** As written previously by Michael “Vass” Vasquez at Binghamton Political Buzz Examiner.com **
It was September of 2014 when President Obama promised to “degrade and destroy ISIL so that it’s no longer a threat“. In July 2015, we published the article, The 5 steps to combat ISIS, based on the Obama Administration’s published plans to enact the promise made to the American people. On December 6, 2015, a weary President Obama spoke to the American people on national television about his continued efforts in light of the terrorist attack on Paris and the San Bernadino terrorist attack before attending an entertainment awards event. The culmination of these events has been revealed in a 44 page report by Amnesty International on December 8, 2015.
It has been some time since President Obama first issued his “red line” threat to Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2013. Enough time for President Obama to supply Syrian rebels with arms and supplies, those rebels to form ISIS, and then ISIS went barnstorming across Syria and Iraq. By the time the Obama Administration realized that ISIS existed, the response was to insult ISIS as a “JV team.” That opinion has been proven wrong, at the cost of thousands of lives.
But the Obama Administration rebounded. A coalition of 65 countries, as President Obama has been quick to remind the world from Paris and again on US national television, has conducted thousands of bombing sorties. In addition the US has funded, supplied, and trained new Syrian rebels to fight the threat of ISIS and the Assad regime on the ground.
The concept was, as we summarized in July, “Find someone that will take our money and guns and hope they fight ISIS. (Although this is part of how we enabled ISIS, using this strategy against Syria).” That was, and is, being realized as President Obama stated to the nation on Sunday,
“Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens.”
What is not as widely announced by the Obama Administration is that the air strikes are a mere fraction of those done in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, the proposed 5,400 Syrian rebel troops actually amounted to a mere 60 in reality, at a cost of almost $10 million per fighter (a total for the program of $560 million in just over a year). A program so flawed it was ended, and replaced with a program to supply the Syria Arab Coalition and the Kurds instead. But the worst news is that the munitions for the US-backed Syrian rebels, as well as those given to the Iraqi military, have largely found their way into the hands of ISIS.
Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger Cabiness has said that the U.S. monitors supplies given to international partners “to prevent and detect illegal transfers to third parties…” Yet ISIS controls US M-16s, armored vehicles, anti-tank missiles and surface-to-air missiles. Of course some of these weapons and munitions have been recovered on battlefields, which cannot be prevented. The weapons and equipment of ISIS do also include the six pick-up trucks and some ammunition traded for safe passage by the US-back rebels in September, which was largely unmentioned by the White House. But, according to the Amnesty International analysis, ISIS has US weapons mainly due to
“…decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq and multiple failures by the U.S.-led occupation administration to manage arms deliveries and stocks securely, as well as endemic corruption in Iraq itself.”
In fact, Patrick Wilcken who wrote the report for Amnesty Internation, believes that if appropriate steps are not taken, “…other armed groups will be there to take their place if the issue of proliferation continues.” That fear was summed up as we wrote about the People’s Protection Units, concluding
“Several years later, due to the power vacuum created by the US, as well as the support, a new and experienced organization rises to power and eventually goes after the US (ISIS).”
Considering the failures of the Obama Administration in combating ISIS, and unmitigated embarrassment from the support of rebels on the ground, a new strategy would be expected. The report from Amnesty International demands a change. That new strategy has been announced as more of the same, in the national address from President Obama. Thus, we must wonder if all the effort so far will only result in another protracted battle in the Middle East, with an enemy using the very same US made weapons and equipment that we sent to prevent this problem.