New US Strategy Against ISIS And War In Syria. What To Expect?

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US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented a preliminary version of the new plan to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said on February 28th. The plan is aimed at making a “devastating impact” on the terrorist group. While the plan is reportedly transregional and aimed at defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda around the globe, the United States has little space to maneuver. In any case, the Syrian cities of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor, and the Iraqi city of Mosul will be the main targets of the US-led military efforts against ISIS.

There is no doubt that Iraqi security forces, actively backed by the US Air Force and the US Special Forces, will retake western Mosul from ISIS. This is just a matter of time. This move will not finish the war on ISIS in Iraq but will mark a transformation of the ISIS strategy. The group will focus on guerrilla warfare in the areas formally controlled by Iraqi security forces and its western allies.

The situations in Raqqah and Deir Ezzor are more complex and involve a wide range of regional and global powers. In this case, the problem is that, if the US involves Turkey in the Raqqah operation, such a decision will dramatically worsen US relations with Syrian Kurds who are the core and the only real fighting force in the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces”. Thus, the US would lose its only loyal, or at least semi-loyal, force on the ground and would be pushed to rely upon the Turkish Armed Forces, Qatari, and Saudi Arabian special forces which are likely already involved. At the same time, this would allow Damascus and Moscow to argue that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are now officially parties to the conflict. Presently, Doha and Riyadh deny their de-facto involvement in the war -despite their constant support of terrorist groups in Syria. In turn, the mainstream media and think tanks, which receive funding from the Gulf Monarchies, blame Tehran for involvement in the conflict.

If the US decides to decline the Turkish request to participate in the Raqqah offensive, it will lead to a Turkish-Kurdish escalation in Syria and will push the Pentagon to use its troops actively in operations on the ground. Clashes between Ankara-led forces and the US-backed SDF erupted west of Manbij in March. The formal presence of US Special Forces did not help Kurdish allies. The tense situation also pushed the SDF to intensify its contacts with the legitimate Syrian government.

The plan submitted by Mattis also includes a proposal to increase the size of the US military contingent to ISIS in Syria, a move repeatedly forecasted by SouthFront. Without significant US presence on the ground, the SDF will hardly be able to retake Raqqah from ISIS without incurring unacceptable losses.

The third option, widely denied by mainstream US politicians, is to cooperate with Moscow and Damascus. Such cooperation will lead to the rapid defeat of ISIS in Syria and liberation of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor. Furthermore, the successful attacks of the Syrian army and its allies against ISIS in eastern Aleppo and Palmyra clearly show that Tehran, Damascus, and Moscow have enough resources to contribute to the war on ISIS. Yet, hardcore Russophobia of the US deep state remains. This is why US-Russian cooperation will likely be constrained or even roughly sabotaged.

As to Deir Ezzor, the US can try to use militants trained in Jordan to launch an attack on Deir Ezzor from the southern direction. However, the total failure of this US-backed group in 2016 leaves little chance that it’s able to combat ISIS successfully in 2017. So, the US and its allies will be pushed to deploy special forces units or even ground troops to support the advance there.

The Polish Special Forces have already deployed to Jordan where they will operate alongside their French and British counterparts.

According to reports, the US-led block created a joint command center to coordinate efforts of all sides, which will support the advance against ISIS in the area.

Thus, the fate of ISIS as a semi-state entity in Syria and Iraq is predestined. Stiff pressure in central Syria from the Iranian-Syrian-Russian alliance and the intensification of the US-led operations in eastern Syria and in western Iraq are rapidly leading to a collapse of the self-proclaimed caliphate.

The question now is: How will the spheres of influence be divided following the defeat of ISIS?

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  • Brad Isherwood

    Is there some signed document connected to Sykes Pico where all these Colonial
    Ass f@’s get to occupy Syria ….with the Big Giant retard USA roaming the landscape killing
    Anything that moves….

    Mission Accomplished Iraq….. 1 Million Killed.

    Now we have the Donald saying America will stay out of everyone’s business,
    Except He’s a Freaking Liar like Obama.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/577952058680070144/6hlNZ0_Y_reasonably_small.jpeg @TheTweetOfGod
    When someone says they “love freedom”, rest assured they don’t mean yours

  • Behold a Pale Horse

    This war would be over if everyone just left the SAA alone to kill all the terrorsist in their lands.

  • John

    Not a bad take on the situation at this point. But, as we can see by todays events, things are moving way too fast for US planners. A good weekend to all.

  • Karl Grosvenor

    I think America only wants to get in there to remove Assad,divide up the country and steal their resources.

    • gustavo

      Wrong, USA-NATO-israel want completely destroy Syria, using Assad as an excuse. Next step is IRAN, you will see it.

      • Brad Isherwood

        Maybe the Former Soviet Union was tougher,
        Vietnam shot down over 5000 US aircraft, …..beat up Uncle Shlomo.

        In Korea….the Chinese and NK clobbered the US army and Marines at Chosin.

        Today…..US and NATO beat up on whoever they want,
        The challengers are…let’s say….calculating in response.

        Iran has capable military….
        But then. ….Israel and Empire have nukes. ..

        • Jonathan Cohen

          Vietnam and North Korea respect abortion rights as does Russia, but Assad and Iran don’t. that’s the difference.

