Friday, 12 October 2012

Without Asking Congress, Obama Puts U.S. Troops on Syria Border

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The Obama administration has now publicly announced that it deployed U.S. troops near the Syrian border in neighboring Jordan without ever seeking congressional permission, supposedly in an effort to help the Jordanian government deal with refugees from Syria while ensuring that the civil war does not spill over into the broader region. Concerns about chemical and biological weapons falling into the “wrong hands” were also cited to justify the latest deployment, but some lawmakers are upset, warning that the U.S. is now even closer to overt military intervention in Syria.    

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking at a NATO conference in Brussels, said the Obama administration had been cooperating closely with the government of Jordan's King Abdullah II. Apparently both sides are concerned that Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles could end up in the hands of al- Qaeda-linked Islamic extremists currently battling the secular Bashar al-Assad regime with support from the Western establishment and assorted Sunni dictatorships.  

"We continue to be concerned about security at those sites," Panetta said after the NATO meeting of defense chiefs. "We want to ensure that security is maintained and we want to be very sure that those [weapons] do not fall into the wrong hands." The embattled Syrian dictatorship has reportedly tried to secure its stockpiles, but fears about them remain, especially in neighboring Turkey. "They are obviously concerned about the (weapons storage) sites as well," Panetta said about the Turkish government. "So we've worked with them to do what we can to monitor the situation."

Also part of the U.S. mission, according to officials from both countries, is supporting the Jordanian government. "We have a group of our forces there, working to help them build a headquarters and to ensure that we make the relationship between the United States and Jordan a strong one so we can deal with all of the possible consequences," Panetta explained after the summit. "We've also been working with them to try to develop their own military and operational capabilities in the event of any contingency there."

Numerous reports have suggested small teams of U.S. and Western government forces may already be operating in Syria. It remains unclear exactly how large the now acknowledged U.S. government presence along the Syria-Jordan border may be, but news reports citing officials claimed there were some 150 American Special Operations troops as well as so-called “trainers.” Also uncertain is where the Obama administration believes it found the lawful or constitutional authority to deploy U.S. troops to Jordan or Syria.

Some lawmakers, though, are outraged that the administration apparently thinks it can simply deploy American forces wherever it pleases without even obtaining permission from Congress. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who blasted the decision, also warned that the lawless deployment means the U.S. government is now "immeasurably" closer to being directly and overtly involved in the long-running Syrian war.

"I can see in a moment how it happens: we're a few dozen miles from the Syrian border and all of a sudden we are within the reach of physical danger. All it takes is a single incident," Kucinich told U.S. News, adding that talk of weapons of mass destruction was an argument for trying to reduce the violence rather than intensify it. "Putting U.S. troops on that border draws the U.S. much closer to war in Syria, which is a nightmare already and can be more of a nightmare for our country."

According to Kucinich, who along with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has developed a reputation as one of the fiercest congressional critics of the bi-partisan war-mongering establishment, putting American troops on the border of a conflict area dramatically increases the potential for U.S. involvement. "There's a trail of causality here," he explained.

Despite the recent public announcements, however, American forces have been there for months. In fact, the Obama administration’s military scheming in Jordan related to the Syrian conflict has been underway since at least May. According to news reports, the U.S. government organized a massive “training exercise” with more than 10,000 troops from almost 20 countries in Jordan. American forces remained there after the exercise was finished.

“We have been working closely with our Jordanian partners on a variety of issues related to Syria for some time now,” Pentagon press secretary George Little was quoted as admitting by the New York Times, citing concerns about chemical and biological weapons. “As we’ve said before, we have been planning for various contingencies, both unilaterally and with our regional partners.” 

Pointing to previously released “regime change” strategies for Syria developed by the U.S.-based Brookings Institution, analysts said the latest developments are actually part of a broader plan. Essentially, the positioning of American troops in Jordan along Syria’s southern border while Turkish troops and U.S. “intelligence” agencies focus on the northern border is meant to divert the Syrian military’s attention away from its opposition, allowing Western-backed Islamic extremists and rebel forces run wild within the nation.

Other analysts said that the public announcement of U.S. troops in Jordan could be interpreted by the Islamist government in Turkey, which is a member of NATO, as a sign that it should step up its role in supporting rebel groups. Turkish forces have already engaged in multiple cross-border skirmishes with Syrian troops, and observers worry the situation could spiral out of control quickly. Some experts say all-out war could even break out. 

The Jordanian government, meanwhile, downplayed the presence of U.S. forces on its soil, claiming it was just an effort to protect citizens. "There are dangers involved, and we have to ensure the safety of our country and the well-being of our citizens," an unnamed “senior government official” told the Associated Press in the first public Jordanian confirmation of the deployment. "We are benefiting from the experience of our allies as we prepare for the worst scenarios."

Estimates suggest 100,000 or more Syrian refugees may already be in Jordan, and many more have fled to other neighboring countries as the conflict intensifies. For over a year and a half, Islamic terrorists seeking Sharia law and opposition forces long backed by the U.S. government have been waging war on the despotic but secular regime of Bashar al-Assad. And as the violence rages, more refugees are expected.

Minority groups and especially Christians, who found one of the region’s final refuges in Syria, have become among the main targets of rebel forces aside from government supporters. Tens of thousands have already poured across the borders seeking shelter, going to Lebanon, Iraq, and other nations.

Western governments and oil-rich Sunni Arab regimes are hoping to oust the Assad dictatorship using mostly proxies on the ground. If all goes as planned, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated “Syrian National Council” — an umbrella organization with extensive links to the Bilderberg group and the world government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations — is expected to take over from the current despot. If not, a Brookings Institution report suggested it may be worthwhile for the U.S. government to just “bleed” the Syrian government and leave the nation in disarray.    

Tens of thousands of innocent civilians, however, have been killed in the crossfire. And the conflict threatens to spark a regional conflagration that could eventually directly involve Western governments, the Iranian regime, the Russian government, the communist Chinese dictatorship, and more. Despite Panetta’s pronouncements, how U.S. troops on the border fit into the picture remains unclear, for now at least, though observers are deeply suspicious. 

During the lawless UN-approved war that destroyed Libya, which bears striking parallels to the current tragedy unfolding in Syria, the Obama administration told Congress that it would wage its war no matter what lawmakers thought about it. The Constitution, also disregarded, gives the war-making power to Congress, requiring a formal declaration of war before the president can invade foreign countries or overthrow governments. 

Whether President Obama would overtly intervene militarily in the conflict remains to be seen — so far he has indicated publicly that his administration prefers to support rebel forces from a distance. However, as has been the case on numerous occasions throughout U.S. history, one minor incident could change all of that in an instant.  

Photo of military compound in Jordan where U.S. forces are training Jordanian commandos: AP Images

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