Unwelcome Guests: US Military Has No Legal Mandate to Act in Syria

If the world seeks to prevent the expansion of the Islamic State, it should stop Washington's warhawks before they create 'another Libya' in the Levant, geopolitical researcher Toni Cartalucci stresses, commenting on Obama's decision to send US Special Ops troops to Syria.

President Obama's latest decision to send a limited contingent of US Special Operations troops to northern Syria is aimed at "carving Syria up into a series of dysfunctional, weak zones," Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher Tony Cartalucci elaborates.

"While the US claims this move is to 'defeat the Islamic State (ISIL),' it is instead clearly a move to establish long-sought 'buffer zones' or 'safe zones' in Syria where the Syrian government can no longer operate. US airpower will also undoubtedly be used to cover these special forces, creating a de facto no-fly-zone wherever they operate," Cartalucci writes in his recent piece for New Eastern Outlook.

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The geopolitical researcher pointed out that Syria's northern territories, held by the Islamic State, are currently being used by terrorists (including al-Nusra Front) as a supply corridor to receive aid from the territory of Turkey. Cartalucci suggested that the US special forces will likely kick off the operation in this very zone, carving it out of the rest of Syria.

The geopolitical researcher envisages that the US troops will seek to maintain further control over the Syrian territory by creating so-called "buffer zones."

"The eventual outcome, if these operations are successful, will be the division and destruction of Syria as a nation-state," Cartalucci stressed.

Referring to a series of Brookings Institution reports, the researcher underscored that the plan to split up Syria has been discussed by Washington's warmongers since 2012.

"An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan's leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power," the Brookings Institution's "Middle East Memo #21" published in March 2012 read, as quoted by Cartalucci.

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Much in the same vein, in June 2015 another Brookings document read: "The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the presence of special forces as well."

However, the researcher labeled Washington's recent move as "desperate." He noted that it has been dictated by the "increasingly hysterical" political and financial US establishment.

According to Cartalucci, Washington's idea to have boots on the ground in Syria is a "poorly calculated bluff": neither US airpower nor US special forces have Syria's legal mandate to operate on its territory.

Washington's narrative that the Islamic State would be fought and defeated by US military strikes in Syria and Iraq is falling apart at the seams: the White House has already admitted that since the beginning of the US-led anti-ISIL operation, the terrorist organization has spread far beyond the border of either country.

"Of course, it was clear, well over a year ago, that the appearance of ISIS (ISIL) would be used intentionally to accomplish US geopolitical objectives in both Syria and Iraq, serving as a pretext for wider, long-sought after direct Western military intervention," the researcher explained.

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It sounds highly unconvincing that Washington may stabilize the situation on the ground by creating "buffer zones" (thereby fragmentizing and balkanizing the state). In Libya such an approach has only led to greater havoc and a refugee crisis.

On the other hand, creating the so-called "buffer zones" would actually mean that the US is attempting to deny Syria access to its own territories. How will Washington justify such a blatant invasion of a sovereign state?

In addition, the prospect of triggering direct confrontation with the Russian Air Force in Syria should be taken into consideration by Washington's warhawks, the researcher noted.

"Bringing America's illegal actions before the UN would also be a sound measure ahead of potential confrontations with US forces operating uninvited in Syria," the researcher pointed out.

"If the world, including Europe, seeks to prevent the spread of ISIS and the expansion of an already growing migrant crisis, stopping the United States and its partners before they create another 'Libya' in the Levant must become top priority," Cartalucci stressed.

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