Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Did Trump Really Pull The Trigger on Obama’s Raqqa Plan?

This Washing Post article is working hard to present an idea that there is some change between Obama and Trump in the remake the Middle East/North Africa agenda.
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

Obama ​revises plan for ​major troop ​reduction ​in Afghanistan

President Obama announced during a press conference Wednesday that about 8,400 troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of his term. Obama had previously planned to drop troop levels to 5,500 by ​early 2017​.​
 The U.S. also dropped more bombs in Libya in 2016 than it did in 2015.
Obama claimed he would drop troop levels but didn't- The so called liberals said nothing.
Obama claimed he would close Guantanamo. He didn't the so called liberals said nothing.

Washington Post:
“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.

Instead of running with the plan, Trump’s national security team deemed it wholly insufficient and swiftly tossed it”
Did the Trump team really deem it insufficient and swiftly toss it? They certainly did not!

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."
WaPo continues:
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.”

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.
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.

 "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.

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"
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"

"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.

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."
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?

 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:

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 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.
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!

 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.


  1. Trumps domestic policies are something else entirely, this post is addressing the continuity of foreign policy

  2. Good Post, Penny...

    "...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."

    Do you think that 2017 is the year that Turkey will finally, officially, drop out of NATO? I hope so!!


    1. I hope so too. I think that they know that they've been used and need better allies like Russia and China.

    2. The US wont allow Turkey to leave NATO. If Turkey leaves NATO is over.
      Its amazing Samantha Power said something I agree with.

    3. greencrow, even though one might find benefits in leaving nato, unfortunately Turkey first has to develop its own military technology to be on par with its western *kuch*"Allies"*kuch*. Even though turkey is developing on a rapid rate in the defense industry it needs long range anti aircraft weapons, tank and aircraft engine independence and railguns expanded with railgun launched missiles. As long as it does not have these capabilities it is not in turkeys best interest to leave Nato.

    4. Turkey already has its own nuclear weapons and could be purchasing some new weapons from Russsia?

    5. @Ally, If Turkey has the ambition to become an independent regional power it first has to maintain its own defense industry, if it cannot achieve this goal its foreign policies will always be dictated by foreign powers. Russia now seems friendly because its in a tight spot I would not rely on them for long term on military hardware dependency

    6. I agree, they need to be strong enough to pull this off. But Erdogan has hinted that Turkey could join the SCO

    7. @Ally And there is a problem with that if they haven't changed a certain rule regarding Uighur Turks which obliges SCO member states to return them to China. Of which Turkey hosts a considerable amount. So that has to be resolved.

    8. Turkey won't be leaving NATO unless something dramatic happens.
      (Something dramatic has already happened, in the sense that NATO members are funding a terror group that threatens the territorial integrity of one of its members. They are also trying to set up a state for this entity at the targeted NATO member state. By any standard it should be the end of the alliance.)
      This means an embargo, Trump delisting the PKK, or publicly support Kurdish independence in TR. He has declared many times that he loves the Kurds, & AKP has deep ties to the MB, so it is possible something truly bad could happen.

    9. It is either leave Nato or get destroyed with Israel 2.0. The US still hasn't given up on this plan.

    10. @Ally, I known your point of view, but Turkey will have an easier time dealing with Israel 2.0 inside the Nato, than outside the Nato. I am just speculating but If turkey leaves Nato it will Get more pressure from the East-Block and from the West-Block, it validate YPG and PKK even more as viable alternative partners to western interests. The current Arab-world leadership would trow Turkey under the Bus. So do tell if you know any real choice for Turkey without turning Turkey into a hellhole because it left NATO. And how stupid it might be, NATO is the evil we know and with the 50 years experience they will somehow work it out instead of leaving it and trust the East-Block which in my opinion are a bunch of sheep-masked hyenas waiting for Turkey to take the bait so they can devour it to the bone. Because Nato can say, but you left us so you don't need our help, lets try to salvage something from turkey and not leave all to the East-Block.

    11. I totally agree with this.
      As odd as it sounds, Turkey being in NATO provides it with a degree of protection from destruction.

  3. There are too many gullible people nowadays. Falling for anything. Just hate it when people go along with something because it's what everyone else/a lot of people do. The memes, identity politics, etc. Since Kaz commented those links, I have been doing more research into the Armenian Genocide and I have found a lot. After looking, I don't believe that the Ottomans had any intention in wiping them out. In fact, when I was younger my dad told me a story about someone in his family a long time ago seeing Armenian rebels burning Turks in mosques. I never believed it but have uncovered a lot of information about this actually happening in the last few days. Think about it: in 1915, the Ottoman Empire was collapsing and faced many wars on all fronts. Do you really think that they would spend their time, money and resources trying to cleanse Christians, even after living with them for 800 years? http://www.armeniangenocidedebate.com/april-24th-1915



  4. Good point about the Ottoman Empire and the Armenians, Ally. The longer I live...the more I realize that the only genocides we hear about are those that the perps want us to hear about. Everything else (like the eradication of the Indigenous Tribes of North America) either didn't happen or are regarded as "Acts of Gawd".


  5. It was Kurdish tribes who did most of the killing.
    More Turks than Armenians were killed, here I'm going back to when it started in 1890's. Armenians were funded by Russia and France to attack the Ottomans.
    Look up the group Dashnak. Very simillar to the situation with the PKK IMO.

  6. Great Picture at the end.

    Putin signed the southern stream paper to start the pipe line through Turkey today. I think Turkey will be out of nato by the end of 2017. Then again what do I know?

  7. Hey All- thanks for the comments :)

    Turkey out of NATO? I hope it will happen, but, I do believe Rescue makes a valid point that the US will impede it- And Kaz is correct, IMO, about Turkey needing to have it's own ability to defend itself- As much as I abhor war.. I get that the strategic location of Turkey would necessitate it's need for strong defense of it's territory etc

    Re: the popularly advertised genocides...vs the ignored ones- pure politics?
    If it's politically expedient we hear and read the 'genocide' meme
    If it's politically inconvenient we don't hear or read anything

    Took a minute to read about Dashnak/Tashnak- they really do remind one of the PKK etc

    jo- yah I liked the image and thanks for the heads up regarding southstream- I'll check the tass link too

    1. 2 Links to the CIA library short one about pkk and the other about asala
      I got these from this link, the page is in turkish but this link is translated to english

    2. Thanks for that Kaz- A most interesting read indeed!

    3. I agree with you Kaz, interesting info. It is never easy and Turkey out of Nato will be very difficult and they will try to impede it. But I hope it happens. Turks are strong people.