Hi, I’m Brian Wiklendt coming to you from Garfinkel Schwartz in our Maitland Florida office. We also have offices in Cocoa Beach, Florida. I’d like to give a Contractor World Conflict Update on Syria after the many things that have happened over the last few weeks.
NOTE: Thankfully, on December 29, 2016, there is a ceasefire in Syria. I wrote this before the Ceasefire.
Contractor World Conflict Update on Syria
As 2016 winds down, we know that wars don’t stop for the holidays and that our clients and potential clients often are sent to confidential locations. We hope that you stay safe and enjoy a peaceful holiday season wherever you may be.
What we want to do is figure out for you where U.S. troops might be sent in 2017 because that’s a strong indicator of where civilian contractors will be working.
Contractor World Conflict Update on Syria
Let’s take a look at the world conflicts on our radar. I’ve summarized information from news articles, government sources, the Department of Defense, and impartial sources that study world conflicts. We always recommend you look at the Global Conflict Tracker website online. Of course you can call us to ask questions and we’ll do our best to get you answers.
Let’s start with Syria which is a very violent, very complicated and perplexing conflict.
Syria is a Very Complex War
Why is the U.S in Syria? Ultimately, it’s not because of oil in Syria, rather the countries and the many parties involved in the war surrounding control of the country of Syria led by president Bashar al-Assad.
Location is Important
Syria is important militarily because of its location to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Iran and Iraq.
The Middle East is the world’s leading source of oil production. Therefore countries including Syria make it a very sensitive and affluent point of foreign contention.
Internally in Syria there’s a civil war and multiple sides – religious, tribal and others – who have fought for control of Syria. Initially the civil war began as a protest against the Syrian government in 2011 after children protested, were arrested and allegedly tortured for anti-Assad graffiti.
The U.S. asked for Assad to step down. He did not and in July 2014 was sworn in for another seven years in the first disputed election in the country’s history.
The root of the Syrian civil war: claims of corruption and oppression by the government led by president Bashar al-Assad, unemployment, poverty, excessive government control over elections.
More than 250,000 with reports of up to 450,000 people have been killed in fighting surrounding this conflict.
The city of Aleppo–a formerly thriving metropolis–has been destroyed by continuous bombing.
ISIS and Rebels
Adding to the problem of rebels fighting Assad’s government is ISIS, the extremist group that kills anyone that is against their extremism.
ISIS/ISIL entered the fight against Assad AND against the rebels fighting Assad, from Iraq in 2014. ISIS is trying to take control of Syria and currently, ISIS holds parts of Northern and Eastern Syria.
This means that Assad is not only fighting the rebels. But ISIS. And that the rebels are not only fighting Assad’s government, but against ISIS.
Many External Forces
More chaos and confusion ensued because of forces supported by external governments like:
- Saudi Arabia
- United States
Russia is a close ally of Assad’s and began an airstrike campaign in 2015 to hit “terrorists.” But instead Russia is accused of hitting Western-backed rebels. Russia originally supported Syrian president Assad because of a Russian need to protect a nearby military base.
Iran another Assad ally is believed to be a massive financial support to the Shia.
On the opposite side is Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia believed to be supporting the Sunni-based rebels who are fighting against Assad’s government.
Another two parties are involved: Turkey which supports the rebels fighting vs. Assad’s government.
But Turkey is opposed to the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters who are battling ISIS, believing that some of the Kurds are members of a banned Turkish political party.
The U.S. and Russia brokered peace talks in January, March and September 2016. But as of December 2016 world leaders have accused Russia and China of obstruction at the UN Security Council after the two super powers voted against a ceasefire in Syria.
The U.S. Involvement
The U.S. does NOT support Assad and so now there are increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia, though both want to defeat ISIS forces.
The U.S. has been concerned about the 4.8 million refugees who have fled Syria, as well as the tens of thousands who are stranded and starving and trapped inside the country. Efforts to deliver aid to them have often been cut off by ISIS.
Syria is a complex and a horrible conflict and without a ceasefire, fierce fighting in Syria continues throughout the country. Despite attempts to slow fighting in Aleppo, fighting hasn’t stopped.
Reports from world news sources state that ISIS has between 20,000 and 31,500 troops there. The U.S. has admitted to only 300 special operations forces in Syria.