Syria, When the Dust Settled – the Truth Once Again Reveals the Hand of Obama

by | Oct 26, 2019 |

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The Turkish move came with an ostensible green light from President Trump, who cleared the way for the Turkish action by precipitously ordering the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area. A total lie and significant false-flag by the anti-Trump opposition and detractors.
President Trump’s actions have been widely condemned as a betrayal of the SDF, an American-trained and equipped force of Syrian Kurds who played a sizable role in the fight against ISIS in Syria, that suffered thousands of casualties in the process. That Turkey, an American NATO ally, is waging war against the SDF, which the Turks label as YPG/PKK — while at the same time targeting ISIS — the archenemy of the all Kurdish group factions across the region of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Armenia and Iran — underscores the complexity of the regional politics at play in northern Syria today. Deciphering this alphabet soup goes a long way towards explaining why the Turkish actions are justified, and why President Trump will ultimately be vindicated for pulling the troops out. So let’s break this down, one last time.

There has been a great deal of confusing and misleading reports regarding the erupting situation in Syria involving U.S. troops, Turkey, and the Kurdish Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters aka the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.
As usual, Beltway hawks, Establishment Neocons, and the lapdog political-left mainstream media once again using false narratives, deceptive videos and fake news reporting have oversimplified truth and reality to advance their agendas. Truly understanding the complex history of the Kurds in the Middle East would require volumes of extensive research and writing, and even then questions would remain. My own opinions are, in large part, shaped by personal military experience in the region, years of national security study, regional engagement and relationships, and a comprehensive understanding international terrorism.

America’s True and Only Kurdish Ally — The Kurds are an ethnic minority spread across the Middle East, from Syria in the West, through Turkey and Iraq, to Iran in the east, and further divided into various political groupings. America’s longtime ally among the Kurds is the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, comprising the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The KRG’s Peshmerga militia has fought alongside U.S. troops in Iraq. They are the “Kurd’s” that truly are America’s friends who stood side by side with U.S. troops in Iraq. We have worked with them, defended and supported them and they in turn have reciprocated immensely over the years, since 2003. It is the Peshmerga who have been, albeit intentionally confused with the YPG/SDF in Syria from the start by the previous U.S. administration in Syria.
The Syrian Kurds – of course as I alluded, the recent uproar over the past few weeks is about an entirely different Kurdish political institution, which the Obama administration tapped in 2014 to fight ISIS—that’s the Democratic Union Party (PYD) with its military wing, the YPG which is the Marxist splinter group aligned with the anti-American, pro-Iranian axis in its war against a NATO ally. This is the Syrian franchise of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist outfit that has been at war with Turkey since 1984. The PKK is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and is listed by the U.S. State Department, European Union, and Turkey as a terrorist organization.
The Lie and the Deception — After the Obama administration officials counseled the YPG leadership to camouflage and hide the group’s Marxist roots in association with the PKK — they rebranded themselves as the Syrian Democratic Forces, the SDF. Further, there are times when the YPG/SDF coordinated, worked together and recruit members of ISIS. The promise of U.S. arms and funds brought Arabs under the SDF banner, but the organization’s command structure is dominated by the PKK.

