US Troops Staying in Syria to ‘Keep the Oil’ Have Already Killed Hundreds

Hundreds of American soldiers are remaining in Syria, not to ensure to safety of any group of people, but to occupy the country’s oil reserves and block the Syrian government from revenue needed for reconstruction, reports Ben Norton.

By Ben Norton
The Grayzone

U.S.  President Donald Trump has reassured supporters that he is “bringing soldiers home” from the “endless” war in Syria. But that is simply not the case.

While Trump has ordered a partial withdrawal of the approximately 1,000 American troops on Syrian territory — who have been enforcing an illegal military occupation under international law — U.S. officials and the president himself have admitted that some will be staying. And they will remain on Syrian soil not to ensure to safety of any group of people, but rather to maintain control over oil and gas fields.

The U.S. military has already killed hundreds of Syrians, and possibly even some Russians, precisely in order to hold on to these Syrian fossil fuel reserves.

Washington’s obsession with toppling the Syrian government refuses to die. The United States remains committed to preventing Damascus from retaking its own oil, as well as its wheat-producing breadbasket region, in order to starve the government of revenue and prevent it from funding reconstruction efforts.

The Washington Post noted in 2018 that the U.S. and its Kurdish allies were militarily occupying a massive “30 percent slice of Syria, which is probably where 90 percent of the pre-war oil production took place.”

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Now, for the first time, Trump has openly confirmed the imperialist ulterior motives behind maintaining a US military presence in Syria.

We want to keep the oil,” Trump confessed in a cabinet meeting on Oct. 21. “Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”

Three days earlier, the president tweeted, “The U.S. has secured the Oil.”

The New York Times confirmed the strategy on Oct. 20. Citing a “senior administration official,” the newspaper reported:

“President Trump is leaning in favor of a new Pentagon plan to keep a small contingent of American troops in eastern Syria, perhaps numbering about 200, to combat the Islamic State and block the advance of Syrian government and Russian forces into the region’s coveted oil fields

… A side benefit would be helping the Kurds keep control of oil fields in the east, the official said.”

Trump then explicitly reiterated this policy in a White House press briefing on the Syria withdrawal on Oct. 23.

“We’ve secured the oil (in Syria), and therefore a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. “And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

Using ISIS as Excuse

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper – the former vice president of government relations at top weapons manufacturer Raytheon, before being promoted by Trump to the head of the Pentagon – revealed the actual U.S. policy on Syria in a press conference on the 21st:

“We have troops in towns in northeast Syria that are located next to the oil fields. The troops in those towns are not in the present phase of withdrawal.

… Our forces will remain in the towns that are located near the oil fields.”

Esper added that the U.S. military is “maintaining a combat air patrol above all of our forces on the ground in Syria.”

Unlike Trump, Esper offered an excuse to justify the continued U.S. military occupation of Syria’s oil fields. He insisted that American soldiers remain to help the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold on to the resources and prevent ISIS jihadists from taking them over.

This led mainstream corporate media outlets like CNN to report, “Defense secretary says some U.S. troops will temporarily stay in Syria to protect oil fields from ISIS.”

But any observer who carefully parsed Esper’s comments during his press conference would have been able to detect the real goal behind the prolonged U.S. presence in northeastern Syria. As Esper said, “A purpose of those [US] forces, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned.”

Excerpt from Pentagon’s transcript of the Mark Esper press conference.

“And others who may benefit from their revenues earned” is a crucial qualifier. In fact, Esper used this language – “ISIS and others” – two more times in his presser.

Who exactly Esper meant by “others” is clear: The U.S. strategy is to prevent Syria’s UN-recognized government and the Syrian majority that lives under its control from retaking their own oil fields and reaping the benefits of their revenue.

Hundreds Massacred   

This is not just speculation. CNN made it plain when it reported the following in an undeniably blunt passage, citing anonymous U.S. senior military officials:

“The US military has long had military advisers embedded with the Syrian Democratic Forces near the Syrian oil fields at Deir Ezzoir ever since the area was captured from ISIS. The loss of those oil fields denied ISIS a major source of revenue, a one-time source of funds that has differentiated the organization from other terror groups.

The oil fields are assets that have also been long sought after by Russia and the Assad regime, which is strapped for cash after years of civil war. Both Moscow and Damascus hope to use oil revenues to help rebuild western Syria and solidify the regime’s hold.

