Monday, September 19, 2016

WTF are We Doing in Syria?

Just in:

"Australia has said its warplanes took part in US-led airstrikes in eastern Syria that mistakenly killed Syrian army troops in an incident threatening to wreck an already tenuous ceasefire before it is a week old... An Australian defence department statement said its jets had targeted what had been thought to be Islamic State (Isis) fighters... The US [and Australia] has offered condolences and insisted that the airstrikes were a mistake. It said it had targeted Tharda mountain where a Syrian government offensive was seeking to capture Isis positions overlooking the Deir ez-Zour military airport." (Australian warplanes took part in airstrikes that killed Syrian troops, Julian Borger, The Guardian, 19/9/16)


"Thardah mountain is made up of 6... hills, all under SAA control with no prior presence of Isis on them./ [It] has always been under SAA control, bar a small breach a few months ago, which was quickly reversed./ So again CENTCOM's statement in which it says coalition has bombed these positions in the past is puzzling." (Tweets by former Sunday Times journalist Hala Jaber, 18/9/16) 

Incidentally, Israel has been the only country up to now killing Syrian troops on Syrian soil.

PS: "In the defense of the Deir Ezzor Airport, the Syrian military has long depended on an army base in Jebel Tharda to repel ISIS advances. That base has been lost this weekend, after a disastrous series of US-led airstrikes killed a large number of Syrian troops defending the base, and ISIS quickly overran what was left." (ISIS overruns Syrian army base after US bombings, Jason Ditz,, 18/9/16)


Grappler said...

Yes, agreed, MERC. No serious observer believes this was accidental. One theory I've read is that the Pentagon was playing its own game, independently of Obama and Kerry. In which case, why was Australia getting involved? I haven't read in detail but I get the impression that Turnbull was surprised by this, and is trying to distance himself from the action. Meanwhile Samantha Powers, trying to blame the Russians as usual, made a complete fool of herself at the UN.

Grappler said...

An alternative theory that is going the rounds is that Australia is just taking the heat and was not really involved at all. Denmark is apparently admitting to being involved. If the attack was indeed by F16s and A10s, as reported, Australia could not have been involved as it has none of these. Denmark, on the other hand, has F16s.

MERC said...

Another possibility is that because Israel would rather have a divided than a united Syria (under Asad), it is using its US proxy to achieve precisely this end.

Grappler said...

Totally agree that this is a significant part of the equation MERC.
Doesn't the Yinon Plan say exactly that? And after Syria, Lebanon and on to Iran. The first reports I heard of the "accidental" attack on the SAA said US and Israeli aircraft were involved. Now we hear Australians. Danes, Brits. Who next?

I find the most intelligent discussion of the Syrian conflict is at Moon of Alabama btw.

Grappler said...

And another - slightly different tenor, perhaps more nuanced, and more from a US rather than European perspective, is Colonel Lang:

But most commenters are in agreement: this was not accidental, and "something is rotten in the state of" the US.