President Trump made his decision after fully analyzing and understanding the overall situation – which was the correct decision and a long time coming. The President’s move then should be seen in the context of his efforts to undo Obama administration policies, particularly its initiative to tilt away from traditional U.S. allies, and toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As we witnessed, the U.S. foreign policy establishment went into meltdown mode after President Trump announced three weeks ago the withdrawal of several dozen U.S. troops from a corridor in northern Syria along the Turkish border. American forces had been there since 2014, joined with the Kurdish SDF splinter group to fight the notorious Sunni Arab terrorist organization, the Islamic State (ISIS).
The bipartisan anti-Trump uproar, which has been wholly amplified by prominent Establishment and anti-Trump lawmakers denouncing the withdrawal has obscured not only Obama’s disastrous 2014 decision to team with a terrorist organization at war with a NATO member, but also basic facts about the ongoing conflict, the region, and the significant actors.
That said, it is obviously not hard to see why Democrats and their allied Beltway hawks, Establishment Neocons, and the lapdog political-left mainstream media attacked President Trump. After which, the President wasted no time and pulled the plug on an Obama initiative to integrate American and Iranian interests. Why many Republican lawmakers and the GOP’s institutional infrastructure also went after Trump is more distressing and raises a lot of questions.
Nevertheless, the President’s decision highlights the ignorance and incoherence of his critics, who appear to believe that backing a Marxist splinter group aligned with the anti-American, pro-Iranian axis in its war against a NATO ally, is sound policy. Certainly, President Trump also deserves credit for taking on a potential major national security and foreign relations crisis and in turned resolved and extremely difficult situation.
In the three years it took to extricate U.S. troops from the fiasco in northern Syria⏤again that the Obama administration designed⏤President Trump must have seen that the Swamp’s center of gravity is not the intelligence community that continues to plot against him, but the world’s most influential bureaucracy.
The Defense Department fought withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Syria because the anti-ISIS campaign helps feed the Beltway — the defense industry and the various other agencies, contractors, and nongovernmental organizations whose missions are shaped by an open-ended campaign abroad to fight Sunni Arab irregulars—that is, ISIS and anyone Iran and its proxies designate as ISIS.
President Trump simply saw U.S. support for the YPG/SDF for what it was: America fighting and paying to advance the interests of someone else, in this case U.S. adversaries, like Iran, Assad, and Russia. The complaint of the Trump critics is that the U.S. withdrawal will, conversely, benefit all warring sides—Iran and ISIS, Ankara, and Moscow, etc. — truly it is impossible to reconcile with the logic of conflict.
Fortunately, it was only a matter of that the President’s withdrawal plan and rational showed more strategic clarity than the previous foreign policy establishment community is hardly surprising. Remember, it was Donald Trump who ran against Washington’s post-9/11 foreign policies in the Middle East, in particular novelty items like Bush’s freedom agenda and Obama’s Iran deal.
From President Trump’s perspective, those policies defined the divide between the Beltway bubble and the rest of the U.S. public that saw no wisdom in enriching an Iranian regime at war or spending American lives and money to promote democracy in places like Iraq, Lebanon, or the Palestinian territories where elections were certain to empower anti-American forces.

For the Obama administration, partnering with a terrorist faction of a sub-state actor at war with a NATO member, is in the same category of objectively foolhardy and self-defeating policies.
Astonishing, as it may be, is that so many Republicans appear to have learned nothing in the last 19-years and chose to join Democrats in protest against the withdrawal shows that the divide is much more profound than even President Trump had perhaps imagined.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from the Syrian border zone makes perfect sense: it protected the lives of an extremely small contingent American troops, it avoided a damaging conflict with Turkey — a strategic NATO ally, and side-stepped a potential major power confrontation with Russia. Whether you like it or not, this was always in the cards, since the U.S. was never a guarantor of the Syrian Kurds’ or was it an objective for YPG Kurdish autonomy. 
Understand, the American embrace of the SDF was never legitimate, expert perhaps in the eyes of America’s leftist, et al Obama. Militarily it was always just a temporary solution to the problem of ISIS. Secondly, the United States never has supported a greater Kurdish nation. And while there’s been much lip service to the idea of using the SDF as a vehicle to destabilize the government of Bashar al-Assad, regime change was never been seriously pursued by the United States in Syria. Except only in the eyes of the likes of Hillary Clinton, and again, Beltway hawks, Establishment Neocons, and the lapdog political-left mainstream media. 
Strategically, today there is widespread recognition that, following the intervention of Russia in 2015, Syria’s President Assad is here to stay. Certainly we are in this situation thanks to the Obama administration’s misguided and deliberate and intentional “regime change” mentality and policies which brought us the Arab Spring, the toppling of allied governments, red-lines in the sand, and of course, the illicit arms smuggling consequences known as Benghazi in 2012.


Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force and international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism.

Waurishuk is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and served as Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC.

Currently, he is the Chairman of the Hillsborough County (FL) Republican Executive Committee and Party and serves on the Executive Board of the Republican Party of Florida.

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