The Syria – Turkey Reality vs. Political Hysteria and Fake News Lies

by | Oct 20, 2019 |

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Lost amid the understandable moral and strategic outrage over President Trump’s unorthodox and non-status quo decision on Syria is one politically inconvenient fact: Trump’s assessment of the current Syrian and regional situation there was spot-on and a much needed call and a wake-up call to both the nation and the world.
Our mission in Syria was never clear or defined, until two things happened; the establishment and infusion of ISIS into Syria and its effort to create a caliphate, and the election of Donald Trump. President Trump determined; a ‘Mission’ and an ‘End State’ — ‘Destroy ISIS and Get Out.’
U.S. policy in Syria has been unclear, confused and unrealistic for nearly a decade—a never-ending mission impossible without realistic goals or the means to achieve them. So much so, the politicians enragement at President Trump’s so-called willful abandonment of the Kurds and his disregard for U.S. credibility and interests are due to the false-narrative spun by the mainstream and Trump’s detractors, opponents and haters.
But this too, should not obscure the fact: U.S. policy in Syria was headed for trouble. Whether you dislike or support this President, Trump’s actions have served to lay bare some uncomfortable truths and realities about U.S. policy toward Syria. Yes, Trump has played the role of both arsonist and fireman, and perhaps at this point that is what was needed and necessary. The President can sanction Turkey, and send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Pence on any number of cease-fire missions, and he did⏤the fact is, there’s no going back.

A new approach, and not a quixotic, exceedingly unrealistic American vision of how we would like Syria to be, is now in play and yet another victim of the Trump Doctrine.

Prior to that⏤the Obama administration in 2011 decided to insert itself into the Syrian civil war, pick an opponent and fund them, back them, and train to conduct regime change by attempting to take down the Assad government, along several dozen groups, with competing agendas, also trying to do the same. That objective is not part of the game plan.
When the Obama administration decided to go in they needed a group to support its secret agenda, they chose a group, the YPG, aka the People’s Protection Units who closely aligned with the administration’s thinking. The majority of which were Syrian Kurds. While the YPG (Kurds) assisted the U.S. with a ‘sometimes’ common adversary, ISIS. There was never an agreement for the U.S. to serve as a perpetual protection force against the Assad government, Russian forces inside Syria, let alone Turkey invading Syria to go against the YPG. The American people would never sign up to do that, nor have they⏤nor has Congress.
Our military forces mission was winding down and the remaining troops were on the way out. Turkish President Erdogan knew that and planned his incursion to go after the YPG, despite President Trump’s warnings. But crossed in to Syria anyway. Still there was no such mission directly on the ground to defend the YPG. Americans would have been screaming holy hell if U.S. forces began fighting a multi-side way against Turkey, Syria and Russia.
The Democrats, Political-left, Elitists⏤Failed Ruling Class, NeverTrumpers, and the Mainstream Media, are using trolls and fake news to do everything they can to convince the American and general public of the world, that President Trump’s decision was wrong. Their emotional stream of propaganda implies the decision to conduct the ‘so-called massive pull-back’ of 28 members, mind you, of our U.S. SOF forces, along the 260 x 20 mile Syrian-Turkish Border buffer zone, is leading to a disastrous catastrophe and inconsequential civilian deaths.
Understanding the Syrian, Turkey and regional realities means facing facts along with corresponding analysis. Here are five of them that ought to inform any reasonable debate going forward, in contrast to the lies told by the elitists, failed ruling class and mainstream media.
Fact-1; As far as a slaughter, there’s nothing of the sort occurring⏤just the clean-up of Obama’s and McCain’s paid Communist mercenary terrorist force, the Marxist YPG (People’s Protection Units)/SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces). Understand, THEY ARE NOT OUR ALLIES! At best, they, the SDF were U.S. tax-payer funded merc’s. Did you know they were originally set-up to overthrow Syria’s President Bashir Assad, compliments of Obama, Hillary, and McCain? Note: U.S. Special Forces advisers were sent⏤deployed by the Obama administration to set-up and imbed with and to train SDF insurgent force. Our officers screamed that the SDF were Communists and were not the right people the U.S. should be working with. Of course, the Obama White House ignored them. Also know, the Obama administration, down-played the term ‘YPG,’ and re-labeled them the SDF …  because it was “more public affairs friendly.” The implemented ceasefire has been designed to essentially give safe passage of the YPG Kurds out of the buffer zone.
Fact-2; The small U.S. special operations force contingent would have had zero-effect, as far as having an effective impact across that vast of an expanse of territory, again, the 260 x 20 mile Syrian-Turkish Border buffer zone. Their mission there was to monitor the buffer zone at a number of (7) sporadic check points. It was not, nor were they capable of engaging or attempting to stop an incursion by Turkey’s armed forces.
Fact-3; As Vice President Pence said this week, this was Turkey’s effort and Turkey’s incursion⏤President Erdogan made the decision to go into Syria, well before Trump’s efforts to stop him. In turn, Trump moved our small contingent force back away from the buffer zone to get them out of harm’s way. Prior to that, we were already in the redeployment mode. Which raises the question; ‘why would we intentionally keep them in Syria and put our own blood and treasure in harm’s way?’ Who does that, someone please tell me?
Fact-4; Russia has been in Syria for decades and has been a long-time ally of the Assad Regime. Syria and Russia signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in October 1980⏤thank you Jimmy Carter. At the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, thank you for the “Red Lines in the Sand” Barack Obama. Russia, Syria’s closest ally in the Middle East was there⏤in force. They’ve never left! So please stop the false narrative that Russia moved in to fill the void. Russia has been there for decades. Russia has maintained between 4,000-5,000 troops in Syria, along with its private CHVK Vagner (Wagner Group) a  paramilitary force (Russian mercenaries), which numbered approximately 600 since early 2018.
Fact-5; Remember, it was Obama and Hillary Clinton who got the U.S. into this mess with their rogue plan to conduct “regime change” across the Middle East under the guise of the “Arab Spring,” designed to topple dictators, which disrupted America and the Coalition of the Willing in the Global War Against Terrorism to try to tamp down the growing scourge of radical-Islamic terrorism.
President Trump ran on the policy of being the President of; “ending the endless wars”… despite the now sudden visceral criticism of the WARMONGERING Democrats, Political-left, Establishment Elitists/Failed Ruling Class, NeverTrumpers, Blood-thirsty Pacifists and Peace-activists, and the Mainstream Media.

