by Stephen Lendman
US forces came to Syria, Iraq, elsewhere in the region, and virtually everywhere else worldwide to stay. Bolton and Pompeo made similar comments on Syria, indicating no timeline for withdrawal.
US forces will stay indefinitely - on the phony pretext of combatting the scourge of ISIS Washington created and supports, along with protecting Kurds in northern parts of the country the US doesn't give a hoot about.
They're used as US proxy forces, to be abandoned when no longer needed. Pompeo saying "America will not retreat until the terror fight is over" is code language for permanent occupation where US forces are deployed, notably in the Middle East.
On Friday, Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar said preparations are continuing "intensely" for attacking Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria, adding:
Ankara is determined to combat them wherever they're located, while pretending opposition to jihadists in Syria the Erdogan regime supports.
The country faces no cross-border terrorist threats from Syria or Iraq. No "terrorist corridor" exists along its southern border with these countries.
Last week, Erdogan said he'll order a cross-border incursion into Syria "very soon" to combat YPG fighters and ISIS he earlier supported and likely still does.
SouthFront reported that Turkish-backed Jaysh al-Ahrar Salafi jihadists "handed over (the) Taftanaz airbase in the eastern Idlib countryside (and its heavy weapons) to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham" - al-Nusra terrorists, more evidence of Erdogan's support for jihadists he claims to oppose.
Pompeo vowed to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria, indicating US aggression in the country will continue endlessly, including terror-bombing of vital infrastructure, continuing to massacre civilians on the phony pretext of combatting ISIS.
It's unclear how many US troops are in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon is highly secretive. Virtually all its public statements lack credibility.
According to the Arabic-language al-Maaloumeh news website, over 20,000 US troops are based in al-Anbar, Erbil and Kirkuk, Iraq. The Pentagon earlier claimed 5,200, another 2,000 in Syria, the true numbers likely multiples greater.
According to the Military Times (MT), quarterly Pentagon reports on numbers of troops serving overseas ceased including data on Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
"The Defense Department has also now scrubbed years worth of the previous quarterly reports from the website," MT added.
Declared troop strength abroad by countries is highly suspect. Scrubbing previously reported data has nothing to do with protecting the safety military personnel in certain countries, as the Pentagon claimed - everything to do with secrecy and lack of transparency.
A 20,000-US force contingent in Iraq would indicate the country is the Pentagon's main platform for regional wars. Bordering Syria means US troops can move cross-border between both countries, depending on what missions are ordered.
Trump's unannounced December trip to Iraq was shrouded in secrecy, landing at a US airbase, not Baghdad, visiting Pentagon forces, not puppet Iraqi officials.
Pompeo flew to Iraq on a military plane, his visit and DLT's indicating the country is US-occupied territory - whatever the numbers of US troops there.
Reportedly, the Pentagon is reinforcing its military bases in Syria's northeastern Aleppo and Raqqa provinces - more evidence of Washington's intention to stay in the country.
Claims otherwise appear to be head-fake deception. The US doesn't wage wars to quit or deploy troops abroad to pull out.
Previous articles explained that thousands more US forces were deployed to Iraq's Kirkuk province, new US bases being built in the country and neighboring Syria.
Hundreds of US truckloads of weapons, munitions, and equipment were sent to Pentagon bases in Deir Ezzor, Syria.
Bolton, Pompeo, and Pentagon Joint Chiefs oppose Trump's pullout announcement. US forces are in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere to stay indefinitely, not leave.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart