Why Is the US Military Occupying War Bases in Syria?

April 1st, 2023 - by Walt Zlotow / Antiwar.com & Daniel Larison / Antiwar.com

What’s Not Going To Change?
Biden’s Murderous War on Syria

Walt Zlotow / Antiwar.com

(March 28, 2023) — The US has been dropping bombs, sanctioning and refusing to assist the reconstruction of earthquake shattered, civil war torn Syria for nine years. The US jumped into the 2011 Syrian civil war in September, 2014, with bombs instead of peace proposals. Why? America saw its chance to change out the regime of hated Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who’s aligned with 2 major US enemies, Russia and Iran.

We even gave the greenlight, including weapons and moral support, to Assad opponents, some of whom are anti US extremists. “Not to worry,” US officials claimed. “These are moderate bad guys we can control.” Right.

Once Assad largely prevailed in the civil war with ally Russia’s help, the US refused to end its quest to oust Assad. We’ve kept 900 troops in northeast Syria to control the oil fields we stole from Syria, effectively keeping a third of Syria from Assad’s control.

US intervention and occupation is a decade long war crime on the Syrian people. Unlike the Russo-Ukraine war, it’s almost totally ignored by mainstream media. It did pop up a week ago when unknown fighters attacked a US outpost there, killing a contractor and injuring 5 US soldiers.

The Biden administration was outraged, ordering immediate retaliatory attacks against groups thought to be involved. At least 19 were killed which satisfies the required high US kill ratio in such responses. Whoever was killed, guilty or innocent, doesn’t matter. Revenge for attacking our invading army is all that counts.

When asked if the attack on US troops will cause President Biden to re-evaluate his commitment to stay in Syria, spokesman John Kirby replied “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.”

Since ISIS will always have a few imagined bad guys in Syria, Kirby might have will said, “Here’s what’s not going to change. We’re staying in Syria till we achieve our sole mission…changing out the regime of President Assad, the people of Syria be damned.”

Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.

Get US Troops Out of Syria Now
US troops have no business in Syria.
Congress has never authorized
a military mission in Syria

Daniel Larison / Antiwar.com

(March 29, 2023) — The White House says that Biden is “absolutely” committed to keeping US troops in Syria:

Kirby added that Biden is “absolutely” committed to keeping American troops in Syria, where they are stationed to fight back any remnants of ISIS forces.

US troops have no business being in Syria, and Congress has never authorized a military mission in Syria for any purpose. The problem with the illegal US military presence in Syria isn’t just that its official justification no longer makes sense, but that they have been sent into Syria and kept there for years solely on the president’s say-so. The original mission was unauthorized by Congress, and everything since then has likewise been unauthorized.

The US also has no international mandate for operating on Syrian territory, and it definitely doesn’t have the permission of the Syrian government to be there. When the White House says that Biden is absolutely committed to keeping troops in Syria, they are saying that he is absolutely committed to violating both the Constitution and international law.

The US has the right to strike back at forces that strike back because of US strikes.

Keeping US troops in Syria also makes no sense as a matter of policy. There is no threat in Syria today that the US is plausibly defending itself against, but then there never was. If the US left Syria tomorrow, it would not compromise US or allied security in the slightest. To the extent that the fight against ISIS served any US interests, the main fight was done years ago and there is no need for US forces to hang around indefinitely to prevent some possible future resurgence.

US troops and contractors are being put at risk for no good reason, and that ought to be a cause for outrage in Washington. Instead, it mostly goes unnoticed until one of them is killed, and even then there is not much of a reaction.

Read the rest of the article at SubStack

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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