Is Russia’s President Putin In Charge Of US Military In Syria?

GENERAL VOTEL (R)/ (DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

Dear Republicans, How do you lose a reliable voting bloc like the US Military? You have the Russian President Vladimir Putin dressing down a US military leader for insubordination for daring to question President Trump’s actions abroad. It is becoming so painfully obvious that Russia is clueless about the US culture and laws.

Here’s the rest of the story…

On July 25, 2018, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty published the following report, “Pentagon Reluctant To Work With Russian Military On Syrian Refugees”

U.S. military leaders are expressing reluctance to work with the Russian military following a White House agreement with the Kremlin to discuss working together to help Syrian refugees return home, drawing an angry response from Moscow.

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“U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on July 24 that, at least for now, there will be no cooperation with Russia on the plan, which came out of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 16.”

“That has not happened yet,” Mattis said at a press conference in California. “We will not be doing anything additional until [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] and the president have further figured out at what point we are going to start working, alongside our allies, with Russia in the future.”

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“Some senior Pentagon officials have expressed dismay at the prospect of working with a Russian military that has taken the opposite side in the Syrian civil war and has allegedly been complicit in the use of tactics like the bombing of civilians which they say led to the refugee problem in the first place.”

“Given Russia’s continuing support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose military has been involved in the killing of more than 400,000 people during the country’s seven-year civil war, General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said he would prefer to see “confidence-building measures” from Russia before the Pentagon gets involved with it in resettling Syrian refugees.”

“I am not recommending that. And that would be a pretty big step at this point,” Votel told reporters from ABC News and the Wall Street Journal on July 22. “I would want to make sure that this isn’t something that we stepped into lightly.”

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“Cooperation between the two militaries to help an estimated 6 million Syrian refugees return home is not possible under current U.S. law, Votel said.”

“Since 2014, the Pentagon has been prohibited from cooperating with the Russian military under legislation passed by Congress after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.”

U.S. General Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command (file photo)
U.S. General Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command (file photo)

‘Some Level Of Trust’ Required

“Currently, the two militaries only have regular contact over a hotline established in Syria to prevent accidental clashes between U.S. and Russian forces operating in Syria’s crowded airspace.”

“I think if we went beyond that, I think there would have to be some level of trust, confidence-building, that would need to take place before we would feel confident that we were moving in the right direction,” Votel said.

“He cited Russia’s backing of Assad despite incidents documented by the UN of Syrian forces using chemical weapons that have killed scores of civilians.”

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“I’ve watched some of the things that Russia has done,” Votel said. “It does give me some pause here.”

“These are not things that give me great confidence that just by stepping over into the next level of coordination that things are going to be fine,” he added.

“It’s Russia. Let’s not forget that,” he continued. “So there would have to be a lot, I think, beyond just people saying we can do it. That would help me build confidence we can do it.”

“Votel’s remarks drew an angry response from the Russian Foreign Ministry on July 24, which in a statement on social media said the general “discredited the official position of his supreme commander-in-chief.”

“The ministry went on to criticize the U.S. military presence in Syria, calling it “illegal” and saying that U.S. forces should either withdraw or “engage in cooperation with Russia and the country’s legal leadership in the process of assisting the return of refugees.”

See: Russia slams US general Joseph Votel, says he ‘discredited’ Trump /CNN .

See: Russia Says U.S. General’s Remarks Discredited Trump’s Position – WSJ


    • 1Earth,

      While I have a desire for this nation to cease it’s self declared position as policeman to the world, I must consider that at this time, to simply leave a social and political crisis in a nation controlled by a government that is guilty of many abuses of it’s own citizens would not be in the best interests of this nation or the world. Syria has been for years a hotbed of tyranny and horrendous actions being taken against any group that did not toe the line politically with its leadership. However to pull out of Syria and simply allow a nation such as Russia, who also has a similar reputation would not be something that I think any rational thinking person would suggest. At least in this conflict we were not drawn into a quagmire based on trumped up allegations of WMD’s or emotional needs of revenge against a nation that was not involved in an attack against this nation.

