Monday, February 27, 2017

Momentum Grows For The Big Push To Seize The Islamic State Capital At Raqqa

Reuters: In push to reclaim Raqqa, Trump's choices range from bad to worse

U.S. President Donald Trump's push against Islamic State in Syria could present him with an unenviable choice: Alienate NATO ally Turkey by relying on Kurdish fighters or adopt a plan that may slow the assault and require many more U.S. combat forces.

The objective of the coming U.S.-backed offensive is the city of Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto capital, which U.S. officials think the hardline group has been using as a hub to hatch plots against the West.

Despite months of U.S. efforts to allay Turkish concerns, Ankara is insisting the offensive be carried out by local Arab fighters with support from Turkish troops, as opposed to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which in addition to Arabs includes Kurdish fighters who Turkey considers a threat.

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WNU Editor: The Pentagon delivered their draft plan to defeat the Islamic State to the White House today .... Pentagon delivers draft plan to defeat Islamic State to White House (Reuters). We do not know what is in this Pentagon report, but the signs are for a major escalation .... Syria's last battle? Big push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum (Ed Blanche, The Arab Weekly/UPI).

1 comment:

László Mikó said...

This is just prejudice, stating now that Trump options extend from "bad" to "worst". First of all they expect the Pentagon to be unable to find any "good" solution, even that they have the ability to do good/top quality planning. Next they see every option as "bad" by default, but is this really a situation that cannot be made better, or handled well? I'm interested in the military aspect of wars and conflicts, because it's very material, and fact based, and even if there is the possibility for anything, when things happened it's already too late to talk about "what if". However other aspect of conflict is basically just fought with "what if" and "blame-war" questions and discussions.

It's easy to say that there is no solution for a situation, and then blame whoever is in charge, but I have a bit more respect to those who try to find a solution instead, even if that solution could be ruled out/not chosen by those in charge. I'm sure Pentagon prepared ( and they stated so ), that they present many options, and not ideas like "scorch the earth", and "bomb them back to the stone age" like quotes from the great - now - peace warrior McCain said once.

There are very few to none who have an idea of how will Trump decide, call him an idiot or prize him for the "madman" style he doing, at least it's unpredictable. Sadly we will never know what were the options, but just by looking at recent events, such as:
- SAA blocked the Turkish-Syrian rebel frontline from accessing more IS held areas, and to advance toward Raqqa,
- US restarted the support of SDF forces around Manbij,
- IS lost Al-Bab, SDF now are real close to Raqqa, SAA just 2-3km away from Tadmur, SDF operation captured areas North of Der-er-zor, Iraqi airstrikes inside Syria, Mosul is half cleared, and the list goes on

Even in the case if the Syrian peace talks would collapse, and SAA forces would be repositioned to Rebel frontlines, IS is just still doomed because of SDF and Iraqi operations are rolling, and it's just a matter of time until the frontlines broke even more. I do expect Trump to make a not significant ( or only significant to the media ) support to the fighting forces, aka SDF, but I do more see this whole operation as it goes through borders, and for me the Iraq operation commitment is just the same as the on in Syria. More "special" forces, in the range of hundreds, as FAC, recon, etc. About the state of Raqqa, there is not really an option who could hold it.

If Turkey can't get there, same as the rebels, and SDF will be not allowed because of Turkey, it only could be SAA, but for that they should reach the city, which they are nowhere near now ( a 2 week long operation from Kanasser and they are there). But my blood pressure already gone up by this little nothing, better chill and wait how they will decide.