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Syria
Assad, with Putin's support, today publicly warned the U.S. to get out of Syria or else he'll force U.S. forces out.

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In an interview with pro-Putin news channel Russia Today (RT), Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad claimed he will recover areas held by U.S.-backed militia 'within a year'.

Responding to Trump's description of him as 'Animal Assad', the Syrian leader said: 'What you say is what you are'.

Trump called Assad an animal after a suspected poison gas attack on a rebel-held town near Damascus in April.

'We were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces,' Assad said in English.

'Fortunately, it has been avoided, not by the wisdom of the American leadership, but by the wisdom of the Russian leadership.'

Assad said work had begun on negotiations with the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a militia that controls parts of northern and eastern Syria where U.S. forces are stationed.

However, if talks fail to bring the area back under Damascus' authority, he warned that he would attack the region by force.

'This is the first option. If not, we're going to resort to... liberating those areas by force,' he said, adding 'the Americans should leave, somehow they're going to leave'.

'They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them. They have to learn the lesson. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore,' he said.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...areas.html
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/31/middleeas...index.html
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Oh boy. trump will view that as a challenge. Although, like all bullies he's just as likely to roll over for a belly rub.
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(05-31-2018, 01:10 PM)Duchess Wrote:

Oh boy. trump will view that as a challenge. Although, like all bullies he's just as likely to roll over for a belly rub.
Or throw a couple hundred Tomohawks at it.
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Trump Declares Victory over ISIS and Orders U.S. Troop Withdrawals

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The White House has confirmed US troops are being withdrawn from Syria, after President Trump said the Islamic State (IS) group had been "defeated" there.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the US troops had already begun to return home. Some 2,000 troops supporting the Kurds have helped rid much of north-eastern Syria of IS, but pockets of fighters remain.

It is thought defense officials wanted to maintain a US presence to ensure IS did not rebuild.  There are also fears it will cede influence in Syria and the wider region to Russia and Iran.

The Pentagon has so far refused to publicly comment, but Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who sits on the armed services committee, called it a "huge Obama-like mistake".

The withdrawal announcement contradicts a statement just a few days ago by Brett McGurk, Mr Trump's special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat IS.

McGurk suggested American troops were not going anywhere. "Nobody is saying that [IS fighters] are going to disappear. Nobody is that naive. So we want to stay on the ground and make sure that stability can be maintained in these areas," he said.

The confirmation of the withdrawal comes after Turkey said it was preparing to launch an operation against a US-backed Kurdish militia in northern Syria, something that risks confrontation with the US.

President Trump's decision reverses the official lines of both the Pentagon and the State Department and it places Washington's Kurdish allies in greater jeopardy.

More:  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46623617
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"However, the Pentagon still says that ISIS has as many as 17,100 fighters in Syria, and about 30,000 total between Syria and Iraq. That’s about how many militants the group had at its peak strength in 2014."

https://www.vox.com/2018/12/19/18148281/...withdrawal
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(12-19-2018, 01:27 PM)HairOfTheDog Wrote: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who sits on the armed services committee, called it a "huge Obama-like mistake"
"Obama-like" Hehehehe. trump is going to hate that.  39
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(12-19-2018, 02:59 PM)Duchess Wrote:
(12-19-2018, 01:27 PM)HairOfTheDog Wrote: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who sits on the armed services committee, called it a "huge Obama-like mistake"
"Obama-like" Hehehehe. trump is going to hate that.  39

Trump's getting a lot of push back from some prominent Republican senators for (a) prematurely declaring a victory against ISIS when ISIS is still active and able to regroup, (b) making such an important announcement via Twitter without consulting or informing them first in what some see as a sudden capitulation to President Erdogyn of Turkey.

Trump's national security and foreign policy advisers are also reportedly very concerned about handing Turkey, Iran, and Russia the opportunity to gain influence in the region.

Analysts said the abrupt turnabout exposed serious divisions within the administration about Syria—especially between Trump and two of his senior officials, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—and revealed just how weak a hand the United States is playing in a nation that Bashar al-Assad, with the assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is gradually regaining control over.  Full piece:  https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/19/tru...s-trooops/

But, Trump is the Commander In Chief, so it's his decision.  I think he's increasingly anxious to fulfill campaign promises given all the other challenges he's facing now.  

