During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.
The US has sent 400 additional troops to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the so-called Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. They include Marines, who arrived in the past few days to set up an outpost from which they will be able to fire artillery at IS positions in the city. Several hundred US special forces soldiers are already deployed, advising Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Circumstantial evidence strongly indicates that President Donald J. Trump and his campaign associates brokered a massive oil privatization deal, where his Organization facilitated a global financial transaction to sell Russian Oil stock to its Syrian War adversary, the Emirate of Qatar. The Trump Russia Dossier describes a massive privatization deal to deliver a chunk of the state-owned Rosneft Oil company to Qatar and also a secret buyer in the Cayman Islands.
Photos of US Humvees and Stryker combat vehicles patrolling the streets of Manbij are surreal, a reminder that we no longer are under Barack Obama's restrained doctrine. US generals are now in full control of US policy in Syria. President Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promise not to tell the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) about his plans to defeat them, yet both allies and foes are puzzled by that new approach.
An excellent review of Trumps' motives, psychology of war, conflicting stories by various actors in Trumps administration, the history of the Syrian war, crackdown and civil war.
Progressive activists say they’re dismayed that senior congressional Democrats aren’t more strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s strikes against Syria on Thursday night. Some Democrats in Congress dinged Trump on the process — not seeking congressional approval — but largely supported the action itself. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called punishing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad “the right thing to do,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) labeled the strikes a “proportional response.” Pelosi has also called for the House to end its recess and reconvene to discuss the attacks.
The diplomatic situation had been looking bright for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. With the help of Russia, he had consolidated his power, the rebels were on their heels and the United States had just declared that ousting him was not a priority. Dr. Monzer Khalil, the health director for Idlib Province, said such extreme tactics are designed to demonstrate the government’s impunity and to demoralize its opponents.
President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria on Thursday night in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians. A senior military official said that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had hit Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The missiles were aimed at Syrian fighter jets and other infrastructure but did not target anything that may have had chemical weapons.
Erik Prince met with a Russian close to the Kremlin in a meeting brokered by the United Arab Emirates. The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.
The United States blamed the Syrian government and its patrons, Russia and Iran, on Tuesday for one of the deadliest chemical weapons attacks in years in Syria, one that killed dozens of people in Idlib Province, including children, and sickened scores more.