Remember their motivational slogan; look for, orchestrate and or create a good crisis…so that you can ‘never let that good crisis go to waste!’

I have some advice for the history and reality-challenged Democrats, Political-left, Elitists/Failed Ruling Class, NeverTrumpers, and the Mainstream Media and the not so smart political pundits. Not one single one of you understand it, or get it, be it how the various type of military operations work or are conducted, understand the level and degrees of regional engagement, and the magnitude and corroborated execution of foreign policy, especially when you inject your political ‘hate/never-Trump bias and phony and emotional fake news editing and visuals to attempt to propagandize and influence decisions of Donald Trump. President Trump does not represent the status-quo Washington Establishment, period, we know that. For nearly a decade, Washington had not found a sustainable or effective policy in Syria. And part of the reason is that we rightly don’t consider Syria a vital national interest.
The notion that Syria is a zero-sum game where any setback for the U.S. is an automatic gain for our adversaries has been a falsely driven narrative by Trump’s antagonists and it invites both bad analysis and bad policy. Deeper Russian involvement in the middle of the Turkish/Kurdish/Syrian regime imbroglio—at best is a situation that can be managed and likely not completely resolved. 
Nevertheless, it will not harm the core U.S. regional and strategic interests: securing the free flow of oil; countering nuclear proliferation; and preventing an attack on the homeland. Left out of this past two week’s crisis equation is Israel, which has managed to constrain Iran’s more expansionist designs in Syria, and the fact that Russian and Iranian goals do not always coincide.
Not since Barack Obama’s red line on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons turned pink, have we seen as severe a reaction to a foreign policy move. But when the hysterical outrage over Trump’s initial Syria decision settles, as it will, clear-eyed decisions must be made and understood about the U.S. role in Syria and the Middle East more broadly. And that means facing facts. Due to President Trump’s national security and foreign policy due diligence, he is helping to reveal those.
Syria is a complicated place that offers no one an unqualified win. Instead, it is a land where the majority of Syrians pay a terrible price at the hands of external powers and a minority brutal government determined to survive at any price. It has been one of the world’s endless-war money pits where plans for peace, good intensions, good governance, and stability go to die. 
In the meantime, the 25-50 special operation forces troops that were pulled back from the Syrian-Turkish border, along with the remaining nearly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from northern Syria. They are redeploying and headed across the Syrian-Iraq border to western Iraq to “the campaign against Islamic State militants,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper pointed out on Saturday. There is a difference between mission focus and reactionary hysterical hype which generated this whole discussion.
For President Donald Trump, his decision is pivotal, not only does it raise an eyebrow on current U.S. foreign policy and national security interests, particularly on how we address the who, what, why, when, and where we deploy U.S. forces, especially combat forces. It reestablishes an approach that must be grounded in logic and facts, and ‘void of ignorant hysteria, emotion and politics.’
Every single person, including the bipartisan delegation of lawmakers traveling with Pelosi fabricated “vital’ trip to Jordan this weekend, who voted and sided against the President and his decision to withdrawal our remaining small contingent from Syria are wrong! They did so because of the ‘ignorant hysteria, emotion and politics’ driven by false-narratives. Shame on them.  Image: AP

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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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