Occasionally President Obama tells the truth much to the chagrin of his cohorts in the war mongering business. For instance, Business Insider has: Barack Obama Swept Aside The Entire Free Syrian Army In One Sentence, which leads with leads with the following quote:
“When you get farmers, dentists and folks who have never fought before going up against a ruthless opposition in Assad, the notion that they were in a position to suddenly overturn not only Assad but also ruthless, highly trained jihadists if we just sent a few arms is a fantasy.” – Barack Obama to CBS on June 22
The article then goes on to express outrage at the President’s callused views of our doughty rebels in Syria, which his country has been providing with (nonlethal) resources, including intelligence and training , and political cover for the last 3 years. On reading this, I have to wonder what he has been thinking all this time while he and his representatives made certain there would be no political resolution of this (futile) struggle by insisting that Assad ‘must go’.
Hillary Clinton and her neocon buddies, however, see it differently. They have stepped up to refute his unusually honest assessment of the Syrian ‘rebels’ and the ‘Jihadi’ militias that initially supported their efforts, then later turned against them. They are hitting the mainstream media hard because now the problem has spread to Iraq, and if only, if only only only we had just stayed on there, the current nightmare would not be unfolding. And if only, if only only only we had been more assertive in supporting the Free Syrian Army the al Qaeda types would never have got a foothold there. This is just the leading edge of the neocon warmongers coming out to lay the foundation so that the US can really get in the fight.
Even so, Obama was on the money. Thinking that more US weapons would have allowed them to defeat the Syran Arab Army (SAA) and the Al Qaeda affiliates is truly fantasy. There were a few defections from the SAA, but not enough to change the balance of power. Moreover, the FSA did have resources from the beginning. Qatar was paying salaries to FSA fighters early in 2011, and providing weapons directly to them through the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey provided refuge and passage to the outside world through an open border.
In the early days the al Qaeda affiliates were fighting with the FSA, and Hezbollah had not yet entered the fray. Russia and Iran were merely advising the Syrian government and Syrian Arab Army. Even so, the FSA militias couldn’t take the country – because they are and were from the start a minority of the population using a means (war) to take power that is and was unacceptable to the people of Syria. They did not have the competence to form a new government, and the society they wanted to form was not in keeping with Syria’s multi-ethnic and religiously diverse culture.
The only way ‘we’ could have ‘helped’ the Syrian ‘rebels’ to win would have been to do what ‘we’ did in Libya: flood the country with weapons, destroy the infrastructure with airstrikes and murder Bashar Assad within a short period of time.
It has been said that disaffected Sunnis and Baathists made it easy for ISIS to move into Iraq in mid June this year. So, apparently they too were living in a fantasy. Their fantasy was like that of the FSA fighters who welcomed Al Nusra and ISIS early on. Yes, they are more experienced and better armed. But even that hasn’t saved their venture. An assembly of militias that can’t defeat the Iraqi army certainly isn’t in a position to defeat a (now) well armed force of men who appear to live only for the next battle. And one can only imagine why officers and fighters in the mostly Shia Iraqi Army would have laid down their powerful American weapons, abandoned their tanks and missiles, taken off their uniforms and walked away from a smaller, less well armed force, no matter how brutal.
So, here we are again, just over the crest onto the slippery slope. A friend in the refugee camps says there are already allegations of airstrikes killing civilians in Iraq. Even by the most conservative estimate most of Mosul is under ISIS control, as are numerous smaller cities, towns and villages. The generals say that striking convoys and weapons isn’t going to make a big difference (Washington Post, 8/11). The CIA is shipping small arms in while the US government has promised the Kurds bigger weapons, like the ones ISIS now has. More airstrikes will kill more civilians and destroy more infrastructure. More weapons will make a bloodier war. There is no doubt.