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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard, "U.S. Revamping Rebel Force Fighting ISIS in Syria": Obama in Cahoots With Iran to Save Assad

In a lead New York Times article entitled "U.S. Revamping Rebel Force Fighting ISIS in Syria," Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard write:

"In an acknowledgment of severe shortcomings in its effort to create a force of moderate rebels to battle the Islamic State in Syria, the Pentagon is drawing up plans to significantly revamp the program by dropping larger numbers of fighters into safer zones as well as providing better intelligence and improving their combat skills.

The proposed changes come after a Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda attacked, in late July, many of the first 54 Syrian graduates of the military’s training program and the rebel unit they came from. A day before the attack, two leaders of the American-backed group and several of its fighters were captured.

. . . .

The 54 Syrian fighters supplied by the Syrian opposition group Division 30 were the first group of rebels deployed under a $500 million train-and-equip program authorized by Congress last year. It is an overt program run by United States Special Forces, with help from other allied military trainers, and is separate from a parallel covert program run by the C.I.A.

After a year of trying, however, the Pentagon is still struggling to find recruits to fight the Islamic State without also battling the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, their original adversary."


  • Why is Congress not asking how $500 million was appropriated to train a Syrian rebel unit which lost its leaders and was mauled within days of being sent to fight? Does it remind you of the Bay of Pigs? It should.
  • Why is this American-backed unit only intended to fight the Islamic State and not Syrian President Assad (John Kerry's "dear friend"), who is an Iranian vassal?
  • Why does it not matter to Obama and friends that Assad has killed many more Syrians than the Islamic State?

As observed several days ago in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The horrific results of Obama’s failure in Syria" by Michael Gerson:

"For four years, the Obama administration has engaged in what Frederic Hof, former special adviser for transition in Syria, calls a 'pantomime of outrage.' Four years of strongly worded protests, and urgent meetings and calls for negotiation — the whole drama a sickening substitute for useful action.

. . . .

What explains Obama’s high tolerance for humiliation and mass atrocities in Syria? The Syrian regime is Iran’s proxy, propped up by billions of dollars each year. And Obama wanted nothing to interfere with the prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran. He was, as Hof has said, 'reluctant to offend the Iranians at this critical juncture.' So the effective concession of Syria as an Iranian zone of influence is just one more cost of the president’s legacy nuclear agreement."

See also Fred Hiatt's Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Obama’s Syria achievement," in which WaPo's editorial page editor writes:

"This may be the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy."

Obama, the first invertebrate ever to occupy the Oval Office, clearly knows no shame.



    "The Rubble of Palmyra" "ISIS did not merely blast apart old stones—it attacked the very foundations of pluralistic society." 
    Leon Wieseltier | Sep 4, 2015

    "...But whose responsibility is it to protect this common heritage? Is it America’s? Not ours; no, sir. America is not the keeper of other people’s antiquities. America is not the keeper of other people’s liberties. America is not the keeper of other people’s rights. America is not the keeper of other people’s borders. Not after that last war; no, sir. We are the keepers only of ourselves, and of our president’s “legacy.” We practice a doctrine of strategic detachment and wrap ourselves in rectitude about it. To the persecuted of the world, to the dissidents, to the refugees, to the raped and the enslaved, to the victims of chemical weapons in a country where the United States was supposed to have confiscated all the chemical weapons, America says sauve qui peut.

    ...What did we think would happen if we did nothing?
    Hold on. Indignation is getting the better of me. America did do something. We trained 54 Syrian soldiers for the “New Syrian Force,” nearly half of whom were killed or captured as soon as they went to work. We are running more than 350 Twitter accounts at the Department of State, which, according to the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, are “aggregating, curating, and amplifying existing content.” We are flying drones to assassinate villains who are immediately replaced. In sum, it is springtime for ISIS. We present no serious obstacles and offer no significant impediments. We deplore and we respond trivially. We act, but not decisively. This is what the world looks like when the United States has abandoned its faith in its power and its duty to do good. For whom are we any longer a source of hope? The rubble of Palmyra is a melancholy emblem of the rubble of American foreign policy."


    [p.s. any comparison with Cuba needs to consider American attempts to annex Cuba as a slave state long before America 'protected' Cuba from Spain in 1898. Bay of Pigs was a far more cost effective disaster - in America's neighborhood - than this 'moderate Syrian rebel only fight ISIS' experiment.

    With post-WW2 Rules of Engagement, even the Monuments Men (a cadre of art historians) would fail today...]

  2. "The United States has asked Greece to deny Russia the use of its airspace for supply flights to Syria, a Greek official said on Monday, after Washington told Moscow it was deeply concerned by reports of a Russian military build up in Syria. ...

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday that if reports of the build-up were accurate, that could further escalate the war and risk confrontation with the U.S.-led alliance that is bombing Islamic State in Syria.

    Lavrov told Kerry it was premature to talk about Russia's participation in military operations in Syria,

    [was not Kerry's next to-do to blame Israel for everything? Did Hollywood submit a different script? ]


    Tue Sep 8, 2015 9:07am EDT

    "Bulgaria refusing airspace access to Russian aid flights to Syria "

    so much for that transnational no-border world, per Bret Stephens in today's WSJ.

    The world's policeman currently engaged in it's own deliberate war against domestic police...