01:12 GMT +323 March 2017
    US Marines are picked up by a helicopter after conducting a cordon and knock in al-Qaim, near the Syria border, western Iraq (File)

    Washington 'Risks Getting Drawn Into Yet Another Ground War in Middle East'

    © AFP 2017/ USMC
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    Washington has boosted its military presence in Syria to ostensibly help local forces fight against Daesh, but former US diplomat and Senate adviser James Jatras told Radio Sputnik that the Pentagon's latest deployment could see the United States get bogged down in Syria.

    "Frankly, I don't like it. I don't think it's a good idea. As much as anybody else I would like to see Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria destroyed. It seems to me that could be done without an American ground deployment. It seems that Donald Trump has chosen otherwise and there are real dangers that come with that," he said. "I am not saying that this could not be successful and this could not have a good outcome, but there are definitely risks involved."

    Jatras emphasized that he did not mean that this strategy could not be successful, but warned that there are major risks involved.

    "The risks are we get sucked in, we get drawn in yet another ground war in the Middle East. And let's be clear – air war is a war too. Using airpower commits the US to putting more special forces on the ground, which was already done under Obama and now is being expended by Trump. Ranger units, artillery units – this is an expansion of the ground war. If we find ourselves involved in a much more direct and extensive combat than was anticipated, we could find ourselves in another ground war. As much as anybody wants Daesh, al-Nusra and other terrorists destroyed, I don't think that we want another ground war in the Middle East."

    The Obama administration initially said that it would not send any ground troops to Syria, making a U-turn once it became clear that its aerial campaign was not enough to "degrade and ultimately destroy" Daesh, as the former US president put it in September 2014. The US has since then sent service personnel to Iraq and Syria to train and advise local fighters. Most recently, Washington deployed 400 Marines and Army Rangers to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces in their operation to free Raqqa, the capital of Daesh's caliphate. Jatras referred to this deployment as "a significant increase."

    This is not to say that there are no positive developments with regard to the ongoing Syrian conflict. In this context, Jatras mentioned Manbij, a Syrian city which made headlines last week when Russia and the United States tried to prevent Turkey from advancing deeper into Kurdish-held areas. 

    Moscow brokered a deal between Damascus and the Syrian Democratic Forces, which administer Manbij. Under the agreement, the Syrian Arab Army created a buffer zone between forces taking part in the Ankara-led Operation Euphrates Shield and the Kurds. For its part, the United States moved its troops closer to Manbij to keep their allies at bay.

    "There was coordination on this operation between American, Russian and Turkish chiefs of staff. So it seems like there is some effort to get some coordination on the same side, among forces that are suspicious of each other, but to direct their activity against Daesh. In principle that's a good thing," Jatras said.

    It could be a step forward "with the caveat, and it's a big one, that we don't get ourselves too deeply dug in than we want," the analyst added. "If we can find a common agenda for the Syrian Army, the Russians, the Kurds, even tacitly the Turks and of course we also have the Iraqi Army's offensive in Mosul, maybe we could start to squeeze Daesh into a pincer movement where you have the Iraqis on the one side, the Syrians on the other side, the Kurds in the north and the desert in the south and you pen them in and destroy them."

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    military deployment, Syrian crisis, military operation in Syria, ground operation, ground military operation, Syrian conflict, Daesh, James Jatras, Manbij, Syria, United States, Middle East
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    • sapper
      Personally I am suspicious of whatever Turkey and US get up to there!!!
    • Drain the swamp
      A strange alliance/understanding has come about between the jew and the sunni muslim extremists supported by wahabi sauds/qataris - we keep Mecca/Medina and you keep Jerusalem. It is falsehood and both will fail eventually.
    • avatar
      they will do everything accordingly the oded yinon plan...
    • avatar
      It's not a risk. Americans love war, they are a nation of sick individuals.
      Donald Trump, from all evidence, appears to have been sucked into the same swamp as Obama was.

      The imperial concerns of America's military/security establishment take precedence over everything else, including elected government.

      It does seem Trump has been trumped.
    • avatar
      Us are crazily looking first, to obscure the success of Syria with Russia and Iran and second they are afraid that Turchey could leave them out...
    • avatar
      The US created this war. We have always been involved.
    • JOHN CHUCKMANin reply toMitach2002(Show commentHide comment)
      Mitach2002, There is truth in what you say, but there is a reason for it.

      America has no first-hand knowledge of serious war.

      All of its wars since 1865 have been abroad, inflicting suffering on others from which its own population is pretty much secure.

      Had they experienced what Russia and Europe experienced over the last century, the views might well be different.

      I've long observed how few Americans really care about what is happening to "foreigners."

      It was that way in the Vietnam Holocaust, a ten-year exercise in extreme brutality that had little point.

      Americans only got excited over the relatively small numbers (small, for wars) of Americans coming home in boxes, especially when those bodies were draftees.

      The estimated 3 million Vietnamese slaughtered in various horrible ways - napalm, early cluster bombs, carpet-bombing - meant almost nothing in America.

      Nor did the horror they left behind matter much - land mines, cluster munitions, Agent Orange, etc. - things which kept killing Vietnamese for many years.

      The death of about 60 thousand "boyz" was the only thing that mattered and still matters.

      I remember how enraged American officials were when they lost the war. They refused to undertake any obligations like reparations, land-mine clearance, and when they talked to the Vietnamese, which was rarely, they insisted on crazy things like having suspected crash sites for American planes dug up to find some old bones and buttons, as though the Vietnamese didn’t have huge and urgent problems with which to deal. But, no, they had to find America’s bones and buttons and ship them home. It was insane.

      The war was utterly insane, but to this day you will not find large numbers of Americans who admit that, so indoctrinated were they on the “threat” of communism. Feelings towards Russia today still reflect that indoctrination because the Pentagon has always found it useful to have a boogeyman in pushing for still larger budgets.

      The one thing that came out of Vietnam for Americans was an end to the draft. A very-well paid professional armed force also offers job opportunities in a society which increasingly has trouble generating jobs.

      The Pentagon also determined to become as hi-tech as possible, minimizing the actual exposure of soldiers. They learned in Vietnam that the coffins coming home in even modest numbers literally created civil unrest.

      This enables them to pursue their many colonial wars – and that’s all any of America’s wars since WWII have been, dirty little colonial wars – with a minimum of disturbance “back home.” Americans mostly now never give a thought to what is being done to “foreigners.”

      And, of course, as we know well, America’s corporate news media make sure Americans never see the gruesome results of their work. The only time broken bodies and pools of blood ever appear in America’s press is when the deaths are attributed to the very governments America’s establishment is trying to destroy, as in Syria.

      So, we live in a strange world of shadows in which most of what America’s government does abroad is never even explained to Americans, and so long as great numbers of coffins are not being shipped home, Americans just don’t care.

      This is a near universal reality in America including most parts of the political spectrum. You don’t hear even a self-declared “socialist” like Bernie Sanders railing against the horrors America inflicts abroad. Never. He’ll only brag something like having voted against the Iraq invasion many years ago, and that’s it.

      It is national of navel-gazers whose establishment has a free hand to kill and destroy abroad on a grand scale. After all, in the years of Obama and Bush, America killed maybe 2 million people in its Neocon Wars.
    • avatar
      All that analytical bullshit is not necessary. The Yanks are going in to set up a military base to be there in Central Arab Territory till the end of time.
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