Russia's airstrikes in Syria and our extreme hypocrisy

Washington is in a tizzy that Russia is bombing rebels in Syria.

While official Syrian media said ISIS controlled those areas, earlier in the day, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Russia may not have targeted ISIS.
Supporting Assad but failing to go after the militant group, “is tantamount to pouring gasoline on the fire,” Carter said.

So it's Russia that is pouring gasoline on a fire? Not the United States?

Are you sure about that, Secretary Carter?

“We know a lot of fires gasolined in the middle east by the Pentagon.”
- Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov

First of all, let's consider who the Russians are bombing that has Washington so upset.

“Jamil al-Saleh, a defected Syrian army officer who is now the leader of the rebel group Tajammu al-Aaza, told that the Russian airstrikes targeted his group’s base in al-Lataminah, a town in the western Syrian governorate of Hama. That area represents one of the farthest southern points of the rebel advance from the north and is therefore a crucial front line in the war. An alliance of Syrian rebel factions, including both the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and groups considered by Washington to be more moderate, successfully drove Assad regime forces out of the northern governorate of Idlib and are now pushing south into Hama.”

That's right. We are upset because they are bombing allies of al-Qaeda. Excuse me!?!

Let's forget that Bush's destruction of Iraq was a leading cause of the rise of ISIS.
Let's also forget for a moment that we've dropped thousands of bombs on Syria and killed hundreds of civilians.

Instead, let's focus on the fact that we've been flooding Syria with weapons since at least 2012.
Arming jihadists has been our most successful strategy of the Syria conflict so far. Consider this article from early 2013.

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

Thanks to Snowden's whistleblowing, we know that the CIA was spending $1 Billion a year training approximately 10,000 rebel fighters, and sending weapons to Syrian rebels that all too often fell into the hands of al-Qaeda and ISIS.
 photo SyrianRebelArms_zpsscz3xalm.png

Billion of dollars, hundreds of flights of weapons, and at least 10,000 rebel fighters.
You could easily say that we are the architect of Syria's destruction.

“… [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.
“It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.
“I’d like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it’s a big question: who’s playing who here? The recent incident where the most ‘moderate’ opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that.”

- Putin's UN speech

As for the "moderate rebels" we train.

Abu Omar al-Shishani, the red-bearded face of ISIS terror lately described in such headlines as ‘Star pupil’: Pied piper of ISIS recruits was trained by U.S. for the fact that he received American military training as part of an elite Georgian army unit in 2006 and after, did not stop playing for “team America” once he left his home country in the Caucuses. He actually enjoyed US backing and American taxpayer largesse as late as 2013, soon after entering Syria with his band of Chechen jihadists.

We've spent so much time and money training and arming the fanatics that we are at war with, that pretty much everyone in the Obama Administration and Pentagon should be fired for gross incompetence....assuming that the objective is to actually win this war and make America safer.
In late 2013, Obama signed a waiver against arming terrorist groups.
Obviously President Obama knew that many of these weapons were going to head-chopping jihadists that we are now at war with.

Is it any wonder that 82% of Syrians blame the United States for ISIS? They have a good point. Unlike people in the United States, they have first-hand knowledge of the situation, rather than the official government lies that we are being fed.

So who exactly is pouring gasoline on Syria?

Will Russia learn from our mistakes?

Russia does not distinguishing rebel group, but maybe they should.
Just look at our experience.

A year ago ago the al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria was a dangerous, but minor militia in a multi-front civil war.
Daesh and al-Nusra, once close allies, split in the beginning of 2014 and by spring of that year they were in a full-scale war against each other. Jihadist versus Jihadist. The exact sort of thing we should want to happen.
By July of 2014 Daesh had driven al-Nusra out of Raqqa and Idlib provinces and to the edge of obscurity.

Then something happened.
President Obama bombed both al-Nusra and Daesh, over the objections of his intelligence agencies, thus giving them a common enemy.
Members of al-Nusra and other jihadists groups in Syria proposed a truce with ISIS at Qatar's urging.
Yes, you read that right. According to senior Egyptian intelligence officials, Qatar, our ally in the coalition, brokered a truce between our two enemies.
Qatar isn't alone. Turkey backs al-Nusra as well.

While Daesh sacrificed thousands of its jihadists in the meatgrinders of Kobani and northern Iraq, al-Nusra was given a chance to recover.
They then turned on the moderate Syrian rebels in northern Syria that we've been arming and destroyed them.
First the the U.S.-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front and then the U.S.-backed group Harakat al-Hazm.
This left us essentially without allies on the ground in Syria outside of the Kurds.

Then al-Nusra turned on the Syrian government forces.
They overran two military bases, killing hundreds of soldiers in the process.
Then, after a short respite to consolidate their gains, al-Qaeda launched a larger and more bold offensive that continues today.

And when the Pentagon decided to create their own rebel force and sent them into Syria, al-Nusra crushed them.

The point being that dropping a few bombs on al-Nusra was a strategic disaster for us, but did wonders for al-Qaeda. Will Russia do any better?

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LapsedLawyer's picture

If Assad falls, they might as well put up a sign at the Syrian border that says: "CAUTION! Welcome to Somalia East!"

And just to add to the gist of your post, gj, there's this about US airstrikes hitting a Doctors Without Borders hospital outside Kunduz in Afghanistan (3 dead, 30 wounded, and a conflagration in the trauma center).

But, hey, what's a little "collateral damage" among friends, eh?

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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-- John Lennon


Often fighting alongside the Army of Conquest are relatively secular groups from what is left of the loose-knit Free Syrian Army, including some groups that have received United States training and advanced American-made antitank missiles. At least one group trained by the C.I.A. was among the targets hit on Wednesday, which drew an angry response from Washington.
But the Army of Conquest itself embodies the ambivalence of American policy. The United States considers the Nusra Front a terrorist organization, but other groups, including some that have received American funding, fight alongside the Nusra Front, saying that they have no choice if they want to unseat Mr. Assad.
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