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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) The Growing War with Syria? (Read 844 times)
Demos
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The Growing War with Syria?
Jun 7th, 2017 at 12:16pm
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While everyone is focused on the Russia investigation, we seem to be moving more deeply into war with Syria, for which there is no Congressional authorization.

Quote:
The Pentagon said the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State terror group struck pro-government forces Tuesday in southern Syria after they entered an area near a coalition base.

The attack took place near Tanf, Syria after forces supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad entered the area with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, other vehicles and more than 60 soldiers.

A senior U.S. defense official told Fox News the pro-regime forces got between "25 to 55 kilometers" from the well-known training base.

The U.S. then carried out multiple airstrikes on these forces after multiple warning shots were fired, flyers were dropped and two calls were placed to the Russians on a de-confliction hotline, the official said.

The U.S. military took "a variety of steps to deescalate and warn" the forces, the official said, adding they "were asked to leave."

When the forces did not withdraw, U.S. warplanes bombed them around 11 a.m. ET. The Pentagon statement didn't further identify the targeted forces...

Source

Quote:
A military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad threatened on Wednesday to hit US positions in Syria, warning its 'self-restraint' over US air strikes would end if Washington crossed 'red lines'.

The threat marks an escalation of tensions between the United States and the Syrian government and its backers over control of Syria's southeastern frontier with Iraq, where Washington has been training Syrian rebels at a base inside Syrian territory as part of its campaign against Islamic State.

The area is seen as crucial to Assad's Iranian allies and would open an overland supply route from Tehran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon - the 'Shiite crescent' of Iranian influence that is a major concern to US-allies in the region.

Source

What do we consider our commitment to be in Syria? What are we willing to do? How far are we willing to go? Are we going to "Americanize" the conflict, i.e., no longer just provide arms and training for rebel groups, and put us into direct conflict with Syria and Iranian backed forces?

Some important questions that no one in Congress seems to be asking (at least publicly); hopefully some in the administration (Mattis and McMaster) are.
  
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Demos
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #1 - Jun 7th, 2017 at 12:46pm
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #2 - Jun 8th, 2017 at 12:28pm
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"Today was the third set of kinetic strikes the U.S. conducted in response to threats posed to #Coalition forces operating out of At Tanf" (Source).
  
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #3 - Jun 8th, 2017 at 1:21pm
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I still don't understand why we continue to train these rebels when time and time again it has come back to bite us in the ass.  Now our troops are on the verge of being surrounded by hostile forces.
  

Deny, Ignore, Evade, Distract, Place Blame Elsewhere!  Must defend the Trump Messiah!

But, but, but....but Hillary, but Lynch, but Obama, but Boosh, but Clinton!
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Demos
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #4 - Jun 15th, 2017 at 1:57pm
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Quote:
About that “Deconfliction Zone” in Syria: Is the United States on Firm Domestic and International Legal Footing?

The U.S. military has at least three times in recent weeks engaged in hostilities against pro-Syrian regime forces near the At Tanf garrison in southern Syria and shot down a pro-regime drone in the same region on June 8.  In the first of these instances, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis referred to the pro-regime forces more specifically as “Iranian-directed forces.”  After the second of these two incidents, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released a “Coalition Statement on Actions near At Tanf, Syria,” describing what it refers to as a “deconfliction zone” established by the United States within Syrian territory.  “The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime or pro-regime forces,” it states, “but remains ready to defend themselves if pro-regime forces refuse to vacate the de-confliction zone.”

The escalating trend of hostilities between the U.S. military and pro-regime forces is deeply concerning.  It raises the specter of a full-blown war among powerful militaries in Syria–between the United States and its partners on one side, and Syria, Russia, and Iran and their partners on the other.  This is not an exaggeration.  In the second exchange of fire, it was reported that “the US-supported forces also were forced to pull back when they were attacked by Russian aircraft.”  In a region already devastated by years of brutal conflict, the security and humanitarian implications are evidently grave.

