So far I only see continuation of policy. Same as occurred when Bush changed to Obama.
So we're dealing with a perception change promotion- which the media is happy to deliver. And those that self identify as leftists/liberals/progressives are happy to believe. These same dupes stayed quiet as the Obama administration wantonly bombed and droned, globally but are now so incensed about Trump- It's the theatre of the absurd with an audience of the dull and dumbed down
McClatchy: US drops more bombs in Obama’s final year of office than in 2015
The U.S. dropped 26,171 bombs last year, 3,027 more than 2015
“Planning for the final assault on Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s caliphate, had been grinding on for more than seven months. There had been dozens of meetings of President Barack Obama’s top national security team, scores of draft battle plans and hundreds of hours of anguished, late-night debates.
There were no good options, but Obama’s top foreign policy advisers were convinced that they had finally settled on an approach that could work —, current and former U.S. officials said. There was just one problem: The Obama team had deliberated for so long that there was little time left to pull the trigger. Trump’s advisers had also sent word that they wanted to make the decision”
“So on Jan. 17, just three days before the transfer of power, Obama directed his national security adviser to hand over to the Trump team a paper detailing the plan to arm the Kurds, including talking points that President Trump could use to explain the move to Turkey’s president, who officials knew would be furious. The Turks viewed the Kurdish fighters as terrorists and their No. 1 enemy.
Finally settled on an approach that could work???? Arming Kurdish fighters in northern Syria?
That was not a new or original approach and there is no reason to believe this rubbish about settling on this approach. Arming the Kurds has always been the approach for years now...
"Obama hoped that his last-minute preparations would clear the way for Trump to authorize a swift assault on the Islamic State’s most important stronghold, where U.S. intelligence officials say militants are plotting attacks outside Syria.Did the Trump team really deem it insufficient and swiftly toss it? They certainly did not!
Instead of running with the plan, Trump’s national security team deemed it wholly insufficient and swiftly tossed it”
Go back to my post of January 31/2017: Trumps Syrian Safe Zones: Trouble for Turkey & Syria / Undermining Astana Agreement
SDF spokesman Talal Silo said the delivery of the armored vehicles marked a significant improvement in U.S. support and attributed the change to the new administration. Trump says eradicating Islamic State will be one of his biggest priorities.
The shipment was confirmed by Pentagon spokesman John Dorrian, who said it was made "using existing authorities, in the interest of helping protect our partnered force from the (IS) improvised-explosive device threat."
To the incoming Trump administration, Obama’s approach was so incremental and risk-averse that it was almost certain to fail. “They provided the information, but we found huge gaps in it,” said a senior Trump administration official who reviewed the document. “It was poor staff work.”Obama sweated the smallest details? This is pure perception management. Left vs Right politics. Obama the Nobel Peace prize president didn’t sweat the details - His remake the middle east project moved as fast as possible in the real world circumstances.
The Obama White House viewed its Syria plans as the product of years of experience in a region where every move carries unintended and potentially catastrophic consequences. Those who steered the Obama administration’s Syria policy insisted that the new White House did not understand the complexity of the issue, but soon would.
The troubled handoff of one of the United States’ most vexing national security problems shows how far the pendulum has swung between two presidents who in many ways are opposites. Obama sweated the smallest details of U.S. military and intelligence operations, often to the point of inaction.
"Trump has made it clear that he prefers to go with his gut and has promised a swift and brutal campaign that will “utterly destroy” the Islamic State. In meetings with his national security team, he has signaled his desire to give Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whom he regularly refers to by the nickname “Mad Dog,” a free hand in doing whatever it takes to fight terrorism.Trump and his top advisers could have already increased coordination with Russia and the Syrian President. That, as of yet hasn't occured, however, his move to arm the Kurds gives the appearance that he is continuing with the "best of several bad options"
It is up to Mattis and the rest of Trump’s national security team to translate the president’s campaign-trail pronouncements into policy. Trump’s more aggressive approach could speed the destruction of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, but it also could lead to an increase in civilian deaths, fueling anger toward the United States.
Trump and his top advisers also could decide to increase coordination with Russia and even Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to seize Raqqa. Or he could ultimately conclude, as Obama did, that arming the Kurds represents the best of several bad options"
"The policy dilemmas that Obama and his team spent more than seven months deliberating will be decided over the course of the next 30 days in a review led by Mattis and the Pentagon. Trump has directed his defense secretary to bring him multiple options and to ignore the restrictions on troop numbers and civilian casualties that were put in place by Obama".It's doubtful there were any restrictions on troop numbers and it's certain that there were ZERO restrictions on civilian casualties put in place by Obama- Zero. None. Zip. Zilch. Don't believe me? Let's recall this post from September 30 2014? White House- Kill Syrian/Iraqi Civilians- Exemption for airstrikes
Not that the US was ever very careful when it came to civilians deaths however they at least talked as if they cared. Even that pretense will not apply for Syria and Iraq
The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.
A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria's Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.The Obama administration pretended they had strict standards, but it was just another lie from the Peace President that the self identified liberals said nothing about. Therefore Trump does not have to ignore any restrictions that were not already completely ignored by Obama! WaPo is spinning hard, presenting fake news for mass consumption but the facts are widely available.
The next bit from WaPo is contradictory to earlier claims.. When this piece opened the author informed us all that the decision to employ the Kurds in Raqqa was a recent one. It wasn't. As explained the Kurds have been US besties for years. And that's not all... It's acknowledged, as has been stated here for years, the Syrian Kurds and the PKK have ties. Are affiliated. Partners. Pals. Bosom Buddies
Finally some truth and reality! I'm positively tickled pink
"The policy dilemma facing Trump began with a decision made by the Obama administration in a moment of desperation in 2014.Exactly as I've stated here, for years. The US is supporting terrorists. YPG = PKK. Always has. YPG was the obfuscation. And where were the pussy hat wearers and their fake humanitarianism?