          • PZIVJ1943

            So if a country does not respect abortion rights, its OK to kill their population?

          • Robert Klein

            This guy has been trolling on here for a while now.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            Absolutely!

        • Jacek Wolski

          Selective picking about Korean war. Battle of Hill Eerie, Filipino troops clobber Chinese. Battle of Kapyong, Australian and Canadian troops clobber Chinese. Battle of Imjin River, British and Belgian troops clobber Chinese. Operation Thunderbolt, Americans and South Korean troops clobber Chinese, North Koreans.

      • Jonathan Cohen

        And I’ll vote for them to do just that unless Assad and Iran honor abortion rights like Russia does.

        • Rodney Loder

          Well that’s lovely that is, Allah controls the womb mostly indirectly using His proxy Fate though Fate would object to being called that, however it’s got nothing to do with the subject matter, abortion is a sovereign issue let Allah decide.

          • Jacek Wolski

            Or just use a coat hanger. I heard this works fine.

          • Rodney Loder

            Is that your real name Jaceq Wilski, truth is Jack I’m an old man but I am an Australian maybe I live near you, also I’d like to fight you gloves or knuckles ring or cage put it to the test that’s what some call me ” have smash will travel ” where abouts are you in Australia maybe we can arrange a purse sight unseen I’m 67.

          • Jacek Wolski

            That is my name, but don’t wear it out. I’m a civilised man and I do not stoop down to this stygian religious fervour you’re trying to promote. That belongs to the weak and the unwashed masses. Believe what you want to believe, but you and I are nothing but specs of dust. Stop reading religious scriptures, look out your window and live your life as if it was your last. If you’re looking for war, one day it will find you.
            Have a lovely day

          • Rodney Loder

            Why would you be abusive if you don’t want or can’t fight ?. Give yourself a chance, (p) David did, but maybe you’re right he didn’t make it into Paradise in spite of his success throwing rocks, that reminds me when I was at the Mitchelton Primary School in a fight with a kid that were running away I threw a good sized rock up in the air and when I let go I knew I had got him it did a perfect arc and smashed him in the head, I to this day think that it was Allah that done it Jacek I got the cuts but he got brain damaged maybe that kid was you Jacek ?.

  • Alex Mayers

    I think we are viewing the preparation of a major conflict here, let’s see how thing evolve and hopefully USA won’t start the 3rd world war before summer.

    • Luigi

      i also think they are planning a major conflict there, but not necessarily the 3rd world war now. After this proxy Sunni/Shia war is finished, i think the nations involved will be pushed directly against each other. And after that, then we will see the big players being directly involved too.

      • Alex Mayers

        They are after Iran, when and if they finish with them Russia is the next. China is their last goal since if the Chinese keep up their progress in every field they can dismantle the whole planet in the next 30 years and impose their rules :)

  • Jonathan Cohen

    The division is simple. It’s a race to take Daesh territory first. first come first serve. that’s how to defeat Daesh FAST! but if you cut Turkey off, then you have to do it yourself.

  • Jonathan Cohen

    Mattis needs to send his tanks south from Poland, then Putin should do likewise; all against Daesh.

  • Ronald

    Ameica wants the oil in Deir Azzor and Raqqa .

  • Nic_223

    ISIS is largely a outgrowth of the Sunni/Shia war in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two players trying to determine which of the two sects controls the regions energy resources. With Russia and allies backing the Shi’ite faction and the USA and allies backing the Sunni faction. Neither of these two should actually be allowed to win as neither would be able to put an end to the conflict just escalate the tensions further and cement them into the future. What we need is a third faction that is able to unite Sunnis and Shi’ites.

    • Valery Grigoryev

      Good but not realistic…

  • Brad Isherwood

    http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/mcmaster-takes-charge-trump-relinquishes-control-of-foreign-policy/
    McMaster then offers a remedy for so called ‘Russian aggression’: “…what is required to deter a strong nation that is waging limited war for limited objectives on battlegrounds involving weaker states … is forward deterrence, to be able to ratchet up the cost at the frontier, and to take an approach to deterrence that is consistent with deterrence by denial, convincing your enemy that your enemy is unable to accomplish his objectives at a reasonable cost rather than sort of an offshore balancing approach and the threat of punitive action at long distance later, which we know obviously from – recent experience confirms that that is inadequate.”

    “Forward deterrence”? This needs to be clarified.

    What McMaster is saying, is that, instead of threatening to retaliate at some time in the future, the US should use ‘deterrence by denial’, that is, make it as hard and as costly as possible for Russia to achieve its strategic objectives. By defeating ISIS in Eastern Syria and establishing permanent US military bases, McMaster intends to prevent Russia from restoring Syria’s sovereign borders which is one of the primary goals of the mission. The “safe zones” that Trump has talked about recently, fit perfectly with this same strategy as they undermine Moscow’s efforts to reunify the state and bring the conflict to an end.

    This appears to be the plan that McMaster will pursue as national security adviser. Expect US ground troops to be deployed to Syria as soon as the details are worked out.

    • Bill Rood

      … and expect SAA, Hezbollah and IRGC to provide some “forward deterrence” to such a plan, once ISIS, al-Qaeda and Kurds are thoroughly betrayed by the US and either defeated or amnestied.

  • Rodger

    As long as the US stays firmly in the camp with the Saudis they will be part of the conflict at best.