Trump Turning a Page in Syria for Peace?

US Withdrawing Forces from Syria: Hold the Cheers
December 20, 2018
US/UK Escalate Hostility Toward Russia
December 21, 2018

Trump Turning a Page in Syria for Peace?

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Chances for peace in Syria following Trump’s Wednesday announcement are nil. Whatever happens ahead will have nothing to do with conflict resolution – what dominant bipartisan US hardliners oppose. 

US aggression rages in multiple theaters with no prospect for resolution – in Syria, Afghanistan and everywhere else. Washington’s top geopolitical priority is waging endless imperial wars.

US forces abroad operate illegally or because ruling authorities yield to its pressure, bullying, threats or bribes.

Russia only deploys forces abroad where invited by host countries – operating legally, in Syria aiding Damascus combat the scourge of US supported ISIS and other terrorists.

US foreign deployments are all about advancing the nation’s imperium – by wars of aggression in multiple countries, hostile actions in others, never serving the security and/or other interests of host countries, exploiting them, including so-called allies.

Trump’s announced pullout of US forces from Syria is likely to be more illusion than reality. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova addressed the illegal presence of US troops in the country, saying:

They have nothing to do with “fight(ing) against international terrorism.” They’re “a dangerous obstacle in the way of a settlement.”

Illegal US military bases were established in northern and southern parts of the country. Syrian forces, government officials, and other nationals are prohibited from entering their own sovereign territory, illegally occupied by Pentagon troops and jihadists Obama and now Trump regime hardliners support.

The Pentagon uses its illegal al-Tanf base to “train and arm” ISIS terrorists, said Zakharova. US-supported jihadists “control” tens of thousands of Syrian refugees – held hostage in the Rukban camp, terrorizing them, preventing them from leaving, denying free access to humanitarian workers wanting to aid them.

On Thursday at his annual marathon Q&A session, Putin said he’s dubious about Trump’s announced pullout of US forces from Syria.

“We don’t see any signs of the withdrawal…as of yet,” he said. ISIS remains resilient wherever the Pentagon deploys its fighters. Putin unacceptably agreed with Trump’s whopper of a canard, claiming its scourge has been largely defeated, saying:

“As for the victory over the Islamic State, I agree with the US president by and large. We’ve achieved considerable changes in the struggle against terrorism in that territory and dealt heavy blows on the Islamic State in Syria” – far short of defeating its scourge, he failed to explain to his discredit.

He highlighted “the danger (of terrorist groups) spill(ing) (into) neighboring regions, such as Afghanistan, and also to other countries…This is a major threat for all of us,” he stressed.

The US already deployed thousands of ISIS fighters to Afghanistan and other countries. They could show up anywhere, including in the West.

The presence of Pentagon forces in Syria is flagrantly illegal as in other US war theaters. They’ve been in Afghanistan for over 17 years despite pledges by Obama and Trump to end US occupation of the country.

On October 27, 2007, candidate Obama notoriously said “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do.” 

“I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this (and the Iraq) war(s). You can take that to the bank,” implying a new era of peace he disdained throughout his tenure – later boasting about terror-bombing seven countries in eight years.

He also promised to close Guantanamo in year one of his presidency. It was expanded and continues operating. Most everyone sent there was a political prisoner, the same true today for dozens remaining.

Candidate Trump railed against US occupation of Afghanistan. As president, he authorized sending thousands more troops to the country – for a war lost many years earlier, an unwinnable one no matter how long it’s waged.

Years earlier in numerous tweets, Trump called Afghanistan “a complete waste. Time to come home…No more wasted lives…Rebuild the US first.”

“Let’s get out of Afghanistan…Nonsense” to be there…We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money.”

“Let’s get out…Do not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan…”

He posted similar tweets on Iraq as a private citizen, saying things are “deteriorating into chaos. The war is a waste…”

On Syria, he once tweeted: “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.”

He also tweeted: “If we are going to continue to be stupid and go into Syria (watch Russia), as they say in the movies, SHOOT FIRST AND TALK LATER!”

DLT greatly escalated terror-bombing in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia on his watch – on the phony pretext of combatting ISIS the US supports, in Afghanistan against Taliban fighters three US regimes were unable to defeat, Trump the latest.

On Monday, Trump’s special representative for Syria James Jeffrey addressed the hawkish neocon Atlantic Council.

Ahead of Trump’s Wednesday announcement on Syria, he pledged Washington’s position on the country won’t waiver until three US goals are achieved:

  • defeating the scourge of ISIS the US supports;
  • confronting and curtailing Iranian influence in Syria and regionally, along with:
  • regime change in less than so many words, calling for resolving crisis conditions in the country, failing to explain they were and remain made in the USA, adding:

The US has no intention of “pulling out by the end of the year…I am confident the president is on board with this.”

His “confidence” was misguided though it’s unclear precisely what will unfold in the wake of Trump’s announcement.

Three possibilities seem most likely – redeploying US forces in Syria elsewhere in the region, leaving them where they’re currently based, or adding to their numbers as Trump did in Afghanistan after saying he’d pull  US forces from the country.

It’s unclear what will follow his Wednesday announcement. It’s very clear that Washington’s aim to transform Syria into another US vassal state remains unchanged – why Obama launched war in the first place that Trump continues.

A Final Comment

On Thursday, a Kurdish spokesman in northern Syria accused Trump of betraying their forces by his Wednesday announcement.

Syria’s Arabic-language al-Watan broadsheet reported that US and French convoys in northern Syria began pulling back from Raas al-Ein toward al-Aliyeh village.

US forces also reportedly withdrew from areas near Manbij in northeastern Aleppo province and Salouk north of Raqqa.

Heavily armed Turkish forces are mobilized along Syria’s border. On Monday, Erdogan said a major operation against Kurdish YPG fighters may start at “any moment now.”

It appears Kurdish fighters in northern Syria may have been betrayed by the Trump region, abandoning them for other priorities, leaving them vulnerable to what appears to be a major imminent Turkish offensive against them.

What’s going on is further proof that the US can never be trusted. Misguided Kurdish judgment by allying with Washington perhaps leaves them on their own.

Separately in response to Trump’s pullout announcement, Kurdish fighters indicated they may release thousands of captured ISIS jihadists, focusing instead on confronting Turkish forces once Erdogan launches a major anti-Kurdish offensive.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.