From a purely legal standpoint, the recent U.S. military actions against pro-regime forces also raise immediate and serious questions.  The United States’ domestic and international legal footing in Syria must be addressed before we stumble further into the Syrian civil war, with the potential consequence of turning it into an international armed conflict.  Putting aside the somewhat murky issue of “unit self-defense” that arises when U.S. forces are defending themselves under fire or against a clear hostile intent, it is the actions of the United States that come before that point that must be examined.  Specifically, the United States purports to have carved out a swath of territory within Syria’s borders for use as a training ground (the so-called “deconfliction zone”) in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and is using military force to expel pro-regime forces from that zone and its vicinity.  This raises the following questions: is taking and holding Syrian territory sought by the Syrian regime and its allies lawful?  And if so, what are the limits of action the United States can take against pro-regime forces under its theory of self-defense against ISIL?  As a domestic law matter, has Congress authorized the use of force against the Syrian regime, its allies Russia and Iran, and their non-state proxies, or is the Trump Administration acting unilaterally?

The policy questions regarding whether the United States should enter this war are many, to say the least, and must be saved for another day.  But the answers to these primarily legal questions also matter for our democracy:  we should not slide into a war without a clear and defensible legal basis, under domestic and international law, and Congress must not abdicate to the Executive its imperative constitutional responsibility of making “the hard decision to go to war”...

Source

More at the link.
  
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #5 - Jun 17th, 2017 at 2:00pm
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I know ship naming is an incredibly important topic, as are the many deep state conspiracies, but maybe, we ought to be a little more concerned with this debate in the administration and whether or not we're going to be engaged in wider, direct conflict with Iran.

Quote:
White House Officials Push for Widening War in Syria Over Pentagon Objections

Two Trump officials want to confront Iranian-backed fighters, but Defense Secretary James Mattis has balked at the idea

...Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, and Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East advisor, want the United States to start going on the offensive in southern Syria, where, in recent weeks, the U.S. military has taken a handful of defensive actions against Iranian-backed forces fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Their plans are making even traditional Iran hawks nervous, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has personally shot down their proposals more than once, the two sources said...

Despite the more aggressive stance pushed by some White House officials, Mattis, military commanders, and top U.S. diplomats all oppose opening up a broader front against Iran and its proxies in southeastern Syria, viewing it as a risky move that could draw the United States into a dangerous confrontation with Iran, defense officials said. Such a clash could trigger retaliation against U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Syria, where Tehran has armed thousands of Shiite militia fighters and deployed hundreds of Revolutionary Guard officers.

Mattis, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Brett McGurk, the U.S. diplomat overseeing the anti-Islamic State coalition, all favor keeping the focus on pushing the Islamic State out of its remaining strongholds, including the southern Syrian city of Raqqa, officials said. “That’s the strategy they’ve signed off on and that’s where the effort is,” said one defense official...

It’s not the first time Mattis and Dunford have found themselves having to push back against White House proposals for aggressive action they consider ill-conceived and even reckless. Earlier, the two opposed a tentative idea that would have sent a large U.S. ground force into Syria to oust the Islamic State instead of relying on local Syrian Kurd and Arab fighters backed by U.S. commandos.

The latest disagreement coincides with a months-long White House review of Iran policy, which includes an examination of the role of Iranian military officers and proxies supporting the Syrian regime, as well as the multilateral nuclear agreement with Tehran. The broad policy assessment has exposed divisions in the administration over when and where to counter Iran, officials said...

Some administration officials have argued for taking on Iran in Yemen too, by expanding support for the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels, who enjoy backing from Iran. Like Syria, however, a larger U.S. role in Yemen’s civil war carries an array of risks, and experts say treating Yemen as a proxy war with Iran could backfire badly. In their fight against the Houthi rebels, forces loyal to ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the Saudi-led coalition that backs them, have worked with local actors with suspected ties to al Qaeda.

