Obama Throws the Free Syrian Army Under the Bus

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, October 16, 2014

For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).

But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:

John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.

“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.

That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media about the coordination of the “vetted moderate” FSA with Jabhat al-Nusra and even ISIS. That coordination was later confirmed by a senior FSA commander.

Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding wasapproved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.

Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?

As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:

Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.

Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…

The Scandal of 2013

1By Diana West

Early in 2012, I opened a column with this question: “Is there a  single public official who is examining – who cares about – the murder  spree by Afghan security forces against Western troops and security  contractors in Afghanistan?”

Nearly one year has passed, during which 62 Americans and other  Westerners have been killed by Afghan forces “inside the wire.” The  president has yet to call for “meaningful change”; in fact, he has said  nothing about it. The Congress has said nothing about it. During the  presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said nothing about it. Such silence  is a national disgrace, but it’s an answer to my question. No. They  don’t care. Not about the men. Not about their families. What they care  about is the story line – the fraud that has kept the national arteries  to Afghanistan open, fueling the American-led “counterinsurgency”  fantasy that an ally, heart-and-mind, exists in the umma (Islamic  world), if only Uncle Sam can mold it and bribe it and train it into  viability.

But this trail of blood shed by our men – fathers, husbands,  brothers, friends – leads in another direction. If We the People were to  follow it, drop by drop, we would begin to understand there is no ally,  no “partner” in Afghanistan, no matter how hard our leadership lies to  us. We would see for ourselves that the difference between the  “extremists” and the “moderates” in a Shariah-supreme culture is  ultimately inconsequential, and that the gulf between Islam and the West  is too deep to plumb without losing ourselves in the process. If we  were to keep following this trail of blood, we would even conclude that  our leaders, from President Bush to President Obama, have been wrong,  criminally, recklessly wrong, ever since 9/11/01, when they began doing  everything possible to deny the centrality of jihad in Islam even while  sending America and her allies to combat jihad in the Islamic world.

Silence, thus, becomes the way our leaders can keep both their  delusional ideology intact and their places in power secure. Deflection,  too. In March 2012, a month in which three Afghan attacks took the live  of two British soldiers and three Americans, Chairman of the Joint  Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey deemed such shootings as  “additional risk” necessary for “national security.” In April, he would  order all branches of the military and the service academies to scrub  any training materials deemed “disrespectful of Islam” – another blow to  the study of jihad. In August 2012, midway through a month in which 12  American and three Australian forces would be killed in seven “insider  attacks,” Afghanistan commander Gen. John Allen actually offered excuses  for the murders – the strain of Ramadan fasting, summer heat and fast  operational tempo. The following month, after four Americans and two  British troops were killed in two separate shootings, Obama campaign  adviser and former senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy minimized  the attacks as a “very occasional” problem and a sign of “Taliban  desperation.”

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