The U. S. House of Representatives is debating a bill that would authorize the arming and training of so-called moderate Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS. Apparently the House wants to open up a second front in the operations against ISIS. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. Since August, the U. S. has been supporting the Kurdish Peshmerga with small arms and supplies and Germany has agreed to sell Peshmerga heavy weapons to hold ISIS back in Iraq. If the West could deny ISIS safe havens in Syria, then the Kurds might be able to finish them off.
But let’s think a little bit deeper about this. These ragtag bands of Syrian rebels fight amongst themselves as much as they do against Syrian President Assad’s government. The House wants to ask them to open up a second front themselves. Speaker Boehner wants to ask the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to fight Assad on one side and ISIS on the other. Does even the U. S. have a National Strategy to fight a two front war anymore? The US has Army Divisions and Marine Expeditionary Units and Navy Carrier Strike Groups and Air Force Fighter Wings. With all those military formations and capabilities do we have a plan for a two front war? Do we? And we are expecting the FSA to do this.
Now let’s keep going; let’s peel the onion back another layer. The New York Times reports that the Syrian rebels’ loyalties maybe questionable and their opposition to ISIS may be suspect. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/world/middleeast/us-pins-hope-on-syrian-rebels-with-loyalties-all-over-the-map.html?_r=3) The Huffington Post agrees and goes a step further, reporting that the Free Syrian Army has made a truce with ISIS. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-soltz/what-we-dont-know-about-s_b_5825304.html) It isn’t just the conservative news sites like Fox News Channel, TheBlaze and Breitbart News who are reporting that the FSA has struck a truce with ISIS, yes the HuffPo does, too. Even Russia Today asserts a truce between FSA and ISIS (http://rt.com/news/187580-isis-deal-syrian-rebels/)
ISIS must be stopped from driving the Christians and Yazidi out of Iraq. ISIS must pay for beheading US journalists and British aid workers. ISIS must pay for selling women into slavery. But, I don’t think the FSA are the ones to make them. The Peshmerga, yes; FSA, not so much.
So, I ask again, Mr Speaker, why would we arm and train the FSA, thinking that they would fight ISIS?
What do you think about ISIS and Syria? Let us know in the comments.
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