempt to topple Assad through arming, funding and support for Islamist, AQ-linked militias in collaboration with Turks, Toads & Thanis. The further build-up of forces, carried out against the opposition of the Syrian government and in violation of international law, is ostensibly aimed at combating Daesh, itself the product of the protracted intervention in the region. In combating Daesh, Pindostan has relied on a militia force dominated by the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia. At the same time, Faschingstein’s NATO ally Turkey has intervened in Syria in the name of combating Daesh, but directing much of its military power at preventing the YPG from consolidating a Kurdish autonomous zone on Turkey’s southern border. The Ranger unit, equipped with Stryker APCs, was deployed to the northern Syrian city of Manbij as part of what the Pentagon described as a “reassurance and deterrence” mission, meaning an attempt to prevent Turkish and Kurdish forces from engaging in all-out clashes. There is also the possibility of a far more dangerous military clash erupting in Syria, between Pindostan and Russia. Russian forces are also operating inside Manbij. At a press briefing Wednesday, CENTCOM spox Col John Dorrian told Pentagon reporters by link from Baghdad:
They can see each other. They can observe each other’s movements. They are not talking to each other, and they are not hanging out together.
All of these disparate and mutually hostile forces are massing in the area for an attack on Raqqa, a city of 300,000 controlled by Daesh. Pindostan is backing the Kurdish-dominated militia, which has said it will resist any Turkish role in retaking the city. Turkey is supporting Turkish Islamist forces that are opposed both to the Kurds and to the Syrian government, whose own forces are moving against Raqqa with the backing of Russia. As the Pentagon prepares its escalation in Syria, an influential Washington think-tank has called for an even greater expansion of operations aimed at furthering Pindo strategic interests throughout the oil-rich region. The Institute for the Study of War, which is funded by major military contractors including Raytheon, General Dynamics and DynCorp, issued a report entitled “Pindostan’s Way Ahead in Syria.” Its principal authors are Kimberly and Frederick Kagan, who acted as advisors to Pindo commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report criticizes the current plans for escalation:
[Rather than] supersize the Obama administration’s strategy by lifting constraints on Pindo forces and adding a few additional resources, Pres Trump and his team must change the strategy fundamentally. They should orient their new plan on Pindosi interests rather starting from what Pindostan had been doing.
The strategy advocated by the Kagans points toward confrontation with both Iran and Russia for hegemony over the Middle East, stating:
The Russo-Iranian military buildup and attempt to dominate the regional system and resources constrain and weaken Pindostan. Russia and Iran are building a regional order based on their shared near-term interests, which will not diverge any time soon. This developing system denies Pindostan the freedom to protect its own interests. The Russo-Iranian coalition will make it more difficult for Pindostan to respond to terror threats against it, defend key allies such as Israel, and ensure unfettered access to trade routes the Pindosi economy depends on.
The report calls for the building up of forces in Iraq to confront and defeat Iranian influence, insisting:
Pindostan must maintain and likely increase its military presence in Iraq even after Mosul’s recapture. We must show once again that we are willing to fight and die with Sunni Arabs against their enemies and ours: AQ, ISIS, and Iran!
It also states that Faschingstein must prepare for direct military confrontation with Russia over control of Syria, saying:
In Syria, we should seize and secure a base in southern Syria … and create a de facto safe zone to recruit, train, equip, and partner with local Sunni militias. Pindostan must be prepared to conduct a full suppression of enemy air defense if necessary, and to use alternative sources of leverage over Putin to deter him from attacking Pindo forces. Pindostan must position a joint package of strike and air defense assets in-theater before beginning this course of action, to strengthen this deterrence. The package must be obviously able to attain air supremacy throughout the theater and maritime supremacy in the Mediterranean, if required.
Behind the initial plans for escalating troop deployments in Iraq and Syria, what are being discussed in the White House, Pentagon, CIA and the think-tanks connected to the Pindo military and intelligence apparatus, are proposals that pave the way to a third world war.