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Trump pulls US troops out of Syria

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Re: Trump pulls US troops out of Syria

Unread postby Zarquon » Fri 18 Jan 2019, 23:26:25

Let's see.

"National Security Advisor John Bolton has in effect overruled President Donald Trump’s troop withdrawal decision. This will have fateful consequences for America’s national interests, and none of them are good. Speaking in Israel, Bolton stated that two conditions must be met before a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the conditions amount to a recipe for indefinitely prolonging the deployment. One is that the United States must “make sure ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again”—an objective that is impossible for the two thousand U.S. troops in Syria to achieve. With the mini-state of ISIS largely gone, whatever threat the group poses is a matter not of military control of a patch of Syria—a patch of “sand and death”, as Trump put it —but instead of ideology, politics, fear, and hatred that cannot be described on a battle map.
[...]
Bolton’s other condition is to obtain some sort of guarantee from Turkey not to attack the Kurdish forces in northeast Syria that have functioned as clients of the United States but that Ankara sees as auxiliaries of an anti-Turkish terrorist group. Again, this is not a box likely to be checked no matter how long U.S. troops stay in Syria. A U.S. withdrawal would give the Kurds incentive to move in the direction least damaging to their interests: striking a deal with the Assad regime in which the Kurds give up any hope for independence in return for some form of limited autonomy. But as long as the United States keeps promising protection to the Kurds and offers its own troops as a tripwire to guarantee such protection, that incentive is missing.
[...]
Bolton in effect added a third condition when, speaking at a joint press conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he stated that any withdrawal would have to “ensure the security of Israel and other friends in the region.” So any complaining by Netanyahu’s government will be grounds for not proceeding with the withdrawal.
[...]
The episode involving withdrawal and non-withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria should be a lesson for those who mistakenly placed hopes in Trump for a more restrained and less militaristic U.S. foreign policy. Applause lines on the campaign trail have been mistaken for deeper thought. Behind the candidate’s rhetoric there never was enough strategic sense, necessary knowledge, or even caring about foreign affairs to ward off the maneuvers of a determined hawk like Bolton once he was in position to do damage."

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul- ... rump-41017
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Re: Trump pulls US troops out of Syria

Unread postby Zarquon » Sat 19 Jan 2019, 00:55:36

And while we're at it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/worl ... e=Homepage

"As Afghanistan Frays, Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Is Everywhere
Oct. 4, 2018
A new crop of senior American officials in Afghanistan has been racing to contain a dual crisis on the battlefield and in a potentially explosive election dispute. But it is a different American figure — the mercenary executive Erik D. Prince — who has been the talk of Kabul these days.

More than a year after first laying out his plan to President Trump to privatize the American war in Afghanistan with a cadre of contractors — and a private air force — Mr. Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security firm that became infamous for killing civilians in Iraq, has seemingly been everywhere.

And as he has made his sales pitch directly to a host of influential Afghans, he has frequently been introduced as an adviser to Mr. Trump himself.
[...]
He contends that his proposal can achieve what more than 140,000 American and NATO troops at the heart of the troop surge in 2009 and 2010 could not. He compares the current mission, which is reduced to about 15,000 American troops supported on their bases by more than 20,000 private contractors, to the failures of the Soviet Union.

In the interview, Mr. Prince laid out what he called a “rationalization” of private contracting already happening: a leaner mission of 6,000 private contractors providing “skeletal structure support” and training for Afghan forces. Small teams of Special Forces veterans embedded with Afghan battalions for about three years, he said, would ensure the continuity lacking now with American soldiers rotating out every year.

They would be supported by air through a fleet of contracted aircraft flown by joint teams of Afghans and contractors. About 2,500 American Special Operations forces would remain in the country for counterterrorism missions. All of this, Mr. Prince said, would bring down the annual cost of the war to roughly a fifth of the current amount.
[...]
His business has since gone through several reincarnations. His latest venture, the Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group, has contracts in Africa and Asia, and is backed by Citic Group, a large state-owned Chinese investment company.

Mr. Prince’s initial push last year to privatize the Afghan war was quashed by two of the most senior members of Mr. Trump’s national security team: H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser at the time, and Jim Mattis, the defense secretary. They persuaded Mr. Trump to increase the number of troops and resources in Afghanistan.

Mr. Prince now gauges the winds in Washington as shifting in his favor, with Mr. McMaster gone and Mr. Mattis often at odds with Mr. Trump.
[...]
In the letter Mr. Prince sent to Mr. Ghani in spring 2017 seeking a meeting, he mentioned that his sister, Betsy Devos, was a member of Mr. Trump’s cabinet, one Afghan official said."

That was in October. Any bets when the US war in Afghanistan will be privatized now?
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Re: Trump pulls US troops out of Syria

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 19 Jan 2019, 08:10:32

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."
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Re: Trump pulls US troops out of Syria

Unread postby Zarquon » Sat 19 Jan 2019, 22:23:20

The fun thing is that if they go through with this, they'll put the one guy in charge of the war who has the least interest in ever winning it.
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