Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘SDF’

US-Backed SDF Conscripts Syrian Civilians to Fight Against Turkey

Posted by M. C. on October 27, 2021

many of them Sunni Arab territories that used to be part of the ISIS caliphate.

The US conscripting ISIS to fight fellow NATO member, whom we are sworn to protect,Turkey. What could go wrong?

by Jason Ditz

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the Kurdish YPG, have begun a campaign of mass conscription in several cities, many of them Sunni Arab territories that used to be part of the ISIS caliphate.

The SDF is anticipating a new round of fighting against Turkey, and having failed to resist them in the past are now hoping a bunch of conscripts will help them slow an advance.

Upon announcing that they’ll be conscripting all young men capable of using a gun, the scheme turned to setting up checkpoints around cities and just arresting young men en masse and shipping them to a camp around Hasakeh to fight.

This may get the SDF more fighters, but the loyalty of people dragged off the street and forced to fight is certainly going to be questionable.

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Our Kurdish Hero…the Terrorist? | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 5, 2019

From its very inception, the U.S.-SDF
relationship was a study in contradiction and controversy. The sleight
of hand rebranding ploy by the U.S. was a transparent gimmick that
fooled no-one; when the elite soldiers of the YPG’s anti-terrorism force
(YAT) started using
expensive U.S.-made equipment,
such as night-vision goggles and specially fitted out M-4 assault
weapons, the Pentagon was quick to note that it had not provided the
equipment, since that would violate U.S. law (the equipment instead made
its way to the Kurds via a circuitous route that by-passed
Congressional oversight.)

Moreover, the U.S. backtracked from its assurances that it would recover the weapons it had supplied to the SDF, extending the timeline until it became obvious to all the weapons were there to stay.

Designated a terrorist organization, we work hand in hand.

CIA logic. The secret to it’s success.

By Scott Ritter

In the past month, the name and image of General Mazloum Adbi, the commander of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, has become well known to Americans. The decision by President Trump to precipitously withdraw U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, thereby greenlighting a Turkish military incursion which targeted Mazloum and his forces, prompted a widespread discussion about the American “abandonment” of its Kurdish allies, and General Mazloum quickly became the face of the Kurds.

After the targeted killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, by elite commandos from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), General Mazloum’s status as a heroic figure was cemented, given the role he and the SDF played in that effort. But Mazloum has a dark past which makes his relationship with the U.S. highly problematic.

To hear the Kurds tell it, the attack on al-Baghdadi wouldn’t—indeed, couldn’t—have happened without their support. “Since 15 May [2019],” Polat Can, a senior adviser to the SDF, declared via Twitter, “we have been working together with the CIA to track Al Baghdadi and monitor him closely.” The operation to kill Baghdadi was supposed to take place a month ago, Mr. Can tweeted, but the decision by President Trump to pull American troops out of northeastern Syria, followed by the Turkish incursion into the evacuated territory, caused a postponement. Eventually, however, the mission was a “go.”

The Genesis of the assault on al-Baghdadi, officially known as Operation Kayla Mueller, in honor of the American aid worker who was captured, tortured and killed by al-Baghdadi, did not originate with the Kurds, but rather in Turkey, where in February 2018 Turkish intelligence agents arrested Ismael al-Ethawi, one of al-Baghdadi’s closest aides. The Turks turned al-Ethawi over to Iraqi authorities, who under interrogation by the Iraqis and the CIA revealed the identities of other close associates of al-Baghdadi, who were in turn detained and questioned.

From this information, the Iraqis and the CIA were able to piece together a pattern of activity used by al-Baghdadi to avoid detection. Armed with this information, the CIA approached the Syrian Kurds of the SDF, whose intelligence service deployed a network of human agents to try and locate al-Baghdadi, which they succeeded in doing in May 2019.

According to General Abdi, his forces were able to identify the house where al-Baghdadi was staying, and then insert an informant who was able to provide critical details about its physical properties. Abdistated that the SDF set up a secret intelligence cell to control the informant and invited the CIA to participate. The intelligence produced by this cell was instrumental in the planning of the assault on al-Baghdadi’s compound. According to Abdi, the informant was one of two adult men detained by the assault force and evacuated from the site once the mission was completed.

