"Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the U.S. plans on stepping up its anti-ISIS efforts. “We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against [the Islamic State] or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground," he said.
The U.S. is also considering sending special-operations forces to Syria, as well as additional resources, like attack helicopters, to Iraq. " NY Magazine
The Iraqi government has now made it clear that it wants no more US military people in the territory it more or less "controls." SECDEF Carter and General Dunford, CJCS, may be agonized by the reproach implied but that is the truth. The Iraqis and many others are unimpressed by the failures that have occurred in the application of US strategery in the Bush and Obama Administrations. The willingness of the US government to cooperate with the Pesh Merga in field operations probably contributes to the Baghdad government's attitude. The Baghdad government does not want to see Kurdish and Sunni Arab factions in the population of Iraq further strengthened.
In Syria, the Carter/Dunford/WH "team" proposes to insert US Green Berets into YPG Kurdish controlled areas northeast of Aleppo as instructors, coordinators, advisers and air controllers. The Turkish Air Force has been busy bombing these same Kurds the last few days to prevent them moving west along the border to seal it against IS transit of the border from Turkey. Erdogan's desire to look tough and anti-Kurdish in the context of elections also contributes to Turkey's willingness to bomb these Kurds. Question - what will happen when Turkey kills some US soldiers?
In the larger war in Syria, it is now quite clear that Russian 58th Army is the senior echelon in command of their effort. Soldiers from 7th Guards Airborne Division have been seen in the mountains NE of Latakia. This division is normally headquartered at Novorossisk in the North Caucasus Military District. Seven Russian naval landing ships are presently in transit between Russian ports in the Black Sea and the Syrian coast. These are further reinforcing and supplying the Russian military effort in Syria. Stories are being spread in the Borg of the failure of Russia's campaign in Syria. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact Russian air sortie rates are rising and the R+5 coalition offensive has re-taken 50 villages SW of Aleppo.
Thee was an excellent Frontline TV program on the tube last night entitled "Inside Assad's Syria." I recommend it. pl