US Ground Troops In Syria Is "Illegal, Big Mistake", Russia Warns Obama Of "Unpredictable Consequences"

Tyler Durden's picture

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US would no longer hesitate to engage in “direct action on the ground” in Iraq and Syria. 

The change in rhetoric (and apparent shift in strategy) comes just days after the US seemingly prepared the public for what might be coming by releasing helmet cam footage of what Washington says was a raid on an ISIS prison by Delta Force (accompanied by the Peshmerga). 70 prisoners were allegedly freed although not before the US suffered its first combat death in Iraq since 2011.

The timing of the video is suspect, to say the least. It came just days after Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford visited Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi in an effort to dissuade Baghdad from requesting Russian airstrikes on ISIS targets. In short, it appears as though Washington is trying to simultaneously, i) prove to Mid-East governments that the US can still be effective in the fight against terrorism even as questions remain about ulterior motives and even as Russia racks up gains in Syria, and ii) prepare the public for the possibility that America is about to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Here’s more from WSJ on Washington’s new “strategy”:

The White House is seriously considering deploying a small squadron of Apache attack helicopters to Iraq as part of a package of new assistance programs to counter Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.


The move could ultimately require the deployment of hundreds more U.S. service members to Iraq. Among other proposals, U.S. officials said some in the military recommend openly deploying a small number of forces on the ground in Syria, embedded among moderate rebels or Kurdish forces there, for the first time.


Pressure is mounting on the regime to change course. Recent Russian intervention in Syria on the side of the regime, and the threat of Moscow intervening in Iraq next, has spurred the U.S. to step up its role, defense officials acknowledge.


Pentagon officials have recommended to the White House that the U.S. deploy as many as eight Apache helicopters and their crews to Iraq. The helicopters, known for their targeting prowess, could work in conjunction with as many as two dozen ground spotters who would embed with local ground forces to call in strikes against Islamic State targets.


Another proposal, which is less likely, would insert small numbers of combat advisers on the front lines with Iraqi forces and possibly with moderate rebels inside Syria. Pentagon officials are also likely to enhance Iraqi intelligence capabilities, possibly through a group on the ground that would serve as a single point of coordination between the U.S. and Iraq, a senior military official said.


Last week, the defense chief said Americans should expect more raids like the joint U.S.-Kurdish operation that took place in the town of Hawija, Iraq, in which 70 prisoners were freed and an American was killed in action, the first since 2011. The U.S. also recently dropped 50 tons of ammunition to an umbrella group of moderate rebel forces inside Syria now known as the Syria-Arab Coalition, or SAC, as part of a renewed effort to strengthen local forces.


Pentagon and White House officials indicated the deployment of Apache helicopters was being given the most serious consideration, and therefore the most likely step. 


U.S. officials say momentum is building within the administration to ramp up those efforts even more, capitalizing on the strength of Kurdish and other Iraqi forces.


“I believe we will have an opportunity to reinforce Iraqi success in the days ahead,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford told Senate lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday.

Alright, so let’s see if we can untangle this. Washington intends to send in the Apaches to bolster Iraqi forces both Peshmerga and otherwise. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. The Pentagon is also considering the placement of American ground troops with “moderate” rebels and with the YPG in Syria. 

As we’ve detailed extensively (and this isn’t exactly a secret), Iran effectively runs the Iraqi military via its various Shiite militia proxy armies. That’s not an exaggeration. As Reuters reported earlier this month, “the Fifth Iraqi Army Division now reports to the militias’ chain of command, not to the military’s, according to several U.S. and coalition military officials.” So when the Apaches and their crews aren’t supporting the Kurds, they’ll be openly supporting Iran-backed fighters. 

Ok, fine. 

Only that isn’t at all consistent with placing US ground troops with Syria’s “moderate rebels” like the Free Syrian Army because after all, they’re fighting the very same Iran-backed Shiite militias. So the US would be bolstering the militiamen in Iraq with Apache gunship support and then firing on those exact same militiamen across the border in Syria in support of the “moderate” rebels battling to oust the Assad regime. 

It’s beyond absurd. 

