Friday, December 09, 2016

Responsibly Escalating a War

Assad wants the looming fall of Aleppo to be seen as the turning point in the war. But Assad's position is still so poor that unless the rebellion loses hope and collapses, it is unlikely that this battle for Aleppo is the decisive battle. President Obama on his way out has taken a step to bolster rebel morale and capabilities:

The White House on Thursday (8 December) announced a new waiver order by President Barack Obama that would lift restrictions on military support for foreign forces and others in Syria if considered "essential to the national security interests of the United States".

The changes, which would allow "foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals" fighting for the interests of the US to be able to access military assistance, were pursuant to the four-decades-old Arms Export Control Act.

"I hereby determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing US military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States," Obama stated in the presidential determination.

So our military forces can provide training and I assume recon, intelligence, and firepower support as "services" in addition to equipment, which will supplement what our intelligence services can do, I imagine.

About 400,000 deaths ago, the administration declined to help the rebels out of fear of "further militarizing" the conflict.

So now Syria, plus Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq will be left to the next president to solve after our policy has mostly tread water for 8 years in the fight against Islamist terror and associated states.

Not that I fully blame President Obama for failing to fully defeat these forces. This is called the Long War for a reason. It will take time to finally defeat the religious factions that wants to define Islam as a jihadi religion that is thrilled to kill non-believers (mostly non-jihadi Moslems, I hasten to add).

But we'd be further along the path to winning if America under President Obama hadn't tried to pretend that pulling out of Iraq, a speech to the Moslem world, and a president with the middle name "Hussein" would solve our problems coming from the Islamic world.

Good grief, Trinidad has proven to be jihadi friendly territory for ISIL recruits! (Tip to Instapundit)

UPDATE: And right now, more American special forces will go to Syria:

The US is sending 200 more military personnel to help fight the Islamic State group in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the US defence secretary says.

Speaking at talks on Middle East security, Ash Carter said the troops would include special forces trainers, advisers and bomb disposal teams.

In addition, ISIL is taking a shot at Assad-help Palmyra:

Islamic State militants on Saturday captured most of Palmyra after breaking through Syrian army defenses and securing the heights around the ancient city in eastern Syria following a surprise assault, a monitoring group and rebels said.

Palmyra is the outer shield to protect the Damascus region from ISIL attack from the east.

If ISIL holds this city, Damascus is under threat and Assad will have to wonder about having so many forces focused on Aleppo and that area.

UPDATE: Russian air strikes forced back ISIL:

Russian air strikes forced Islamic State fighters to retreat to the outskirts of Palmyra on Sunday, a day after they had stormed the ancient city in eastern Syria, a war monitor said.

The Russians claim to have killed 300 ISIL members.

If ISIL wants to make a serious effort to hold Palmyra they'd best hit and take the nearby T-4 air base that the Russians are using.

UPDATE: And ... ISIL is renewing their effort to take Palmyra.