U.S. Special Operations Forces have a history of close cooperation with Syrian Kurds in carrying out anti-ISIS operations. This cooperation began in the fall of 2014, when Joint Tactical Air Control (JTAC)-qualified U.S. Special Operators, skilled in directing close air support of forces engaged in combat, began controlling coalition air strikes in support of Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city of Kobani from ISIS attack. The Americans had never worked with the Syrian Kurds before, and there was a steep learning curve on the part of both the Americans and their Kurdish counterparts. The arrival of Iraqi Kurdish Special Forces who had a history of working with American JTACs in Iraq helped the targeting process immensely.

Since 2012 both the CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense had been engaged in dual equip and train missions to field viable opposition forces capable of overthrowing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…

Most problematic of all was the fact that the U.S., through its interaction with the SDF, was working closely with personalities the Turks reviled as senior leadership figures within the PKK, including General Abdi. While the Turks were able to turn a blind eye to this cozy relationship, when the Kurds proclaimed their own autonomous region within Syria, which they called Rojava, in May 2016, the Turks were quick to condemn both it and the U.S.-Kurdish military relationship.

Abdi, whose real name is Ferhad Abdi Şahin, participated in PKK attacks on Turkish villages and military outposts in the mid- to late-1990’s which killed dozens of Turkish civilians and soldiers. After serving as a PKK fundraiser in Europe, Mazloum returned to northern Iraq where he commanded PKK special operations forces who were responsible for dozens of violent attacks against targets inside Turkey. In 2011 the Turks petitioned Interpol to issue a Red Notice on Mazloum, designating him as a top tier terrorist who should be detained on sight. Mazloum returned to Syria in 2013 to take command of the YPG.

Today General Abdi finds himself feted by President Trump, Congress and the U.S. media for his role in defeating ISIS and killing al-Baghdadi. Trump has indicated a desire to meet General Mazloum, while Senator Lindsay Graham has pushed the State Department to help expedite a visa so Abdi can travel to the United States.

For its part, Turkey has drawn up a formal request that the United States arrest General Mazloum, citing the Interpol Red Notice, and extradite him to Turkey to face justice. In a world where hypocrisy and double standards are more commonplace than consistent application of the rule of law, the American relationship with General Mazloum—our man in Rojava—stands out: to wage a war against terror, the United States has allied with a man who, by any measure, meets the definition of terrorist. Consistency has never been the forte of American diplomacy, yet in the coming weeks and months the U.S. will have to decide whether it values its relationship with Turkey, a NATO ally, over a man the Turks revile as a terrorist, and yet has provided the U.S. with yeoman’s service in the fight against ISIS.

Postscript—the status of General Mazloum as a pro-American heroic figure was further cemented with the killing of al-Baghdadi’s alleged successor, Abu Hesen al Mouhjir, on October 29, in a coordinated assault by SDF commandos and U.S. Delta Force operators.

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“We Want To Keep The Oil” | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2019

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“Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand,
workin’ in the dark against your fellow man.
But as sure as God made black and white
what’s down in the dark will be brought to the light.”

~ Johnny Cash/traditional, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’

The Grayzone has an excellent new article out titled “US troops are staying in Syria to ‘keep the oil’ — and have already killed hundreds over it” detailing the many ways the Trump administration has openly admitted that it is keeping US troops in Syria to control the nation’s oil fields so that the Syrian government can’t use it to fund reconstruction efforts.

“We’ve secured the oil, and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said in a recent press conference.

“And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

“We want to keep the oil,” Trump said in a cabinet meeting a few days earlier.

“Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”

“A purpose of those [US] forces, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

As Grayzone’s Ben Norton accurately explains, “and others” necessarily means the Syrian government; preventing Assad from accessing Syrian oil is standing US military policy.

