|The sign says Op Enduring Mission
After all, what can 50 or so SF guys (not yet gender-integrated) can do? Well, 100 or so helped to bring down the Taliban with heaps of air support and allies on the ground, but
- The coalition bombing campaign (unlike the Russian one) has been constrained by the limited ability to discern ISIS targets from civilians and from local allies. So, having eyes on the ground could help provide better targeting information (even though, yes, recent events in Afghanistan indicate this is not perfect).
- The local allies may be more focused on Assad and his allies and less on ISIS given that the Syrian government forces have been far more destructive, killing more civilians, than ISIS. For them, ISIS might very well be the lesser of two evils. It may be that the 50 SF guys might be willing to be the force multipliers that they are only when the targets are ISIS.
- Perhaps this is an effort to respond to the Russian bombing campaign--that the Russians will now have to consider whether they can target the anti-regime forces since they might have Americans sprinkled among them. Same for the Turks as they have been bombing our Kurdish allies.
- Maybe the Obama government just was worn down by the "do more" crowd at home. Not sure why this would be the case since Obama has a year left and does not care that much about the escalation crowd.
I am not all that hopeful about negotiations since none of the local actors were involved. And I just don't see Assad stepping down just because the Russians might want to move on. That would be swell, but also not sure it would fix much. Anyhow, it is unlikely.
So, the best answers to give to the media are: I don't know, maybe, and Happy Halloween.