Listening to Sean Hannity dissect what is going on in Syria with Donald Trump is too much stupidity for me to take. So, I’m going to take a break from my Pinterest and looking at cute pine cone projects to make with my granddaughters this weekend and give a quick assessment of how I see matters.
The US policymakers keep talking about training “Syrian moderates” to fight ISIS for us, but that strategy is flawed from the get-go. The “moderates” want to oust Assad, NOT defeat ISIS. This problem keeps cropping up when we train them, they don’t want to fight ISIS – they want to fight Assad. Here’s a quote from this analysis by Charles Lister (UK Telegraph September 15, 2013):
“Because of the Islamist make up of such a large proportion of the opposition, the fear is that if the West doesn’t play its cards right, it will end up pushing these people away from the people we are backing,” he said. “If the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate
Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists.”
Though still a minority in number, ISIL has become more prominent in rebel-held parts of Syria in recent months. Members in northern Syria have sought to assert their dominance over the local population and over the more moderate rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The aim of moderate rebel fighters is the overthrow of their country’s authoritarian dictator, but jihadist groups want to transform Syria into a hard-line Islamic state within a regional Islamic “caliphate”.
We train them and want them to serve our strategic mission, but theirs has a different order of battle – with Assad as their top mission. It will never work. You can’t force people to accept your view of the enemy. Even “moderates” will share much in common with ISIS as far as religion, ethnic identity, etc. Why this is so hard for the arm the “Syrian moderate” proponents to grasp, I don’t know.
The push that Assad must go, while ISIS is still fighting and occupying territory makes no sense either. We would just be leaving another power vacuum for radicals to fill or more chaos. Putin is right on propping up Assad and taking out radicals first. Hopefully he can take out enough quickly to force a ceasefire from the less radicalized rebel factions and then we should work on defeating ISIS – seriously working on it. If the area can be stabilized the only way Assad will go is through diplomatic pressures being brought to bear, so that the millions of displaced Syrians can return home.
The Assad regime leaving should be a second tier concern truthfully – stability is more important. If we fixate on arming “Syrian moderates” and politicizing every rebel target Russia hits – we will become irrelevant, because they are doing and we are Monday morning quarterbacking – it’s a weak position. We need to figure out things to do – heck, Iraq is wide open for strategic ideas and we know Iraq from top to bottom. For the time being (as long as Obama is president) Russia and Iran will advance their big game – we can’t really alter that, because Obama and Kerry are clueless nincompoops. Likewise, publicly whining about Russia’s long-term geo-strategic aims won’t help matters either. What we need are good strategies for fighting ISIS that showcase our military strengths and aren’t trapped by echo-chamber ideas. We’ve got to have more options than arming “Syrian moderates” and “safe zones” -we’ve got the finest military minds in the world!
Oh, one more thought on the Russian’s targeting and keep in mind they taught geography back in the dark ages when I went to school – The Russians and all their big assets are in “western Syria”, they began hitting rebel (I wouldn’t bet money on whose who on the moderate scale in Syria) targets closest to their big assets. You would want to establish a larger safe zone for your military stuff first, right? That makes sense, don’t you think? ISIS controls eastern parts of Syria if this map is even remotely correct. The Russian moves made perfect military sense from what I can tell.
Okay, it’s back to Pinterest for me and more crafts and recipes. I found a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – now doesn’t that sound perfect since the weather’s a little cooler?