U.S. Seeks Arab Force and Funding for Syria – Under plan, troops would replace American military contingent after ISIS defeat & help secure country’s north; proposal faces challenges
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE BEGINNING OF AN ARAB NATO ?
Michael R. Gordon – WallStreet Journal – April 16, 2018 9:18 p.m. ET – WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said. John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort, officials said.
The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said.Details about the initiative, which haven’t been previously disclosed, have emerged in the days since the U.S.-led strikes on sites associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities.Mr. Trump, who has expressed growing impatience with the cost and duration of the effort to stabilize Syria, alluded to the push on Friday night, when he announced the missile strikes. “We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing larger amounts of money,” Mr. Trump said.
MESOPOTAMIA NEW TODAYS CRITICAL OPINION BY CIA EXPERTS / GOING FURTHERON ALONGSIDE PYD/PKK OR WITH ERDOGAN ?
Turkey’s Greenlight in Syria Detracts from ISIS Fight – 18 April 2018
Turkey backed Washington’s strike last week on Bashar Assad’s alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, but Ankara’s relationship with Washington remains complicated. Turkey’s offensive in Syria, aimed at clearing its border from a touted Kurdish threat, is complicating Washington’s goal of ousting ISIS from what remains of its self-declared caliphate in the region.
The U.S. teamed with Kurdish forces in support of this goal, but now continued support for Kurdish militias in Syria has strained relations between the U.S. and Turkey, which remains immersed in a longstanding feud with its sizable, domestic Kurdish minority. • Washington is forced to strike a delicate balance between placating a critical ally and supporting a force that has played a key role in beating back ISIS.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “GREAT DANGER” : Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani is leading the preparations for the first direct Iranian assault on Israel, not just by proxy. Soleimani is the overall commander of Iran’s Middle East warfronts.
Escalating war of words pushes IDF and Rev Guards closer to clash in Syria
17 April 2018 – DEBKA FILES ISRAEL – An unusual IDF communique Tuesday, April 17, divulged details of Iran’s UAV bases in Syria and named their commanders, while the threats traded between them gained volume. These disclosures and their tone stood in marked contrast to the Israeli government and security chiefs’ strange silence and passive acquiescence to Tehran’s steady buildup of its military assets in Syria during the past two years. The information now released, much of it available to DEBKA’s readers in the past, attests to the growing conviction among Israel’s strategic leaders that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are on the point of a military operation to punish Israel for its April 9 air attack on the SyrianT-4 airbase, which left eight IRGC aerospace officers dead, including Col. Mehdi Dehgan Yazdeli. The IDF is finally leveling on the threat so as to prepare the Israeli public for what looks like an inevitable military clash with Iran.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE FINAL REUTERS REPORT Russia May Have Tampered With Chemical Attack Site, Says U.S. Envoy – 16 April 2018
Russia gained access and may have tampered with the site of the chemical-weapons attack in Syria that triggered last week’s airstrikes against the country, a senior U.S. envoy claimed early Monday. Ambassador Kenneth Ward, U.S. envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, warned other representatives of the global watchdog group at a closed-door meeting that he suspected Russia had attempted to hide evidence for the attack that killed more than 70. “It is long overdue that this council condemns the Syrian government for its reign of chemical terror and demands international accountability for those responsible for these heinous acts,” said Ward, in comments obtained by Reuters. “It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site. It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.” The OPCW said Monday that Russia and Syria are blocking inspectors’ access to the site of the suspected chemical attack, and Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the BBC: “I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site.” www.mesop.de
April 16, 2018 – By Defense One – Was it enough? Did Friday’s airstrikes on alleged Syrian chemical weapons positions really change anything? That’s one question among many likely to be considered this week after more than 100 missiles were fired at three different positions inside Syria at about 4 a.m. Saturday morning local time in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack nearly a week earlier just outside of Damascus.
The most significant target was the Barzah Research and Development Center, located close to downtown Damascus, and heavily protected by Syrian air defenses, Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports in a battle damage assessment from the U.S. military Saturday morning. That facility was targeted by U.S. warships, “which launched 57 Tomahawk cruise missiles and B-1 bombers 19 JASSM missiles. The bombers were escorted by attack aircraft and an EA-6B electronic warfare jet.”
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE RESPONSE ! – Russia, Iran prepare multi-level response for US-led precision strike on Syria
15 April 2018 – DEBKA FILES ISRAEL – Moscow acted swiftly to boost its ties with Tehran and beef up the Syrian military in reaction to the US-British-French surgical missile strike on Syria’s chemical sites on Saturday, April 12. DEBKAfile’s analysts report that when Russian and Iranian officials warned of “consequences,” they were already on the move:
My statement on Syria.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE COALITION STRIKES CONTRA GASSAD (ASSAD) / DETAILED REPORT & REACTIONS
By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – 14 April 2018 – The Russian news agency RIA, in contrast to the initial claim of about 30 missiles, is now asserting, “over 100 cruise missiles and air to ground missiles were launched by the air and sea missile carriers of USA, France and the UK”.Sputnik claims the “majority” of the missiles were intercepted. The Russia Defense Ministry, continuing to say the advanced S-400 air defense system was not needed, said Assad forces repelled the attack with Russian-made S-125, BUK, and S-200 missiles.
Russia strongly condemns attack, warns US and allies may face “consequences” –MEE and agencies
Saturday 14 April 2018 01:08 UTC Last update: Saturday 14 April 2018 7:59 UTC
US President Donald Trump announced late Friday that “precision strikes” on suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria were underway.Trump stressed that the military strikes were ongoing and that France and the United Kingdom were joining in the action.”A short time ago, I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
PULL TROOPS OUT OF SYRIA? TRUMP HAS A POINT
by James F. Jeffrey – The Cipher Brief – April 13, 2018 – James Jeffrey is the Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Iraq, and Albania.
By moving to an airpower-focused approach, Washington could avoid an unending stabilization mission, calm tensions with Turkey, and help allies with the bigger goal of countering Iran and Russia.
President Donald Trump is considering launching air strikes on Syria, if his own tweets are to be believed—an action that could show the value of switching from U.S. ground troops to a mostly air-focused campaign that would check the already decimated ISIS but avoid the risks and costs of the pseudo nation-building some of his top officials are pushing for.