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Here it comes: Syria

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Here it comes: Syria

Old 20th Dec 2018, 23:12
  #2421 (permalink)  
 
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...........
Defense Secretary has resigned already - less than 24 hrs ?

...........
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 01:27
  #2422 (permalink)  
 
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Read his Letter of Resignation.....very carefully.

This is a very good Man, a Marine's Marine, and probably the best Secretary of Defense we have ever had.

He points out some major accomplishments during the Two Years of his tenure as SecDef for Trump.

Trump for his faults has worked hard to re-build the US Military after twenty years of wartime operations.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 03:29
  #2423 (permalink)  
 
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Well !
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being cleareyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held,” Mr. Mattis wrote. “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
Secretary Mattis, General Mattis, thanks from the heart for your best efforts at doing what was hard to do and working for someone very hard to work for, and apparently impossible to work with.

We are now exposed: the DoD will be subjected to the tender ministrations of ... whomever the President tweets to tomorrow.
Some idiot like William Cohen. (Perry's successor for Clinton).
I can't even guess who'd take the job, but I am sure someone will.
I'll be drinking in the morning over this one.
Mr President, you don't know what you've got til it's gone.
It's a song lyric, but I think you need to take it to heart.
Further comments censored.
But Mr. Mattis’s core complaint was that Mr. Trump had lost sight of the import of the competition for global power with Russia and China, who want “a world consistent with their authoritarian model.”
Mr. Mattis was the primary author of a new American defense strategy with a central goal of taking on “revisionist” powers — an approach that some of Mr. Trump’s former advisers say the president never fully read. {Well, it wasn't on CNN, nor Twitter, so why would he read it?}
Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria, which was opposed by virtually every high-level administration official, but lauded by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, was the last straw.
Along with both the military and civilian leadership at the Pentagon, Mr. Mattis viewed the withdrawal as an abandonment of Kurdish fighters and other American allies, and a ceding of critical territory to Russia and Iran.
So angry was Mr. Mattis at the Syrian withdrawal that neither he, nor any other senior Pentagon official, would defend it publicly, despite requests from the White House to do so. As a result, Mr. Trump appeared by himself in a video showing him in front of the White House on Wednesday, announcing that victory over the Islamic State had been won.
the silence was deafening.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 06:49
  #2424 (permalink)  
 
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Putting lyrics and specific persons aside let's consider the current situation from the "territorial" point of view.
Indeed, most of the ISIS forces were taken out. The major part of the syrian territory was fought back by the Syrian (gov.) army. The minor part - by the kurds who were supported by the US. Just look at the map. The Idlib zone remains the main unresolved issue. But there Turkey claimed to take care of it. Neither Russia, nor US are interested to enter into a direct mil. conflict with Erdogan because of this (small) area. The same with the Kurds. And the Kurd issue will soon come next. The kurds expected to get a strong support from the West and were dreaming of finally establishing its own independend state. But none of the countries in the area (Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran) want such a new state because it can only be formed by sacrifising some parts of their own territories. It would blow up the Middle East again. Military wise, Turkey will not hesitate to enter this part of Syria to nail the kurds down and shut any efforts towards their independence. The Syrian governmental army is alone too weak to fight with the kurds, but together with Turkey the chances rise significantly.
Therefore, the US withdrawing from Syria NOW, before the kurds start building a sort of independence relying on the mil. support from the West (and crying to provide it) does not look stupid.
Let Turkey and Syria (with Russia behind) have this headache... Uncle Sam is washing hands.

