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Friday, October 30, 2015

Syria and evil ISIS now have what they want - US boots on the ground

Now we know. In fact, the secret "horse" is out of the barn. 

Indeed, the elite US special forces were finally revealed as "troops on the groupd", in Syria and likely other places, as well. 

US Special Forces ops logo

Probably, these US troops are anywhere or maybe they're everywhere. 

This "who knew?" knowledge will have one amazing response. There will be a huge shift in evil ISIS and Syrian army strategy. Instead of fighting to take over the world, the evil ISIS forces will focus like laser beams on capturing one American service person. 

Odds are, they're already setting up multiple traps to accomplish their nefarious goal. Terrorists like evil ISIS and their like minded allies will create international chaos with only one American military hostage.

Sadly, the killing of Master Sargeant Joshua Wheeler in Iraq, the first since American troops returned in mid-2014 to train, advise and assist the Iraqi military to fight ISIS, has ripped the scab off of the myth that Americans would not put boots on the ground in these daunting serial wars.  (He's the first American combat death that we know about....).  Two military officials said that Wheeler was a team leader for the elite Army special operations unit commonly known as "Delta Force," which is based at that command at Fort Bragg NC.  Since the Master Sargeant's death was revealed, the "boots on the ground" strategy was also unmasked. There's no way these "boots" are isolated to Iraq.

With Master Sargeant Wheeler's death, Americans are now officially back in Syria. 

What in the world is our government thinking by revealing the strategy of putting American troops on the ground when they're obviously vulnerable to capture?  Our "troops on the ground" are a challenge to our enemy. Moreover, our admitted presence is an acceleration of the now rescucitated Iraq War.  

It seems like the Iraq War is the zombie that just won't die, regardless of how many stakes are driven into its heart.  

The Washington Post reports:

Obama intensifies operations in Syria with Special Ops troops
The White House said President Obama plans to deploy a small number of special operations forces to Syria to advise rebels that Washington deems moderate. When asked about the number of troops, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, "The less than 50 number is accurate. (Reuters)

(IMO, this is not reliable information. If Earnest says "about 50" special forces will be sent, then what he REALLY means to say is that 50 MORE will go, above and beyond the unknown number who are already there. Indeed, that's more like the truth than "less than 50".)

President Obama is sending a small number of Special Operations forces­ to northern Syria, marking the first full-time deployment of U.S. troops to the chaotic country.

The mission marks a major shift for Obama, whose determination to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been balanced by an abiding worry that U.S. troops not be pulled too deeply into the in­trac­table Syrian conflict.

The latest deployment will involve fewer than 50 Special Operations advisers, who will work with resistance forces­ battling the Islamic State in northern Syria, but will not engage in direct combat, Obama administration officials said. (Anybody who believes this is certifably delusional.)

“This is an intensification of a strategy that the president announced more than a year ago,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

The move, which the president’s national security team recommended late last week, reflects Obama’s growing dissatisfaction with the halting progress in Iraq and Syria and his commanders’ sense that the Islamic State has significant vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

This map below illustrates how complicated this situation is:
US troops are expected to begin arriving over the next month in Syria, where their main focus will be advising Syrian Arab and Kurdish forces­ who have fought to within 30 miles of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, said a senior defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. 

US troops are expected to remain largely at the “headquarters level,” where they will assess the local forces­ and help plan military operations to put continued pressure on Raqqa and a 60-mile-long stretch of the Syria-Turkey border.

A successful attack on Raqqa would mark a major victory for the forces­ battling the Islamic State.

The Special Operations forces, even though they are focused on advising U.S. allies and not direct combat, still face a real threat. “This is a dangerous place on the globe, and they are at risk,” Earnest said. “There is no denying it.” The deployment, like the recent commitment to keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan after 2016, would be essentially open-ended, he said.

The introduction of U.S. advisers follows Russia’s stepped-up involvement in the war in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the opening at a hastily convened meeting of diplomats in Vienna on Friday to discuss ways to end the increasingly bloody conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he ordered his country’s military to strike Islamic State ­forces, but White House officials said that the Russians are indiscriminately targeting all rebel forces­ arrayed against the regime. 