And that of course is the real reason US armed forces constantly remain in Syria despite all the empty babble about ending wars and bringing home the troops: it’s about control over a nation in a key geostrategic location which refuses to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. Controlling its material wealth is an ideal way to do this.

Whenever I write about oil as a primary motive for US imperialism, I always get a bunch of right-wingers objecting that that makes no sense because the US has plenty of oil, and that it’s really about freedom and democracy or communism or Zionism or pedovore cults or Illuminati or whatever. What they miss, in their squirming attempts to avoid cognitive dissonance, is that it’s not about having and consuming oil, it’s about controlling oil. Control what governments can and cannot access crucial resources, and you can control which governments thrive and which ones don’t.

As Trump said, “We’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.” In no other international power dynamic would this be considered a rational thing for anyone to say. The idea of another nation invading Texas and seizing control of its oil fields and then Xi Jinping or whomever saying “We’re controlling their oil and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future” is unthinkable, but a US president can just come right out and say this about a weaker nation and it won’t even be front-page news.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Donald Trump is the most honest US president of all time. By that I don’t mean that he’s an honest person; he of course lies constantly. I simply mean that while his predecessors have always made sure to dress their imperialist military campaigns up as benevolent humanitarian intercessions, Trump just stands there out in the open like “Yeah we grabbed their oil and it’s ours now, blow me.” There was once a time when claiming a war was really about oil got you branded a conspiracy theorist. Now the US president just outright says it.

And this is really the only reason establishment power structures dislike Trump. They don’t feel directly threatened by him, they just dislike the way he’s always saying the quiet part out loud. Status quo power has a vested interest in keeping a smiling mask on things and preventing people from thinking too hard about what’s really going on in the world, and Trump keeps ripping off that mask by telling everyone what he’s doing in plain English.

Revolution (the real kind, the kind that actually changes things) is ultimately a fight against psychological compartmentalization on a mass scale. Compartmentalization is a tool people use to avoid the psychological discomfort (aka cognitive dissonance) that would otherwise be experienced by trying to hold on to two conflicting positions at one time, like, for example, seeing yourself as a good person and simultaneously giving your government your tacit permission to murder strangers on the other side of the world in your name.

Establishment power works to prevent people from looking directly at the ugly aspects of the empire, like the horrific nature of what war is and how much their country spreads it, or the fact that so many have so little while a few others have so very much, or the reason their government doesn’t seem to operate the way they were taught in school. The empire has a vested interest in keeping these things in the dark, while the clear-eyed rebel is always trying to drag them kicking and screaming into the light. This is why truth-tellers and whistleblowers are always made public enemy number one by our rulers.

The true rebel fights to enlighten things, the empire fights to endarken them. This is the struggle from the largest power structures in our world, right down to our own inner lives as individual human beings. This is why I talk so much about the importance of inner work; it’s all one struggle, from the evil secrets hidden behind thick walls of government opacity all the way down to the parts of ourselves we try not to look at. Your efforts to become a more consciously integral and less compartmentalized human being are just as important as your efforts to expose the puppet strings to the audience.

As November 2020 draws nearer the screams to shut up and stop pointing at the truth are going to get louder and louder for political dissidents in America, even louder than the “shut up and fall in line” admonishments that Bernie-or-Busters received constantly in 2016. This will only be the voice of the empire yelling “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” It will only be those who are still plugged into the imperial narrative matrix transforming into a bunch of Agent Smiths and telling you to stop saying things which cause them cognitive dissonance.

But, for someone who has signed the truth-at-all-costs contract within themselves, this simply won’t be an option. Our desire to bring what’s dark into the light will overcome any pressure to keep things endarkened, whether it be in ourselves, in our relationships, in our society, in our government, or in our world. Followed through with in a deep and integral way, it changes the way we think, it changes the way we experience our own consciousness, it alters our behavior, it ruins our experience of news media and Hollywood blockbusters, it ends our marriages, it breaks up longstanding friendships and forges new ones, and it makes the deceptions of the powerful utterly intolerable. Truth come what may means truth come what may, and it’s a lifetime commitment.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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