UPDATE 3/26/23

After Escalation, White House Says US Troops in Syria are There to Stay

NSC spokesman John Kirby says Biden is committed to staying in Syria despite the risks

by Dave DeCamp

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Sunday that President Biden is committed to staying in Syria following a series of attacks on US bases and US airstrikes in the country.

“Here’s what’s not going to change … the mission and ISIS is not going to change. We have under 1,000 troops in Syria that are going after that network, which is, while greatly diminished, still viable and still critical. So we’re going to stay at that task,” Kirby said on CBS News’s Face the Nation.

When asked if President Biden was committed to keeping US troops in Syria, Kirby replied, “That’s right. Absolutely.”

While Kirby says the US mission in Syria is about fighting ISIS, the presence is part of the US effort against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government opposes the occupation of the eastern portion of Syria, which allows the US to control most of Syria’s oil resources. On top of the occupation, the US maintains crippling economic sanctions on Syria.

The US occupation always risks sparking a wider war, as demonstrated by the recent airstrikes. The escalation started on Thursday when a US base in eastern Syria came under a drone attack that killed a US contractor and wounded five US troops.

The Pentagon claimed the drone was of “Iranian origin” but offered no evidence to back up the assertion. President Biden responded by ordering airstrikes that hit targets in Syria early Friday against facilities the Pentagon said were “used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” likely referring to the Shia militias that operate in Syria.

According to the pro-opposition UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the US airstrikes killed 19 fighters, including three Syrian troops, 11 Syrian fighters in pro-government militias, and five non-Syrian fighters who were aligned with the government.

The SOHR numbers aren’t confirmed, and both Iran and Syria issued statements accusing the US of lying about who they targeted. Tehran claimed the strikes hit civilian targets.

Read the full report.

by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Americans in the U.S. military and with military contractors came under fire in Syria this past week, suffering casualties from alleged Iranian drone strikes.

Three American bases in Eastern Syria were targeted with rockets and drones on Friday. One American soldier was injured in the attack. The American bases came under fire after the US carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria.

The violence in Syria escalated on Thursday when a US outpost was attacked. One contractor was killed by a drone strike. Additionally, five soldiers and one contractor were wounded. The Pentagon claimed it had intelligence that the drones used in the attack were of “Iranian origin.” (Source.)

Why is the U.S. military in Syria?

Why is the US military still in Syria?  It’s hard to say.  No US president since Barack Obama has offered a rational explanation.  Syria continues to act as a remnant of establishment war-hawk policies from the Bush era, with Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton using the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as a jumping-off point for their covert Arab Spring operations, including the Pentagon funding and training of groups that would later become ISIS terrorist factions. (Source.)

Though US troops – accompanied by fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – initially occupied large swathes of Syria under the pretext of fighting ISIS, the official rationale for the occupation changed once ISIS was largely defeated.

In infamous comments made in 2019, former US President Donald Trump said: “We’re keeping [Syria’s] oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil.” (Source.)

Was President Trump’s seizure of Syrian oil fields in 2019 legal?

After President Donald Trump said on Monday the U.S. will be “keeping the oil” in northeastern Syria, his administration is looking into the “specifics,” according to a senior State Department official — but it’s prompted renewed cries that doing so is a war crime.

Trump has a long history of calling for the U.S. to “take the oil” in the Middle East, in Iraq and Syria in particular. But any oil in both countries belongs to their governments, and according to U.S. law and treaties it has ratified, seizing it would be pillaging, a technical term for theft during wartime that is illegal under U.S. and international law.

“We’re keeping the oil,” Trump said Monday to a conference of police chiefs in Chicago. “I’ve always said that — keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.” (Source.)

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, Minister of State and national security adviser of Saudi Arabia Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban. Image source.

The attacks on the U.S. military bases in Syria followed the recent announcement that Saudi Arabia was normalizing relations with Iran, a peace initiative brokered by China. Saudi Arabia announced last week that they would reopen their embassy in Syria.

US Tensions With Iran Reignite As Dollar’s Petro-Currency Status Under Threat

Only two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced an effort to establish diplomatic ties to Iran in a deal mediated by China, more news surfaced that Saudi Arabia was also planning to reopen its embassy in Syria for the first time in over a decade.

Rumors are swirling that Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria are on the verge of geopolitical and economic agreements that sidestep the US.  It is perhaps not surprising that just as these deals are being announced, there has been a sudden resurgence of fighting between US forces in Syria and Iran supported insurgent groups in the eastern region of the country.

Joe Biden addressed the issue in a short statement, asserting that his administration is ‘not seeking conflict with Iran’, but that the US government would act to protect its personnel deployed in Syria.

The comments were a response to an apparent drone strike on a US military instillation in Syria which killed at least one American contractor and injured several others.  Biden has authorized airstrikes against Iran backed forces in Syria as retaliation, though, it should be noted that no evidence has yet been presented of Iranian involvement.

The eruption of direct conflict has the potential to escalate tensions with the Syrian government and Iran, and the timing of the event is highly suspicious.

In January of this year at the annual Davos conference run by the WEF, Saudi Arabia announced it was now open to trading oil for Chinese Yuan instead of US dollars (long valued as the global petro-currency).  The economic shift, if Saudi Arabia follows through, could change the very fabric of the global economic landscape as the dollar loses petro-status and even world reserve status.

China has been aggressively pursuing stronger economic ties to oil producing nations and the CCP announced its intention to turn the Yuan into a global petro-currency in December of 2022.  Another important factor is Russia’s alliance with Syria’s government under Bashar al-Assad and their naval base in Tartus, which they have been expanding since 2021.

Did Iran-backed militants really attack US forces in Syria?  Or, is the flare up in tensions with Iran merely designed to throw a monkey wrench into diplomatic negotiations between Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and China?  Or, is Biden leading America towards an economic conflict that will eventually destroy the dollar?

If the third scenario is the case, who ultimately benefits? (Full article.)


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