According to the Military Times, the U.S. military has launched a “reassurance and deterrence” mission in the Syrian city of Manbij, which is set to become more complicated with the arrival of Russian troops and continued advances by Turkish-backed rebels.
The situation was already complex due to the presence of Syrian Kurdish forces on the ground, who are opposed by forces loyal to Turkey. The Kurds are considered to be the most effective fighting force against ISIS, yet Turkish-backed forces seem more concerned with fighting against them rather than fighting ISIS. The U.S. military has fewer than 100 elite Army Rangers stationed in Manbij, and Russian troops are there to provide security for humanitarian convoys.
According to Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, the U.S. and Russia have had no close interaction on the ground. For its part, Moscow has “kept [the U.S.] abreast of their operations” in Manbij, but the two militaries do not coordinate in Syria.
The Military Times noted that U.S. troops are on the ground primarily to assist local forces oust ISIS. However, as Anti-Media previously reported, ISIS has almost been defeated, and as a result, the likelihood of mission creep is possible. This is made clear by the U.S. military’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia, a country that also wants to deploy troops to Syria for the specific purpose of opposing pro-regime troops, as well as Iranian troops and Hezbollah fighters.
That being said, if the mainstream media were doing its job effectively, it would make a point of distinguishing between Russian and American roles in the region. The U.S. military has no legitimate excuse for invading Syria, whereas Russia’s military presence was formally requested by the Syrian government in 2015.
What should be clear, however, is that none of these parties view human rights as a motivating concern for engaging militarily in Syria. All parties have blood on their hands, and in light of the fact that two nuclear powers are now stationed in the same Syrian city with complete polar opposite interests, it’s possible they will make an incredibly dire situation into an international powder keg.
FIVE migrants allegedly gang raped a seven-year-old girl at a refugee centre in Germany, according to reports
Cops are probing a “serious sexual assault” at the Central Initial Reception Center (ZEA) for refugees in the Hamburg, reports say.
The alarm was reportedly raised on Tuesday evening shortly after 7pm.
A girl, aged seven, is thought to be the victim of the alleged group sex attack, German newspaper BILD reported.
Five Arabs have reportedly been accused of carrying out the alleged assault.
Public prosecutor Nana Frombach told BILD: “We have initiated a case against five persons.
“There had been no urgent need for action. The investigation will continue.”
Though a number of U.S. soldiers were previously deployed to Syria under the Obama administration, the U.S. government has just sent an additional 400 troops to Syrian territory without congressional approval, without approval from the Syrian government, and without approval from the U.N.
Given the illegality of the move, the real question regarding the operation must focus on the motive. Why is the United States military, under a president who ran on a campaign of focusing less on wars abroad, sending more troops to Syrian territory? Trump supporters often argue this is to fulfill his campaign promise to defeat ISIS.
The first thing to note, however, is that ISIS has already been more or less defeated, with or without American assistance. ISIS currently has one major stronghold left in Iraq, which American air power is currently assisting various Iraqi militias on the ground to crush. The terror group also has one final remaining substantial stronghold in Syria.
If this is the case — and as ISIS soldiers flee Mosul in Iraq and head towards Syria — one is left to wonder why on earth the Trump administration is also sending 1,000 American troops to Kuwait, as well. According to one anonymous official, the Kuwaiti deployment is “about providing options,” whatever that means.
The second thing to note is that since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iranian influence has been spreading throughout the Middle East. The biggest winner of the Iraq war was Iran, namely because the United States and the United Kingdom ousted Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who spent years bombing and gassing Iranians. Shortly after, Hussein was replaced by a U.S.-backed, Shia-led government that was able to align itself with Tehran. In 2005, Iran formed a formal defense agreement with Syria, creating a three country-strong wedge between NATO and the Caucasus region, which was further strengthened with the addition of Lebanon, which is home to Iran’s proxy army, Hezbollah.
The most complicated aspect of this alliance is the fact that it may soon include Yemen, as a Houthi-led insurgency may create an Iranian-aligned government on Saudi Arabia’s border (contrary to what the mainstream media claims, Iran’s support for the Houthi movement is incredibly limited, but the possibility of an alliance with Tehran is very real).
