On December 19, President Donald Trump declared that “we defeated ISIS” in Syria and he was going to fulfill an election promise to end [the illegal] military operations in that country .
Immediately this proclamation was met with fierce opposition from the psychopathic “McResistance,” various factions of the Imperialist/Regressive Left, the Neo Conservatives, the Fourth Estate, establishment politicians from ‘both’ sides of the aisle, and even Trump’s own administration (triggering the resignation of Secretary of Defense, “Mad Dog” James Mattis).
Every conspiracy theory was trotted out: that Trump was bending to Turkey’s will, that this was a personal gift to Vladimir Putin, and other hysterical claims essentially amounting to treason against the American people and a betrayal of the men and women serving in our military.
Support from the political class has been sparse, at best. Some Democrats and Republicans of principle lauded the announcement, folks such as Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) , Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and of course, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) all voiced support for withdrawal. Meanwhile, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Trump warning him that this move would “embolden ISIS, Bashar al Assad, Iran, and Russia,” apparently ignorant to or simply ignoring the fact that Syria, Russia
Following the pronouncement from the Commander-in-Chief that the US would be ending its illegal military occupation of Syria, the Syrian military began moving their elite Tiger Forces to the East toward Deir Ezzor, preparing to clear the last pocket of ISIS that had been beyond their reach due to the US military preventing them from crossing the Euphrates River.
At the same time, Kurdish separatists began reaching out to Damascus and Moscow to negotiate as the Turkish military was amassing its forces for an assault on the Kurds in northern Syria. Other rebel militias also reportedly made statements that they would be ready to lay down their arms once the US withdrew from the al-Tanf base.
On Sunday, December 23, Fox News reported that outgoing Secretary of Defense Mad Dog signed the order to withdraw forces from Syria, while CNN and MSNBC’s headlines were rife with the buzzwords “fear,” “chaos,” and “crisis,” in stark contrast to April 2017 when MSNBC’s Brian Williams shamelessly salivated over “the beauty of our weapons” as the Trump administration unleashed a barrage of some 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syria in response to a chemical weapon attack that never actually happened.
On Wednesday, December 26, the President flew in to Iraq (much to the ire of the Iraqi government who had not been consulted about the visit). On his return from Iraq, Trump recounted for reporters a discussion he had with the Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel to reassure him of Israel’s security in the wake of an American withdrawal of forces from Syria:
“I spoke with Bibi. I told Bibi, you know we give Israel 4.5 billion dollars a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves.”
Over the next week, further reports of Syria and the Kurdish separatist factions cooperating with each other continued flowing through the international news reports as both sides were bracing for the potentially imminent Turkish invasion.
As December closed, the official website for the US-coalition, Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve, released a report acknowledging 1139 civilians were killed by coalition forces in Syria since 2014 [a number that is most likely a gross underestimate]. On January 4, the coalition’s website reported that between December 16 – 29, they conducted 469 strikes and 1,001 engagements in Syria, which seems to be a significant increase in attacks after Trump’s December 19 statement that ISIS has been defeated.
On Monday, December 31, The Hill reported that the troop withdrawal will take up to four months to complete. On January 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Netanyahu in Brazil, and reaffirmed the USA’s commitment to Israel to protect Israel, combat ISIS, and counter so-called “Iranian aggression.” Netanyahu reportedly asked Pompeo to slow down the planned withdrawal during their meeting.
Up to this point, the Trump administration seemed adamant to fulfill the campaign promise to get out of Syria, wavering a bit on the exact timeline to complete the withdrawal, but basically holding the course in spite of the massive backlash from the left, the right, the mainstream media, Israel, Congress, and the US deep state elements within his own administration.
Now enter National Security Advisor John [expletive withheld] Bolton, the absolute worst that the Swamp has to offer, a true Neo-Con’s Neo-Con. On January 4, Bolton’s name started making headlines, stating that the Trump administration was opposed to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government [referring to allegations still never proven!], and if the US had to react again the next response would be “more telling” than the last two bombings.
Bolton stated that he wanted to meet with the Israelis and Jordanians to discuss concerns about Iranian influence in Syria before the US makes a decision on the strategic al-Tanf base. The al-Tanf installation is effectively a barrier preventing a direct link from Tehran to Beirut through Baghdad and Damascus.
On January 6, Bolton seems to have a whole list of demands before the US will withdraw from Syria. At the top of the list came demands upon Ankara, Turkey, to guarantee the security of the Kurdish opposition forces in Syria. He also presented a slew of demands from Tel Aviv, stating that the US will not withdraw from Syria until “no risk remains to Israel’s Security,” and that the US recognize Israeli occupied Syria’s Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Also on January 6, President Trump [second most powerful man in the current administration?] spoke to the media before leaving for Camp David, stating that the US will not withdraw until ISIS has been eliminated from Syria [contradicting his statement on December 19 that ISIS was defeated], apparently wavering under pressure from Bolton to change course.
John Bolton, a true warmonger’s warmonger, has long been known to be itching for a chance for war with Iran on behalf of Israel, so I wonder if “ISIS” is just codespeak for “Iran” when it comes to the US mission in Syria.
Bolton is expected to spend the next day with Bibi in the occupied Golan Heights. Stay tuned…
Syria News addenda:
It appears that a lovely snowfall may have stopped one of the illicit plans of Bolton and Netanyahu. The US and Israel are signatories to the Geneva Treaties on international law, which is made into worthless paper by the impunity of colonialists. See “A Closer Look at the Syrian Golan Occupied by Israel” for what the Treaty says about occupations.
Details on the admission of the US-Led Coalition in slaughter of Syrian & Iraqi civilians.
Trumpf Regime Bombs Syrian Military Airbase, 7 April 2017