And then of course there’s the whole Kurd/Turkey problem. The US is, i) fighting alongside the Peshmerga in Iraq and intends to support them going forward with Apache helicopters, ii) paradropping guns and ammo to the YPG in Syria (as part of a ridiculous ruse that involves the largely made-up SAC mentioned above by WSJ), and now iii) may even send in ground troops to fight with the YPG. But Turkey just bombed the YPG yesterday. Additionally, the US is flying sorties from Incirlik which sets up the insanely ridiculous possibility that if the US embeds troops with the Syrian Kurds, US jets could be taking off from the same base as Turkish warplanes only the US warplanes would be supporting the YPG while Turkish warplanes bomb them. 

So, yeah. This is should all go swimmingly. 

Finally, there’s the possibility that if the US puts boots on the ground in Syria in support of the “moderate” rebels, those troops will be killed by Russia and Iran (which Dunford said on Tuesday likely has "more than 1,000 [soldiers] on the ground in Iraq [and] something less than 2,000 in Syria"), and with that, we close with several comments from Chairman of the Russian Upper House committee for foreign affairs, Konstantin Kosachev (via RT) and a few images:

Commenting on the potential involvement of US ground troops against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Kosachev once again highlighted that, when it comes to Syria, the US-led anti-ISIS campaign is already violating international law. Potential troops on the ground, Kosachev believes, will further violate international regulations


“Any operations – air based operations, ground based operations – in Syria by American forces will be illegal,”Kosachev told RT, explaining that Washington has not been invited by Damascus to take part in military operation in a sovereign country.


“They will get trapped, they will get involved in this ongoing conflict and the consequences will be absolutely unpredictable,” Kosachev said, addicting that sending US troops into Syria would be a “big mistake.”


At the same time, Kosachev, stressed that Russia would not send ground troops into Syria.


“No ground operation is possible [in Syria], because that would inevitably involve Russia in the ongoing war,” the politician told RT.

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1stepcloser's picture

Obama's handlers must really want that Pipeline in syria 

Latina Lover's picture

Illegality has never stopped the USSA from invading other countries.  Countries bombed/invaded since 1945:

China 1945-46

Korea 1950-53

China 1950-53

Guatemala 1954

Indonesia 1958

Cuba 1959-60

Guatemala 1960

Belgian Congo 1964

Guatemala 1964

Dominican Republic 1965-66

Peru 1965

Laos 1964-73

Vietnam 1961-73

Cambodia 1969-70

Guatemala 1967-69

Lebanon 1982-84

Grenada 1983-84

Libya 1986

El Salvador 1981-92

Nicaragua 1981-90

Iran 1987-88

Libya 1989

Panama 1989-90

Iraq 1991

Kuwait 1991

Somalia 1992-94

Bosnia 1995

Iran 1998

Sudan 1998

Afghanistan 1998

Yugoslavia – Serbia 1999

Afghanistan 2001

Libya 2011


Let me know if I am missing any countries

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Declaration of War?  We don't need no stinkin' Declaration of War!

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Pancho Mulatto?

Constitutional Scholar.

"The Congress shall have Power To ...declare War...."
Article I, Section 8, Clause 11

Urban Redneck's picture

Just wait... some nutter CIA plant will post a YouTube video alleging Syria was behind 9-11, then the community organizer with a law degree and a adjunct teaching gig (masquerading as a professor and constitutional scholar) will have all the "evidence" he needs use AUMF to bypass Congress.

(A certain JP Morgan quote about lawyers comes to mind...)

Tom Servo's picture

reason: global war on terror.


Impossible to declare objectives, or victory.  Therefore, eternal


BrainShutdown's picture

"We've always been at war with Eastasia"

Manthong's picture

“a small squadron of Apache attack helicopters” 

Is that like a tiny malignant tumor or maybe a severed little finger?

just asking…..

BKbroiler's picture

“a small squadron of Apache attack helicopters” 

Real wars are almost impossible to sell to the public now.  Look at Syria.  Now they just get incremental permission for each military mission, which in their sum constitute a global war.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Those AH-1 Apaches carry chemical weapons as a Force Multiplier:


This warhead is designed to inflict greater damage in multi-room structures, compared to the Hellfire's standard or blast-fragmentation warheads. The Metal Augmented Charge or MAC (Thermobaric) Hellfire, designated AGM-114N, has completed rapid development cycle in 2002 and was deployed during OIF by US Marines Helicopters in Iraq. The new warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder that is layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the explosive detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The resultant sustained high pressure is extremely effective against enemy personnel and structures. The AGM-114N is designed for deployment from helicopters such as the AH-1W or UAVs such as the Predator drones.