In fact, Russia’s military actions on behalf of the Assad regime have complicated U.S. efforts to help rebels in northern Syria, where U.S. officials are worried that American-backed forces­ will feel compelled to shift their focus from battling the Islamic State to helping their beleaguered allies fight Assad.

The Russian operations have, in particular, sapped momentum from a push by Syrian Arab fighters to drive the Islamic State from the contested stretch of the border between Syria and Turkey, U.S. officials said. In the past few weeks, U.S. airstrikes in Syria have dropped off dramatically, prompting concern from local fighters allied with the Americans.

The recent deployment of Special Operations forces­ along with new U.S. warplanes headed to Turkey suggest that the airstrikes will soon intensify. The White House plans to send A-10 ground attack planes and F-15 fighter jets to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where they will be able to support ground operations against the Islamic State. The heavily armored A-10s, which fly low and slow over the battlefield, are built to back ground troops engaged in combat.

The planes will also focus on attacking the Islamic State’s supply lines that connect its base in Syria to its fighters in Iraq. Russia was not made aware of the deployment of U.S. troops into the country, the senior defense official said.

The new deployment of ground troops and planes drew a mixed reaction from Democrats, who worried about the deepening U.S. involvement in the war, and Republicans, who said that the small U.S. force was insufficient and disconnected from a broader, coherent strategy.

“These steps may prove to be too little, too late,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “I do not see a strategy for success, rather it seems the administration is trying to avoid a disaster while the president runs out the clock.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the latest moves “yet another insufficient step in the Obama administration’s policy of gradual escalation.”

Obama first asked for a broader set of options in Iraq and Syria when he visited the Pentagon in July. That meeting came two months after Iraqi army troops were driven from Ramadi, about 80 miles west of Baghdad, by a much smaller Islamic State force.

Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the administration’s new plan for Iraq and Syria would focus on aiding the slow-moving Iraqi army assault on Ramadi, the military operations around Raqqa and more raids on Islamic State leaders in both countries.

[Defense Secretary Carter says Iraqis lacked will to fight]

Obama also spoke Friday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to outline U.S. plans to intensify support for the Ramadi operation and an increase in raids aimed at the Islamic State leadership in the country.

Administration officials said that the U.S. and Iraqi governments are working on plans to establish a joint Special Operations task force to target Islamic State leaders and their network. The raids would be conducted with the backing of U.S. Special Operations forces backed with U.S.-supplied intelligence.

The move was foreshadowed this week by Carter, who told lawmakers that the military’s elite counter­terrorism forces­ would increase the pace of raids like the one in northern Iraq that freed as many as 70 captives being held by the Islamic State and resulted in the death of Army Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler.

Senior defense officials said Obama remained open to deploying Apache attack helicopters and forward air controllers, who are trained to move with Iraqi forces­ and call in airstrikes, if needed for future operations.

More costly and ambitious measures in Syria, such as no-fly zones or buffer zones that would require tens of thousands of ground troops, did not receive the backing of Obama’s top policy advisers and weren’t among the options forwarded to the president. Many Republicans and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton have said they favor a no-fly zone in Syria.

Even as the White House announced the measures in Iraq and Syria, senior administration officials played down hopes that the additional forces­ would fundamentally change the circumstances in either country.

“The president has been quite clear that there is no military solution to the problems that are plaguing Iraq and Syria,” Earnest said. “There is a diplomatic one.”

Tragically, this acceleration will not resolve the horrific problems in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and all the other places where extreme danger is lurking.  Whether the US sends 50 or another 5,000 troops (God forbid) the fact is, President Obama would never have renigged on his promise not to put American "boots on the ground" unless the entire situation in the middle east was worsening.  With Russia overtly involved, there was truly no alternative but to put "troops on the ground".

Regardless of what's going on in the middle east, my prediction is that the entire focus of our evil ISIS enemy will now be to capture just one American.  God protect us. 

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