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Does Not Compute: US Military Asks for Troops to 'Retake' Syrian City

Last time we checked Raqqa was in Syria. Only the US is able to "retake" a locality in a foreign country

Unlike the Secretary of Defense, the Department of State and the CIA which are all seething with rage that the US war against Assad is going badly the US military itself always seemed more interested in confronting ISIS rather than the Syrian government. That's not terribly surprising considering that both ISIS and the main anti-Assad rebel group, Jabhat al-Nusra are merely updated brand names for US military's old nemesis, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Thus military brass is now saying that its war against ISIS is undermanned and wants more troops so that it can roll back the terrorist caliphate. That's all rather well and good but for one tiny detail. Neither Iraq nor Syria actually want those troops.

Iraq has already capped US military presence at just under 4,000 troops albeit it is quietely acquiescing to a larger, undisclosed number. Syria of course finds itself on the receiving end of a US regime change effort and so isn't permitting any US troops - not that Washington is asking.

Thus on the one hand in a very limited sense the US military has the heart in the right place but its attitude still smacks of imperial arrogance. Moreover the particularly troubling aspect is that Americans are indicating great interest in the "Race to Raqqa" – an alleged plan to have its own proxies rather than Damascus capture eastern Syria from ISIS and therefore facilitate the de facto partition of Syria. With an extreme lack of self-consciousness they've actually already appropriated Raqqa for themselves to the extent that they're thinking of the hoped for capture of Raqqa by US and proxy troops as "retaking" of the city which was originally of course administered by the Assad government in Damascus, rather than the American government on the Potomac:

Moving on from prisoners, Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) also scored a few points on the size of ground forces in Iraq. Addressing Austin, he said, "You've currently got, I think, about 4,000 ground forces available, if I'm correct. Is that enough — do you have enough right now to assist in your plans to be able to retake Mosul and Raqqa?"


Finally, erstwhile presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) followed up, in part, on earlier questions about the ability of the US-led coalition to retake Mosul and Raqqa. While Rounds had asked if the US had enough troops on the ground to enable Iraq to retake the cities, Graham focused more on Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State.

Somebody buy Americans a map?

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