America commits more troops to Syria

Published in The Jerusalem Post

After the Ranger regiment was sent to Manbij and Marines were brought into the Raqqa offensive to man artillery, the US is showing that it is willing to put more resources into the battle with ISIS and in a visible way.

For the full text see above, my analysis concludes:

…Here the US has embarked on a unique strategy and in a sense “bought in” to the Syria war. Before the flag-flying its presence was clouded in secrecy, ambiguous and often imprecise, praising the SDF while meeting with the Turks and never giving clear signals as to which force would actually take Raqqa. The Turks have kept urging for an Arab Turkish-allied force to help take Raqqa. There seems no chance of that now; the Turks are too far away and their statements against the SDF do not warrant any alliance with them.

Instead what has happened is that the SDF has grown closer to the US, the Syrian regime and Russia, and the US finds itself in an awkward position where it may help retake Raqqa, only to see the city eventually handed over to the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. That would mark a sea change since two years ago, when the US was still insisting Assad leave power and the CIA was reportedly backing Syrian rebels in Jordan and Turkey.

Now it appears more US troops will be on the way and the model for how Mosul was taken – embedding US special forces at the front – will be used to clear out Raqqa. The question that US policy- makers have to ask, after all this investment in eastern Syria, including in airfields and allying closely with the Kurds, is what happens when ISIS is defeated. On that question the Pentagon has remained mum, as has the US administration.

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