Last edited by A_Van; 21st Dec 2018 at 07:38.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 08:38
  #2425 (permalink)  
 
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Who am I to prognosticate on strategy in the Middle East, but from my comfortable armchair it has always been blindingly obvious that this would be the outcome. There was always precisely zero chance of the regional players allowing a Kurdish state to establish itself, and not much more of a chance for an autonomous region. If that wasn’t as obvious to policy makers a few years back then the train wreck of the Iraqi Kurds’ referendum should have made it so. It was good strategy to partner with the Kurds to clear out IS but it should have always been with a view to allowing the Syrian regime to re-establish sovereignty over its former territory, with a settlement over regional government that gave just enough to the Kurds for the west to be able to say it hadn’t thrown them to the wolves. What other credible end state is there besides Syrian sovereignty that doesn’t involve permanent western military presence, propping up an unsustainable position at huge expense and toxifying relations with a crucial player (the Turks)?

Sorry if this is too obvious for idealistic and over-academicised foreign policy wonks. Call it ‘realism’ with a curled lip if you will, but for me the clue is in the ‘real’...

Edit: I wondered at the time whether Mike Pompeo’s comments about the recent Russian expedition to Venezuela being a gross waste of taxpayers’ money would give Trump food for thought in precisely the opposite sense to that Pompeo intended, both on the funds the US is pouring away in what amounts to a futile attempt to interdict one of several possible Iranian supply lines to Hezbollah, and on how expeditionary operations are perceived from the other end of the telescope. Maybe I wasn’t too far out on that either.

Last edited by Easy Street; 21st Dec 2018 at 09:17.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 09:19
  #2426 (permalink)  
 
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Truman confirmed the concept about civilian control over the military during Korea.

This is not the same sort of issue but does remind us that the President is the Commander-in-Chief of US Military forces and head of the Executive Branch of Government.

Just as Kennedy had to remind the Joint Chiefs of that during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Just as Obama did in withdrawing troops from Iraq....against his military advisors wishes.

The Presidents are not always right....but they are always the President and it is in them the final authority lies.

If President Trump is trying to extricate us from a very precarious situation in particular and from the Middle East in general....combined with Energy Independence.....meaning less need to be in the Middle East.....perhaps that is good thing.

I do wish Mattis had stayed....but at some point these folks....the genuinely good ones do not stay too long for the very reasons they are the good ones.



Only Time will tell.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 10:30
  #2427 (permalink)  
 
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China trade, interest rates, Syria, Afghanistan, Mattis.

Could the president just be creating spectacular headlines in a row? Like to divert attention from his own troubles in D.C.? Like leading the media caravane elsewhere? Feels like it.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 12:18
  #2428 (permalink)  
 
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Trade press has an interesting juxtaposition, suggesting that privatization may have been the issue:
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/y...20Bird%20Brief
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 14:43
  #2429 (permalink)  
 
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More likely is the simple fact the current strategy (or whichever version you wish to choose) has not been very successful....and we remain mired in an eighteen year old war that continues to cost lives, limbs, and money.

Trump ran on the promise to get us untangled in these kinds of affairs.

Look back to the very start of the Afghanistan War....Special Ops Teams with Air Support and related assistance defeated the hostile forces. Very small numbers of very capable troops on the ground with lots of sophisticated support did very well.

Then....the Conventional forces arrived and we know the rest of that story.

You also recall Trump asked the Military and Intelligence Communities what the end goal was for Afghanistan and Syria and was not pleased with the mumbling and non-committal responses.

Also....he is not a politician in the standard definition and is neither a Liberal or Conservative but rather is simply a pragmatist who comes from the business world and not prior elected offices.

He is results oriented and not happy at all with mealy mouthed half assed answers.

Washington and the Media are quite comfortable in their ruts....and hate being shaken up and made to justify their lack of success over the years.

The Kurdish area of Syria that is at risk is very small....and in the long game is not worth the risk to our national security interests in that region.

Our military likes to leave large numbers of boots on the ground in these affairs and thus increasing the likelihood of drawn out involvements.

At least this time Mattis resigned....and did so on his own with no encouragement from the President.

The last time he got out of step with a President....Obama fired him from CentCom.

Obama did not like being asked questions about his Iranian policy.

I am of the belief Trump is trying to extricate the US Military from these seemingly never ending conflicts and reducing our presence....military or civilian in the process.