It is unclear where National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster falls in the debate over how to respond to Iranian proxies in Syria, but he likely sides with Mattis and the Defense Department’s position given his own military background. McMaster has also had previous run-ins with Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, both of whom work for him, but at times have sought to go around him...

McMaster tried to move Cohen-Watnick to a different job within the NSC when he took over as national security advisor. To save his job, Cohen-Watnick appealed to two key advisors — Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner — who then asked Trump to block the move.

Harvey has also tried to outmaneuver his boss. He tried to get so-called Obama holdovers fired from the National Security Council by appealing to the president and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon. But McMaster refused...

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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #6 - Jun 17th, 2017 at 2:44pm
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Demos wrote on Jun 7th, 2017 at 12:16pm:
While everyone is focused on the Russia investigation, we seem to be moving more deeply into war with Syria, for which there is no Congressional authorization.

Source

Source

What do we consider our commitment to be in Syria? What are we willing to do? How far are we willing to go? Are we going to "Americanize" the conflict, i.e., no longer just provide arms and training for rebel groups, and put us into direct conflict with Syria and Iranian backed forces?

Some important questions that no one in Congress seems to be asking (at least publicly); hopefully some in the administration (Mattis and McMaster) are.

Russia's relationship with Assad in Syria is not unlike China's relationship with Kim Jung Il, in N. Korea.  Syria and N. Korea are puppets, who sometimes get a bit out of control of their Masters, yet without Russia and China's continued support, they would not exist.  Putin has strengthened his alliance with Iran and is now getting involved with the Taliban in Afghaistan.

We may end up with a conflict with Putin in the Middle East and China in N. Korea.

It's all part of the mess that Obama left for Trump to have to deal with.

All the time, the Media and the rest of the Democrats only focus on  FAKE NEWS about  Trump's collussion with the Russians and Obstruction!
  

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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #7 - Jun 17th, 2017 at 4:43pm
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My primary worry is that Trump has deferred so much to the military in terms of troop levels and ROE. If you're a military type, you view issues through a military lens. Historically, this means doubling down for the "win", using military means.

Congress has outsourced their role to the Executive as they know their constituents want both no more war and great victory, an impossible combination.

It's a recipe for escalation, IMO.
  

For too long have we sat under the thumb of mankind! The time has come to *oppose* that thumb!

A nothing burger!
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Demos
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #8 - Jun 17th, 2017 at 4:47pm
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Mojo-Jojo wrote on Jun 17th, 2017 at 4:43pm:
My primary worry is that Trump has deferred so much to the military in terms of troop levels and ROE.

A lot of that has been deferred to Mattis, who seems to the one pushing back on escalation. However, Trump often overrides the judgment and advice of Mattis, McMaster, and Tillerson (see NATO speech, Paris Agreement, and Qatar).

Quote:
Congress has outsourced their role to the Executive as they know their constituents want both no more war and great victory, an impossible combination.

Yeah, I have no faith in Congress stepping up to the plate on this issue, although some Senators have tried to raise the issue.
  
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Re: The Growing War with Syria?
Reply #9 - Jun 19th, 2017 at 12:01pm
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Russia Threatens U.S. Warplanes in Syria, Escalating Tensions

Russia warned Monday that any U.S. or coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria will be tracked by Russian warplanes and anti-aircraft batteries, a swift reaction to Sunday’s shootdown of a Syrian SU-22 bomber by an American F-18...

As part of its protest against the shooting down of the Syrian jet, which the Russian Ministry of Defense called a “flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” Moscow also said it was shutting off the hotline maintained by U.S. and Russian military officers in the region, where each side provides warnings about impending air operations in Syria...

Despite the Russian warnings, “we will continue to conduct air operations throughout Syria,” spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition Col. Ryan Dillon told Foreign Policy Monday. The shootdown was in “accordance with the rules of engagement and international law,” he said. Dillon added that U.S. air operations continued as normal on Monday.

The Russian statement was careful not to promise to shoot down coalition aircraft, but warned that any coalition aircraft “will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets”...

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