[Marxism] WaPo editorial on Syria

Chris Slee chris_w_slee at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 19 22:19:57 MST 2018

I don't advocate that US troops stay.  I would call on the US government to supply weapons so the people of northeast Syria can defend themselves against the coming Turkish invasion, especially anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.

Chris Slee
From: 1999wildcat at gmail.com <1999wildcat at gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, 20 December 2018 2:53:40 PM
To: Chris Slee
Cc: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
Subject: Re: [Marxism] WaPo editorial on Syria

If we leave it simply there, that means that withdrawal of US troops equals the green light, which means we should oppose that withdrawal!

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 19, 2018, at 6:23 PM, Chris Slee <chris_w_slee at hotmail.com<mailto:chris_w_slee at hotmail.com>> wrote:

Trump has given a green light to Turkey to invade northeastern Syria.

This follows the Turkish invasion of Afrin in January 2018, and before that the Turkish invasion of the Jarablus-Azaz-al-Bab area in August 2016.  Turkey also has troops in Idlib province.

The US left should be campaigning against US support for the Turkish invasion of Syria, just as it opposes US support for the Saudi invasion of Yemen.
The left should oppose weapons sales to Turkey.

Chris Slee
From: Marxism <marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu<mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu>> on behalf of John Reimann via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu<mailto:marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>>
Sent: Thursday, 20 December 2018 7:47:16 AM
To: Chris Slee
Subject: [Marxism] WaPo editorial on Syria

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Here is an editorial from the Washington Post. I don't need to convince
anybody on this list, but note that nowhere in the editorial is "removing
Assad" mentioned as a goal. Also note that the editorial points out that it
seems likely that this removal is a nod towards Erdogan, which means
pulling the rug out from under guess who... the PYD, who depend on US
forces to remain in power.

"PRESIDENT TRUMP’S sudden move to yank U.S. troops out of Syria
at a stroke several foreign policy goals he has championed. The president
promised to finish the job of destroying the Islamic State, but the
withdrawal will leave thousands of its fighters still in place. He vowed to
roll back Iran’s aggression across the Middle East, but his decision will
allow its forces to entrench in the country that is the keystone of
Tehran’s ambitions. He promised to protect Israel, but that nation will now
be left to face alone the buildup by Iran and its proxies along its
northern border.

The president’s top national security advisers had carefully developed and
articulated a strategy of maintaining a U.S. presence in Syria until the
Islamic State was beyond revival and Iran withdrew its forces — a plan they
were defending up until this week. Mr. Trump has again demonstrated, to
them and to the world, that no U.S. policy or foreign commitment is immune
from his whims.

Mr. Trump claimed
Islamic State had been defeated, but that is not the view of the Defense
and State Departments. Thousands of jihadist fighters are still in Syria
and control splotches of territory in the Euphrates Valley
A U.S. withdrawal will give the extremists an opportunity to reconstitute,
as they did in Iraq
the premature U.S. withdrawal ordered by President Barack Obama

Until Wednesday, a prime talking point of senior national security
officials was that, “if we’ve learned one thing over the years, [the]
enduring defeat of a group like this means you can’t just defeat their
physical space and then leave,” as the State Department’s special envoy for
the global campaign against the Islamic State, Brett McGurk, put it last
week <https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/12/288024.htm>. Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis said it another way
September: “Getting rid of the caliphate doesn’t mean you then blindly say,
‘Okay, we got rid of it,’ march out, and then wonder why the caliphate
comes back.”

Mr. Trump has justified some of his most controversial decisions, including
his continued support for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
as needed to contain Iran’s threat to the United States and its allies. But
the Syrian withdrawal hands Tehran and its ally Russia a windfall. Iran has
deployed thousands of fighters and allied militiamen to Syria and aspires
to create a corridor to Lebanon and the Mediterranean, as well as a new
front against Israel along the Golan Heights. In reaction to that threat,
Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, announced Sept. 24
“We’re not going to leave [Syria] as long as Iranian troops are outside
Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias.”

U.S. ambitions in Syria have never been backed by adequate resources, and a
case could be made that neither Congress nor the American public were
prepared to support the mission suggested by Mr. Bolton. But Mr. Trump’s
decision appears to have been precipitated by the bellicose rhetoric of
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who last week threatened
not for the first time — a military operation against Syrian Kurds, even
though U.S. troops are positioned around them. The autocratic Turkish ruler
appears to have extracted multiple favors from Mr. Trump in recent days,
including the sale of U.S. Patriot missiles
a promise to reexamine the possible extradition of his rival, Fethullah
from Pennsylvania. If Mr. Trump received anything in return, he hasn’t
disclosed it.

The Syrian Kurdish forces, which have fought alongside the United States
and played a crucial role in liberating most of eastern Syria from the
jihadists, will be perhaps the foremost victims of Mr. Trump’s decision.
Betrayed by Washington, they will now be subject to a military offensive by
Turkey. The stab in the back will send an unforgettable message to all who
are asked to cooperate with the United States in the fight against
terrorism: Washington is an unreliable and dangerous partner.

*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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