Syria withdrawal has begun

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It was touch-and-go for a while there, but the pullout is going to happen.

Scores of ground troops are headed toward Syria to help move troops out, and a group of naval vessels headed by the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge is headed to the region to back up troops at the vulnerable moment they are leaving the country, the officials said. The Kearsarge carries hundreds of Marines, helicopters and other aircraft.
"Nothing has changed," one defense official said. "We don’t take orders from Bolton."

It's nice to see that Bolton doesn't command the same respect in military circles that the media gives him.

After days of conflicting statements about a timeline for President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from Syria, a U.S. defense official said Friday the process has begun with the removal of some military cargo.

However, the pullout is expected to take 90 days. Turkey is trying to speed up the process with threats.

A military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey has pledged to carry out in northern Syria, is not dependent on a U.S. pull-out from the region, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

“If the [pullout] is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision,” Çavuşoğlu said, referring to Turkey's threat to launch an incursion into Kurdish controlled Syria.

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dkmich's picture

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

@dkmich
time to bug out

When asked if the president were to announce removal of all troops from Afghanistan within the year, 51 percent of Americans said they would support that decision. Less than one quarter of respondents, 22 percent, said they would oppose such a decision while the remaining 27 percent were unsure how they would feel. Additionally, no matter how survey questioners framed the U.S. mission in Syria, a plurality of respondents said the U.S. military should leave the country.

Regarding U.S. military intervention in Syria, a plurality of Americans favored withdrawal whether the conflict was framed around the Syrian civil war or to counter-ISIS. When asked if they agreed with the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Syrian civil war, 41 percent of respondents supported withdrawal and 32 percent opposed it.

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Report: US to keep troops in southern Syria as bulwark against Iran

A draft paper outlining US plans for withdrawing from Syria includes leaving troops in place at a position near the Iraqi and Jordanian border seen as a key stopgap against Iranian entrenchment in the country.

The document, described as a proposal, was presented to Turkish officials as US National Security Adviser John Bolton visited Ankara earlier this week to discuss the planned pullout, according to London-based news website Middle East Eye, citing an unnamed Turkish official.

Does al-tanf even exist?

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of US forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books—except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015 and, until recently, home to hundreds of US troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight US territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

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Hallelula!

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NYCVG

Hallelulah!

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NYCVG

Pluto's Republic's picture

The US doesn't have to stick around. They are not welcome in that country. Their presence is a war crime. They serve evil forces in this world. I could have them out of there in a week. They're leaving all their crap behind for al Qaeda du jour, anyway.

Ninety days might as well be 90 months. Wait for it: Assad will launch a "chemical attack" on innocent civilians. Then there will be US bombing raids on Syrian targets, inbetween the bombing raids that Israel will execute with our cover — to go after the big bad Iranians that are allegedly in Syria fighting ISIS. OMG, OMG! Yarmulkes will burst into flame across the Holy Land. One thing is for sure, the Iranians don't give two shits about Israel. Israel flatters itself.

Ninety days is plenty of time for the US to start bombing Iran for Israel. Presidents don't have any authority when it comes to the Deep State. Trump can no more leave Syria than Obama could close Guantanamo. Not without special permission.

The Neocons are running this show from top to bottom. And they have no intention of leaving when they're this close to to the Rapture, and war with Iran/Russia.

Honestly. People. We've been here dozens of times under three presidents.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
edg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

When I was in the Army in the 70s, my Signal Corp unit could pack up and leave in 24 hours or less.

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@edg
how many years did i take for us to leave Vietnam?
The important thing here is that we are actually leaving (except maybe for al-Tanf).
Everything else is secondary.

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edg's picture

@gjohnsit

There's a difference between a military unit's ability to leave and a warmonger's desire to leave. The former can happen much faster than the latter.

But as you say, this is a good thing that there's any movement at all.

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orlbucfan's picture

@Pluto's Republic the spooks? Something is going on. Rec'd!!

