Turbulent week in Syria

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Turbulent week in Syria

Seems like it was only last week when President Trump had said a total withdrawal from Syria was imminent, which seemed like good news.

But in reality it was 10 days ago:

President Donald Trump said Thursday that the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon," just hours after the Pentagon highlighted the need for US troops to remain in the country for the immediate future.

"We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now," Trump told supporters at an Ohio event on infrastructure.

"We are going to have 100% of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land ... But we are going to be coming out of there real soon. We are going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be," Trump added.

A week ago military leaders requested a bit longer, and the President acquiesced:

President Trump has instructed his military commanders to quickly wrap up the American military operation in Syria so that he can bring troops home within a few months, senior administration officials said on Wednesday. He dropped his insistence on an immediate withdrawal, they said, after commanders told him they needed time to complete their mission.

The president’s decision to keep the 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria for the immediate future came in a meeting of the National Security Council in the White House Situation Room on Tuesday, hours after Mr. Trump had told a roomful of reporters that “it’s time” to bring American forces home from a conflict that has been a crucial battlefield in the fight against the Islamic State.

At the meeting, Mr. Trump’s top military advisers told him they had drawn up plans to pull American troops out of Syria immediately. But they also presented a plan for the forces to stay longer to clean out the residual pockets of Islamic State fighters and to train local forces to stabilize the liberated territory so that the group could not regain a foothold.

“How long do you need to do that?” the frustrated president asked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, according to an official present for the exchange.

They responded that it was difficult to predict a precise timetable, but that it would not take years. As long as the operation lasted months rather than years, Mr. Trump replied, “I can support that.”

Then Assad, for reasons not quite clear to me, decided using chemical weapons again was a good idea:

Days after President Trump said he wanted to pull the United States out of Syria, Syrian forces hit a suburb of Damascus with bombs that rescue workers said unleashed toxic gas.

Within hours, images of dead families sprawled in their homes threatened to change Mr. Trump’s calculus on Syria, possibly drawing him deeper into an intractable Middle Eastern war that he hoped to leave.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday. He blamed Iran and Russia — even singling out President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia by name — for their support of the Syrian government.

“Big price to pay,” he wrote, without providing details.

I’m honestly not clear on why he did that from a strategic standpoint.  If he wants the US gone, he could have just waited, but apparently he has something to gain by our being there, presumably Russia’s support bolstered them. 

And, now here we are, getting ready for more Shock and Awe:

Defying Russian warnings against U.S. military strikes in Syria, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to Syria's suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria," Trump tweeted. "Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Trump did not detail what a strike would look like, or whether these would be U.S. missiles. U.S. officials have been consulting with global allies on a possible joint military response to Syria's alleged poison gas attack. Trump canceled a foreign trip in order to manage a crisis that is testing his vow to stand up to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that his threats are "reckless" and endanger international peace and security.

Again, if Syria was concerned about recklessness, peace and security, perhaps not triggering a response by using chemical weapons might have been a better route.   Looks like they fear our missiles considerably less than they fear Russia losing interest, and so we’re back to this morass again.  Certainly can’t pin this one on us, use of chemical weapons has always been our line in the sand.  But I don’t really get how this bolsters the regime except the Russian support, and perhaps some extra support from the populace.  Which means that he believes that starting more trouble is less tenuous for him than the status quo.  Either way, not a good scene.

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Maybe, just maybe it was not Assad that used the chemical weapons. Maybe it was John McCain's "moderate rebels" aka ISIS. You ever think of that MOTHAX?

That isn't beyond the imagination except I'm not sure why ISIS would want to trigger a continued U.S. presence. Also, is ISIS also fighting the Assad regime?

So, leatherneck believes McCain sneaked a chopper to Syria and delivered chemicals in a fake attack? Evidence?

I think he's citing to the New Eastern Outlook report about this,  NEO is paid for by the Kremlin.  Whereas I cited that notorioius right wing NeoCon organization the New York Times.  But it's not clear.  Figured I'd just let him run with it.

Right-wing? That's a laugh.

