President Donald Trump is expected to sign yet another Executive Order regarding his plan to suspend the U.S.’s “refugee” program and a tightening of procedures for vetting individuals entering the United States under a refugee visa. Few but the most ardent open immigration proponent against such a policy.
However, tucked away in the document, according to mainstream news sources like Reuters and Newsweek, is a provision to create “safe zones” in Syria.
President Donald Trump is expected to order the Pentagon and the State Department in coming days to craft a plan for setting up “safe zones” for refugees in Syria, according to a document seen by Reuters on Wednesday, a move that could risk escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria’s civil war.
The draft executive order awaiting Trump’s signature signaled the new administration may be preparing a step that his predecessor Barack Obama long resisted, fearing the potential for being pulled deeper into the bloody conflict and the threat of clashes between U.S. and Russian warplanes over Syria.
“The Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, is directed within 90 days of the date of this order to produce a plan to provide safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region in which Syrian nationals displaced from their homeland can await firm settlement, such as repatriation or potential third-country resettlement,” the draft order said.
Creation of safe zones, if Trump decides to do so, could ratchet up U.S. military involvement in Syria and mark a major departure from Obama’s more cautious approach. Increased U.S. or allied air power would be required if Trump chooses to enforce “no fly” restrictions, and ground forces might also be needed to protect civilians in those areas.
Still, the document gave no details on what would constitute a safe zone, exactly where they might be set up and who would defend them. Jordan, Turkey and other neighboring countries already host millions of Syrian refugees. The Turkish government had long pressed Obama, without success, for creation of a no-fly zone in Syria on its border with Turkey.
The draft raised the possibility of establishing those safe havens in neighboring countries but did not elaborate.
The move is being characterized as being part of a larger plan to restrict refugee influx to the United States, especially from specific countries.
In true Trump fashion, the document allegedly lacks details. While it is possible that the order only revolves around the repatriation of refugees already inside the country, given the coverage provided to the issue of “safe zones” and “no fly zones” in Syria over the past few years, it is unlikely that the terminology would be used out of ignorance. If the “safe zones” are established in “neighboring countries,” then there is the possibility that terms are being blurred but it is not likely that other countries will want anymore refugees themselves.
It should also be noted that the order is not an order to produce a “safe zone” but an order to produce a plan to create one. A fine line but a line nonetheless.
Still, while it is entirely reasonable to begin scaling back America’s open immigration policies and influx of questionable refugees as well as sending them back to their home countries where possible, a “safe zone” in Syria is an entirely different ball game. “Safe Zones” as we know them mean war – plain and simple. After all, a “safe zone” must be enforced and how else can it be enforced but with ground troops and fighter jets?
Such has even been admitted by top U.S. Generals when explaining exactly what a No Fly Zone would entail. As General Carter Ham stated,
We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.
General Philip Breedlove also echoed this description when he said,
I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability
When Senator Roger Wicker asked Gen. Joe Dunford what it would take to impose a no fly zone upon Syria, the General responded, “Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.”
The idea of establishing a “safe zone” in Syria is, of course, not a new concept. In July, 2015, the agreement being discussed would have effectively created a “buffer zone” that would have spanned from the Turkish border line into Syria. It would have extended from Azaz in the East to Jarablus in the West and as far south as al-Bab. The width of the zone would have been about 68 miles and would have extended around 40 miles deep into Syria, right on the doorstep of Aleppo. That “Buffer Zone” was actually created with Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield and it has functioned as the last open, NATO-protected supply line for ISIS and its allies to enter Syria from Turkey.
Many hoped that a Trump victory would finally mean the end of terrorism and destabilization in Syria. However, after a week in office, Trump is showing clear signs that he is as much an establishment figure as the rest as time moves on.
If America wants to stop terrorism in Syria, it need only stop funding it, supporting it, and directing it. It’s that simple. The U.S. could also call on its allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey, U.K., France, Qatar, and Israel to do the same. It could work with Russia to eliminate the remnants of terrorist forces and it could provide information and coordinates to both Syria and Russia on the whereabouts of terrorists and terrorist forces. At this point, legitimate refugees would no longer have a reason to leave and refugees taken in by the U.S. could be shuttled back to their home countries with no fear of them returning to war.
A “safe zone” under the guise of the repatriation of refugees is simply a safe zone under another name. With Obama, the argument was a “safe zone” to protect civilians from ISIS and Assad. Neither the American people nor the Syrian people want further American involvement in Syria. It is time to stop funding terrorists and “rebels” and to end the American presence in Syria.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 850 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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Image Credit: Valentina Petrova/AP, posted at FT blogs