Trump’s oil war in Syria, forever?

This 13 November 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Donald Trump: US left troops in Syria ‘only for the oil’

Donald Trump has insisted the US military presence in Syria is ‘only for the oil’, contradicting his officials who have maintained that the remaining forces were there to fight Isis. Trump made his remarks while hosting Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, just over a month after the Turkish president launched an offensive into north-eastern Syria.

Horrible though Trump’s oil war is, at least Trump is more honest than other politicians who wrap their oil wars in lies about ‘humanitarian war’.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Pentagon chiefs say US troops to stay in Syria for years

13 December 2019

Barely two months after US President Donald Trump’s demagogic announcement that he was pulling US troops out of northeastern Syria to fulfill his campaign promise to bring a halt to Washington’s “endless wars”, the senior civilian and uniformed Pentagon chiefs told a House panel Wednesday that there is no foreseeable end to the American presence there.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley maintained in their testimony to the House Armed Services Committee that the US military was staying in Syria to assure the “enduring defeat” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and that the fulfillment of that goal is likely years away. …

Esper went even further, insisting that US military forces had to remain in Syria not so much to counter any existing military force, but rather an “ideology”.

“I think the defeat, if you will, will be hard because it’s an ideology,” Esper told the House panel after repeated questions regarding US strategy in Syria. “It’s hard to foresee anytime soon we would stamp it out”, he added.

Both Esper and Milley attempted to dodge questions about Trump’s green-lighting of a Turkish invasion of Syria in October. This Turkish incursion was aimed at driving the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia … away from the Turkish-Syrian border. Ankara views the YPG as a “terrorist” extension of Turkey’s own PKK Kurdish separatist movement, against which it has fought a bloody counterinsurgency campaign for decades.

They also deflected questions about Trump’s subsequent justification for a continued US presence in Syria on the grounds that they were being deployed to “take the oil”, which he said could be exploited by a US corporation like ExxonMobil. Both Esper and Milley claimed to have no knowledge of any plan to steal Syria’s oil, even though US troops, backed by Bradley armored fighting vehicles, have been deployed in the Deir Ezzor oil fields of northeastern Syria.

The US occupation of the oil fields serves to cut off the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from a vital resource for the reconstruction of a country that has been decimated by the eight-year-old war for regime change orchestrated by the CIA. It also represents a direct provocation to Russia, which has signed deals with Damascus to extract oil, as well as China, which previously had oil investments in Syria and is poised to play a leading role in the country’s reconstruction.

Significantly, Esper seemed to identify Washington’s ostensible NATO ally, Turkey, as the principal challenge to US operations in Syria, stating that Turkey’s incursion into the northeast of the country had “complicated the battle space.” He described the Turkish-backed Islamist militias deployed against the YPG as a “wild card” that could provoke a wider conflict in the region and said that Erdogan’s stated intention of settling more than a million Syrian refugees in the border areas threatened “turmoil”. …

The US military is remaining in Syria’s northeast with what it claims is a force of 600 troops, along with a detachment of at least 200 more special forces troops near the southern border crossing of al-Tanf. With the inclusion of military contractors and troops rotated in an out on a temporary basis, the real deployment is probably at least twice these numbers. …

Esper gave a somewhat more candid explanation of the US deployments in the region when he told the House committee that, “The United States strategy in the Middle East seeks to ensure the region is not a safe haven for terrorists, is not dominated by any power hostile to the US, and contributes to a stable global energy market.”

Trump issues hypocritical threat over Syrian offensive: here.

US troops confront Russian convoy near Syrian oil fields: here.

Pentagon admits millions of dollars’ worth of US military equipment has gone missing in Syria: here.

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