On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US would no longer hesitate to engage in “direct action on the ground” in Iraq and Syria.
The change in rhetoric (and apparent shift in strategy) comes just days after the US seemingly prepared the public for what might be coming by releasing helmet cam footage of what Washington says was a raid on an ISIS prison by Delta Force (accompanied by the Peshmerga). 70 prisoners were allegedly freed although not before the US suffered its first combat death in Iraq since 2011.
The timing of the video is suspect, to say the least. It came just days after Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford visited Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi in an effort to dissuade Baghdad from requesting Russian airstrikes on ISIS targets. In short, it appears as though Washington is trying to simultaneously, i) prove to Mid-East governments that the US can still be effective in the fight against terrorism even as questions remain about ulterior motives and even as Russia racks up gains in Syria, and ii) prepare the public for the possibility that America is about to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Here’s more from WSJ on Washington’s new “strategy”:
The White House is seriously considering deploying a small squadron of Apache attack helicopters to Iraq as part of a package of new assistance programs to counter Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.
The move could ultimately require the deployment of hundreds more U.S. service members to Iraq. Among other proposals, U.S. officials said some in the military recommend openly deploying a small number of forces on the ground in Syria, embedded among moderate rebels or Kurdish forces there, for the first time.
Pressure is mounting on the regime to change course. Recent Russian intervention in Syria on the side of the regime, and the threat of Moscow intervening in Iraq next, has spurred the U.S. to step up its role, defense officials acknowledge.
Pentagon officials have recommended to the White House that the U.S. deploy as many as eight Apache helicopters and their crews to Iraq. The helicopters, known for their targeting prowess, could work in conjunction with as many as two dozen ground spotters who would embed with local ground forces to call in strikes against Islamic State targets
Alright, so let’s see if we can untangle this. Washington intends to send in the Apaches to bolster Iraqi forces both Peshmerga and otherwise. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. The Pentagon is also considering the placement of American ground troops with “moderate” rebels and with the YPG in Syria.
As we’ve detailed extensively (and this isn’t exactly a secret), Iran effectively runs the Iraqi military via its various Shiite militia proxy armies. That’s not an exaggeration. As Reuters reported earlier this month, “the Fifth Iraqi Army Division now reports to the militias’ chain of command, not to the military’s, according to several U.S. and coalition military officials.” So when the Apaches and their crews aren’t supporting the Kurds, they’ll be openly supporting Iran-backed fighters.
Only that isn’t at all consistent with placing US ground troops with Syria’s “moderate rebels” like the Free Syrian Army because after all, they’re fighting the very same Iran-backed Shiite militias. So the US would be bolstering the militiamen in Iraq with Apache gunship support and then firing on those exact same militiamen across the border in Syria in support of the “moderate” rebels battling to oust the Assad regime.
It’s beyond absurd.
Finally, there’s the possibility that if the US puts boots on the ground in Syria in support of the “moderate” rebels, those troops will be killed by Russia and Iran (which Dunford said on Tuesday likely has "more than 1,000 [soldiers] on the ground in Iraq [and] something less than 2,000 in Syria"), and with that, we close with several comments from Chairman of the Russian Upper House committee for foreign affairs, Konstantin Kosachev (via RT) and a few images:
Commenting on the potential involvement of US ground troops against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Kosachev once again highlighted that, when it comes to Syria, the US-led anti-ISIS campaign is already violating international law. Potential troops on the ground, Kosachev believes, will further violate international regulations
“Any operations – air based operations, ground based operations – in Syria by American forces will be illegal,”Kosachev told RT, explaining that Washington has not been invited by Damascus to take part in military operation in a sovereign country.
“They will get trapped, they will get involved in this ongoing conflict and the consequences will be absolutely unpredictable,” Kosachev said, addicting that sending US troops into Syria would be a “big mistake.”
At the same time, Kosachev, stressed that Russia would not send ground troops into Syria.
“No ground operation is possible [in Syria], because that would inevitably involve Russia in the ongoing war,” the politician told RT.
After all that is considered, I can only assume that our military wanted the footage to surface, despite the fact that it portrays a high risk operation being conducted by an ultra-secretive military force. Our government wanted the media to throw that video in our faces on every news channel, and they didn’t disappoint. Why I ask, would our government do that?
Obviously, they desperately want us to believe that they really are fighting ISIS, especially after the Russians thoroughly embarrassed them by taking the lead in Syria. However, that’s not the only reason. The real reason why our military let this video leak, and why the media was so enthusiastic about airing it, became abundantly clear earlier today when Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made a stunning announcement.
Essentially, the video was a promo for our return to Iraq. While the video is genuine, its content and the timing of its release make it an effective propaganda piece. They wanted to show the American people that they’re capable of defeating those savages with ISIS, if only we would let them put more boots on the ground. That of course, is something that most Americans haven’t been very enthusiastic about since the end of the Iraq War.
It’s also an attempt to rein in the Iraqi government. Right now, Washington is freaking out about seeing our allies in the Middle East defect to the Russian-Iranian alliance, and this is their last-ditch effort to regain control of the situation. They know that they need boots on the ground if they want to discourage Russia’s influence, and keep the Iraqi government in our hip pocket. Washington is quickly losing control of the Middle East, and they can’t stop it unless the American public implicitly allows them to start another invasion.
The only question is, are Americans ready for another major war in the Middle East? Are we really going to accept this mission creep into Syria, which could result in a war with Russia? Hopefully the American public won’t fall for Washington’s propaganda this time around.
With Syria about to become even more of a quagmire than it already was with US Special Forces sent into the 'death zone', we can easily see a scenario unfolding where they'll be 'accidentally' targeted by Russian missiles who are REALLY hunting down ISIS and as ANP readers know, there's no better way for the elite to get Americans begging to get into a shooting war with Russia than to tell them Russia just killed some of our brave men and women in uniform.
Wiles also tells us that Obama has somehow managed to infuriate both China and Russia on the same day with our Navy's recent transit in the South China Seas and according to Wiles, Obama should be taken away in handcuffs and is absolutely insane for provoking both China and the Russians and edging us all ever closer to nuclear annihilation.
Wiles also tells us that if Hillary Clinton is (s)elected, she'll set up a no-fly zone over Syria, another act that could quickly lead to war...
With Russia’s air campaign wiping out terrorist targets in Syria, the Obama administration has been forced to drastically rethink its strategy in the region. According to Simon Tisdall, writing for the Guardian, this is a panicked reaction, the result of fear that the US could lose influence in the Middle East.
After nearly a month of Russia’s airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, the militants’ infrastructure is crumbling. On Wednesday alone, the Russian fighters carried out 71 successful sorties against 118 targets, and a number of refugees are returning to their homes as terrorists flee.
The success of Moscow’s campaign has shown just how ineffective the US-led coalition’s year-long effort really was. America’s plan to train and equip so-called “moderate” rebels also ended in failure. At risk of losing international clout, President Obama is scrambling to adapt his strategy.
But the biggest policy change is the possibility that the Obama administration will place boots on the ground in Syria, breaking the president’s longtime pledge of keeping US ground forces out of further entanglements in the Middle East.
"…This latest rejig smacks of desperation," Tisdall writes. "It is another reminder of how Obama’s trademark policy to free the US of its Middle Eastern military entanglements has foundered on geopolitical realities."
Washington’s recent flexibility on the ultimate fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also a sign of the US losing influence to Russia, as is Iran’s recent inclusion in Syrian talks, the latter a "concession prompted by US weakness."
"Obama’s predicament helps explain why the US is showing more interest in a compromise transition deal to end the Syrian war, along lines proposed by Moscow," Tisdall writes.