In a bid to seize the oil fields, Russian mercenaries attacked the areas, leading to a clash that saw dozens if not hundreds of Russian mercenaries killed in U.S.airstrikes, an episode that Trump has touted as proof he is tough on Russia. That action helped deter Russian or regime forces from making similar bids for the oil fields.

The U.S.forces near the oil fields remain in place and senior military officials had previously told CNN that they would likely be among the last to leave Syria.”

CNN thus acknowledged that the U.S. military had killed up to “hundreds” of Syrian and Russia-backed fighters seeking to gain access to Syria’s oil fields. It massacred these fighters not for humanitarian reasons, but to prevent the Syrian government from using “oil revenues to help rebuild western Syria.”

This shockingly direct admission flew in the face of the popular myth that the U.S. was keeping troops in Syria to protect Kurds from an assault by NATO member Turkey.

The CNN report was an apparent reference to the Battle of Khasham, a little known but important episode in the eight-year international proxy war on Syria.

The battle unfolded on Feb. 7, 2018, when the Syrian military and its allies launched an attack to try to retake major oil and gas reserves in Syria’s Deir ez-Zour governorate, which were being occupied by American troops and their Kurdish proxies.

The New York Times seemed to revel in the news that the U.S. military massacred 200 to 300 fighters after hours of merciless airstrikes from the United States.”

The Times repeatedly stressed that Deir ez-Zour is “oil-rich.” And it cited anonymous U.S. officials who claimed that many of the slaughtered fighters were Russian nationals from the private military company the Wagner Group. These unnamed “American intelligence officials” told the Times that the alleged Russian fighters were “in Syria to seize oil and gas fields and protect them on behalf of the Assad government.”

The Times noted that U.S. special operations forces from JSOC were working with Kurdish forces at an outpost next to Syria’s important Conoco gas plant. The Kurdish-led SDF had seized this facility from ISIS in 2017 with the help of the U.S.military. The Wall Street Journal noted at the time that the “plant is capable of producing nearly 450 tons of gas a day,” and was one of ISIS’ most important sources of funding.

The newspaper added, “The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, are racing against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for territorial gains in Syria’s east.” The commodities monitoring websites MarketWatch and were closely following the story and analyzing which forces would take over one of Syria’s most important gas plants.

Starving Syria of Oil & Wheat

For the Syrian government, regaining control over its oil and gas reserves in the eastern part of its territory is crucial to paying for reconstruction efforts and social programs — especially at a time when suffocating U.S. and EU sanctions have crippled the economy, caused fuel shortages, and severely hurt Syria’s civilian population.

The U.S. has aimed to prevent Damascus from retaking profitable territory, starving it of natural resources from fossil fuels to basic foodstuffs.

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama deployed U.S. troops to northeastern Syria on the grounds of helping the Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fight ISIS. What started as several dozen U.S. special operations forces quickly ballooned into some 2,000 troops, largely stationed in northeastern Syria.

As these U.S. soldiers enabled the YPG retake territory from ISIS, they solidified Washington’s control over nearly one-third of Syrian sovereign territory — territory that just so happened to include 90 percent of Syria’s oil, as well as 70 percent of its wheat.

The U.S. subsequently forced the Kurdish-led YPG to rebrand as the SDF, and then treated them as proxies to try to weaken the Syrian government and its allies Iran and Russia.

In June, Reuters confirmed that Kurdish-led authorities had agreed to stop selling wheat to Damascus, after the U.S. pressured them to do so.

The Grayzone has reported how the Center for a New American Security, a leading Democratic Party foreign policy think tank bankrolled by the U.S. and NATO, proposed using the “wheat weapon” to starve Syria’s civilian population.

A former Pentagon researcher-turned-senior fellow at the think tank declared openly, “Wheat is a weapon of great power in this next phase of the Syrian conflict.” He added, “It can be used to apply pressure on the Assad regime, and through the regime on Russia, to force concessions in the UN-led diplomatic process.”

Trump appeared to echo this strategy in his Oct. 21 cabinet meeting.

“We want to keep the oil, and we’ll work something out with the Kurds so that they have some money, have some cashflow,” he said. “Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”

While Trump has pledged to bring U.S. soldiers home and end their military occupation of Syrian territory – which is illegal under international law – it is evident that the broader regime change war continues.