So, the U.S. troops are leaving and I really hope it's not a huge mistake that will come back to haunt us.
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Let the Saudis use another proxy, we have enough oil now and don't need to get our kids murdered over it anymore for the foreseeable future.
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Why is America ACTUALLY involved?
(10-09-2018, 02:13 PM)HairOfTheDog Wrote: you believe men have the right and entitlement to molest and sexually assault minors and women.  

If HoTD doesn't agree with you politically you better humour her snowflake mentality or she will smear you for no good reason, like every other indoctrinated SJW. Liar and Slimeball. 
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(12-20-2018, 12:11 AM)HairOfTheDog Wrote: Trump's getting a lot of push back from some prominent Republican senators for (a) prematurely declaring a victory against ISIS when ISIS is still active and able to regroup, (b) making such an important announcement via Twitter without consulting or informing them first in what some see as a sudden capitulation to President Erdogyn of Turkey.

Trump's national security and foreign policy advisers are also reportedly very concerned about handing Turkey, Iran, and Russia the opportunity to gain influence in the region.

Analysts said the abrupt turnabout exposed serious divisions within the administration about Syria—especially between Trump and two of his senior officials, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—and revealed just how weak a hand the United States is playing in a nation that Bashar al-Assad, with the assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is gradually regaining control over.  Full piece:  https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/19/tru...s-trooops/

But, Trump is the Commander In Chief, so it's his decision.  I think he's increasingly anxious to fulfill campaign promises given all the other challenges he's facing now.  

So, the U.S. troops are leaving and I really hope it's not a huge mistake that will come back to haunt us.

Putin had a banner day yesterday. The United States pulls out of Syria and the sanctions that trump dug in his heels on have magically disappeared.
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No doubt........Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Assad welcomed yesterday's Twitter surprise withdrawal announcement.

My biggest concern is for the Kurds.  As we discussed upthread, the Kurdish peshmerga forces are largely responsible for pushing back and reclaiming territories from ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria.  A lot of Kurdish lives were lost partnering with U.S. and allied forces.   

Turkey already declared that it plans to go after the Kurds at the Syrian border and would prefer to do it without clashing with U.S. forces. U.S. troops suddenly pulling out without any apparent notice or protections looks like we're ingrates who don't give a shit what happens to them next. 

Another major concern is that this might be the last straw for Defense Secretary General Mattis. I'd hate to see him resign because I think he's good for the country.  But, I wouldn't blame him for calling it a day if he feels like he has no real influence anyway.
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Anyone got a timeline for how long US will stay in costly conflict in the Middle East? Not in terms of achievement but of timeline?
(10-09-2018, 02:13 PM)HairOfTheDog Wrote: you believe men have the right and entitlement to molest and sexually assault minors and women.  

If HoTD doesn't agree with you politically you better humour her snowflake mentality or she will smear you for no good reason, like every other indoctrinated SJW. Liar and Slimeball. 
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For fucking ever.
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There are reasonable arguments for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, in my opinion.

And, there are reasonable arguments for keeping a couple thousand maintenance troops deployed indefinitely so that we don't experience another Iraq, whereby the terrorist organization regroups quickly in our absence and we have to deploy even more troops and lose more lives to regain stability in order to protect our own national security.

In any case, what is dangerous and unreasonable, in my opinion, is a withdrawal announcement being issued via Twitter, without advance notice to allies who have been aiding the U.S. for years.  

I find that sudden Twitter withdrawal strategy extremely dishonorable and disrespectful.  It's beyond foolish and a betrayal that may seriously harm the U.S.'s ability to rely on allied assistance in the future.

General Mattis resigned on principle this week.  I don't blame him.

And, today I heard that Trump's Special Envoy to defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, has handed in his resignation as well.
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This ain't good.

Backdrop:
President Trump finally went to visit deployed  troops this week.

He went to Iraq just after his widely-panned surprise announcement declaring complete defeat of ISIS and U.S. withdrawal from Syria (which prompted the resignation of General Mattis, Secretary of Defense).

