Syria - Erdogan's Lost Bet -
Trump Likely To Follow A Cautious Strategy
Moon Of Alabama
02, 2017 "Information
The last Syria
of Al-Bab the Syrian army is moving towards
the Euphrates. It will cut off the Turkish
forces path to Raqqa and Manbij.
That move concluded. The Turkish invasion forces
from moving further south. They would have to
fight the Syrian army and their Russian allies
to move directly onto Raqqa. They would have to
fight the Syrian-Kurdish YPG and its U.S. allies
to move further east.
first time since the start of the war the supply
lines between Turkey and the Islamic State are
Erdogan is still hoping for U.S. support for his
plans for Raqqa but I doubt that the U.S.
military is willing to give up on their well
regarded Kurdish proxies in exchange for an
ill disciplined Turkish army
in general disarray and with little fighting
spirit. Erdogan removed any and all officers and
NCOs that he perceived as not being 100% behind
his power grab. That has now come back to haunt
him. He is lacking the military means to pursue
his belligerent policies.
Last year Erdogan had allied with Russia and
Iran after a (U.S. supported?) coup attempt
against him failed. He felt left alone by the
U.S. and its reluctance to support his plans in
Syria. After Trump was elected Erdogan
coming change in U.S. policies. He exposed
himself as the ultimate turncoat and switched
back to a U.S. alliance. His believe in a change
of U.S. policy drives his latest moves and
Elijah Magnier reports that his sources in
Damascus have the same impression of Trump as
that Trump will strongly escalate in Syria and
will support the Turkish moves against the
But it is the U.S. military that drives the
strategy in the Trump cabinet. The Pentagon has
no appetite for
a big ground operation in Syria. The plan it
is still the same plan that it offered under
Obama. It will work with Kurdish forces to
defeat the Islamic State in Raqqa. Notable is
also that a director of the Pentagon financed
think tank RAND Corp
for better cooperation with Russia in Syria. The
old RAND plan
of a decentralized Syrian with zones under
"international administration" (i.e. U.S.
occupied) is probably no longer operative.
Recently Erdogan announced that his next move in
Syria would be to towards Manbij, held by the
YPK. Shortly thereafter pictures of U.S. troops
in Manbij displaying U.S. flags were
social networks. The message was clear: stay
away from here or you will be in serious
Monday planes from the Iraqi air force attacked
Islamic State positions within eastern Syria.
The attack followed from intelligence
cooperation between Syria and Iraq. It is easier
for Iraq to reach that area than for Syrian
planes stationed near the Mediterranean. This
cooperation will continue. In western Iraq
militia integrated with the Iraqi military are
ready to storm Tal Afar. This is besides the
besieged Mosul the last big Islamic State
position in the area. The U.S. had planned to
let the Islamic State fighters flee from Mosul
and Tal Afar towards Syrian and to let them take
the Syrian government positions in Deir Ezzor.
Syrian-Iraqi cooperation blocked that move. The
U.S. attempt to separate the war on the Islamic
State in Syria and Iraq failed. Any attempt to
again use the Islamic State as a means to
destroy Syria will meet resistance in Iraq where
the U.S. is more and more engaged. U.S.
commanders in Iraq will be well aware of that
opinion Trump's more belligerent remarks on
Syria, on safe zones and military escalation,
are rhetoric. They are his negotiation positions
towards Russia and Iran. They are not his
policies. Those are driven by more realistic
positions. Obama balanced more hawkish views
supported by the CIA, Hillary Clinton and the
neoconservatives against reluctance in the
military to engage in another big war. Trump
will, even more than Obama, follow the
Pentagon's view. That view seems to be
unchanged. I therefore do not believe that
aggressive escalation is the way Trump will go.
Some additional U.S. troops may get added to the
Kurdish forces attacking Raqqa. But any large
move by Turkish or by Israeli forces will not be
condoned. The big U.S. invasion of Syria in
their support will not happen.
Meanwhile the Syrian army is moving on Palmyra
and may soon retrieve it from the Islamic State.
A new Russian trained unit, the 5th corps, is in
the lead and so far makes a good impression.
With Palmyra regained the Syrian army is free to
move further east towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
may still get some kind of "safe zone" in the
area in north Syrian his forces now occupy. But
Damascus will support Kurdish and Arab guerilla
forces against any Turkish occupation. The
Turkish forces in Syria will continue to be in a
lot of trouble. Erdogan will not get active U.S.
support for further moves to capture Syrian
land. His change of flags, twice, was useless
and has severely diminished his standing.
Netanyahoo and the Israel lobby
also want a "safe zone".
This one in south Syria and under Jordanian
command. This would allow Israel to occupy more
Syrian land along the Golan heights. But the
areas next to the Golan and towards Deera are
occupied by al-Qaeda and Islamic State aligned
group. These groups are a serious danger for the
unstable Jordanian state. There is nothing to
win for Jordan in any "safe zone" move. Likewise
the U.S. military will have no interest in
opening another can of worms in south Syria.
Like Erdogan Netanyahoo will likely be left
alone with his dreams.