A brutal economic war on Damascus is escalating, not only through sanctions but through the theft of Syria’s natural treasures by foreign powers.

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebelspodcast,” which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

This article is from The Grayzone.

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35 comments for “US Troops Staying in Syria to ‘Keep the Oil’ Have Already Killed Hundreds

  1. CitizenOne
    October 27, 2019 at 22:32

    There was a made for TV miniseries in 1982 called “World War III”. The plot was about how international tariffs and embargoes resulted in desperation in the USSR which ultimately caused some rouge generals to attempt to seize the Trans Alaska Pipeline and hold it for ransom. Sadly the World died that day.

    It was however a convincing plot and it won an Emmy award and it also scared the bejesus out of a whole bunch of folks including myself since it was believable that a single misstep in the dance of nuclear armaments could within minutes lead to a dance with death for the entire planet.

    Everyday we are whistling past the graveyard helpless to effect our nations course which is surely leading us to global nuclear war given the politics in Washington.

  2. Garrett Connelly
    October 27, 2019 at 11:26

    So we see that serial impeaching of actual oligarchs and elected servants of imperialists is a great idea but probably not the course forward. Plus, we clearly see Trump is doing much the same as Regan/Bush/Clinton/Obama and so on in history all the way back to when George Washington became the richest person in the country selling native people’s land.

    Examine liberal and progressive Massachusetts is a prime example. It has a Democratic congressional delegation to both houses of congress attempting to recolonize Venezuela using 1820 Monroes Doctrine logic and sadistic illegal sanctions to do it. Every senator and representative from Massachusetts wears modern clothes yet carries the white man’s burden to help Venezuelans enjoy their own country with a president picked either by them or delegated technocrats.

    There are several possible ways US atrocities can be stopped; 1) A world war against the english speaking countries and remaining neocolonialists in Europe, 2) Link hands and dance around the White House, 3) Boycott elections in representative democracies that represent capital and are designed to do exactly that, 4) Independent voters vote for Greens.

    There is one other path citizens dominated by capitalist representative democracies can take; Notice the trigger that causes US attack. Set up a leaderless constituent assembly as the supreme facet of a new form of real democracy.

    • ML
      October 28, 2019 at 14:46

      I like numbers 3 and 4 and often do this myself. Your number 2 suggestion sounds delightful and fanciful- please let me know when it might take place; I’ll make plans to travel a few thousand miles to get there. Wink-wink.

  3. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H. Babu Sahib
    October 27, 2019 at 07:07

    Regular flip-flops from Trump is to be expected by now, so nothing surprising in Trump now saying that a portion of U.S. forces, presumably mercenery contractual ones, would be staying behind.

    But in telling the truth, for a change, Trump was still lying; he said “to keep the oil”. I don’t think this is entirely right. America is more interested in “controling” the oil, its access to others and in having an indirect lever on oil price levels.

    Unlike in the past, the US does not need the oil per se because it is a leading exporter of oil these days, as it is basically floating on slick fracking oil itself. Rather than being interested in keeping physical oil it is more focused on positioning itself as a geopolitical lever on hydrocarbon price levels.

    Picking up periodic fights with the “Russian” nationals of the Wagner and other groups there is one way of moving those levers.

    Trump’s anti-Muslim credentials are also strengthened here because the “Russians” involved are not all true Russians because a significant portion of them are actually Chechen Muslims, pro-Russian Kurds and Syrians pitted against highly betrayable Western-sponsored ISIS, YPG and SDF.

    So, under the cover of helping persecuted Kurds and other noble humanitarian what nots, the real Trumpian agenda of slaughtering Muslims of every shade gets fulfilled and the image of Islam too gets needlessly ruined as well !

  4. Oliver Babajko
    October 27, 2019 at 04:04

    No oil for Assad, means no reconstruction for Syria’s cities, means refugees have nowhere to go but Europe. Smart move Trump!

  5. GMCasey
    October 26, 2019 at 13:58

    It’s time for the UN to move to Europe, and for NYC to make the UN building into a homeless shelter.

