The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, have seized 3 more villages from the ISIS terrorist group in the Syrian province of Raqqa. By November 11, the SDF units have taken control of al-Araj, Tell Shahin and Tawila. Clashes are ongoing in al-Hishah.
Well, well… now we know for sure than traitorous Gen. Dunford was in Turkey last week to offer up ar Raqqa to them if they would help kick ISIS out. In other words, he just admitted that the SDF could/would never be able to do so. From ARA news:
US-led coalition says current SDF operation aimed to isolate Raqqa, Turkey to play role in long-term plan
In an amazing feat of back-pedaling, the Operation Israeli Resolve coalition claimed the Kurds/SDF are just taking the area ‘surrounding’ ar Raqqa. It will be Turkish-backed FSA head-choppers and Gravedigger Townsend’s U.S. paratroopers that will have to take the city. No mention of Turkish air or armor, so I guess the U.S. gets to foot the bill once again. Also, no mention that ar Raqqa is a Syrian city and neither the f’king Turks or U.S. have been invited to ‘take over’ Syrian sovereign territory – an action that would be a violation of international law and an act of war. Not that either one has bothered the neocon chickenhawks running U.S. foreign policy in the past.
Looks like the U.S. has thrown the Kurds and their Rojava plans under the bus. Instead, the U.S. has invited their enemy – Turkey – to create West Turkmeneli. You see, the U.S. doesn’t care which group wants to create a fake country out of north Syria, as long as that country can sign pipeline and oil production contracts (because Assad would never sell out the Syrians to them). Kurds? Turks? Hell – the U.S. will help extraterrestrials annex north Syria if they’ll play ball with big oil. http://www.turkomania.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/west-turkmeneli-syrian-turkmens-map2.jpg
So, you think their plan is actually that deluded, or do you think they have no actual plan, and they came up with that as a sop to the press? There is a complete and utter disconnect between the situation on the ground, and the trash being handed out at the press conference. I wonder how much these various generals are actually cooperating at this point? Is there complete chaos? Are they all smiling and nodding at each other while exploiting the general distraction to do what they like?
I wonder how they propose that FSA, which SDF are killing further east, are even going to get here, much less move through SDF siege lines to attack the city? Is Dunford going to fly down and walk them through SDF lines and hope they hold their fire? Not to mention all the US SOF who, for the most part would be just as happy to shoot FSA as the Kurds? Who are sick of almost being killed by Turkish air and artillery while they go about their mission there?
My bet is that Townsend realises this is impossible, and is just smiling and nodding because he is expected to, and hopes to take the city on his own with whatever combination of SDF and as many US/German/British/French troops as he can acquire while everyone is enjoying their impossible fantasy, so he can be the one who took ar-Raqqa. That would be totally in line with the paratrooper culture he came up in. In my observation, a lot of Army Airborne roll their eyes at everything that comes down from the Pentagon, and do whatever they want in the field, something that has positive and negative aspects.
“…So, you think their plan is actually that deluded, or do you think they have no actual plan, and they came up with that as a sop to the press?…”
Their plans are a projection of their government masters, so all of the above and more. And things are constantly getting worse.
Dunford and Townsend are capable of solid, well-thought out strategies – these guys are good soldiers and leaders, not incompetent boobs. It takes a colossally f’ked up management to make these guys look like absolute clowns. Unfortunately, Dunford and Townsend are good soldiers: if they are ordered to do things that constantly make them look like traitorous, incompetent, indecisive boobs, well… then they do it and shut up. Even though they know that – at the end of the day – it means feeding more U.S. soldiers into a meat-grinder for absolutely nothing except a misplaced sense of ‘duty’.
The U.S. military has been relegated to the position of contract janitors. Hapless clean-up boys for a repeatedly-failing, pathetic U.S. foreign policy. Some smart dead guys warned us that this exact thing would happen 240 years ago. We should have listened.
