Why Vladimir Putin is again threatening US forces — in Syria

Introduction — July 1, 2018

Assad Putin Rouhani
The following Washington Examiner article is a prime example of modern disinformation masquerading as journalism. Why, it ask, is Russia threatening U.S. forces in Syria?
Well, the answer is clear but the Washington Examiner omits to mention a couple of critical facts in this regard.
First and foremost: Russian and Iranian forces are in Syria at the express invitation of Syrian President Assad. U.S. forces are not. In fact Assad has asked the U.S. forces to leave but they have yet to comply:
“The Americans should leave, somehow they’re going to leave. “They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them. They have to learn the lesson. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore,” Assad said in a recent interview.
ISIS has been all but defeated in Syria so a U.S. military presence in the country is neither needed nor wanted. President Trump had in fact ordered U.S. forces to prepare to withdraw from Syria in April.
However, instead of following through on this the U.S. has backtracked and now appears to be consolidating its position, by building new bases (see here.)
In effect, the U.S. military has seized parts of Syria and installed its forces on the territory seized. As such this constitutes an act of war but instead of highlighting this the article below describes Trump decision to remain in Syria as “courageous”.
Meaning that what follows is not journalism but propaganda for Washington’s warmongers. And note how it describes those forces opposed to a U.S. military presence in the country as “a mix of axis forces”. Readers will recall that only a few years ago those countries supporting terror were described as the “Axis of Evil“. While in WWII Japan, Germany and Italy were described as the “Axis of Powers“.
In other words the term “axis” is being used to describe any opposition to Western power, justified of not. Ed.

Why Vladimir Putin is again threatening US forces — in Syria

Tom Hardy — Washington Examiner June 27, 2018

Russia and its allies in Syria — Bashar Assad’s regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies — are escalating their threat to U.S. military forces within the Middle Eastern nation.

Coupled with their ongoing breach of a cease-fire zone in southern Syria, the axis powers are seeking to push the U.S. out of eastern and northern Syria.

A mix of axis forces has moved against U.S. forces in recent days so as to test U.S. responses. This follows similar incidents over the past twelve months, best emphasized by the Russian military intelligence attack on U.S. forces in February. Tensions had cooled since that incident in light of Vladimir Putin’s caution against losing another 200 or so of his personnel at the sharp end of U.S. air power.

So, why is Vladimir Putin now escalating again? It’s largely due to his dissatisfaction with President Trump’s failure to follow through on his recent pledge to remove U.S. forces from Syria. Put simply, the Russians are infuriated by Trump’s courageous decision under guidance from defense secretary Jim Mattis to retain a U.S. presence. That footprint prevents Putin from consolidating Assad in power and pursuing his broader geostrategic interests in the Middle East.

Putin’s failure to wrap up the Syrian saga also causes his regime unwanted economic pressure by forcing him to maintain a high-intensity military presence on Syrian soil. Russia cannot easily afford that open-ended deployment. But there’s another consideration for the Kremlin here.

Namely, that this situation makes Putin look weak in the eyes of his partner, Iran. Putin had pledged to support Iranian interests in Syria but is now undercutting that pledge in a new deal with the Israelis. Even then, Putin had been able to retain Iran’s favor astride his Israeli deal by offering the Iranians a near-term U.S. withdrawal from Syria. That would have allowed Iran to operate its Tehran-Golan logistics network across the Syria-Iraq border and gradually build up its presence in Syria without regard to the Israeli deal (which wouldn’t have worked, but still).

But now, Iran’s economy is in free fall, and the U.S. isn’t budging.

Still, the U.S. must remain cautious. Putin is highly likely to attack U.S. forces with a semi-deniable force such as that employed in February, a Syrian militia with Russian targeting support, or in an attack joined to a faux-claim of mistaken identity. Trump or Mattis should make clear that if U.S. forces are targeted, those targeting them will be destroyed and those responsible for ordering the attack will be held accountable.