  6. SteveK9
    October 26, 2019 at 13:55

    ‘We’ve secured THE oil’? Trump’s idiotic way of speaking would be funny, if people didn’t die as a consequence. I guess this is part and parcel of treating Syria as if it were not a country, with a government. The American people no longer find it incongruous in the slightest to talk about other nations resources ‘belonging’ to us.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    October 26, 2019 at 12:17

    Iraq all over again? Oil thievery of the highest, and most despicable, caliber. But then, what else should I expect from the US…

  8. Dao Gen
    October 26, 2019 at 09:34

    Ben, this is another excellent article. Thank you! Everything you say is spot on. Because I respect your journalism, however, please allow me to play Devil’s Advocate and mention a couple of omissions. Needless to say, I am not a Trump supporter. First, the American responsibility for the Syria tragedy lies much more with Obama than with Trump. Syria is Obama’s baby, along with the Rojava fantasy, the slave markets in Libya, and other outrages. Trump ran against staying in Syria, and he has repeatedly stated that invading Iraq was the biggest mistake in American history. He declared he would leave Syria in the late spring of 2017, and a few days later we had an obvious false-flag chemical weapons attack by Al-Qaeda/Al-Nusra/CIA/MI6, and Trump was forced to back down. Then, in Dec. 2018, Trump again ordered the Pentagon to begin withdrawing from Syria, but the DOD and Bolton ignored the order, and nothing happened. And now Trump has tried again and is again being attacked by a neocon tsunami and forced to backtrack. Do you think Trump really wants to stay in Syria? I doubt it. He is fighting for his political life. Lindsey Graham hates withdrawal, and he even publicly threatened to support impeachment, and he is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where a trial would take place. This is naked power politics in action. All Trump has to rely on now is his anti-foreign war base and maybe a few commentators like Tucker Carlson. Where are the voices of support for his recent withdrawal order that should be coming from progressives? I haven’t heard many. Ben, where was your praise? All I could hear were endless howls of tribal hysteria coming from the lock-step, group-think Dem Party, which now attacks Trump from the right instead of the left. With no one in the MCM or in DC supporting him, how could Trump not come up with some kind of disgusting compromise proposal like putting US troops near Syrian oil wells? He wants to survive. I submit that if there was at least some vigorous praise from progressives not for Trump himself but for the *particular policy* of withdrawal then Trump might have felt more confident to stand his ground. So I think it is a major failure that progressive journalists are not positively praising Trump when he occasionally deserves it and urging him to change course and keep withdrawing. If progressives limit themselves to pointing out the many flaws and hypocrisies in Trump’s decision to withdraw, they lose a good chance to influence the president to move in a more helpful direction. It is my impression that many progressive journalists are afraid to even partially praise any of Trump’s policies because they know they will be savagely attacked by Dem McCarthyite smear artists and censorship activists, and certainly that is a real problem. But progressive journalists need to become more fearless and confident that they have the right to follow the truth wherever it leads. Standing up to demagoguery is the only way to defeat it.

    For example, progressive journalists should have roundly condemned the neocon Dem House bill condemning Trump’s withdrawal decision that many Repubs also supported. Trump certainly did not betray the Kurds. Almost a year ago he gave an order to the DOD to begin withdrawal. The moment he gave that order the Kurds should have begun seriously negotiating and reconciling with the Syrian government. That would have saved many Kurd lives and prevented a Turkish invasion. Moreover, the state of Rojava is a completely unreal fantasy. It was Obama, the Israelis, and the French who kept encouraging the Kurds to follow their fantasy so that they could use the Kurds as their tools. Those are the people who betrayed the Kurds. Trump gave the Kurds plenty of notice, but the Kurdish PKK-affiliated leaders betrayed the ordinary Kurdish people by discarding realism and refusing to negotiate with the Syrian government, instead preferring to steal Syrian oil and sell it to Israel. Moreover, the Syrian Kurds have been guilty of a form of ethnic cleansing along the border with Turkey, where they repressed many of the Christians, Sunnis, and tribal peoples living there in order to create their ethnically pure Kurdish statelet. In some ways the Syrian Kurds are not so different from the hypernationalists who want to “purify” Ukraine of Russian-speaking ethnic Russians. This is why Trump’s ridiculous plan to put the unpopular Kurds in charge of the Deir Ezzour oil field can’t work. As the scholar Joshua Landis points out, the Arabs in the Deir Ezzour area hate the Kurds so much that they would probably call on Isis to come back and help them resist the Kurds. For these and other reasons, the US should not support narrow, aggressive Kurd nationalism, though if Joe Biden is elected he would probably do just that. As VP he was a strong advocate of giving Iraqi Kurds an independent state, because he hoped to break Iraq up into several small ethnic statelets that would be easy for the US to dominate.

