By Robert A. Vella
Donald Trump ordered airstrikes against Iran‘s proxy forces in Iraq and Syria yesterday in a flexing of U.S. military muscle which contradicts his rhetorical portrayal of himself as a president who intends to withdrawal American forces from around the world. Let’s be very clear. Trump is no dove, nor is he a peacemaker. Trump’s foreign policy moves to date reflect only his self-serving interests, his reckless impulsiveness, and his complete disregard for diplomacy and human suffering. I know some antiwar folks on the left have applauded some of his stances and decisions. Don’t be fooled, I say to them. Look beyond your own desires and try to understand Trump’s motives before passing judgment.
In this instance, Trump’s primary intentions are obvious – that is, to counter Iranian incursions into the geopolitical vacuum of northern Syria and northern Iraq created by his withdrawal of U.S. forces there which exposed the stateless Kurdish people (America’s main ally in the fight against the Islamic State) to Turkish aggression. Secondarily, Trump is directly aiding Turkey’s expansionist goals in the region as well as intervening in the larger sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel versus Iran). Meanwhile, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is skillfully playing both sides of that fence by supplanting the U.S. as the Middle East’s most influential powerbroker. Putin is simultaneously working with President Erdogan of Turkey to eradicate the Kurds, and with President Assad of Syria to eradicate ISIS, while also upholding Russia’s traditional role as Iran’s chief ally. Essentially, Trump is using the U.S. military to benefit Putin and Erdogan (his friends), while opposing Iran (his enemy), but inadvertently to help Assad (also his enemy). It’s nonsensical. In other words, Trump is being played like a cheap fiddle.
In today’s other main story, Trump’s “personal lawyer” Rudy Giuliani has reportedly been implicated in an American coup attempt against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.
Finally, I’ve linked a fascinating article detailing a controversial sociological experiment conducted at a Maryland junior high school in 1969 which explored the dynamics and effects of segregation. In it, typical discrimination was inverted and the roles of the oppressor and the oppressed were distinctly exposed. It poignantly displays the negative aspects of human nature.
WASHINGTON — The United States military on Sunday struck five targets in Iraq and Syria controlled by an Iranian-backed paramilitary group, the Pentagon said, a reprisal for a rocket attack on Friday that killed an American contractor.
The airstrikes, carried out by Air Force F-15E fighter planes, hit three locations in Iraq and two in Syria controlled by the group, Kataib Hezbollah. Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said the targets included weapons storage facilities and command posts that were used to attack American and partner forces.
A United States response to an attack that kills or wounds Americans is not unusual. But Sunday’s retaliation involved direct strikes on Iranian proxies, making it particularly dangerous ground.
BAGHDAD, Dec 30 (Reuters) – A top Iraqi militia leader warned of a strong response against U.S. forces in Iraq following air strikes in Iraq and Syria overnight that hit several bases of his Iranian-backed group and killed at least 25 people.
Related story from: US strikes in Somalia kill four militants
The United States military said it killed four “terrorists” in airstrikes against the Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia on Sunday, a day after the country’s deadliest attack in two years.
The international call came in September 2018, after months of rising tension between the United States and Venezuela, a key strategic player in South America.
On one end of the line was Venezuela’s socialist president, the pariah leader of a disintegrating economywhom President Trump’s administration was seeking to isolate.
On the other end: the U.S. president’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.).
Both were part of a shadow diplomatic effort, backed in part by private interests, aimed at engineering a negotiated exit to ease President Nicolás Maduro from power and reopen resource-rich Venezuela to business, according to people familiar with the endeavor.