Trump moves to unite the Middle East! (irony)

by | Jan 7, 2020


Teevee coverage of the recent events in the ME has been predictable. Those who hated Trump continue to hate him, etc.

A few observations:

1. I had hoped that Trump’s decision to kill an Iranian general engaged in a diplomatic mission (among other things) while the man was on the soil of a supposed ally of the US was something Trump pulled out of his fundament either inspired by war movies or on the recommendation of “our greatest ally” but I am informed that in fact some idiot in the DoD included this option in the list of possibilities that was briefed to the CinC in Florida. The decision process in such matters requires that when options are demanded by the CinC the JCS prepares a list supported for each option by fully formulated documentation that enables the president to approve one (or none) and then sign the required operational order. Trump himself chose the death option. I would hold General Milley (CJCS) personally responsible for not striking this option from the list before it reached the CinC.

2. The Iranians are a subtle people. IMO they will bide their time whilst working out the “bestest” way to inflict some injury on the US and/or Israel. When the retaliation comes it will be imaginative and painful.

3. Trump is now threatening the Iraqis with severe sanctions if they try to enforce their parliamentary decree against the future presence of foreign (US mostly) troops on their soil. IMO a refusal to leave risks a substantial Shia (at least) uprising against the US forces in Iraq. We have around 5,500 people there now spread across the country in little groups engaged in logistics, intelligence and training missions. They are extremely vulnerable. There are something like 150 Marines in the embassy. There are also a small number of US combat forces in Syria east and north of the Euphrates river. These include a battalion of US Army National Guard mechanized troops “guarding” Syria’s oil from Syria’s own army and whatever devilment the Iranians might be able to arrange.

4. This is an untenable logistical situation. Supply and other functions require a major airfield close to Baghdad. We have Balad airbase and helicopter supply and air support from there into Baghdad is possible from there but may become hazardous. Iraq is a big country. It is a long and lonely drive from Kuwait for re-supply from there or evacuation through there. The same thing is true of the desert route to Jordan.

5. Trump’s strategery appears to be based on the concept that the Iraqis will submit to our imperial demands. “We will see.”

Reprinted with permission from Sic Semper Tyrannis blog.


  • Col. W. Patrick Lang

    Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years.

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