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" Our solutions to the climate crisis must match the demands of physics."
c/o truthout

snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

is not a war crime. Nor are we there to wreak havoc and mayhem. Nope. How anyone this delusional could be considered qualified for any government position is beyond belief.

Pompeo's delusional Cairo speech

A Force for Good: America Reinvigorated in the Middle East

This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations. This is an important time. We’re all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.

And it’s the truth, lower-case “t,” that I’m here to talk about today. It is a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world, but because I’m a military man by training, I’ll be very blunt and direct today: America is a force for good in the Middle East.

And at this critical moment, America, your long-time friend, was absent too much. Why? Because our leaders gravely misread our history, and your historical moment. These fundamental misunderstandings, set forth in this city in 2009, adversely affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people in Egypt and all across the region.

Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you.

He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology.

He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed, quote, “a new beginning,” end of quote.

The results of these misjudgments have been dire.

In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid in asserting ourselves when the times – and our partners – demanded it.

We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents.

America’s reluctance, our reluctance, to wield our influence kept us silent as the people of Iran rose up against the mullahs in Tehran in the Green Revolution.

Our penchant, America’s penchant, for wishful thinking led us to look the other way as Hizballah, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, accumulated a massive arsenal of approximately 130,000 rockets and missiles. They stored and positioned these weapons in Lebanese towns and villages in flagrant violation of international law. That arsenal is aimed squarely at our ally Israel.

When Bashar Assad unleashed terror upon ordinary Syrians and barrel-bombed civilians with sarin gas, a true echo of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurdish people, we condemned his actions. But in our hesitation to wield power, we did nothing.

Our eagerness to address only Muslims and not nations ignored the rich diversity of the Middle East and frayed old bonds. It undermined the concept of the nation-state, the building block of international stability. And our desire for peace at any cost led us to strike a deal with Iran, our common enemy.

So today, what did we learn from all of this? We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance.

The good news. The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering. Now comes the real new beginning.

In just 24 months, actually less than two years, the United States under President Trump has reasserted its traditional role as a force for good in this region. We’ve learned from our mistakes. We’ve rediscovered our voice. We’ve rebuilt our relationships. We’ve rejected false overtures from our enemies.

And look at what we’ve accomplished. Look at what we’ve accomplished together. Under new leadership, America has confronted the ugly reality of radical Islamism. On President Trump’s very first trip abroad to this region, he called on Muslim-majority nations to, quote, “meet history’s great test – to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.”

This is about all I could stomach of this 'Christian's' gum flapping. I am flabbergasted at why he wasn't laughed out of the room.

I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.

You sure have a funny way of following Gawd's Word and telling the truth, dude.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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edg's picture

@snoopydawg

"Thou shalt not lie" is NOT one of the 10 commandments.

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snoopydawg's picture

@edg

Their Jesus is also okay with people making ungawdly amounts of money. But I thought evangelicals were at least down with what Jesus said.

Speaking of evangelical Christians. The group that helped Kim Davis are upset with the law that makes lynching a hate crime because they say that it gives LGBT people more rights and that's just too slippery a slope for them to tolerate. You remember Kim don't you? She was the clerk that refused to give two gay men a marriage license.

I don't like Christians that choose ala carte which laws that they think they should follow. But then ... never mind.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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Alligator Ed's picture

@snoopydawg or Torahs or Q'rans or Bagavad ghitas or Tibetan prayers wheels (well, maybe not those Tibetan things which give me vertigo). There's something in those books for every one. God(s) of hate, gods of love, gods of good and of evil. You can prove anything you want, just cherry pick your favorite holy book.

Dissecting Pompeo's Christian authoritarian sermon would take more time and effort than it's worth to this group--but, whoa, the unmindful majority plunges straight ahead on their carefully crafted leashes. But it is true that most Trump supporters, greater than 50% perhaps, are anti-war. What cancer has infested the Dismalcrats to make them the pre-eminent war mongers?

