via Washington Examiner.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that U.S. Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are now deployed in northern Syria to fight the Islamic State. They are likely proximate to the U.S. rebel ally-held town of Ayn Issa, about 50 kilometers north of the Islamic State capital, Raqqah. This is significant news for five reasons.
First, it shows the final battle for Raqqah is imminent. This deployment is too large to mean nothing. With more than 2,100 Marines in complement, each MEU is also endowed with tanks, around 20 helicopters (including Ospreys), close air support jets, and armored assault vehicles. An MEU, in short, really packs a punch. The Pentagon would never amass such military power unless for something significant. That something, as I noted recently, is the seizure of Raqqa.
Second, It shows Trump believes boots on the ground can be positive. Until now, Trump has railed against significant U.S. military ground force actions in the Middle East. This action suggests he has changed his mind. Requesting Trump's authority to send the Marines ashore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the regional CENTCOM commander, General Votel, would have made clear the risks.
Third, this deployment shows the Pentagon is preparing for the post-Islamic State Syrian environment.Read the whole thing here.
The entire article is worth the read, but I highlighted the third point for a reason.
It worries the hell outta me.
Winning battles is something that the US military does well. Stabilizing and rebuilding countries is a Pentagon fascination and they keep doing it (rather trying to do it) and failing.
I don't know how tight a grip on the wheel Trump has on this military operation, but I hope to God that he doesn't get us caught in building another nation...no matter how much his General's beg him to.