The military has talked of much the same strategy as Prinz but using Spec Ops troops and local forces augmented by non-uniformed government personnel.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 19:35
  #2430 (permalink)  
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 21:55
  #2431 (permalink)  
 
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Just for giggles....I went back to the first pages of this thread and began to read the posts.

What stood out was along about post 25-40 or so....where the question was asked..."why is the UK getting into this....why should we be involved in something that will drag out forever....etc...(or words to that effect).

Someone even asked why the UK should be the World's Policeman.

So here we are and as Trump begins to withdraw American Troops he is seen as being wrong.

Anyone care to explain how we have gone from being against any involvement to being against getting un-involved?

A take on all this that is a bit different than the Politico article.

http://thefederalist.com/2018/12/21/...NEspQU.twitter

For context....when Trump took office the United States had been directly engaged in Afghanistan combat operations for Sixteen Years.

Dubya and Obama each. had eight years to figure out a strategy to get our troops out of there and failed.

Perhaps Trump is not willing to risk another endless war like that?

Our very senior military leadership cannot brag too loud about their successful strategies I would suggest.

Last edited by SASless; 21st Dec 2018 at 23:24.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 02:29
  #2432 (permalink)  
 
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Setting policy is Trump's job. Providing information to the President and then executing policy is Mattis' job. If Mattis can't do his job, then good decision for him to admit it and quit.

I personally suspect that Mattis got used to making decisions and pitched a fit when Trump went a different direction. I think it's past time we got out of Syria and let Russia pick up the ball and run with it for a while. We have friends in the region (Jordan), pseudo "allies" (Turkey) that have been playing us for fools, and we broke Iraq pretty badly so we ought to help them out a bit. But our policy of interfering in Syria to encourage regime change is an Obama/Hillary/Kerry disaster of an idea and it's time to quit that nonsense.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 04:14
  #2433 (permalink)  
 
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Look at the map, e.g. the following one
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/in...144229467.html

Even this anti-syrian source admits that the major part is controlled by the government. Putting the kurds aside, the question arises: where are so-called "coaltion supported" "democractic" forces? ..... "Vanished in the haze".....
A small area around Al-Tanf is just a safety zone around the US base (to be shut down according to Trump). The Idlib zone (where re-named Al-Qaeda and An-Nusra terrorists reside) was agreed to be under the turkish resposibility (to avoid gov. forces offensive). And Turkey now has a difficult task to demilitarize it.
So, after the kurds were "sold out" and talks between the Syrian government and "moderate" opposition are on the way (a so-called "Astana process", out of any US control), pulling out of the area seems a logical solution.

Last edited by A_Van; 22nd Dec 2018 at 04:26.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 09:33
  #2434 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
Just for giggles....I went back to the first pages of this thread and began to read the posts.

What stood out was along about post 25-40 or so....where the question was asked..."why is the UK getting into this....why should we be involved in something that will drag out forever....etc...(or words to that effect).

Someone even asked why the UK should be the World's Policeman.

So here we are and as Trump begins to withdraw American Troops he is seen as being wrong.

Anyone care to explain how we have gone from being against any involvement to being against getting un-involved?

A take on all this that is a bit different than the Politico article.

Trump's Syria Withdrawal Policy Is Correct, But Communicated Horribly - The Federalist

For context....when Trump took office the United States had been directly engaged in Afghanistan combat operations for Sixteen Years.

Dubya and Obama each. had eight years to figure out a strategy to get our troops out of there and failed.

Perhaps Trump is not willing to risk another endless war like that?

Our very senior military leadership cannot brag too loud about their successful strategies I would suggest.
In the Donald's case "A fish starts to stink at the head "
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 10:40
  #2435 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post

So here we are and as Trump begins to withdraw American Troops he is seen as being wrong.

