Wednesday, November 5, 2014


The US-backed anti-ISIS Syrian coalition in the Middle East seems to be falling apart.

Perhaps we should have always realised that proxies are unlikely to be able to win.

Will he die for you?

Should we really be surprised?

Moderates don't normally win wars - they win elections. The problem resides in Washington. The idea that US support can somehow be enough to transform a selected rebel group into a victorious national identity is a fraud . . .


The real problem is that there can't be any confidence in Washington.

President Barack Obama may be a good man, but the reality of his policies has been dithering incompetence when his ideals are translated into action. Assad has been able to regain control over at least part of eastern Syria. He now represents order and a break from the terrible chaos of civil war.

In the western part of the country ISIL has vanquished its opposition. It will continue to do so until there is a strong power that can successfully hold ground and replace ISIL's version of governance with something better.

Sunni militia's wreaking havoc on locals in Iraq doesn't form part of that formula.

Firstly, examine the proposed counter-offensive against the rebels. There's more than a small degree of wishful thinking about this effort.

The NY Times reports; "the major push, which is being devised with the help of American military planners, will require training three new Iraqi Army divisions — more than 20,000 troops — over the coming months . . .  [but] 

The effort to rebuild Iraq’s fighting capability faces hurdles, including the risk that the Islamic State will use the intervening months to entrench in western and northern Iraq and carry out more killings.
The United States currently does not plan to advise Iraqi forces below the level of a brigade, which in the Iraqi Army usually has some 2,000 troops. Nor is it clear under what circumstances the White House might allow American advisers to accompany Iraqi units on the battlefield or to call in airstrikes, as Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated might be necessary.
Iraq’s recent history suggests that such a battlefield advisory role is likely to be needed. Iraqi forces faltered during their 2008 offensive against Shiite militias in Basra until American commanders sent their troops to advise Iraqi forces below the brigade level and facilitate airstrikes.
In the meantime, in the emptiness, the ISIL forces will flourish . . .

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