    In sum, progressive journalists should not be timid. They should proudly state that they deal with policy questions, not with personalities or party lines, and they should occasionally praise Trump when he makes a positive decision, such as his decision to withdraw from Syria and his contorted decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, as well as his attempts to engage with Kim Jong-un. Progressive journalists should blame Trump for failing to follow through, but even stronger criticism should be aimed at 1) the individuals who are fiercely blocking Trump, 2) the neocon politicians and officials who created these wars, and 3) the security state that seems to be undercutting Trump’s every move to engage in detente or put limits on our endless foreign incursions. In particular, Dem Party collusion with and glorification of foreign wars and the military-industrial-intel complex should be a primary focus.

    • michael
      October 28, 2019 at 08:19

      So was the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi deliberately kept from the Democrats and CIA (ISIS’s sponsor in Syria) to avoid leaks and his escape? Their outrage suggests this action deviated from their agendas.

  9. Becky
    October 25, 2019 at 21:09

    Silly me. And I dared to hope that we would listen to and believe the climate scientists and keep the oil in the ground.

  10. DH Fabian
    October 25, 2019 at 18:04

    This isn’t “Trump’s agenda.” This has been standard US policy and procedure for decades. Those in government never forgot the fall-out from the Arab Oil Embargo is the 1970s. High prices and shortages at the gas pumps can damage the careers of US politicians.

    • anon
      October 25, 2019 at 20:00

      So you rationalize theft of resources as a political necessity requiring genocidal wars, although every other country can buy the oil it needs at the same price without wars? Please drop those zionist sources, before they convince you to bomb the neighborhood around the local gas station to stabilize prices.

  11. Stephen M
    October 25, 2019 at 16:03

    Trump: “We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

    Amazing, here’s the president of the United States openly confessing before the whole wolrd that the U.S. is nothing more than an outlaw, a brigand, a thief…

    There was a time when they felt the need to disguise their motives by claiming some lofty principle like “human rights” or “protecting democracy” or concocting some imaginary threat in order to claim “self defense,” or ironically enough, even “defending international law”. But now, they just come right out and say it — we’re violent criminals, we honor no law, and we’re going to violate your sovereignty, steal your land, your resources, your oil… and what are you going to do about it to stop us?

    On the one hand, the honesty is somewhat refreshing. Once you clear away the smokescreen — all the pretense –, this reveals what has been, in fact, the modus operandi of U.S. imperialism all along. So, at least you know who and what you’re dealing with… and can “look the devil in the eye,” so to speak. On the other hand, what have we become as a society to where this kind of frank admission of criminality can be openly expressed without fear of consequences? Where our leaders now feel safe enough to publicly express this sort of thing? I mean, where’s the OUTRAGE?!?!?!!! Have we been dumbed down that badly to where we no longer care about law, morality, ethics… about anything? I realize the propaganda is overwhelming and you have to pierce the veil of the Matrix in order to get at any truth — but when the VEIL IS STRIPPED AWAY FOR YOU and you’re able to get a glimpse of the evil that underlies the public facade — wouldn’t some innate sense of decency/morality kick in to where you would at least register some kind of protest? But hardly a peep. Where’s the RESISTANCE? Again, where’s the OUTRAGE? If you’re going to impeach Donald Trump for anything… impeach him for this!

    And if the next con artist gets in there and pursues the same policies — impeach them too. And keep knocking them down as fast as they set them up. Impeach them all, one after another… until the insanity stops.

    Idk, I’m just so frustrated right now.

    • ML
      October 26, 2019 at 22:42

      I hear you, Stephen M. Many of us here do. I liked your post very much. All of us together feeling this way, is a powerful antidote to the poison. Keep putting it out there.

    • Abby
      October 27, 2019 at 00:55

      But that’s the thing. Democrats don’t actually oppose the things Trump is doing. They just don’t like the way he is doing it. Just as you note here, Trump has removed the mask from our imperialism that we tell the rubes is being done for their sake and instead telling them it’s because we want their resources. Brutal honesty.

      Democrats don’t oppose the tax cuts. The locking up of children and immigrants because they too own stock in the private prisons. Nor do they oppose Trump rolling back regulations cuz it helps their donor’s profits. Nor do they oppose the right wing judges that McConnell is pushing through because they know that they will roll back worker’s protection and lots of other things that came from the time democrats were sane and passed legislation that helped us. This is why they are called the fake opposition party.

