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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What's The Strategy In Syria?

We got a typical "report" from the mainstream media, this time from The Hill, which discusses how the US role in Syria could "escalate" in the near future.  The reporter points to recent confrontations between US and Assad regime forces during which US planes shot down an Assad bomber that was attacking local American allies who were fighting ISIS, US planes shot at Assad ground troop who were also attacking those allies, US forces shot down a drone of Assad or Iranian ownership that had fired on US led forces, and, of course, the major missile attack that took out about a quarter of the Assad air force after Assad used chemical weapons again in the conflict against civilians.  Because this is more confrontation with Assad than took place during the entire eight years of the Obama administration, it is viewed as a sign of imminent escalation.  It's hard even for the media to criticize using missiles to stop attacks on civilians with sarin gas or using planes to for self defense or the defense of allies.  As a result, the "report" says that these "may" have been good things, but it then complains that we have no "strategy" in Syria.  Reading this article, you would think that our involvement in Syria is something like a haphazard military version of total chaos; we're in Syria, but no one knows why.  President Trump, we are told, just has no strategy.

It's rather disgusting that the mainstream media cannot be bothered to tell the truth.  The President has made it clear what US forces are doing in Syria.  Let's consider actual reality:

1.  American forces were introduced to Syria by president Obama, not by President Trump.  Obama ordered US air power to attack sites in Syria and then he sent special operations forces to assist and train local Syrians who were fighting ISIS.  Today, the only major addition by President Trump to these forces came when he ordered the cruise missile strike in response to the use of sarin gas by Assad.

2.  President Trump announced a clear goal in both Syria and Iraq:  it is US policy to see to it that ISIS is "destroyed".  It has also been announced as US policy that we seek no fight with Russian, Iranian or Assad regime forces but that we will use force in self defense or in defense of our allies if they are attacked.

3.  Obama had announced that America's goal was that "Assad must go" but then Obama backed off and negotiated deals which abandoned that goal.  Trump has not reimposed regime change as an American goal.  Trump, however, has not run away from taking steps that diminish the Assad regime when it does things that violate international law or attack our allies.

4.  Trump said a few months ago that the future government in Syria is up to the Syrian people.  That has not been changed by the White House.

This means that there is a clear strategic outline for the USA in Syria.  The idea that there is no strategy is ridiculous.

To be fair to the reporter for The Hill, it is possible that they expect President Trump to outline American tactics in Syria.  After all, Obama used to tell our enemies in advance what we would be doing and when we would be doing it.  President Trump has made clear for a long time that he would never discuss tactics.  That does not mean, however, that we have no plan, just that we don't intend to tell it to the enemy in advance.

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