Islamic State fighters had just seized huge swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Obama decided to intervene militarily but ruled out the use of American ground forces on the front lines.
The Pentagon needed to find local partners in a hurry, and the Syrian Kurds stepped forward. The budding U.S. battlefield alliance with the Kurds carried big strategic risks. The Kurdish fighters who volunteered to help the Americans had ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which the Turkish and U.S. governments considered a terrorist group."
I'm feeling so validated. :)
" In contrast to Obama, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not see the Islamic State as his country’s No. 1 threat. In private meetings with senior U.S. officials in 2014, Erdogan said the Kurds were his top concern and that removing Assad ranked second, according to U.S. and Turkish officials"
Erdogan straight up told the US in 2014 removing Assad was NOT his top concern. The PKK/YPG was number one top concern for Turkey! This is now 2017 and this entire time the US has been stickin' the knife in the Turkey's back and twistin'. Feeling validated yet again! In 2014 I started writing that which had become obvious Turkey was being betrayed by it's alleged allies in NATO- Just a few of many, many posts:
- November 19/2014: Kurd/ISIS Symbiosis: Impending Destruction of Turkey
- (November 21/2014) http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.ca/2014/11/pt2-kurd-isis-symbiosis-impending.html
- Turkey/US: Cat & Mouse. Creating Kurdistan aka Israel 2.0 Has Been A Mass Bloodletting
Washington Post continued: "By the fall of 2016, after two years of tension between Obama and Erdogan because of different priorities, a U.S.-backed offensive using Kurdish forces to recapture Raqqa was finally within sight, and Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, asked for authorization to arm them for a push into the city.
The proposal divided the Obama White House. Then-Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter backed the plan, but others worried that it would deepen the rift with Ankara.
Among the biggest skeptics was Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser. When she asked Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whether an immediate decision was needed, the general said he was still evaluating whether Turkey was serious about an offer to provide its own forces to take Raqqa instead of the Kurds"
For two years inside the Pentagon, Turkey’s promises of sending rebels and later its own troops were viewed with deep skepticism and derisively dubbed “Erdogan’s ghosts” or the “unicorn” army, according to current and former defense officials
By late 2016, Dunford had concluded that the Turks would not produce the forces to retake Raqqa. With less than three weeks left in the Obama administration, Dunford and Carter submitted a formal request to arm the Kurds for the assault with armored vehicles, antitank weapons, Russian-made machine guns and mine-clearing equipment.
It was covered here that Turkey had indeed offered to provide the troops to take Raqqa on the condition that the US not employ the Kurds- The US chose the PKK/YPG terrorists. Nevermind a ghost or unicorn army- note the ridicule being employed to make Turkey look foolish? I guess ridicule is one way of distracting from truth/fact/reality?
Dunford knew the exact reason Turkey would not produce the troops.
Some mention of this situation in these posts: November 03/2016: External link included in post Kurds will be the only force, supported by the Americans, to annex Raqqa.
Syria's U.S.-backed SDF says no to Turkish role in Raqqa operation
"The Syrian Democratic Forces are the only force that will take part in the operation to liberate Raqqa and we informed the (international U.S.-led) coalition forces that we reject any Turkish role in the Raqqa liberation operation," SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters.November 15/2016: The Impact of the Kurdish/US Campaign to Take Raqqa
November 22/2016: US & Turkey At "Cross- Purposes" in Syria ...
Bottom line the US didn't want Turkey's participation or they wouldn't have allied with the PKK/YPG terrorists oh so long ago...
On Jan. 10, just 10 days before Trump’s inauguration, Obama’s top advisers huddled in the White House Situation Room to weigh the Kurdish proposal, which would be the last major national security decision of the outgoing administration.Carter is fully and completely aware that the Kurds will not turn Raqqa over to local Arab Forces and the US is not concerned with the damaged relations with Turkey. As for their partnering with terrorists? Nothing new under the sun!
Carter argued that the Kurds understood that they would have to turn Raqqa over to local Arab forces as soon as the Islamic State was defeated. (LOL. That's absurd!)
Samantha Power, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and the U.S. ambassador in Ankara, along with others, warned that moving forward with the plan would further damage relations with Turkey. It also would put the United States in the unacceptable position of supporting allies of a terrorist group that was carrying out mass-casualty attacks on a NATO member, they said.
Washington Post last bit, I promise: Most of the shortcomings outlined by the Trump team were obvious to Obama’s advisers, he added. In fact, the senior Obama administration official said, arming the Kurds was Obama’s Plan B, after it became clear that Plan A — using Turkish forces to take Raqqa — would not be feasible.The US refused to move away from their terrorists knowing full well Turkey, since the coup failed, would not comply. If the US backed coup had succeeded we might possibly have been looking at a different plan
It is up Mattis and Dunford to sort through Syria’s many complexities and come up with a new plan. At the end of Obama’s term, Dunford emerged as one of the most passionate supporters of arming the Kurds, the senior Obama administration official said. Aides declined to describe Mattis’s thinking on the option. Trump has promised to give Dunford and Mattis a free hand, which could lead them right back to some variation of the Obama plan.We've come all the way back to the question I posed as the title of this post?
Did Trump Really Pull Trigger on Obama’s Raqqa Plan? He absolutely did not!
It's disheartening to think that some will believe this is real change. When it's merely the perception/presentation of change.
The US could have always pulled back their proxies and troops in Syria. They could have worked with Russia and Syria at any time. They didn't because that was never the plan.