As President Trump is widely condemned, both at home and abroad, for withdrawing US Troops from Syria ahead of a Turkish offensive, LUCY FISHER reports for The Times that ‘Hundreds of British special forces soldiers will be pulled out of Syria‘ as part of the withdrawal.
According to The Times source: ‘The elite troops rely on the US military for resources, transport, intelligence, surveillance and other logistical assistance and will be unable to operate in Syria if Mr Trump orders a withdrawal‘.
It highlights just how dependent UK Special Forces have become in recent times on the US. This is a relatively recent and worrying development. In Gulf War 1 the SAS operated deep behind Iraqi lines without the need to rely on the Pentagon.
In effect we have subordinated our Special Forces – considered a strategic asset – to a US command, US values and culture, US modus operandi and US rules of engagement, all of which are very different to our own.
Add to this the absence of any UK oversight protocols and a complete lack of visibility and accountability and we have a situation where UK Special Forces have become little more than a (deniable) instrument of US foreign policy.
This is not in our national interest and while it may curry favour in the US (although not enough to waive diplomatic immunity) it diminishes our international reputation and standing.
More worrying still it means we have lost control of our foreign policy and can only cling, however reluctantly, to President Trump’s coattails. It is little wonder that the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Defence have declined to comment on the situation.