Friday, June 27, 2014


Obama Administration Seeking $500m to Train 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels
Request to Congress comes as US searches for effective alternatives to Isis, which has overrun parts of northern Iraq

US-trained Iraqi military was routed in Nineveh Province by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in recent weeks. Pic: AP

Unless we're willing to back these guys up with aerial resupply, air strikes and a conventional force coming in when the time is right including a LOT of heavy artillery, we will only be extending the pain & suffering . . . we should have never gotten involved over there in the first place. When this Syria business first kicked off we should have said, "Putin, this one's in your sphere of influence . . ." and let him handle it.

More to follow . . .



  1. That would be a bit like looking for "moderate" Germans to 1943.
    Problems now:
    The "moderate" Syrians are dead, both from Assad, and from ISIS et al.
    This administration keeps using the "moderate" tag, but it doesn't mean what they think it does, as evidenced by Libya, Egypt, and the rest of the "Arab Spring".
    The administration has shown no wit in discerning who's "moderate" enough not to take whatever help we give them, and ship it off to A-stan to kill American troops, as evidenced by Stingers handed out in Libya and Qatar turning up exploded into the sides of downed American helos in A-stan, which pending scandal is the entire reason for the knowing sacrifice of the ambassador in Libya (who was trying to quietly account for missing Stingers, along other things, and the news he had gleaned really wasn't wanted back in DC) and the furious cover-up ever since.
    Putin is the last person I'd want to hand a pass on regarding "spheres of influence", least of all another country on the border of NATO, and Israel - the only stable Western democracy in the entire region anytime since 1945. This administration has done enough harm to that alliance to last for ten lifetimes. Let's leave Putin in Russia, and shut out of the Middle East, thanks all the same.

    Thus, the correct answer is to leave things alone for the most part. If somebody wants to fund training through third parties, well and good for them. Let France and NATO member states pick up that slack, being far closer to the action than we are. If it isn't in their interests to support, it sure as hell isn't in ours.

    If we want to do some good in the region, we should limit our efforts to aiding Kurdistan, which helps Turkey, and pisses off Syria, Iran, Russia, and whatever Iraq turns into. That's a grad slam right there.
    And notably, ISIS wants nothing to do with tangling with the Kurds, and every petro-dollar to the Kurds goes to stabilizing their enclave, rather than jihad elsewhere under ISIS, or any other Sunni or Shiite Iraqi factions.
    So for mainly the price of continued training and minimal other support, we get the counter to ISIS we seek, without spending anything like $500M, and far less risk of having any aid blow up in our faces figuratively, or literally.
    My $0.02.

  2. I was doing some work in Libya in 2011 shortly after the fall of Gadhaffi. It was interesting to see the reaction of the "moderate " forces that rose up in rebellion against their long standing dictator. As the country was effectively in a state of anarchy with only a thin and ineffective transitional council in charge of running the country, it was these militias that held the true reins of power.
    The militias achieved their aim of rebellion with the assistance of a western air campaign that was more or less a drive by shooting. As soon as the aim was achieved the west was gone, and over to the "moderates" to sort it out.
    Their initial reactions were to expel all foreigners from the country and give their jobs to the new "Free Libyans". This strategy quickly failed as many of the jobs were previously held by egyptians and the new Free Libyans did not have the corporate knowledge to run the newly acquired businesses.

    It was interesting to note that many Sub-Saharan foreigners were retained for some off the less savory jobs in public sanitation. It seems the Free Libyans were not so eager to assume these jobs...

    The strongest undertone that I noticed was that many of the young men who joined the militias now had a taste of objectives achieved through violence. They had no desire to get back to the hard work of rebuilding their torn country. There was instead a sense of entitlement. That they were owed something by those who did not fight, and that they should sit back and enjoy the rewards that they felt they were owed. There was looting on an enormous scale. In one notable case an elephant was looted from the national zoo and brought back to a militia stronghold. Yachts were lifted from harbors and dragged 100's of miles inland to other militia villages, in the mountains no less. Unified militias quickly became rival militias as they carved out their spheres of influence Tripoli. Militia run check points, arbitrary detentions, torture, and shadow governance naturally followed.

    In a nutshell: These were just some of the effects that I observed when "Moderates" created a condition of anarchy and then flowed in without guidance, leaderdhip, or real accountability. The effects of this free for all are still being wrestled with in Libya today. It stands to reason that these conditions are being repeated in Syria, Iraq, Afghan, and elsewhere.