October 29, 2019
Who knows how this should be taken.
On Sunday, Trump announced a fake terrorist death hoax, which would presumably be a justification for leaving Syria.
Then on Monday, he said that he’d leave an army of robots to keep the oil for some reason.
Except actually, “mechanized forces” doesn’t mean “robots.”
American mechanized forces have begun deploying at Syrian oil fields, ostensibly to stop the remnants of Islamic State from seizing them, and will respond with “overwhelming force” to protect them.
Following the withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria earlier this month, and the killing of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday night, American forces in Syria apparently have a new mission: protect the oil.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at a press conference on Monday that American mechanized forces have already deployed to protect oil fields in eastern Syria. The mission, on its surface, aims to keep these oil fields in the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Washington’s former allies in the fight against IS.
The American troops, he said, will “respond with overwhelming military force against any group who threatens the safety of our forces there.” When asked whether the US would potentially respond with force against Russian or Syrian forces, Esper simply responded “yes.”
Esper: US troops will “remain positioned” to deny ISS oil fields and will “respond with overwhelming military force against any group who threatens the safety of our forces there.” Says fields give SDF vital cash flow.
— Aaron Mehta (@AaronMehta) October 28, 2019
Extraordinary. Per press conference with Defense Secretary Esper and Gen. Milley, US troops are deployed to Syrian oil fields not only to deny access to ISIS, but also so SDF can monetize them and afford to maintain prisons and continue anti-ISIS fight.
— Samuel Oakford (@samueloakford) October 28, 2019
Milley says US forces have secured the oil fields against ISIS — Esper says Kurdish forces need the oil revenue to keep guarding ISIS camps, implicitly confirming (I think) that they're also secured against Syria/Russia.
— Oblivier Knox (@OKnox) October 28, 2019
Esper’s apparent threat comes hot on heels of Moscow accusing the US of facilitating the oil smuggling in Syria. Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov called the US oilfield operation “state-sponsored banditry,” and accused Washington of leaving its forces there to help oil smugglers pillage Syria’s national resources. The ministry published aerial images on Saturday, that it claims show crude oil being smuggled out of the country “under the strong protection of the US.”
Though much noise has been made about protecting the oil fields from the remnants of IS, the shattered jihadist group has not made any moves towards seizing them. Asked whether the fields and the American forces there were under any threat, Esper replied “not at this time.”
It really is the Neverending Story.
But although I am totally against this bizarre oil guarding plot, we should say we are in a better situation than we were a couple months ago. Most of the troops did leave.
I don’t know why they introduced this “mechanized infantry” term into the public discourse.
I do wish it was an army of robots.
Of course, that could lead to Assad simply sending all of his soldiers to jump in the third hole on Gemini Man’s level and get super jump, which would allow them to easily bypass US defenses.