Reprinted from Counterpunch
Can someone explain to me why President Obama decided to announce that he's going to deploy U.S. Special Forces to Syria on the same day that Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to meet with Russian and Iranian diplomats to discuss how to end the four and a half year-long war?
What was that all about?
Did he think he was going to scare the Russians and Iranians by rattling a few sabers?
Did he think that they'd call off their military offensive and withdraw their support for Assad?
What was he thinking?
Even Kerry was embarrassed by the announcement, which accomplished nothing except to convince the attendees that US foreign policy is concocted by amateurs who have no idea what they're doing. That's all it achieved.
According to the New York Times, "Mr. Kerry told reporters the timing of the announcement was 'a coincidence' and that he was not aware a decision had been made until earlier Friday." (Obama Sends Special Operations Forces to Help Fight ISIS in Syria, New York Times)
"A coincidence"? Kerry thinks it was a coincidence?
Fortunately, the Times isn't nearly as clueless as Kerry, in fact, they even admit what the real objective was. Check it out:
"President Obama announced on Friday that he had ordered several dozen Special Operations troops into Syria for the first open-ended mission by United States ground forces in that country...- Advertisement -
"...the dispatch of American troops ...was meant to bolster diplomatic efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Friday reached an agreement in Vienna with countries with opposing stakes to explore 'a nationwide cease-fire.'"(Obama Sends Special Operations Forces to Help Fight ISIS in Syria, New York Times)
See? It wasn't coincidence at all. It was intentional. It was designed to "bolster diplomatic efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry." In other words, it was a threat, pure and simple.
To really appreciate how short-sighted the move was, we need to try to understand why these talks were convened to begin with. What's the purpose of these negotiations and who requested them?
Well, Washington requested them; not Russia, not Iran, not Saudi Arabia, not Turkey and not Europe. Washington. And the reason Washington wanted these meetings is because (as the Times says) they want "to explore a nationwide cease-fire." The administration wants to stop the fighting. Now. That's why Kerry has been running around like a chicken with his head cut off to get all the diplomats together in one place ASAP.
But don't presume for a minute that because Washington wants a ceasefire, that they also want a "political solution" or "negotiated settlement" or peace, because they don't. Peace isn't even on the agenda and it never has been. For the last four-and-a-half years the US has been supporting Sunni extremists and other militant groups to make sure that peace is avoided at all cost, because peace would be an obstacle for the real objective, which is regime change.