The resistance to this Iranian-led alliance by the U.S.-Israel establishment can be seen in a variety of ways. For example, in 2013, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, told the Jerusalem Post:
“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”
According to the Post, Oren said this was the case even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
In the case of Iraq and Syria, Iran’s influence has been integral in recent developments. Iranian militias have already done the bulk of anti-ISIS fighting on the ground in Iraq, yet the U.S. wants to swoop in at the final stages and claim a victory they have ultimately contributed very little towards.
On top of this, Saudi Arabia is also sending ground troops to Syria with the express purpose of preventing liberated areas of Syria from falling into the hands of Syria, Iran, and/or Hezbollah.
The United States and its allies are now illegally moving into Syrian territory for one main purpose: to shape the outcome of the battle. Even though Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States officially all have the same goal of defeating ISIS, in reality, they all disagree on what should follow.
“The upshot is that it’s still unclear who will take Raqqa when Mosul falls,” said one senior official involved in discussions, as reported by the Guardian. “The Americans are still hedging on the Kurds, even though the Turks are adamantly opposed. The Russians want the Syrian army and the rebels to do it, under their tutelage.”
The only question that matters now is to what extent Saudi Arabia and the U.S. will go to enforce their desired outcome on the Syrian regime. Will they fight off Iranian and Syrian troops, which will only further complicate the battle arena as Russia provides unquestionable air power to the aforementioned troops on the ground?
With the presidency of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin has lost his monopoly on unpredictability and his ability to outmaneuver the United States’ foreign policy goals in the Middle East. This is because of how reckless Trump is proving himself to be.
In order to avoid a catastrophic war, the Americans and the Saudis may be relying on the fact that their presence there may act as a deterrence to the Syrians and Iranians. If possible, this would ensure that Syrian troops stay well clear of those areas occupied by American troops, and as such, avoid coming under fire. If that is the case, it is still unclear what international legal principle gives the United States the right to take territory from the Syrian government and hand it over to its allies on the ground, a move that may, in essence, be a deal-breaker for Syria, Iran and/or Russia.
One thing is clear, however. The Trump administration will not willingly allow an outright victory for Iran and Russia in Syria. Despite ramping up his anti-Iran rhetoric while claiming to be less concerned with the Assad government in Syria, Trump is evidently keeping open the Syrian military option laid out for him by Barack Obama as a means of directly targeting Iran.
How will this end?
(Ron Paul, Ron Paul Institute) Last week President Trump significantly escalated the US military presence in Syria, sending some 400 Marines to the ISIS-controlled Raqqa, and several dozen Army Rangers to the contested area around Manbij. According to press reports he will also station some 2,500 more US troops in Kuwait to be used as he wishes in Iraq and Syria.
Not only is it illegal under international law to send troops into another country without permission, it is also against US law for President Trump to take the country to war without a declaration. But not only is Trump’s first big war illegal: it is doomed to failure because it makes no sense.
President Trump says the purpose of the escalation is to defeat ISIS in Raqqa, its headquarters in Syria. However the Syrian Army with its allies Russia and Iran are already close to defeating ISIS in Syria. Why must the US military be sent in when the Syrian army is already winning? Does Trump wish to occupy eastern Syria and put a Washington-backed rebel government in charge? Has anyone told President Trump what that would to cost in dollars and lives – including American lives? How would this US-backed rebel government respond to the approach of a Syrian army backed up by the Russian military?
Is Trump planning on handing eastern Syria over to the Kurds, who have been doing much of the fighting in the area? How does he think NATO-ally Turkey would take a de facto Kurdistan carved out of Syria with its eyes on Kurdish-inhabited southern Turkey?
And besides, by what rights would Washington carve up Syria or any other country?
Or is Trump going to give up on the US policy of “regime change” and hand conquered eastern Syria back to Assad? If that is the case, why waste American lives and money if the Syrians and their allies are already doing the job? Candidate Trump even said he was perfectly happy with Russia and Syria getting rid of ISIS. If US policy is shifting toward accepting an Assad victory, it could be achieved by ending arms supplies to the rebels and getting out of the way.
It does not appear that President Trump or his advisors have thought through what happens next if the US military takes possession of Raqqa, Syria. What is the endgame? Maybe the neocons told him it would be a “cakewalk” as they promised before the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Part of the problem is that President Trump’s advisors believe the myth that the US “surge” in Iraq and Afghanistan was a great success and repeating it would being the victory that eluded Obama with his reliance of drones and proxy military forces. A big show of US military force on the ground – like the 100,000 sent to Afghanistan by Obama in 2009 – is what is needed in Syria, these experts argue. Rarely is it asked that if the surge worked so well why are Afghanistan and Iraq still a disaster?