Dunford and Townsend’s biggest enemy is in Washington D.C., not ar Raqqa. Perhaps they should think more closely about the qualification of the word ‘enemy’ in their commissioning oaths – it was put there for a reason. Deciding when to defend the U.S. constitution is not above their pay grade – it’s the reason their jobs exist. If Dunford and Townsend are not bright enough to figure this out on their own and need to be specifically ordered to defend the U.S. Constitution by the very traitors in Washington that subverted it, then the U.S. is totally and permanently f’ked.
I think the implications of all that scare them, true as it is. It’s much easier to think it’s just honest mistakes, incompetent politicians, or at worst, that it’s that party that’s the problem, than it is to face the idea that the whole institution is full of the same parasites.
Unfortunately, we’ve been in situations that should have prompted action before. In WWII, the USS Liberty, the Contras, there have been times where the moral thing to do would have been to arrest the administration, State Dept. and CIA. But states have taken such trouble in inculcate military obedience to the state. I can only think of three places where there was any positive tradition concerning the armed forces overturning corrupt government: Turkey, Indonesia, and the Federal Republic of Germany. Erdogan has been killing off the first, creating a corrupt Islamist military to do his bidding; Indonesia’s military hasn’t been wholly innocent or free of political ambition itself (putting a general into the head-of-state position was pretty questionable), which casts a certain shadow over their tradition. And Allied propaganda has made the Third Reich into such comic-book villainy that the German government’s antics haven’t triggered the 20 July tradition yet. But yes, I wish our armed forces would look more deeply to these examples of states where the military stepped in, not to create a military dictatorship, but to restore the values of the government they served.
Here’s a different view to show how utterly confused the U.S. Department of Defense is concerning Raqqa. The ARANews article I cited above paints a certain picture of the operation regarding the SDF and Turkish participation.
Now read the DoD press briefing from yesterday, the 10th. The Syria/SDF comments are a little more than half-way though the briefing.
The Pentagon spokesperson sounds like he is oblivious to Dunford’s Turkish meeting and makes it sound like the SDF will take care of Raqqa. Except he’s now admitting that the U.S. and CJTF-OIR commander Townsend has no command authority over the SDF and little insight into their operations. Read the nonsensical reply when a reporter asks spox Cook about the arab part of the SDF/Raqqa operation – the Raqqa Revolutionary Brigage – pulling OUT, leaving only the Kurd part of the SDF remaining for taking over Raqqa. Apparently, Cook is oblivious (or pretending to be) to Dunford’s scheming with the Turks elbowing the Kurds out of the picture anyway.
So the SDF arabs just quit because Dunford sold them out to the Turks (who they don’t particularly like). Cook still expects the YPG to die for Raqqa because… well, he’s never given a reason besides saying they will. Dunford is saying the SDF/Kurds were never going to take Raqqa, just surround it(WTF?). And now Townsend is hinting around at sending the 101st to clean up the entire f’king mess there. So his paratroopers will end up dying in ar Raqqa by State Department/CIA-supplied TOW-2A’s and Libyan rat-line AK-47s and RPGs. All so Turkish head-choppers can move in and ‘secure’ ar Raqqa. Hey – what could possibly go wrong with this plan?
The U.S. has managed to create a kind of self-feeding perpetual meat-grinder in the Middle East. I guess our Afghanistan ‘freedomizing and liberitating’ was so successful that we exported the model to the entire region. Good job, knuckleheads! Mission accomplished.
They’ve gone back to the earlier numbers…some of the time. Now, they have 30,000, who are 80% Kurds, which matches the original account that they had 24,000 Kurds and 6,000 Arabs back in April. Except that some days, the same people say SDF is half Arab, (to match their 14,000 Arab figure), and on especially crazy days, a CJTF-OIR spokesperson has said they are 80% Arab.(!)
I wrote a rather longish reply (#99) on a MoonOfAlabama thread, “Nusra On The Run – Trump Induces First Major Policy Change On Syria” regarding another aspect of the ‘Arab’ side of the SDF – Saudi/GCC Special Forces. I don’t know how much they contribute, but it makes sense that they are there (along with Saudi/GCC arab mercs) in substantial numbers. Little is ever mentioned about them, but U.S. SF say they’re there.