Anyone care to explain how we have gone from being against any involvement to being against getting un-involved?
The point that your SecDef understood is that a rapid and unilateral action damages alliances and indeed any future alliances. How we got here is of little importance now - we are where we are. Unfortunately for the US population the pressing and cajoling of allies and friends to join this action before buggering-off without even a phone-call to international partners has undermined the credibility and standing of the US. Treaties clearly mean nothing, international organisations mean nothing, security pacts mean nothing and ad-hoc coalitions mean nothing. Nothing good will come of this.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 11:22
  #2436 (permalink)  
 
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So you are saying that this one decision to reduce our troop presence in one very small piece of Syria is going to equate to the downfall of the Roman Empire in essence.....is that correct?

NATO will disband, all the Treaties the US is involved with shall be dissolved, the UK will no longer buy American aircraft or spare parts, joint exercises are over....really?

I would suggest you are far more bothered by this than the folks steering the ship are.....as they know how the relationship thing works.

You are still going to buy American aircraft because you cannot build your own.

You will have to have US support and have to train to fulfill your role in those very treaties and agreements that exist as it is necessary for your own interests.

Let's accept that getting involved in a Civil War not your own is a very bad decision.

Staying out of it is the best idea.....and getting out as quickly as possible should you get involved is the better plan.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 16:51
  #2437 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
So you are saying that this one decision to reduce our troop presence in one very small piece of Syria is going to equate to the downfall of the Roman Empire in essence.....is that correct?

NATO will disband, all the Treaties the US is involved with shall be dissolved, the UK will no longer buy American aircraft or spare parts, joint exercises are over....really?

I would suggest you are far more bothered by this than the folks steering the ship are.....as they know how the relationship thing works.

You are still going to buy American aircraft because you cannot build your own.

You will have to have US support and have to train to fulfill your role in those very treaties and agreements that exist as it is necessary for your own interests.

Let's accept that getting involved in a Civil War not your own is a very bad decision.

Staying out of it is the best idea.....and getting out as quickly as possible should you get involved is the better plan.
So what you're saying is that this is a tactical masterstroke and that The President and Erdogan are right, whereas Mattis and McChrystal are wrong.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 17:38
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Originally Posted by Toadstool View Post
So what you're saying is that this is a tactical masterstroke and that The President and Erdogan are right, whereas Mattis and McChrystal are wrong.
Seems more damage control than master stroke, but absent any plausible way to a better outcome, it is sensible to cut the losses.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 18:39
  #2439 (permalink)  
 
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Back in March of this year....President Trump made a public statement that his decision to reduce the American Troop strength in Syria was coming....but did not give any specific time frame.

It was reported by National Media at that time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/two-coalition-personnel-killed-in-syria-as-trump-signals-possible-us-withdrawal/2018/03/30/4c589d54-33fb-11e8-9759-56e51591e250_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8607511d325b


Also....what gets missed in all this angst over his decision to remove 2000 troops from Syria....is there are 5000 US Troops in Iraq adjacent to Syria who conduct Ops inside Syria and support Coalition Ops inside Syria.

More information about the US-Turkish agreement that led to President Trump's announcement to withdraw US Troops from Syria.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/turkey...rces-1.4958234

You reckon some or all of the 2000 will wind up in Iraq as part of this "withdrawal" of forces?

Last edited by SASless; 24th Dec 2018 at 13:42.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 15:33
  #2440 (permalink)  
 
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With no one with gravitas and integrity remaining in the cabinet, i.e., no adult standing in the room, let alone an intellectual national security expert, who is no stranger to the fox hole and front line of battle, who can call a spade a spade (and knows what a spade is), who truly understands the likes of Putin, Erdogan, etc. and has no “hidden” ties or obligations to the same, who understands the values of true international friends and allies, our poor fighting men and women, let alone the entire country, are now in greater danger than ever.

Anyone who has watched Boeing over the last two decades, since the merger with McDonald Douglas, the post-777 era, can anticipate the impact of that having a fox running the hen house will have on defense acquisitions, particularly for the Air Force.
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