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On Saturday, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an unannounced visit to Syria. The purpose of Milley's visit was to reaffirm the presence of U.S. forces there, despite much of the American public lamenting the government's continued foreign military support.
The U.S. military has roughly 900 troops stationed in northeast Syria, which is the country's rich oil and gas region. U.S. forces are also stationed on the Iraq-Syria border at Tanf base.
When asked by reporters if he thought the Pentagon's presence in Syria was worth the risk, Milley responded, "If you think that's important, then the answer is 'Yes.'"
"So I think that an enduring defeat of ISIS and continuing to support our friends and allies in the region... I think those are important tasks that can be done," Milley added. For several years, U.S. special forces have advised and assisted the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which maintains control of the country's major oil fields.
While the U.S. government has previously tried to portray the United States' continued presence in Syria as related to counter-terror and counter-ISIS measures, former President Trump admitted that the U.S. presence was about "securing the oil." The U.S. also views its continued presence in Syria as a way of countering Iran by continuously pressuring Iran's ally Damascus.
Damascus quickly issued a foreign ministry statement upon Milley's arrival calling the visit a "flagrant violation of Syria's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity."
According to a source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and expatriates, "Syria strongly condemns the illegal visit of the U.S. Chief of Staff to an illegal U.S. military base in northeastern Syria, and affirms that it is a flagrant violation of the sovereignty, the sanctity of its lands and unity."
"Syria calls on the U.S. administration to immediately stop its systematic and continuous violations of international law and stop its support for separatist armed militias... and Syria affirms that these U.S. practices will not deviate it from its approach to combating terrorism and preserving its sovereignty, security, and stability," the source concluded.
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Syria is not the only country to be displeased with Milley's surprise visit. Turkey has also wanted U.S. forces to leave the region as they support Kurdish groups, which Turkey views as 'terrorists.'
It is also believed that Milley's visit to Syria was to show that the U.S. will not ease pressure on Assad following the massive earthquake that devastated Syria and Turkey and caused more than 50,000 deaths and billions of dollars worth of damage.
While many Arab countries have sent representatives to Damascus and issued supportive statements to Assad and provided humanitarian aid to Syria, the U.S. is continuing to try and dissuade Arab leaders from re-embracing the Asad government in the aftermath of the recent earthquake and subsequent humanitarian crisis.
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley visited a military base in Germany on Monday to inspect the expanded U.S. training of Ukrainian forces.
Milley arrived at the base for the second day of training on a visit that sends a strong message to Moscow that the U.S. will not back down in its support of Ukraine in its war with Russia.
American advisors are training 600 Ukrainian troops on armored vehicles, tanks, a variety of weapons, and combat techniques. The training is expected to be a 5-week rotation at the Grafenwoehr training area.
Milley told commanders in a briefing that “this is not a run-of-the-mill rotation. This is one of those moments in time where if you want to make a difference, this is it.”
According to the Associated Press, strict press controls were in place to protect the identities of personnel present, saying, “The reporters were allowed to follow Milley and watch his interactions with Ukrainian and U.S. troops and commanders, but were not allowed to report specific conversations with the Ukraine forces or take any photos or video.”
It was also noted that “The restrictions reflect ongoing U.S. concerns about escalating Russian anger over the West’s involvement in the war or triggering a wider conflict.”
The training of Ukrainian forces is not new, with a limited number of Ukrainian troops receiving instruction from U.S. and allied trainers at Grafenwoehr prior to the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The training program will include field work along with classroom instruction that will begin with small squads and will eventually include larger units. The training will peak with a battalion and headquarters unit working together on a complex combat exercise.
Due to the Pentagon’s involvement with training Ukrainian forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated last month that NATO is a “direct” participant in the war. Lavrov told reporters at a press briefing, “You shouldn’t say that the US and NATO aren’t taking part in this war. You are directly participating in it.”
Lavrov added, “And not just by providing weapons but also by training personnel. You are training their military on your territory, on the territories of Britain, Germany, Italy, and other countries.”
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Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has vowed to launch an investigation into General Mark Milley and Nancy Pelosi.
In a January 7 Tweet, Gosar wrote, "Remember - we will conduct a real investigation into J6. The effort to attempt a coup between traitor Gen. Mark Milley and Pelosi will be reviewed and exposed."
Gosar continued, "Milleys treasonous sell-out to China will be investigated. Pelosi not warning members about intel of impending violence will be exposed."
"Soon, we'll know the truth," Gosar concluded.
Gosar's tweets were in response to a tweet from comedian John Fugelsang who had Tweeted, "Remember - Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert & Paul Gosar all share the same pre-existing sedition."
Rep. Gosar was one of 20 holdout lawmakers who initially voted against Rep. Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House. After numerous negotiations, though, Gosar agreed to vote for McCarthy on the grounds that he agree to operate under "constitutional" and "transparent rules."
In one Tweet, Gosar called Milley a sell-out to China in reference to Bob Woodward's new book Peril, in which it is revealed that "General Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chairman, told China in a secret call that he would give advance warning if the US was ever going to attack."
With Republicans now in control of the House and Pelosi out as Speaker, Milley's protection is dwindling. Gosar did not give a timeframe for the investigation, only the assurance that one would occur.
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According to a new book, "Peril," authored by Bob Woodward, the Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Mark Milley, had secret phone calls with China during which he told the communist government that he would offer China advance warning if the U.S. ever planned to attack.
The book accuses Milley of participating in two secret phone calls with his PLA Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng, on October 20 and January 8, during which Milley assured Zuocheng that the U.S. would not strike China.
CNN ran a story on January 8, the same day as Milley's call with China, that claimed Milley had given then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reassurance that safeguards were in place in case President Trump at the time had wanted to launch nuclear weapons.
Fox News has reported that 15 people were present for the October 2020 call between Milley and Chinese officials. That call was coordinated by then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper's office prior to Trump's firing of Esper.
After the book's release, Milley issued a statement confirming that he did indeed have two conversations with Zuocheng in which Milley undermined the U.S. President.
Trump's Acting Secretary of Defense from the 2020 election until Inauguration Day referred to Milley's calls with China as an "unprecedented act of insubordination."
Robert Costa, Woodward's co-author, reported on Monday that when then-Speaker Pelosi admitted fears that former president Trump was crazy, Milley agreed that he thought Trump was unstable and assured Pelosi that the nuclear codes were safe.
A few months later, Milley pulled U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in a chaotic withdrawal that left the Taliban in power with $80 billion worth of U.S. weapons and equipment left behind. Some such equipment that still contains the biometric data of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis and hundreds of U.S. military personnel has been popping up for auction on eBay over the past year.
Given, not only the astounding accusations but also blatant admittance to what can be summed up as acts of treason, one must ask what General Milley is still doing holding a government position.