      You mention that Syria is a sovereign state, you are correct in that statement. However this nation is also a sovereign state that has sustained an attack on our nation, by a foreign power, yet many of our own citizens that are pushing for our nation to withdraw from Syria continue to ignore the attack on our nation. One is only forced to question the connection between the two…

      Liked by 1 person

      • @ crusty,

        It is also not in the best interest of our war machine, aka the US military industrial complex to stop manufacturing and supplying weapons to Syria. Yes Syria is a complicated quagmire with many moving parts to work out… it is my belief that the deep state does not wish to pull out once it invades a country.

        We’re still firmly entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan despite all the superficial talk. You see, all the US needed was a pretext to get it’s foot in the door, it’s a sort of soft invasion. WMDs for Iraq, Assad and chemical weapons for Syria. I know… both sides convolute the issue for war with their own interests and agendas.

        Scott Lucas, a journalist and professor of political science and international studies at the University of Birmingham, told us although Moscow became militarily involved in the Syrian conflict in 2015, they had a propaganda office at the presidential palace in Damascus since the beginning. “From the very start you could see how they were putting out muddled story lines just to make you uncertain about what’s happening,” he told us.

        The White Helmets, also known by their official title Syria Civil Defense, are a non-governmental organization made up of volunteers who carry out rescue efforts in rebel-held territory while wearing small cameras. Aside from saving lives, they have been credited with documenting war crimes. Thus, they are targets of frequent (but unproven and unfounded) smears that they are terrorists who are staging “false flag” attacks.

        Lucas told us attacking medical facilities and first responders then accusing them of terrorism is a Russian tactic, because first responders in Syria — where it’s extremely difficult and dangerous for foreign journalists to enter — are often key reporters of atrocities:

        The Russians would go after hospitals and first responders and the propaganda would come out that you shouldn’t trust information from White Helmets or doctors because they’re aligned with the terrorists. They were deliberately bombing the area but saying you can’t trust anyone who is reporting it.

        Official Russian government channels are not the only sources of misleading information. Lucas pointed to a coterie of Western social media personalities and bloggers who have concentrated their efforts on running interference for the Assad regime.

        Although their motivations are not entirely clear, they generally fall under three categories — people who cling to what they consider anti-imperialist views and fear potential Western-led regime change in Syria, people who equate current events in Syria with the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq war, and another group of activists who, without explanation, have migrated their activism from support for Palestinians in Gaza to support for the Assad regime.

        These bloggers have actively participated in campaigns to denigrate the White Helmets, even opining the rescuers are legitimate military targets.

        Here’s an old article that’s still very relevant to this day:


  1. Dear 1EarthUnited,

    I have a lot of qualms as to the USA actions that have led to the US being in Syria but we are there and that’s the reality we are facing.

    What I don’t want is President Putin telling US military how to behave. It better not come out that President Trump somehow gave the impression that President Putin had his permission to act accordingly.

    Awhile back, President Trump did say something about his wanting to bring US military home from Syria( at the behest of Russia) but he was sat on by the adults in his own cabinet.

    President Putin will eventually figure out that President Trump is not reliable when he asserts something.

    As per your ref. Military Times/ AP report, “The United States, which supports the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, operates air bases and outposts in the Kurdish-administered region.

    Then there are the Iranian and Israeli forces in the area to contend with before any resolution is in sight.

    Hugs, Gronda


  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Yes!! … and then this happened!!
    ‘How do you lose a reliable voting bloc like the US Military? You have the Russian President Vladimir Putrid dressing down a US military leader for insubordination for daring to question Drumpf’s actions abroad. It is becoming so painfully obvious that Russia is clueless about the US culture and laws.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Horty,

      Can you believe that chutzpah on the part of Russia’s President Putin telling a US General how to behave? There was a us Senate hearing today where the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo found himself on the hot seat as he was questioned over this.

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

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