Friday, November 27, 2015

Our Confused ISIS Policy

If I did not know better I would think that President Obama’s policy in Syria was a stroke of genius: manipulate the Russians to do the dirty work of eliminating ISIS.  According to retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, “We are not trying to destroy ISIS.”  McInerney said, "I'm looking at a photo right now of the city of Raqqa, the ISIS main headquarters, the Islamic court.  All these buildings are standing. Why? The fact is we are not executing air power."  McInerney’s photos may be outdated. Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, reported that the ISIS command center in Raqqa had been destroyed.

But American policy might be worse than not wanting to destroy ISIS.  It may actually be supporting ISIS. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev blamed the U.S. for having policies that allowed ISIS to come about. He claimed, “The strengthening of the Islamic State became possible partially due to irresponsible policies of the United States. Instead of concentrating joint efforts on fighting terrorism, the United States and its allies decided to fight against the lawfully elected president of Syria Bashar Assad.”

U.S. policy is a continuation of the bipartisan program that eliminated Saddam Hussain, Muammar Gaddafi, and Hosni Mubarak, and has now set its sights on Bashar al-Assad.  These leaders were antagonistic toward the West to a greater or lesser degree and even supported terrorists at times.  However, they were all secular leaders who tolerated religious minorities and provided a certain amount of stability in the region.  The only setback for the progressives’ program was the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in Egypt.  U.S. policy allegedly supports “moderate” Muslim rebel groups.  The problem with this policy is: who are these moderates?
Abdelhakim Belhadj

This problem is illustrated by two of Senator John McCain’s Libyan “heroes,” Abdelhakim Belhadj and Abu Mosa.  A smiling Senator McCain was photographed with these two individuals who later were revealed to be ISIS leaders.  The inability to distinguish “moderates” from “extremists” has led to some disturbing outcomes.  State Department representative Marie Harf said, "ISIS has obtained some heavy weaponry.”  She did not mention the origin of the “heavy weaponry,” but the vast majority of ISIS’s heavy weapons originate in the U.S.  ISIS is also driving around in convoys of new Toyota trucks provided to Syrian “moderates” by the US State Department.  “Significant quantities” of arms including M16 assault rifles marked “property of the US government” are in the hands of ISIS. 

Abu Mosa
The publicly accepted alignment pits the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia against Russia, China, Iran and the Assad regime.  All are supposedly opposed to ISIS.  Yet the Turks, a NATO member, seems more concerned with fighting the Kurds, who are one of the most effective forces opposed to ISIS.  Former US Department of State senior advisor David Phillips claims Turkey “has provided logistical support, money, weapons, transport and healthcare to wounded warriors" of ISIS.  The Turks quite possibly provided the Sarin gas used by rebel forces in the August 21, 2013 attack on Ghouta in an attempt to trigger President Obama’s red line threat to attack Assad if he used chemical weapons.  The Turks were also involved in the transit of ISIS oil supplies to the world market.  It is curious that these oil tankers were allegedly not targeted by the U.S. military because they were driven by civilian drivers.  Where were these tankers headed?  The US Government knows.  Satellite photos show exactly where they are going.  By shooting down a Russian jet the Turks are dangerously close to involving NATO in a conflict with Russia.  The Russia response was to install anti-aircraft missiles in Syria.  ISIS does not have aircraft and these missiles put US aircraft in jeopardy.  The last visitor Ambassador Stevens had on September 11 was a Turkish diplomat.  Turkey may be heavily involved in the shipment of oil and weapons into and out of Syria. 

Saudi Arabia also has an ambiguous policy towards ISIS.  Even US policy raises questions.  The President has announced 50 US Special Forces will join the “moderate” rebels in Syria.  There is the possibility that they could fall victim to Russian air strikes, leading to an escalation.  The President continues to release Guantanmo detainees.  It is known that many of them have returned to the battlefield. 

It is impossible to construct an accurate assessment of the situation in the Middle East.  Every move is shrouded in secrecy.  Every allegation is met with a counter allegation.  Documents obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the administration’s account of events does not coincide with their intelligence reports.  The bottom line is that following U.S. policy has led to chaos in the Middle East and the flooding of Europe with hundreds of thousands of refugees.  Even some of the President’s most devoted defenders are beginning to question his policies.  CNN's Christiane Amanpour reported that Obama said, “something that was pretty incredible…that our strategy is working. People do not believe that to be the case. The only strategy that’s working is the strategy that he tends to dismiss — and that’s the ground troop strategy.”

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