President Barack Hussein Obama has opened up a war front by way of air strikes against ISIS in Syria as part of the “degrade” phase of the operation. It has yet to be determined how much degradation has been done at this time. It does seem the strikes have had little affect against ISIS as they are advancing further in northern Syria, attacking Syrian Kurds and expelling them from some 60 different villages as Reuters reports, “Some 140,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees have fled to Turkey, many telling of villages burnt and captives beheaded.”
And so far it seems there have been confirmed reports of only 14 Islamic State fighters killed, according to a monitoring group, while on the ground, Kurdish forces were reported to have pushed back an advance by the Islamists towards the Syria-Iraq border town of Kobani.
Obama’s strategy in Syria, where the capital and base operations of ISIS is located in Raqqa, is to arm and train the Syrian rebel forces — but there is an interesting twist.
Our Congress has approved funding of $500 million for this flawed endeavor and here is the major reason I see it that way. As reported by The Daily Beast, “For the Free Syrian Army, the loose conglomeration of opposition fighters that are not extremists and not aligned with the Assad regime, the war against ISIS began long before President Obama’s prime time speech two weeks ago. They have been battling ISIS for a year and fighting the Assad regime for over three years. For all that time, they have been begging the United States to send them weapons, but the CIA program to arm them has been extremely limited. They are getting beaten on both fronts, badly. In the administration’s haste to now throw military support behind the rebels, they are now committing to fighting alongside a force that is fighting Assad, possibly drawing the U.S. directly into the Syrian civil war.”
The question becomes, which enemy is more despised by the Free Syrian Army (FSA)? It appears now that the FSA will fight Assad first, regardless of what Obama wants — after all, they’re on the ground fighting, not us.
The Daily Beast says, “the Syrian opposition and the Free Syrian Army aren’t waiting for legal authorization to fight the Damascus regime; they are getting bombarded by Assad’s Syrian Arab Army every day, as it continues to commit mass murder of Syrian civilians through the siege of major cities, the dropping of barrel bombs, and the continued use of chlorine gas to kill innocents, according to international monitors. “The fight against ISIS is one part of a multi-front war in Syria. The brutal rule and poor governance of the Assad regime generated the conditions for ISIS to become the global threat that it is today,” Syrian National Coalition President Hadi Al Bahra told The Daily Beast. He added, “Airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Syria are a much-needed element to degrade the extremist group’s capabilities. To be effective, strikes must be accompanied by well-equipped and trained military forces on the ground. We therefore welcome the commitment to intensify the train-and-equip program to enable the Free Syrian Army to eradicate ISIS and other forms of terror in Syria, including the Assad regime.”
“Oubai Shahbandar, senior advisor to the Syrian Opposition Coalition, told The Daily Beast that it’s unrealistic to ask the moderate rebels to use U.S. weapons against ISIS but not against Assad. In major battles like in Aleppo, ISIS and Assad are working together. So you can’t fight one without fighting the other, Shahbandar added.”
So is Obama walking the United States into a quagmire in Syria with very blurred lines of good guys and bad guys? We could easily go back and criticize Obama’s reticence from engaging early in Syria when those lines were clearly apparent.
However, an unstable situation is beneficial to Islamists. And let’s not forget the report we did yesterday addressing Obama’s intelligence support to Hezbollah which is backed by Iran and is fighting to support Assad.
So whose side are we on here? If we are giving intel support to Hezbollah, which is being used against Syrian rebels and the Syrian rebels who we are choosing to arm are fighting primarily against Assad — as well as ISIS. I can tell you there is nothing more difficult to prosecute than a two-front war — ask Hitler about fighting in the Eastern and Western front in World War II, as well as in North Africa, Greece, and Italy.
It all comes back to the assertion of former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway: “Obama’s strategy does not have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding.”
I trust General Conway’s assessment over that of Valerie Jarrett any day!