BKbroiler's picture

ewww... man, cmon.  I had to walk past the Planned Parenthood protesters this morning with their disgusting signs, now burnt kids on ZH.  Post a nice rack or something to balance out the universe.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

How inconvenient for you burger boy.

eatthebanksters's picture

Four thoughts:  1. playing catch up after you fucked up and walked away does not work (and only an absolute idiot would believe otherwise), 2. Obama and his administration must know something about our economy that is bad that the public does not know, why else would he get neck deep in a war during an election year?, and, 3.  If we end up in a war or three (Mideast, China and Ukraine) Hillary will lose and a republican will win the Whitehouse, 4. If the economy tanks a republican will win the White House.  Looks like Barry enjoys fucking the dog.

Manthong's picture


I teared for the kid.

No matter his place, position or circumstance.

This is a matter of financial aggression.

It must be stopped.


JRobby's picture

What the NeoCons want, they will get!

TruxtonSpangler's picture

Obama wants (additional) common sense gun laws to reduce violence in the US while dropping 50 tons of weapons somewhere in the desert for unknown people to find in the middle of a civil war. Wrap your head around that.

Meat Hammer's picture

I can't.  I'm not a sociopath.

Manthong's picture

Sorry  thing.

Biology, psychopathy and politics.

The darkest, worst un-empathetic genes rise to the top.


Keyser's picture

Orwell was a genius.

His work was not predictive, it was foretelling events that were planned long, long ago...  Orwell was one of them... 

Manthong's picture

So, was Quigly one too?

Do certain of them need to purge info every once in a while?

savagegoose's picture

cool so US ground troops embeded with the Kurds will be attacked by their allies in NATO the Turks!  what could go wrong?

MrBoompi's picture

You know what these fuckers say, a trillion dollars spent, a trillion dollars earned.

Manthong's picture


A trillion here,, a trillion there..

Pretty soon you are talking about real fiat.

“the French government was deeply in debt and attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes.”

jeff montanye's picture

i was with the russians in the post above until this, which seems worthy of the u.s. government in its illogic.

“No ground operation is possible [in Syria], because that would inevitably involve Russia in the ongoing war,” the politician told RT.

imo flying sorties now numbering in the hundreds has already done that pretty thoroughly.

i still wish them, iran and hezbollah well, if that doesn't open me up to a terrorism prosecution.

it's pretty hard to oppose brave little israel here in the states and get away with it.

Mute Button's picture

Don't consent to a terrorist prosecution.

Manthong's picture

one man's terrorist is another man's patriot....

go figure...

in the end (rectum) it's all about the banker's credit..

Freddie's picture

Were you on the way to temple?

yipcarl's picture

There disgusting signs?  Are you fycking kidding me you sick monkey?  Those are murdered babies.  If that doesn't change you're mind you're nothing short of an animal. 

yipcarl's picture

There disgusting signs?  Are you fycking kidding me you sick monkey?  Those are murdered babies.  If that doesn't change your mind you're nothing short of an animal. 

shutterbug's picture

hahahaha indeed, shut up burger boy. Go google some more K.K.

SilverDOG's picture


Soon enough, you may know the next child who has been burned by MIC.

Until then keep complaining; like a child.

Maybe it will be you or yours.

Hope not to be so.

Newbie lurker's picture

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

Manthong's picture

..this should be Lit 101


TheReplacement's picture

More like Modern American History 101.

Escrava Isaura's picture



The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists



Reg Morrison: “The human brain remains a piece of stone-age machinery, however you look at it, and no amount of culture can make it otherwise. Genetically speaking we are a finished product, not a prototype. What you see is what you get—there will be no bright utopian future.”— The Spirit in the Gene, page 247.



BarkingCat's picture

Especially when the dumbest breed the most.

Calculus99's picture

Too true.

I'm waiting for the day someone to ask a senior politician  just those 2 questions. 

Nobody eve does of course...

Latina Lover's picture

Evidence? We don't need no stinkin' evidence, we are Amerika!