Washington Regime Gives Up “Training” Syrian Rebels; Increases Arms Shipments; Gives Instructions on “Calling In Air Strikes”
Weapons — and soldiers themselves — often end up in ISIS hands; “rebels” change sides at will; despite the fact that this strategy was a total failure, weapons will still be funneled to supposedly “vetted” rebels.
THE OBAMA administration on Friday abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and some weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.
The decision to scuttle a central piece of President Obama’s strategy for confronting extremists in Syria was made after mounting evidence that the training mission had resulted in no more than a handful of American-coached fighters. And it comes amid Russia’s forceful entry into the Syrian conflict, a move by President Vladimir V. Putin that has highlighted the lack of progress by the United States and its coalition.
Senior officials at the White House and the Pentagon admitted that the strategy to pull fighters out of Syria, teach them advanced combat skills and return them to face the Islamic State had simply not worked, in part because many of the rebel groups were more focused on fighting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
But officials said they were trying to adapt in real time by seeking to identify the leaders of “capable, indigenous forces” in Syria who would sign a pledge to fight the Islamic State group, receive some instruction on human rights, review the law of armed conflict, and leave with communications gear and some help on how to call in airstrikes.
Officials said the provision of equipment to the groups would be limited at first, but could grow depending on a rebel group’s performance. Failure on the battlefield or the loss of weapons that could fall into the hands of extremists could result in a cutoff of military equipment, officials said. The American military has confirmed that some rebel groups surrendered their weapons when confronted by extremists, and it has acknowledged that accounting for American-supplied arms across the battlefield proved almost impossible in the past.
The new program would be the first time the Pentagon has provided lethal aid directly to Syrian rebels, though the C.I.A. has for some time been covertly training and arming groups fighting Mr. Assad.
“We need to be flexible. We need to be adaptive,” said Brett McGurk, a top adviser to Mr. Obama on the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. He added later, “Is it best to take those guys out and put them through training, or to keep them on the line fighting and give them equipment and support?”
For Mr. Obama, Friday’s answer to that question was a reversal of policy that underscored a harsh reality: tens of billions of dollars spent in recent years to train security forces across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have rarely succeeded in transforming local fighters into effective, long-term armies.
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Source: Read the full story at the New York Times