This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Escalating Involvement

"It’s important to remember that’s not what this is about. We’re not at war with the Assad regime. The people who we are training and equipping are pledged to fight ISIL and only ISIL."
"At this point, no actual strikes have been conducted, but they have begun flying armed."
Capt. Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman

Turkish Air Force fighter planes land at Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey, Thursday, July 30, 2015. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

Taking off from Turkey's Incirlik air base, the U.S. military has decided the expansion of its role in Syria is required in defence of the rebel Syrian groups it has been training and arming. The coalition-backed rebels are now to be backed up with armed drones sent on those missions into Syria. New rules are to permit U.S. pilots to defend rebels against hostile forces attacks. And who could be more hostile to Syrian rebels than the government of President Bashar al Assad?

Russia is reportedly looking hostile itself about the situation, in its conventional support of and defence of the Syrian government to defend itself against "terrorists". Certainly there are terrorists in Syria, an ample number, many of whom have flooded the country from elsewhere, sensing an opportunity to take part in jihad, a sectarian confrontation between Sunnis and heretic Shiites. To classify the rebels as terrorists, akin to the Islamist fanatics that entered Syria from Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Sudan no longer stretches reality.

They started out as peaceful demonstrators but the government's response in arrests, torture, murder chemical attacks, barrel bombs and other such options rather than listen to Sunni entreaties for equal treatment with Syrian Alawites, transformed them into terrorists, not quite the equal of al-Qaeda-linked Nusra, or Islamic State, which some of them have in fact joined in desperation to stop Assad's state-slaughter machinery.

The armed drone missions have been dispatched out of Turkey, and out of their forays may be added manned flights. None of the drones took to launching airstrikes, but that may soon begin. Interestingly enough, there are a number of quite specific Islamic State personnel being sought for elimination by drones, including the infamous beheader, 'Jihadi John'. The U.S. has drawn up a 'hit list' naming him as well as six other British jihadis.

US Reaper drones, pictured, are targeting British fighters including Mohammed Emwazi (also pictured)AFP•EPA    US Reaper drones, pictured, are targeting British fighters including Mohammed Emwazi

The U.S. may find itself drawn deeper into the conflict in Syria with its decision to allow the defence of Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from attackers, irrespective of whether attackers represent forces loyal to President al-Assad. The decision to protect those Syrian rebels armed and trained by the U.S. could very well see Syrian government troops in a clash against American soldiers irrespective of unintentionality. 

Not-so-positive is the decision reached between the U.S. and Turkey to establish a 'safe zone' in northern Syria to ensure that Turkey has a provisional buffer from the civil war raging in Syria. Ostensibly the second reason for the creation of a buffer zone is to present an area of haven for displaced Syrians. This rather complicates things for Kurdish intentions, since the Kurds have established themselves, through successful opposition to Islamic State, along the border; clearly, Erdogan wants them displaced.

U.S. forces will still be held to the fact they are forbidden from launching offensive missions against government forces; defensive strikes are another matter, in that they would be expanding their investment in arming and guiding Syrian rebels by protecting them against attack by al-Nusra Front or Islamic State militias. Even though a number of former Syrian rebels of a more militantly fanatic streak have joined forces with both al-Nusra and ISIL. 

The U.S. under these circumstances may face some queasy potentials; entering unguardedly and reluctantly into a war with a sovereign nation with its own sophisticated air defences. One that has at its disposal some critical aid and personnel from another sovereign nation, neighbourly Iran. The potential for some members of the U.S. military, in pursuing their obligations to the rebels, coming up against Iranian Republican Guard members or those of Hezbollah raises some rather interesting scenarios.

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