Saturday, 31 October 2015

Syria - American 'boots on the ground'

US sends less than 50 special forces to advise 'moderate opposition' in Syria - White House



RT,
30 October, 2015

The White House spokesman has confirmed that US is planning to send up a small number of special forces operatives to advise "moderate opposition" in Syria on the ground.

Josh Earnest refused to give more information to the reporters during the briefing citing operational security. He insisted that the mission of advisers in Syria will be to build the capacity of local forces to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL).

Earnest reiterated that the administration is not planning to put "boots on the ground," otherwise they would be sending "more than 50 troops."

The White House press secretary insisted that the deployment is merely an “intensification” of the US campaign against IS that began in September 2014, noting that US special forces have conducted a hostage rescue operation in Syria last year, and a combat raid against an IS leader this spring.

We have shown a desire to intensify those elements of our strategy that have shown the most promise,” he told reporters, referring to the improvement in combat capabilities of Iraqi forces trained and advised by US troops.

These forces do not have a combat mission,” Earnest said repeatedly.

Asked about the legal framework for sending forces to Syria, Earnest cited the 2001 congressional authorization to use military force, passed following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The presence of any sort of US troops in Syria was not authorized by either the elected government in Damascus or by the United Nations.

Though Earnest did not say specifically which forces the US advisers will be aiding, he did refer to a group 45 kilometers outside the IS capital of Raqqa, which the media has been calling 'Syrian Democratic Forces.'

US aircraft delivered ammunition to the group earlier this month. However, the Arab militias have told reporters that most of the supplies ended up with the Kurdish YPG, whose promised advance towards Raqqa has stalled due to the protests of the US ally Turkey.




Obama's October Surprise: US Special Forces Are Now 'Assisting' Rebels in Syria
  • Obama's October Surprise: US Special Forces Are Now 'Assisting' Rebels in Syria
  • Remember when Obama said “no boots on the ground” in Syria? He fibbed

30 October, 2015

Barack “ended 2 wars” Obama has just announced that he is placing “special” U.S. boots on the ground in Syria, allegedly to help assist unidentified forces fight ISIS.

Did Obama ask the Syria government if it was okay for U.S. soldiers to “do stuff” in Syria? Not exactly, but at least the Pentagon “consulted” with…Iraq? This is unreal: 
The Pentagon has also been “consulting” with the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to establish a special operations taskforce to fight Isis “leaders and networks” across the Syrian border in Iraq, a senior administration official told the Guardian on Friday.

Here's what the Guardian fails to mention
The Iraqi government said Wednesday it didn't ask for — and doesn't need — the “direct action on the ground” promised by the Pentagon.

Ha-ha. Back to the U.S. special forces operating illegally in Syria: 
The White House insisted that its overall strategy to combat Isis remained the same and said the special forces troops would be helping coordinate local ground forces in the north of the country and other non-specified “coalition efforts” to counter Isis rather than engaging in major ground operations.

Yes. Obama has sent U.S. soldiers into Syria to conduct “non-specified coalition efforts”. Any questions? 
Now Russia will have to stop bombing al-Nusra. Can't kill Americans. 
Happy Halloween? 
Off to Syria for unspecified reasons!
Off to Syria for unspecified reasons!


U.S. TO SEND SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES TO SYRIA
Nick Turse


30 October 2015

President Obama has authorized the deployment of a small contingent of elite U.S. troops to northern Syria as part of the campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, a senior administration official tells The Intercept.

The White House is expected to make a formal announcement later on Friday. Administration officials have been authorized to inform members of the press of the planned deployment, on condition that the news be sourced only to a “senior administration official.”

While portrayed by the administration as an intensification of the current strategy and enhancing “efforts that are already working,” the deployment of forces represents a clear escalation of the conflict for the president who has previously said, “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.”

The use of special operations forces is increasingly seen as a preferable alternative to heavy-footprint, large-scale military missions and occupations of the sort carried out in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The contingent, comprised of fewer than 50 members of the special operations forces, will be sent to Kurdish-controlled territory “where they will help coordinate local ground forces and Coalition efforts to counter ISIL.” The deployment in Syria may represent a broader effort to increase the use of elite U.S. troops in the war on the Islamic State. According to the administration official, the president also authorized consultation “with [Iraqi] Prime Minister [Haider] Abadi and the Iraqi Government on the establishment of a Special Operations Force (SOF) task force to further enhance our ability to target ISIL leaders and networks.”

The special operations deployment to Syria comes at a time of expanding use of America’s most elite forces all around the world. In the fiscal year that just ended, U.S. special operations forces — Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, among others — deployed to a record-shattering 147 countries, according to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesperson Ken McGraw. That number translated into a SOF presence in 75 percent of the nations on the planet and a jump of 145 percent since the waning days of the Bush administration. On any day of the year, America’s most elite troops can be found in 70 to 90 countries.

Previously, U.S. special operations efforts in Syria have been brief, targeted missions, such as a night raid in May in which members of the Army’s Delta Force killed an Islamic State commander known as Abu Sayyaf.

In July, SOCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel told the Aspen Security Forum that his troops were not “doing anything on the ground in Syria.” Despite that claim, special operations forces had carried out the Abu Sayyaf night raid there a couple of months before and the Washington Post recently revealed that they are involved in a secret campaign of drone strikes in that country.

SOCOM did not respond to a request for clarification if Syria was counted among the 147 countries that saw SOF missions in 2015.

In addition to the new special operations deployment, President Obama also authorized enhancing assistance to neighboring Jordan and Lebanon and deploying A-10 and F-15 attack aircraft to Incirlik air base in Turkey to combat Islamic State forces.

The administration is taking pains, however, to downplay the ultimate significance of the enhanced military mission. “ISIL is a determined enemy,” the senior official said in an email. “And we will not defeat ISIL by military means alone.”

There's not much on this from western media (nothing that I can see from CNN) but here is America's ABC


And the anti-Obama Fox News

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