US Mission Creep : The New Great Game in Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)

First they insisted US troops heading to Syria won’t have a combat mission. Now the Pentagon officials say the troops will engage in combat!

This only adds to the speculations surrounding the new mission creep. Admittedly, US ground troops are to be sent to Syria to “advise and assist” anti-government forces under the guise of “Democratic Forces” – which only exist in name. This dramatic revisionist shift has nothing to do with “non-combat missions,” “quasi-headquarters” or “advisory operations,” and everything to do with real troops and real raids on the ground, meaning the combat mission is going to be far more than just “advise and assist” for the imaginary “friends of Syria.”

Unfortunately, for the Syrian people, it is what is happening in the dark that counts. While many critics of the Syria war have been willing to cut the Obama administration some slack, something more unsettling appears to be going on – just as has been the case in recent months in Yemen:

This is not just about “the surge.” This is not about “advice and assist” to the anti-Syria forces either. This is mostly about the New Great Game for the US Empire of Bases. Lest we forget, after the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, the US army invaded and occupied Yemen’s strategic Island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean. It is now busy building its biggest naval base there. This is while the colonial scheme has no UN blessing and certainly no consent from the Yemeni government.

The same conclusion could be drawn for the ongoing surge in Syria. Few months from now, we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that hundreds of workers from Asian countries have similarly been deployed by the US Navy to construct yet another illegal base, this time along the Syrian shores of the Mediterranean Sea – with no UN blessing and no consent from the Syrian government!

It is true that Iran and Russia also have advisors on the ground, but the difference is that they are there at the request of the legitimate government of Syria that is recognized by the UN. Also, their presence has proved meaningful as it has produced tangible results and impacts in the war on terrorism that can be measured.

All of this does fit well with Washington’s demands for removal of President Assad from power after a political settlement to the conflict has been reached AND the “Biden Plan” which seeks to partition Iraq and Syria on sectarian/ethnic lines. True, Washington says it will only send 50 Special Operations Forces troops to Syria to coordinate with the anti-government forces and provide reassurance to allies that the “US has a strong finger on the pulse of Kurdish forces.” But in this New Great Game, the Empire of Bases will need more.

Forget about the Vienna talks. Forget about Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base too. What we are seeing in Yemen tells us what we should expect to see in Syria: That thousands of US troops will be stationed there as “advisors” indefinitely, and thousands more will be dispatched from other bases in the region to complete the destruction, destabilization and occupation of Northern Syria. It’s a picture that couldn’t be uglier, especially given that all these Special Operations Forces have considerable experience from Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.

Undeniably, if the US is to increase its influence and leverage in post-war Syria, it will need a naval base of its own there for its future UAVs. It will also need a divided nation to host them for its current and future undeclared wars and drone assassination campaigns. Any doubters should ask Yemen.

There can be no question that in this new game of regional domination, Washington’s new dark of night policy is not to seek a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Even if that is the case, the aggressive military program will still go on as planned. Because, why not? After all, Russia has its own naval base there – of course with the difference that it has the Syrian government’s consent.

In the grand scheme of things, even a glance at Vice President Joe Biden’s plan tells us all that. Perhaps that explains why Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei remains sceptical about the Syrian peace talks. He has warned against foreign countries dictating Syria’s political future – all while rejecting direct talks with Washington on regional issues. Iranian government officials don’t trust Washington either. They have warned to leave the Syrian peace talks if they don’t feel it is constructive.