Syria is a TOTAL mess. Assad is not the greatest, but then again he’s not Saddam. Does President Trump really want to put the United States in the middle of this mess with as many as 50,000 boots on the ground. After the strike of 59 Tomahawks on Syria, I would think they got Trump’s message. The message was loud and clear, not just to Syria but to others around the world, especially after the MOAB on ISIS in Afghanistan. America is back and we will use our military if we have to.
Whether you are Gen. McMaster, Gen. Jack Keane, Ann Coulter, Mike Cernovich, or Ezra Klein, everyone’s entitled an opinion. That’s what’s great about it. But who’s advise will President Trump decide to actually take when it comes down to the decision of sending 50,000 or 500,000 American troops into Syria?
Here’s Bloomberg on Syria:
Senior White House and administration officials tell me Trump’s national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, has been quietly pressing his colleagues to question the underlying assumptions of a draft war plan against the Islamic State that would maintain only a light U.S. ground troop presence in Syria. McMaster’s critics inside the administration say he wants to send tens of thousands of ground troops to the Euphrates River Valley. His supporters insist he is only trying to facilitate a better interagency process to develop Trump’s new strategy to defeat the self-described caliphate that controls territory in Iraq and Syria.
U.S. special operations forces and some conventional forces have been in Iraq and Syria since 2014, when Obama reversed course and ordered a new air campaign against the Islamic State.
Trump’s top advisers have failed to reach consensus on the Islamic State strategy. The White House and administration officials say Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and General Joseph Votel, who is in charge of U.S. Central Command, oppose sending more conventional forces into Syria. Meanwhile, White House senior strategist Stephen Bannon has derided McMaster to his colleagues as trying to start a new Iraq War, according to these sources.
So, as you can see there is a disagreement among top advisers and top cabinet members in the Trump administration on what the strategy is for defeating ISIS. Of course, we all know that Trump’s former adviser, Michael Flynn before he was fired, also opposed sending in troops on the ground. Now, it looks like Trump’s military leaders favor a more robust strategy which includes a combination of airstrikes and special forces.
Gen. McMaster however is skeptical of this approach.
Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general who is close to McMaster, acknowledged that the Kurdish forces have been willing to fight the Islamic State, whereas Arab militias have primarily fought against the Assad regime.
“Our special operations guys believe rightfully so that this was a proven force that could fight,” Keane said of the Kurdish fighters.
“While this makes sense tactically, it doesn’t make sense strategically. Those are Arab lands, and the Arabs are not going to put up with Syrian Kurds retaking Arab lands. Whenever you select a military option, you have got to determine what political end state will this support. Regrettably this option puts us back to the drawing board.”
There are other reasons that relying too much on the Kurds in Syria presents problems. The U.S. Air Force relies on Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to launch bombing raids over Islamic State positions in Syria. The Turks consider the Syrian Kurdish forces to be allies of Kurdish separatists within Turkey and have complained that Obama was effectively arming militias with weapons that would be turned on their own government. (Turkey’s own president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, cynically declared war on his own Kurdish population in 2016, exacerbating these tensions.)
“The president wants to defeat ISIS, he wants to win, what he needs is a U.S.-led conventional coalition ground force that can take Raqqa and clean out the Euphrates River Valley of ISIS all the way to the Iraq border,” Keane said.
“Handwringing about U.S. ground troops in Syria was a fetish of the Obama administration. Time to look honestly at a winning military strategy.”
However, recently Trump told Fox Business that that would not be his approach to fighting the Syrian regime: “We’re not going into Syria,” he said.
So therein lies the problem. If Trump wants to win, we might have to go into Syria with “boots on the ground.” But what does that look like – 50,000 or 150,000 troops?
Blogger and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich wrote on April 9 that McMaster wanted 150,000 ground troops for Syria, but U.S. officials that [Eli Lake] spoke with said that number was wildly inflated and no such plan has been under consideration.
But last Sunday in an interview with Fox News, McMaster gave some insights into his thinking on the broader strategy against the Islamic State.
“We are conducting very effective operations alongside our partners in Syria and in Iraq to defeat ISIS, to destroy ISIS and reestablish control of that territory, control of those populations, protect those populations, allow refugees to come back, begin reconstruction,” he said.
Bloomberg’s Eli Lake goes on to state, McMaster himself is no stranger to the surge. As a young colonel serving in Iraq, he was one of the first military officers to form a successful alliance with local forces, in Tal Afair, to defeat the predecessor to the Islamic State, al Qaeda in Iraq. During the Iraq War, McMaster became one of the closest advisers to David Petraeus, the four-star general who led the counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq that defeated al Qaeda in Iraq — and brought about a temporary, uneasy peace there.
Of course we all know what happened after that when Obama was in office, don’t we? Obama withdrew all of the U.S. forces in 2011 and ISIS regained Iraq and captured Mosul. The rest is history. What a nightmare!
Now, it’s up to Trump to decide what path we should take to take to win the war against ISIS.
“On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly stated that he had no interest in starting “World War III over Syria,” saying, “We have bigger problems than Assad.” His policy position was: “Let Syria and ISIS fight. I look at Assad — and Assad looks better than the other side.”
Somehow, I think Ann’s right! Syria is one big MESS! Here’s Ezra Klein’s video that supports the messiness in Syria:
What did I tell you? This is just one BIG mess, does President Trump really want to get in the middle of it? I don’t think so. Trump is about taking out and destroying ISIS. Some of Trump’s generals and advisers, like Gen. McMaster, well that may be a whole different story.
As Ann Coulter added,
“Assad is one of the least bad leaders in the entire Middle East. He’s not a murderous thug like Saddam, has no rape rooms, isn’t into jihad, protects Christians, and is fighting ISIS. He provided us with intelligence on al-Qaida after 9/11. He does not have crazy Islamic police slapping women around or throwing gays off buildings. (That would be our beloved ally, Saudi Arabia.)
…We have never succeeded at turning a Third World dictatorship into a paradise. The history of these things is that removing a Middle Eastern strongman always makes things worse — for example, in Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt.”
Let’s hope President Trump maintains his focus to defeat ISIS and not worry about removing Assad from power. Trump should stay focused on the rhetoric that got him elected…”Stay out of Syria.”
Trump has accomplished at a minimum, one important statement to the world….America is back. First, Trump sent Syria a message along with 59 Tomahawks…stop using chemical weapons. Then, he sent ISIS a message along with a MOAB…we know where you are and we will destroy you. In return, Trump also sent N. Korea a message as well, saying we are not messing around. China, handle it or ‘we will take of the problem’.
Trump has said in the past week, America’s military has returned and we are not backing down to bullies. But whether he gets involved in the messiness of Syria, removing Assad as a ruler, or sending in boots on the ground, the voters are going to have to put their trust in President Trump to ‘do the right thing’ and stay focused on the main task at hand…destroying ISIS.
In the meantime, there’s still plenty of swamp to be drained in Washington, DC.
God Bless President Trump and God Bless America!
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