Breaking: Sec Def Tells Congress US to Begin ‘Direct Action on the Ground’ in Syria and Iraq

by | Oct 27, 2015


US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee today that United States military forces would soon begin “direct action on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, promising more missions like the recent operation to free hostages in Iraq that cost the life of US special forces member Sgt. Joshua Wheeler last week.

“We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground,” he added.

This signals the beginning of both Iraq War 3.0 and Syria War 1.5. It is unclear whether Iraq would welcome more US troops on the ground, but it is certain that US military operations on Syrian territory are a violation of Syrian sovereignty and therefore illegal under international law.

Outlining the emerging Pentagon escalation strategy to the Senate today, Carter explained:

The changes we’re pursuing can be described by what I call the ‘three R’s’: Raqqa, Ramadi and Raids.

“Raqqa” means increased US military support for the Kurds and a new force the US calls the “Syrian Arab Coalition” in Raqqa, Syria. The Syrian Arab Coalition has sprung up suddenly from nowhere and is described as “rag-tag” and unreliable. More US cooperation with the Kurds in the region is likely to inflame the Turkish government.

“Ramadi” means a focus on that part of Iraq controlled by ISIS after the US-trained Iraqi Army turned and ran. In other words, back to Iraq.

“Raids” means that the US will take more direct action by “supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks…or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”

This is seen as a robust (but not extreme) response to the month-old Russian military action against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, which has reportedly seriously degraded the terrorists’ ability to function but, to the consternation of the US, has also left Syrian President Assad in position to regain control over key areas of Syria. The US retains its “Assad must go” policy toward Syria.

Neocons on the Senate Armed Services Committee were flabbergasted that Carter had ruled out establishing a “no-fly” zone in Syria — a move that would have directly pitted the US military against ongoing Russian military operations in Syria.

“What you’re saying is the strongest nation in the world with the most capable military can’t even establish a no fly zone to protect people from being barrel bombed by Bashar al-Assad. That’s an embarrassing moment,” said Sen. John McCain.

Nevertheless, the idea that returning US ground troops to Iraq and inserting them (illegally) into Syria should be relatively risk-free is astonishingly reckless.

This slope is getting more slippery by the minute.


  • Daniel McAdams

    Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-Producer/co-Host, Ron Paul Liberty Report. Daniel served as the foreign affairs, civil liberties, and defense/intel policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, MD (R-Texas) from 2001 until Dr. Paul’s retirement at the end of 2012. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.

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