France says it has 100% proof the attack happened and Assad ordered it, Prime Minister is considering all options at this time and it will be a multi-national response, one that Russia will not want to interfere with because it will deepen a divide with the Greater portion of the west and destroy the Russian economy, Assad will be removed one way or another

Great story/article. I'm with the President on his decision to use missiles. I feel that the dictator needs to be removed from office and deposited in the Hague Court as was done with Sadam Hussein years ago for his killing of his own people. Assad has gassed he country many times before. One bombing is too much. Babies can not be an enemy. He and his military MUST be stopped. Baby civilians must not be victims in their own homes.

Assad is using Russia to do their dirty work and keeping the US their will keep Russia their also. Assad does not give a crap about Russia.

This is the result of our long standing problem of not presenting our country in a consistent way. Our line in the sand with Obama disapeared in the sand on now we have to redefine it. All at the risk of our troops.

Well bein a Pvnt Med Spec chemical weapons are never good. I started spraying malathion in 1968 and agent orange and other chemicals during my 22 years in the army. We can deal with it and win a war They were made to slow us down. The people that really suffer are the children. I have neuropathy now. Wearing a Fentanyl pain patch. Not a good life. We must stop chemical weapons. No soldiers any better than the US to do so. Fall out will be on all sides. Investigate befor we retaliate. Godspeed.

Assad and his allies have the war practically wrapped up. If outside powers would stop funding, training, and supplying scum of the earth jihadi they could get it done that much quicker.

Said scum were leaving Douma by the thousands and it's absurd to think that Assad, on the verge of victory, would target civilians, for gosh sakes, whose death would achieve zero tactical purpose and strategically only waken up a nest of yellow jackets. How logical does that strike anyone?

The article "The World's Two Superpower Countries Are Walking On The Edge Of The Abyss In Syria" at Zero Hedge by Elijah Magnier is the best thing anyone can read on Syria right now.

Well I recall when Hungary rebelled against being controlled by Soviet Russia. The Soviet reaction was to invade Hungary with military forces and tanks and they proceeded to brutally crush the Hungarian revolt. A good many Americans felt the United States should come t the aid of the Hungarians. Eisenhower didn't/t and he was criticized a lot for not going to war to aid the Hungarians. And now today Hungary and most all of the Soviet sponsored Warsaw Pact ar members of NATO. Now in view of this and in view of the fact that most experts feel tha a nuclear war would be disastrous for all it is a time for cool heads to prevail. And too back in March of 1988 Saddam Hussein bombed the Iraqi Kurdish village of Halabja with poison gas killing an estimated 6,800 Kurds. Our reaction then. Even though we were fully aware that Saddam Hussein did this was to claim the Iran was responsible for the attack. And we gave Saddam Hussein intelligence we got from our satellites telling Saddam's forces the location of the Iranian defense lines so Saddam's forces could more accurately lob poison gas shells into the Iranian lines. And now we want to risk a nuclear war over reports coming from the Syrian rebels alleging that Assad and Russia launched the attack. Cut Bono as they say.

Ship them over have them fight a get treated like enlisted do......no special treatment...have them fight by there own rules they made....and see their tune change chucky..Nancy..snd waters... as and finstian....see how they last.....

The attack was on the Kurds, not Iran. He used mustard gas.

Let's face it; we're the cops of the Democratic nations. The world looks to us to ensure regimes behave in a civilized manner. We are faced with evidence of actions beyond the norm by a nation that is subjugating its people. A reaction militarily, as much as it will push Russia-US relations to the brink, is absolutely necessary. All vets know who bears the brunt of decisions of our leaders. It is again going to rest on our soldiers/sailors to show the world we hold evil regimes to feel the consequences.

The Trumpster said he was coming! They hide their toys. All is quiet for a few weeks, (a good thing) then the evil ones once again come out of their holes.That is when we hit 'em. Great plan Mr. President. Reminds me of when I hunted gophers in ND. Patients and will rue the day............ As a Subvet of thirty years, I know what we are capable of. And I know what our Commanders are able to do when allowed to. Presidents like Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama were Military Micro Managers. Vietnam where I served is prime example.

Your as sharp as a tack, and everyone knows it. I am very proud that you are my president. He's a man second to none!

Cool heads very much needed at this time. I do not want any more of our soldiers getting killed for a PIPELINE or Natural gas reserve !

The idiot will get us into war that we do not need.

After going through 8 years with a gutless POTUS, I'm happy we have someone who stands up for the USA.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.