Syrian forces are massing west of the Euphrates near Kasham in Deir Ezzor. Their goal is to cross the river and retake more Syrian territory, including the major oil fields now held by U.S. backed anti-Assad forces. The Russians have built a vital bridge across the river. Will the U.S. destroy this bridge? Will the U.S. use its air power to attack the bridge and/or the Syrian forces?
The U.S. has attacked Syrian forces from the air and ground before when they have moved east of the Euphrates, such as the big attack on Feb. 7-8 in which many Russian mercenaries were killed. At the same time, the U.S. apparently loosed flood waters to destroy a bridge over the Euphrates. In 2016, the U.S. destroyed several bridges across the river.
All of this U.S. activity is to conquer a portion of Syria. The goals are to create a U.S.-dominated zone to block Syria’s border with Iraq, to prevent Iranian access and to maintain a constant threat to the Syrian regime.
Will the U.S. again attack Syrian forces that attack the anti-Assad forces with whom the Americans are embedded? Almost surely, they will. They will do so if these forces cross the bridge and establish a beachhead. Will the U.S. bomb the bridge? Possibly, but that’s not as certain because it confronts Russian handiwork. Probably the Americans will bomb part of the bridge or shell it with artillery while bombing Syrian forces that have crossed; they can claim shells went astray.
However, these answers depend on a wild card, what Putin does. The West has been sticking it to Putin lately with sanctions, the Skripal case and the Douma gas case, not to mention the loss of hundreds of mercenaries. These may stiffen Putin’s resolve to respond in Syria.
The situation is very dangerous. What if Syrian and Russian airplanes get involved? What if Syrians on the ground bring down American planes with ground-to-air missiles?
Trump gave his Syrian commanders a free hand to make battle decisions, and we have seen the results already in February. Likely a similar result will now happen if Assad moves his forces east, unless Putin ups the ante.
The U.S. entered an undeclared low-level war against Assad years ago. The U.S. allies in this war are Israel and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has thrown in with these two countries and against Syria and Iran, and now Russia. We should be neutral because Syria (like Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya before them) has nothing to do with our security against military attack. Neither are Israel and Saudi Arabia countries whose security matters to our security.
The idea that America is a neutral anywhere on Earth has been discarded. Neutrality was declared with respect to World War I on August 4, 1914. It was officially abandoned 3 years later. We now have a complicated system of perpetual warfare that’s completely unjustified and wrong. Is there something wrong with staying out of other countries, minding our own business and staying neutral? If the neocons and warmongers have arguments as to why we’re supposed to fight forever in countries that don’t want us there and in which we gain no security, what are these arguments? I’ve yet to hear any that made any sense.6:48 pm on April 20, 2018 Email Michael S. Rozeff