      BTW..Trump is doing many of the same things as Obama did and Bush and Clinton before. The globalists are pushing through their agendas. And still we sit in this boiling kettle of water.

  12. October 25, 2019 at 14:51

    No More War

  13. October 25, 2019 at 14:36

    Yes, what is described by Ben Norton is disgraceful and deplorable yet the forces that perpetuate such outrages seem untouchable. And you can only conclude that such a mindset among our leaders can only change if a radical shift in public sentiment energized by public outrage occurs. In a smaller and important way the same thing can be said about Israel and its behavior of the Palestinians and many of its Arab neighbors including Syria. Change must come from within or it is unlikely to occur at all. Not surprisingly the impact on one would also impact on the other.

  14. Don Bacon
    October 25, 2019 at 13:21

    Syria oil reserves
    Total reserves are estimated at 2.5 Billion barrels and at least 75% of these reserves are in the fields surrounding Deir Al Zor. . . . and daily production can be quickly increased to approximately 300K barrels a day. . .

    Syria production history
    2007 300,000bpd, 2018 16,000bpd . .Ref:

    Syria oil and gasfields are geographically spread out Ref:

  15. George
    October 25, 2019 at 12:59

    A Newsweek article this week reports on a Pentagon plan to send tanks and soldiers to the oil fields to bolster “security” there. Transparent economic and military imperialism.

    • Abby
      October 27, 2019 at 00:59

      The military is already watching as the oil is being transported out of the region by private mercenaries that are selling it and keeping the money to support themselves. But during Obama’s tenure he watched as ISIS took the oil through Turkey to sell it to Israel. Putin finally shamed Obama enough for him to lob a few bombs at them. But Obama stopped because he said he was afraid of civilian casualties. Seriously he said that.

  16. evelync
    October 25, 2019 at 12:28

    The brutality demanded by our foreign policy has been going on for quite a long time. Daniel Immerwahr’s recent book “How to Hide an Empire” tells us that we used waterboarding on Filipino freedom fighters who had been fighting Spain for 30 years till we came along to help them “finish the job” on an already weakened Spanish empire.
    But, to the dismay of the Filipino generals, we conspired with the racist Spaniards who secretly conceded to the white Americans who then carried on the brutality against the “inferior” brown people.

    The mythology of a decent, honest, democracy which chooses to do the right thing is blown by decent, courageous whistleblowers thanks in part to the info explosion of the internet.

    I keep hearing about lifelong conservative Republicans sickened by both political parties who trust the decency and honesty of an unlikely candidate Bernie Sanders who is walking in the footsteps of MLK.

    The biggest obstacle to getting us on a democratic course seems to be, sadly, the corrupted delusional dwindling portion of the Democratic Party which, as Hillary Clinton shared, keeps making the “hard choices” that wind up discrediting them once they’re exposed.
    “Hard” choices defined as difficult to explain away ex post facto.

  17. Kenneth Fingeret
    October 25, 2019 at 12:24

    Hello Ben Norton The Grayzone and Everyone,
    I’m shocked that our military hasn’t reached the thousands by this time. Why the restraint slackers? Come on military do your thing. Lay waste to the people and the country! You’re not doing your part so others will have to increase their efforts. I can see asymmetric warfare being used but it will take quite a while to remove the foreigners inside Syria.

  18. Jeff Harrison
    October 25, 2019 at 11:51

    A couple of hundred troops aren’t going to control that. It could get really ugly.

    • ML
      October 26, 2019 at 22:46

      Yep, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. They seem like sitting ducks. And most are just deluded kids who went into the military too young and too brainwashed to understand the evil they are supporting.

  19. GMCasey
    October 25, 2019 at 11:46


    America is all about those “oily benjamins.”

  20. Joe Tedesky
    October 25, 2019 at 10:24

    Imperial hubris knows no bounds. Damn the sovereign nation who resist the empires will. Who’s oil is it anyway if it doesn’t belong too the undeserving imperialist of world domination? Damn those who don’t read the official tweets.

