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.
Writing in ForeignPolicy.com, Jason Dempsey argues that the United States displayed a failure of leadership in Afghanistan.
It’s an interesting article written by an experienced former US Army officer with three tours of Afghanistan but I’m not sure I agree. It seems to assume that the military must shoulder sole responsibility for delivery of US counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan. It also assumes that the military machine must develop capabilities beyond conventional war fighting.
Isn’t this a bit like asking a tree surgeon if he will also do a bit of heart surgery on the side?
If the General’s failed it’s because they stepped up to the plate when no-one else was willing and were saddled with a childishly optimistic counter-insurgency strategy that assumed an inter-agency, comprehensive approach that was not forthcoming.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
A JOURNEY OF LOVE, SERVICE AND ADVENTURE. EXCELLENT!
A MODERN WARFARE LITERARY CLASSIC! OUTSTANDING READ.
ENTERTAINING, THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND COMPULSORY TO READ.
Ten reasons why you should read SPIN ZHIRA.