It is no real secret that the American effort in Syria has begun to go sideways. I first reported that the Russians were beginning to set up military bases and pour in equipment to prop up Assad. Then, I reported that U.S. efforts to train Syrian rebels had ended in colossal failure, leading to even further Russian involvement. But now, just like in Iraq, our allies in Syria are giving equipment to the enemy.
The U.S. military said Friday that contrary to its earlier denial, a U.S.-allied Syrian rebel commander had, in fact, surrendered trucks and ammunition to an intermediary linked to the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
This once again raises the touchy questions about our allies and who we are supporting. There has long been the suspicion that these rebels are not as moderate and secular as we are being led to believe. Their failure to be effective against ISIS has raised questions. They have also failed to dislodge the current dictator, again supporting Russia’s claim that Assad is the best hope in Syria of defeating ISIS.
A statement from the U.S. Central Command said it had been notified a commander of a New Syrian Forces element operating in Syria had surrendered six pick-up trucks and a portion of the unit’s ammunition to a suspected Al Nusra Front intermediary on Sep. 21-22, purportedly in exchange for safe passage in the operating area.
That would amount to roughly 25 percent of the equipment assigned to that unit.
It makes one wonder who is determining whom we should support. What is the criterion for receiving training and equipment? What certifies or qualifies this commander as one we can trust? And what do we do now to have such a large investment?
I do not think that any of these questions are being asked, and I know that they are not being answered.
The report underscores persistent problems with the U.S.-led coalition’s effort to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State.
Actually, this is an understatement. What it underscores is our war effort in general against ISIS. We have had the same kinds of problems training and equipping Iraqi soldiers. Rather than hand the ammo and equipment over to the enemy, they are fleeing and leaving it for them, but with the same effect.
We also must not forget the fact that we refuse to help those most willing and able to fight the Islamic State. The Peshmerga has been, by far, the bravest and most effective force in this war, but we allow Turkey to determine our policy on this issue.
And, of course, who could forget the constant sorties flown blind by our Air Force with no targets attacked? Yes, this war as a whole has become a joke and has only strengthened our enemies and emboldened our rivals.
Another smashing job brought to you by the failed Obama Administration. I hope that we still have some influence in the region by the time 2017 rolls around. But at this rate, that is not looking very likely.