US Reinforcing Positions in Syria and Iraq

“Aram from the east And Philistia from the west— Who devoured Yisrael With greedy mouths. Yet His anger has not turned back, And His arm is outstretched still.” Isaiah 9:11 (The Israel Bible™)

The U.S. is following up its support of Israel sovereignty in the Golan by beefing up its military presence in the region. This seems to be the opposite of what President Trump said he would do just three months ago.

Debka File, an English language Israeli military intelligence website, reported that the U.S. military is reinforcing its military presence in key positions in eastern Syria and Western Iraq. The report stated that 400 troops will be kept in Syria. More troops would be transferred to bases in Iraq according to the Debka report.

If accurate, this would be a change in the plan to remove all of the 2,000 U.S troops from Syria President Trump announced three months ago.

Questions about the future U.S. military presence in Syria arose last month week when The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. military was working on a plan that will leave as many as 1,000 troops in Syria.Gen. Joseph Danford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, immediately denied the report.

The article cited government officials as saying that the change in plans comes after talks with Turkey, European allies, and Kurdish allies failed to agree upon a safe-zone in northeastern Syria. The dispute is over who will oversee the safe-zone. The U.S. wants members of the multinational anti-ISIS coalition to oversee the zone but Turkey insists that they want the role.

The Kurds have aided the U.S. in the region but are considered a terrorist entity by Turkey, a NATO member state that borders on Syria. The Turkish government reacted to the President’s announcement by stating their intention to cross the border and attack the Kurds as soon as the U.S. military leaves the region.

The president’s announcement was met with bi-partisan criticism at the time and Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned his post. Much of the criticism came over the President’s statement that his decision came as a result of a complete victory over the Islamic State (ISIS).

It is interesting to note that on Saturday, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared victory over ISIS, saying they had conquered the last enclave of the terrorist organization in Syria.

Debka suggested two reasons behind the U.S, strengthening its position in the region: supporting its recognition of Israel sovereignty in the Golan and preventing Iranian expansionism.

“The new US military deployment in Syria and Iraq gives substance to President Trump’s statement that the time has come to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan,” Debka wrote. “Most significantly, it is a high impediment for the plan hatched between Tehran and the Assad regime to go forward without delay for the establishment of an Iranian land bridge to the Mediterranean after first reopening the Iraqi-Syrian border. Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi generals began planning this project when they met on March 18 in Damascus.”

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