July 3, 2017, Information Clearing House – Moon of Alabama
June 30, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The U.S. is giving up its hopeless position at the Syrian-Iraq border crossing near al-Tanf in south east Syria. The U.S. military had earlier bombed Syrian forces when they came near that position but it then found itself outmaneuvered, cut off from the north and enclosed in a useless area.
Al-Tanf is in the blue area with the two blue arrows at the bottom of the map. It will soon be painted red as liberated and under Syrian government control.
A more expressive version of the map:
The U.S. plan was to move from al-Tanf north towards the Euphrates river and to thereby capture and control the whole south-east of Syria. But Syria and its allies made an unexpected move and prevented that plan. The invaders are now cut off from the Euphrates by a Syrian west-to-east line that ends at the Iraqi border. On the Iraqi side elements of the Popular Military Unites under the command of the Iraqi government are moving to meet the Syrian forces at the border.
The U.S. invaders are now sitting in the mid of a piece of rather useless desert around al-Tanf where their only option is to die of boredom or to move back to Jordan from where they came.
The U.S. military even moved a HIMARS missile launcher with 300 km reach from nearby Jordan to al-Tanf. That was a laughable stunt. It made no difference in capabilities from the earlier launcher position in Jordan just a few miles west. But someone the U.S. military believed that showing off such weapons in a doomed area would impress Syrian or Russian forces and change the facts of life. It didn’t. It was clear that the U.S. would have to move out.
That now seems to happen. A knowledgeable source just posted:
TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 3:38 PM – 29 Jun 2017
Evidently Tanf FSA really are being flown to Shaddadi. Plan C is in effect.
About 150 or so U.S. trained Arab fighters will be flown from al-Tanf to north-east Syria where they will join the (hated) Kurdish forces. They may later try to reach the ISIS besieged Deir Ezzor from the north or get pushed into some suicide mission against another ISIS position. The Syrian army will approach and liberate Deir Ezzor most likely from the south and east. It is unlikely that it will let U,S. proxy forces take part in that. The U.S. contingent will move west out of al-Tanf and back into Jordan. The Syrian and Iraqi forces will take over the Al Waleed border crossing at al-Tanf and the regular commercial traffic on the Damascus-Baghdad road will resume.
The various propagandists who argued for a big U.S. mission to occupy the whole Iraqi-Syrian border and all of east Syria have lost. The “Shia crescent” between Iran and Lebanon they claimed to prevent with such a move was never a physical road connection and certainly nothing the U.S could fight by any physical means. Their pushing for a U.S. occupation of east Syria and incitement of a larger conflict has for now failed.
White House Encouraged After Elephants Abstain From Climbing Trees
Trump administration officials are walking back the White House announcement of its plans to fake another “chemical weapon attack” in Syria.
There are plenty of reasons why the U.S. would want to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but zero sane reasons for the Syrian government to use such. Russia and Syria have long insisted on sending chemical weapon inspectors to the airbase the Trump administration claims is at the center of its “chemical” fairy tale. The U.S. has held the inspectors back. The claims make thereby zero sense to any objective observer.
The walk back, as well as the statement itself, may not be serious at all. This White House seems unpredictable and the U.S. military, the intelligence services and the White House itself have no common view or policy. One day they claim the U.S. will leave Syria after ISIS is defeated, the next day they announce new bases and eternal support for the Syrian Kurds.
The way the White House statement came out, without knowledge of the relevant agencies and little involvement of the agency principals, was not cynical but just dumb. It sounds like the idea was dropped by Natanyahoo to his schoolboy Jared Kushner who then convinced his father in law to issue the crazy statement. Now officials are send out with the worst argument ever to claim that the White House “warning” made sense.
“The elephants did not climb up the trees. Warning them off was successful,” they say. “The trees were saved!”
“It appears that they took the warning seriously,” Mattis said. “They didn’t do it,” he told reporters flying with him to Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers.
He offered no evidence other than the fact that an attack had not taken place.
—“I can tell you that due to the president’s actions, we did not see an incident,” [U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki] Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Tuesday.[..] […] “I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children,” Haley continued.
Haley “would like to think” a lot of stuff – unfortunately she is not capable of such. A bit later she issued an egocentric tweet about UN peacekeeping that will surely increase U.S. political standing in the world (not):
I can even agree with Haley that UN peacekeeping has gotten way out of hand. To have UN mandated troops spreading Cholera in Haiti and raping their way through various countries does not help anyone. But the way to end this is to stop handing out mandates for such missions. To (re-)mandate undertrained/underpaid peacekeeping forces in the UN Security Council while cutting the budget for them is irresponsible. It will corrupt the troops and their behavior even more.
UN peacekeepers are often an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By cutting them down the U.S. and Haley are limiting their own political options. The White House “warning”, which had to be defused within a day, has a similar effect. People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims or to follow up on U.S. demands. Both statements have limited future policy options.
Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?