Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Update on Syria with Sarah Abed (SOAPBOX SPECIAL: 1/9/2019)

The Soapbox
 January 9, 2019

Guest: Sarah Abed
Topic: Update on Syria


Since we first chatted with Sarah (CLICK HERE), there have been many new developments with the Syria issue.

Listen to this new show for the updates.

Sarah Abed

From Sarah:

Since we last spoke there have been some new developments.

  1. Last week I had mentioned that as a result of Trump’s announcement to withdraw US troops from Syria that the leaders of the Kurdish militia’s were reconciling with the Syrian government and asking for protection against a Turkish onslaught and were willing to give up some of their teritory west of the Euphrates but there have been some changes since then.
  2.  During the past week the SDF (which is just a rebranding of the Kurdish YPG/ at the request of US officials) asked Germany and France for a no-fly zone over northeastern Syria.
  3. Quite frankly, these requests are unrealistic because Germany and France are allies of Turkey and work within the framework of NATO, also Russia won’t allow them to adopt a plan that threatens Syria’s territorial integrity.
  4. They also asked France to replace the US forces in northeastern Syria with French forces, now whether or not they will do that is up in the air but they did say that they will stay on the ground and help the Kurdish militias fight against ISIS.
  5. Now I have also heard that a senior administration official told NBC News on January 5th that the U.S. may keep its forces in the al-Tanaf base in southeastern Syria for undetermined amount of time and that the step is aimed at applying pressure on Syria and Iran because the base is located on a vital international highway that could link Tehran with Beirut through Baghdad and Damascus
  6. Also, now we are hearing from US officials there is no real timeline for US troop withdraw and even Trump said that he didn’t give a definitive timeframe, we have heard anything from 30 days to 4 months but now it could be months or years. One thing we do know is that the notion of a quick withdraw which is the impression that Trump gave is being manipulated by Washington and has changed.
  7. Bolton and Pompeo were in the Middle East visiting allies including Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, to do what some are calling “damage control” after Trumps withdraw announcement.
  8. Bolton was in Israel yesterday and was saying that there are stipulations to US troop withdraw and that two conditions that must be met before that takes place.
  9. The 17,000 remaining ISIS fighters in Syria must be completely defeated. And second, that Turkey must vow not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Northern Syria. Like I had mentioned last time Turkey considers the YPG and SDF Kurds as an extension of the PKK and a national security threat.
  10. January 7th Bolton was in Turkey to talk to Turkish officials about their aims and capabilities in combating Daesh. What listeners need to take note of and what you won’t read much about in the news is that Turkey has been a huge supporter of armed militias and terrorist groups in Syria and has been since the beginning of the war, so it’s laughable that we are trusting them to fight against Daesh when they are the ones backing the FSA who are the same thing just under a different name.
  11. There’s been mention that Turkey is asking the US for substantial military support including airstrikes, transport and logicsts as well to supposedly fight against ISIS.
  12. I want to bring up something briefly, Turkey remains a threat to Syria’s sovereignty even if they have implied otherwise because, they have at times made it clear that their ultimate goal involves long-term expansion into neighboring countries such as Syria.
  13. A main concern right now for the US is that their Kurdish allies will switch sides and work with the Syrian government and Russia. Bolton even urged the SDF to “stand fast now” and avoid any deals with Damascus while they come up with a plan.
  14. There’s been talks about the US considering a partition plan but we don’t know enough about it and it hasnt been published yet. It’s been dubbed “Sykes Picot on acid
  15. I am hoping that the Kurdish militias will come to their senses and do the only reasonable thing at this point which is to reconcile with the Syrian government, hand over their weapons to the Syrian army and work with them to finish off the remaining ISIS terrorists. And I want to also mention that contrary to popular belief that the majority of the fighting against Daesh has been by the Syrian Arab Army and their allies.
  16. If the Kurdish militas keep putting their faith in the US and consider them their friends they will get left in the mud just like they were in the Iran/Iraq war, just like they were left in Afrin, and at some point they need to stop being used as a tool by the US/Israel/NATO or else this cycle of abuse will never end.
  17. We will just have to wait and see how much of this is just being used to appease our allies versus how this is going to change Trump's strategy to withdraw troops from Syria.

Something I had wanted to mention but completely forgot was that Bolton recently said that if Damascus uses chemical weapons that they would respond, and what we have seen happen in April of 2017 and 2018 is that the AlQaeda White Helmets take these sorts of threats from the US as a cue to stage a chemical attack and frame the Syrian government in hopes of evoking a military response from the US and their allies.

Also you touched on how the US is doing what it can to protect Israel so that's an important point too. 




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