In the UAE’s case, they had publicly announced last February that they intend to send their SF to Syria, “UAE special forces to deploy in Syria, as Russia warns of world war” and “Carter Says UAE Will Put Special Forces in Syria” The UAE hired Blackwater to establish the UAE special forces/mercs back in 2011. There have been estimates of two to five thousand today, but nobody knows for sure. Most are in Syria or Yemen.
That fits a lot of things together very well. Excellent insight. UAE’s military is mercenary based anyway. They’ve never trusted their own population, and have been hiring various tribal groups who had no cultural affiliation with their people to be their military for decades.
The force the UAE operates in Yemen is mostly Blackwater/Academi trained mercenaries anyway. It makes perfect sense that they would switch some to Syria as needed. And, being recruited from wherever, you could probably find some who could fit in with whatever group they needed too, as far as looks, language, accent, etc. Looking at the numbers they were having Academi training in Eritrea, I think they could field a few thousand to Syria, especially if they shift Yemen to low priority. And lo and behold, UAE and the Saudis were just recently having an argument about troop commitments and operations in Yemen. That makes sense if they are discussing how much of their force to divert, and don’t agree.
The Eritrean training centre is largely a joint venture with the Saudis, although those two bicker incessantly about it. The Houthi have been attacking that base and operation, linking Yemen even more directly to Syria. They sneak over the strait and do hit-and-run commando ops against the training camps. And that is the reason the US claimed USS Mason was attacked. They need an excuse to patrol that area more diligently, because the Houthis have caused a lot of casualties amongst the trainees and instructors in Eritrea.
Oman is friends with UAE, and has a lot of very poor nomadic warriors who are happy to do mercenary work. MI6 coordinates all of it, being ‘friends’ with everyone.
So, that really does explain the nebulous numbers of Arabs in SDF, the unwillingness of anyone to discuss them in any detail, and the murkiness about who is in charge. It also makes sense for the Saudis and UAE to work with the Kurds, because their intel and special ops people have been cooperating with Israel and Mossad for decades, and Mossad are longtime supporters of the Kurds.
(A sad situation. I like the Kurds. It’s a pity they’ve gotten stuck with such appalling friends.)
Two thoughts as regards the MoA post: I am pretty certain that Russia has a brigade sized force of ‘contractors’ operating as infantry/special operations in Syria (the Wagner group), and ever increasing numbers of regular Spetsnaz. That being the case, operations in Aleppo may have just gotten too dangerous, militarily and politically for the GCC units. Hence, redeployment to ar-Raqqa, etc. as a better investment of resources. Russia seems to use their people sparingly as a ‘fire-brigade’ and the presence of competent operators amongst the jihadists would have thus attracted all the wrong attention from them.
Second, while all this does make the ar-Raqqa operation make more sense to American planning, I don’t actually think Townsend needs a new reason. Rather, the disconnect between objectives at State/CIA/DoD administration vs. the actual uniformed military and DIA again appears. The US military people present on the ground really want to kill IS. They are frustrated with CIA games. So for them, taking ar-Raqqa is a satisfying mission in and of itself, and who gets it after is a lot less important to them. Townsend is probably quite sympathetic to the point of view down there, and on top of that, taking ar-Raqqa ‘on his watch’ as he put it, is a satisfying notch on his belt as far as Army ticket-punching all at the same time. That, of course, in no way contradicts your general argument, as far as higher strategy amongst the political establishment. I think you’ve got it right. It just highlights the extremely multi-layered situation, where there are more sides than can easily be counted, even amongst single countries, and no one is actually reading from the same page except in brief, translated excerpts.
I am also reminded that the Saudis threatened to send troops awhile back, in late 2015, but none appeared. It seems you found them after all. I think you added an important piece to the puzzle here, and it does seem to fit the existing pieces on the table nicely.
Assad is a murdrer,so what’s the difference between him and ISIS? He has already sold out the sovereignty of this country to the Russians and Iranians so one should be glad that there is a democratic alternative via Syran Democratic Forces which stand against all suporters of Assad and Turkety,the two axes of crimes and destructions in Syria.