A fullscale invasion is off the table with Trump but Weiss hopes he can at least chop off a piece of it
The nasty, embarrassing neocon hack, Michael Weiss has spent years calling for people other than himself to wage a fullscale war on Syria. Election of Donald Trump, however, has put a dampener on his hopes to the point he has now been reduced to calling for a mere permanent occupation of a part of Syria (for now):
There exists, however, a narrow window of opportunity for an incoming U.S. administration to achieve minimally defined objectives: defeating the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, guaranteeing that it cannot come back, and making sure that its main rival, al Qaeda, cannot exploit the power vacuum that will come with the collapse of the caliphate.
Based on months of interviews with Syrian opposition figures, ISIS defectors, Sunni Arab tribesmen, U.S. military sources, and intelligence officials, we believe it necessary, as part of this plan, to keep small but effective U.S. garrisons indefinitely in eastern and northeastern Syria and western Iraq.
Holy cow! Illegal US bases on the territory of a nation the US and its allies have funded a jihadi insurgency against -- how is this anything but a recipe for future war?
Not to worry, Weiss tells us, this actually isn't particularly radical:
This is not as radical as it might appear. According to our U.S. military and intelligence sources, four installations already are being used by the anti-ISIS coalition, either openly or semi-covertly.
Syrian government won't really mind:
The Assad regime has vowed to reconquer “all of Syria,” but once it feels secure in its own enclave, it is unlikely to expend the resources needed to do that, and its Russian and Iranian allies will have no particular interest in pursuing such a campaign.
This will be nothing like Iraq:
What we are proposing does not in any way resemble an Iraq-style occupation; nor would it require a massive new commitment of American hard power.
And in no way represents nation-building:
It certainly would not approach the notion of “nation-building” long reviled by Donald Trump.
You have to hand it to Weiss, he is adapting to the new reality of a president who blasted regime change wars in general and the Iraq invasion in particular. Of course he also knows the important thing is for the camel to get its nose in the tent. Once US troops are garrisoning eastern Syria we will certainly find him calling for the scope of the occupation to be expanded further.
His proposal is particularly clever because A.) what he is proposing is in fact already the de facto plan of the US military and B.) is the favorite idea of Trump's possible Secretary of State pick, John Bolton.
Department of Defense explained last month the US has every intention of "governing" Syria's Raqqa:
“The coalition and Turkey will work together on the long-term plan for seizing, holding and governing Raqqa,” Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said after meeting his Turkish counterpart Army Gen. Hulusi Akar in the Turkish capital Ankara on Sunday, according to DoD News.
This partition plan Weiss proposes is actually just the same old tired "Sunnistan" plan B the neocons and fellow travellers have been championing ever since they realized their 2003 invasion had handed over Iraq to hated Tehran. Bolton made the very same plea from the pages of the New York Times last year, as has at one point in time every Saudi-funded think-tank in Washington, which is pretty much all of them.
So then let's get to carving up the Middle East like it's 1916!
After all Syria has really already been carved up by the US:
The U.S.-led coalition, already has carved out parts of Syria—roughly 40 to 50 percent of the country’s geography, by our calculation—where the Assad regime and its Iranian- or Russian-built proxies cannot easily maneuver.
The US can easily dictate how much of Syria the Syrian government gets to govern:
The U.S. and its Western allies have the ability, by dint of their current presence, to dictate how much of this province, along with all of Raqqa, should be governed once the ISIS “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his henchmen are dispatched or dispersed.
We can "steal the oil" as Trump wants:
The Jazira is the most oil-rich part of Syria, and what that means in practical terms is that the communities there will have an automatically enhanced political and economic stature relative to the rest of the country, giving the Syrian opposition a new bargaining chip at future parlays in Geneva.
And what is Assad going to do? Fight NATO?:
Although Assad has repeatedly vowed to recapture every square inch of the country, he cannot feasibly do so with Turkish tanks rolling through the Aleppo countryside and U.S. Special Forces embedded with Kurdish and Arab militias in the north and south—at least not without risking open-ended war with the two biggest armies in NATO.