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The Pentagon Scapegoated Junior Officers For The Niger Ambush. Then Mattis Got Involved
The Department of Defense last month did an about-face on the punishments handed down to members of the Green Beret team deemed responsible for the deadly Oct. 4, 2017, ambush in Niger that left four Army Special Forces personnel dead, the New York Times reports, shifting blame from junior officers to more senior commanders following a furious intervention from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
- According to the New York Times, a "livid" Mattis chewed out "top military officials" involved in the Niger investigation after purportedly reading news reports regarding letters of reprimand handed down to Capt. Mike Perozeni, the team leader of Operational Detachment Alpha Team 3212 singled out for blame for the ambush.
- Perozeni, his second-in-command, and four others in the chain of command were punished in line with the long-awaited Pentagon investigation that, released in May, appeared to lay blame at the feet of the junior officers, citing an absence of “key pre-deployment collective training” and “pre-mission rehearsals" as well as a lack of appropriate equipment for such an excursion.
- But, as the New York Times reported in early November, "those absent from the six letters of reprimand include the two senior officers who approved the mission and who then oversaw the operation as it went fatally awry." This reportedly infuriated a Mattis, who officials described to the Times as "dissatisfied with the punishments given largely to junior officers."
- Mattis' rage reportedly got results: One senior officer "who had largely escaped punishment was told he would be reprimanded," the New York Times reported. "Another senior officer’s actions before and around the time of the mission were also under new scrutiny. And this week, Capt. Michael Perozeni ... received word from the Army: His reprimand was rescinded."
- For a blow-by-blow of the post-investigation Niger blame-game, read the full New York Times story here.
SEE ALSO: Senior Army General Reportedly Asked Whether Green Beret Ambushed In Niger Was Eligible For Medal Of Honor
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"