During his tour, Trump claimed  that Saudi Arabia will rebuild Syria (no strings or profits attached, I'm sure).  He  also declared that that the U.S. will remain in Iraq and that the U.S. could strike ISIS in Syria from there, if ISIS re-emerged.

Trump did not meet with Iraqi leaderships during his tour of the country.  But, the Iraqi leaders apparently watch the world news and apparently don't like being played like that.

So Now:
IIraqi lawmakers have demanded US forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by Donald Trump, which politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
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Full story:  https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/2...mp-1076363
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"Finally", yes months and months late perhaps it was years late than when he made that firm commitment.

"Complete defeat" or you know, ordinary run of the mill defeat, which aptly describes their defeat. What constitutes a defeat these days? Eradication down to the last man?

Is this yet another of the anti-Trump press writing anti-Trump propaganda? Seems like

Iraqi Lawmakers want American troops to leave? Sounds pretty good to me, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq? Awesome. How many lives saved?

"This aint good" - No, it seems like it is awesome.
(10-09-2018, 02:13 PM)HairOfTheDog Wrote: you believe men have the right and entitlement to molest and sexually assault minors and women.  

If HoTD doesn't agree with you politically you better humour her snowflake mentality or she will smear you for no good reason, like every other indoctrinated SJW. Liar and Slimeball. 
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Trump didn't claim that we have 'nearly defeated ISIS in Syria', or that we have reclaimed 'almost all ISIS's caliphate holdings'.  He proclaimed, via tweet, that we have 'defeated ISIS in Syria', period.   That contradicts the assessment and description of his military advisers and allied forces.

He had to walk that back and clarified that Turkish President Erdogan promised him Turkey would 'clean up' and 'eradicate' ISIS in Syria.  

However, Erdogan is also intent on going after our Kurdish allies in Syria, who are largely responsible for rolling back ISIS on the ground -- that certainly ain't good, in my opinion.

Ref:  
https://www.foxnews.com/us/trump-pulling...-is-defeat
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-sa...te-2018-10
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2018/...-in-syria/
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Trump then announced to the world, again via tweet, that Saudi Arabia has now agreed to spend the money needed to help rebuild Syria, so the U.S. won't need to do it.

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That too is misleading and had to be clarified immediately thereafter.    

A spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in Washington DC clarified that the kingdom has not made any new financial pledge to Syria since August, when it was announced that the country has committed $100 million to help stabilize areas of Syria re-taken from ISIS fighters.

“The Kingdom is a major contributor to the global coalition to defeat ISIS, flying the second highest number of stories against ISIS in Syria as well as donating millions of dollars for relief efforts there.” 

After that, National Security Council spokesperson Garret Marquis clarified that the president’s tweet was not meant to signal a new financial commitment from the Saudi government.

“The United States welcomes the contributions of all coalition members to the defeat of ISIS in Syria, including strong past contributions from Saudi Arabia,” he said in a statement.

Ref:  https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics...i-official
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Then, during his first short visit to deployed troops (in Iraq)............Trump announced that the U.S. would use Iraq as a base from which to attack ISIS in Syria, if necessary.

He did not clear that announcement with Iraq's President, with whom a face-to-face meeting was cancelled due to 'differences of opinion', though the two reportedly met by phone.  

Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded U.S. forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

Politicians from both blocs of Iraq's divided Parliament called for a vote to expel U.S. troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.

It definitely ain't good for U.S. troops to be facing increasing hostility from the host country, in my opinion.

Ref:  https://www.foxnews.com/world/iraqi-lawm...rump-visit
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As 'awesome' as it would be to have U.S. troops disengaged from Iraq (and everywhere else)......... Trump made it very clear that he plans to keep the 5,200 American troops in Iraq.

Anyway, I hope there comes a day when the U.S. military isn't deployed across the Middle East.  

When/if that day comes.......... the public communications on such critical military and security matters should, of course, be clear and accurate. And, the withdrawals should be strategically/professionally executed in a manner which does not destabilize gains, does not put troops at greater unnecessary risk, and does not undercut and endanger allies who've partnered with the U.S. to significantly weaken ISIS's strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
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