Well, wait a minute. Woodrow W. got us into war, after promising to keep us out, as "Col." House pushed the right buttons. FDR was President who, despite being the target of an AmeriNazi coup, established and promoted the Japanese Oil embargo (on the other hand the Japs needed oil to continue their wars of aggression in China, Korea, Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines).

Nixon, a Repugnant, actually got us out of war following a prayer session on the Oval Office carpet with Henry Kissinger. (But lets not forget the bonus wars in Laos, Cambodia etc. HK cooked up for us secretly).

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edg's picture

@Alligator Ed

Truman got us into Korea. Kennedy got us more deeply involved in Vietnam's civil war. Johnson initiated full-scale war on North Vietnam. Clinton gave us constant low-level war against Iraq and also the Kosovo War. And Obama gave us Libya and Syria as well as continuation of the Iraq and Afghanistan and Yemen wars.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

I also jotted down some local reactions and journalist incredulity?

Later that day at American University in Cairo, Pompeo strained so hard to justify the incautious words and capricious decisions of President Trump that the spectacle was pitiable.

“Our words mean something again, and they should,” said Pompeo, referring to the most mendacious president in American history.

For the rest, in a part of the world where people really do remember the past, Pompeo tried to reinvent the timelines of the last two decades.

Pompeo claimed that the United States was “a force for good in the Middle East” and referred to “America’s innate goodness.” His 3,500-word address at the American University contained only one passing reference to “democracy” and zero references to “equality” or “human rights.” There were more than 20 references, however, to “malevolent” and “oppressive” Iran.

Did the United States invade Iraq and then occupy it through eight years of often bloody counterinsurgency warfare? You wouldn’t know that listening to Pompeo. As with every other occupying powers in modern history (go back to Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” for more on this theme) Pompeo cast America’s role as a simple, indeed altruistic desire to do good.

“When the mission is over, when the job is complete, America leaves.”

Never saw that in my lifetime. America leaves when Congress pulls the funding on America's latest clusterfuck.

Predictably, Pompeo twisted himself in knots explaining that it really didn’t make a difference that Trump was pulling thousands of American troops out of Syria. He did not mention the transparent betrayal of the Kurdish allies who have provided the vital ground forces that drove ISIS out of all but a tiny fraction of its former territory.
Pompeo said the fight will go on with allies shouldering more of the burden – meaning, we know from other speeches — the Saudis.

Good luck with that.

The Saudis are much better working behind closed doors with bone saws than they are in open combat.

Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, described it “as one of the worst foreign policy speeches I’ve witnessed from a senior U.S. official,” calling it “cynical, petty, incoherent, small, and, well, silly.” Paul Danahar, former BBC Middle East bureau chief, referred to the speech as “simplistic,” noting that “its theme was the goodness of Israel and evil of Iran.”

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

The empire will have new clothes.

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If I'm wrong, it's the first time I'm happy to be confused. -Don Van Vliet

In this poll (per Greenwald): "Of people who voted for Clinton in 2016, only 26 percent support withdrawing troops from Syria, while 59 percent oppose it. Trump voters overwhelmingly support withdraw by 76 percent to 14 percent."

"How viciously has the psyche of American liberals been brutalized with mass media psyops to drive them into this psychotic, twisted reality tunnel?" Caitlin Johnstone

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@artisan
It's one thing for the political party to be bad.
It's another thing when the party's base goes bad.

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@gjohnsit

She already gets shit for attracting right-wingers. She'll get the anti-war vote and, at least according to this poll, that appears to be Republicans.

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snoopydawg's picture

@artisan

started doing them. In my opinion of course. Now I'm wondering if it's who declared them that makes a difference? No matter how good my information was about Hillary's actions regarding military interventions and especially during her tenure as SOS people refused to admit that she was a warmonger. We had to protect people in Libya even if that meant killing a bunch of civilians. Same thing with Syria and Ukraine. Right to protect for me is that you actually do protect people. Not ending up killing over a million between the two countries.

And the hit jobs on Tulsi have already started on ToP. She is an Assad loving nut job according to some over there.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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