President Trump’s escalation in Syria is doomed to failure. He is being drawn into a quagmire by the neocons that will destroy scores of lives, cost us a fortune, and may well ruin his presidency. He must de-escalate immediately before it is too late.
The UN has accused Turkey of committing serious human rights violations against the Kurds amid a complete blackout by the Western mainstream media.
The UN rights office says it has evidence of mass killings, torture, rape and other serious atrocities during operations against Kurdish militants in the southeast of the country since 2015.
According to a damning United Nations report, “massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations committed between July 2015 and December 2016 in southeast Turkey,” has affected 500,000 Kurdish people.
In a video secretly recorded inside Sur, once listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, the UN found evidence of torture, destruction, abuse and murder during operations against Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey.
“Government security operations” have impacted more than 30 towns and displaced between 335,000 to half a million mostly Kurdish people, the report further added.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984, although violence was contained during the truce agreed in 2013.
But fighting resumed when the ceasefire collapsed in summer 2015.
Satellite images of areas affected by the latest unrest “indicate an enormous scale of destruction of the housing stock by heavy weaponry”, the report said.
In Cizre, a mainly Kurdish town on the Syrian border, residents described the devastation of neighbourhoods as “apocalyptic”, the UN said.
In early 2016, nearly 200 of the town’s residents, among them children, “were trapped for weeks in basements without water, food, medical attention and power before being killed by fire, induced by shelling,” it said.
The allegations come at a sensitive time for the Turkish government which is gearing up for a controversial April referendum on whether to create an executive presidency that would expand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.
UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticised Mr Erdogan’s government directly, saying he was “particularly concerned by reports that no credible investigation has been conducted into hundreds of alleged unlawful killings.”
“Not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted,” Mr Zeid said in a statement.
So far, Mr Erdogan’s government has not agreed to any requests from the UN rights office to visit the areas affected by the anti-PKK operations.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between the military and the PKK, which seeks greater rights and autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish minority.
The insurgent group is a proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
In response to the Pentagon’s deployment of about 400 American ground troops to Syria, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is introducing a bill Friday that would block the Defense Department from putting any more “boots on the ground” in the ongoing conflict.
“The bill I am introducing today prohibits the Department of Defense from funding any attempt by the administration to expand our presence in Syria by putting U.S. combat boots on the ground,” Lee told The Hill in a statement.
Lee was famously the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization of military force (AUMF) in the wake of the September 11 attacks. As Lee predicted at the time, the AUMF has now been used to bypass Congressional approval for seemingly endless U.S. military assaults throughout the Middle East.
Lee and other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Thursday roundly condemned the deployment of additional ground troops to Syria. “Today’s revelation that about 400 additional forces, including Marines, are being sent to Syria is concerning and signals mission creep,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), CPC co-chair. “After years of war and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, it is clear that increased U.S. military action will not solve the crisis in Syria.”
“It is our constitutional duty as members of Congress to place a check on the executive branch in matters of war and peace,” Lee added to The Hill. “We owe it to our brave service members to live up to our constitutional duty.”
The outlet reports:
“Under Lee’s bill, the Pentagon would be prohibited from using funds to send troops to Syria for ground combat operations, award a contract to a private security firm for ground activity, or otherwise establish or maintain a presence of U.S. troops or a private security contractor in Syria.
“The bill would allow for exceptions to “protect, rescue, or remove” U.S. personnel.
“Lee had tried to introduce similar language as an amendment to the defense spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday, but was blocked by the House Rules Committee.
“The language in the new bill is even stricter; the amendment to the spending bill would have allowed for special operations forces.”
“I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in preventing this president from sending our troops into yet another unchecked, ill-advised war without a full and robust debate from Congress,” Lee said.
The escalation of U.S. involvement in Syria comes as the Pentagon also considers deploying 1,000 additional troops to Kuwait — and as independent monitoring shows U.S. coalition airstrikes have already killed over 2,500 civilians in Iraq and Syria, as Common Dreams