  21. jdd
    October 25, 2019 at 08:28

    Norton clearly shows that while the monstrous, bloody wars of the Bush and Obama administrations are in the end phase, thanks to Presidents Trump and Putin, and Assad, there is still much work to be done. The nauseating bi-partisan vote in both houses repudiating the president’s withdrawal plan is one indication of the hold the intelligence services have over this craven Congress. However, with or without the US, Syria will be rebuilt with aid from Russia and China, and will take its place in the Belt and Road Initiative.

  22. bob lich
    October 25, 2019 at 07:18

    I love non-corporate news. Thanks for this article.

  23. Moi
    October 25, 2019 at 03:12

    Beats me why Syria doesn’t lay claims against the US, Turkey, Saudis et al in the International Court of Justice. They may not gain anything other than a moral victory but it would force the MSM to finally start telling the truth about Nato nations occupying Syria, engaging in ethnic cleansing and looting its resources.

    • Frederike
      October 25, 2019 at 22:44

      I agree.
      Why can’t Assad just tell the US to get out of the country, altogether. Deals about oil can be negotiated. The oil in Syria belongs to Syria.

    • AnneR
      October 26, 2019 at 08:16

      A good idea – but I can assure you that, utterly disgracefully nary a peep about any such case nor its outcome would make it into the MSM. A prime example: the Chagos Islanders case against the UK (and perhaps also the US, but mainly the UK). The Chagos Islanders were torn from their homes on the Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia is the largest) in the Indian Ocean, they had to leave their belongings behind, their animals were all killed, and they ended up in 1973 in Mauritius. This was all done – completely illegally and inhumanely – in order that the Muricans could build and maintain a military (mainly air) base on Diego Garcia (it was/is used for renditions and other illegal activities). First the Chagossians fought for their right to return home in the US courts – no avail. Then in the UK courts – no avail eventually.

      Then early in 2019 while the Maybot was still PM, the Chagossians won their case in the ICJ. But as throughout this whole travesty of justice, the UK government ignored the verdict and refuses to allow the Chagossians to return home to their islands, including Diego Garcia (obviously the US also refuses to give up on this island).

      While this verdict against the UK was reported in such as the Guardian newspaper – on NPR? on the BBC World Service radio? NO not a dicky bird. Doubtless the same on UK (and US) television.

      Nothing will force the MSM to report the truth – whole and nothing but – when that truth is counter to the continuance of corporate-capitalist-imperialist ruling elite intentions, interests as they are exemplified by the ruling politicos.

  24. October 24, 2019 at 20:38

    I don’t think, Syria and Russia should put up with this. The US bullying needs to end.

  25. KiwiAntz
    October 24, 2019 at 20:05

    So much for Trumps BS to bring home his Lawless, illegal Soldiers in Syria, they are now illegally relocating to Iraq & Syria’s oilfields to steal & pillage Syria’s Sovereign Oil wealth! What a surprise? Just like in Iraq, its all about OIL,OIL,OIL & how can the US steal it, for humanitarian purposes of course, we wouldn’t want that pesky Terrorist outfit, that the CIA created, called ISIL to profit from it!

    America’s Oil under another Countries Land, that’s the AMERICAN way, that’s how this Criminal, Mafia Nation operates! The American Mercenary Military squatters need to get the hell out of the Middle East & stop this Imperial plundering? Go back home to your rotting, American Empire of Chaos, where you belong & leave others alone? And what a sight to behold, like Rats fleeing a sinking ship, the American Losers absconded with undignified haste from Syria’s Border, even bombing their illegal Squatter camps, cutting & running like they did in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon? And the abandoned Kurds in their gratitude, providing these fleeing mercenaries with vegetables, pelting their vehicles as they scuttled out, tails between their legs!

    The sorry fact is Trump, the most transactional & corrupt POTUS ever, can’t make a single dollar out of the Kurds but can make money out of stealing Syria’s Sovereign oilfields so see ya later Kurds, it was nice using you, Suckers! Having killed millions of Civilians & 11,000 Kurds sacrificed on the Americans altar of War crimes & leaving Syria in ruins, America must fare thee well & move on to the Syrian Oilfields in preparation for the next thieving & stealing theatre of War? IRAN! God Bless America!

    • anon4d2
      October 25, 2019 at 20:09

      Neither Iraq nor Syria nor Turkey will let that oil of Syria; the only purpose can be to deny funds to Syria.
      The purpose of disrupting Syria is to get zionist/MIC bribes to politicians, period.
      No one would pity our theft force if it were destroyed.
      Let’s hope that the ICJ sanctions the US.

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