Syria Conflict

NC National Guard now protecting Syrian oilfields

Right in the crosshairs of ISIS, and anybody else who wants that oil:

The mechanized National Guard brigade combat team that is tasked with protecting infrastructure has been in Syria for a little over a week now, a key part of the U.S. military's repositioning of forces. While Pentagon officials will not put an exact figure on the number of troops expected to remain in Syria, they have said it is likely to be a few hundred fewer than the roughly 1,000 troops deployed there before October.

The policy changes have shaken up an already volatile region and severely tested the relationship between the U.S. and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, one of Washington's closest allies in the fight against ISIS.

The 30th Brigade Combat Team had recently deployed to Kuwait to replace a previous unit, and I had hoped their tenure would be uneventful. But when I saw reports of Trump wanting to move in some tanks and other armored vehicles to "provide security" for the oilfields in Syria, I got a sinking feeling. And with them being deployed after a monumental clusterfuck by Trump, I'm even more concerned:

Bumbling towards war: U.S. airstrike targets Syrian government-backed militia

Bringing us that much closer to a clash with Russian forces:

The Russian military says a U.S. strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria reflects Washington's efforts to make a grab for the nation's economic assets. The overnight attack, which killed about 100 according to a U.S. military, came when hundreds of attackers launched an assault on U.S.-backed forces known as the Syrian Democratic Forces who were accompanied by U.S. advisers in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday the U.S. strike wounded 25 pro-government Syrian volunteers. It noted that the government-backed Syrian forces had failed to coordinate their action with the Russian military prior to launching the mission.

On the plus side, that last sentence is a tacit admission by the Russians those Syrian troops made a mistake in attacking a group with U.S. advisors in it. But that's not much of a plus. It still leaves two wildly different conclusions that could be drawn, neither of them good: a) The Russians are not exerting a level of control over Syrian forces that might prevent catastrophe, or b) They are lying about that prior coordination and maybe even engineered the attack knowing there were Americans present. You might be tempted to dismiss that second possibility because of its recklessness, but take it from an old Cold Warrior: Russian strategy can be very complex. They might view the deaths of a handful of American military advisors as the best way to get the U.S. *out* of that theater of conflict, especially if it appears to be an unfortunate "accident." And filed under the category, "Sounds great but may be dangerous as hell":

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