As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama’s Syria Problem

Well, gosh, we’re gonna start bombing Syria in order to help the “moderate” Free Syrian Army topple not only Assad but ISIS too.

Only problem is the FSA is the weakest of the three and is a mishmash of types of people, not nearly all of whom can be considered “good guys.”

President Obama has talked about helping moderate Syrians for about three years now and done nothing. If he wanted to shape Syria, he’s a dollar short and about a thousand days late. While he dithered, we got ISIS. And now we got a problem, and that’s what we have to focus on.

In a New York Times interview just one month ago, Obama spoke derisively about the very people who he now says are the future Saviors of Syria:

With “respect to Syria,” said the president, the notion that arming the rebels would have made a difference has “always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”

Even now, the president said, the administration has difficulty finding, training and arming a sufficient cadre of secular Syrian rebels: “There’s not as much capacity as you would hope.”

Well, now, all of a sudden, it’s in the cards. And you wonder why Obama has no credibility left.

I mean, not you.

Anyway, does anyone really think that once the Free Syrian Army takes charge they’ll do anything but round up every last Alawite – Bashar Assad’s clan – and pump bullets into their heads, all to the tune of Allahu Akbar?

This conflict has gone on too long for there to be any kind of moderates left. There are scores to settle, and only the most brutal will rise to the top.

If we have an interest in Syria, and we do, it’s to wipe out our enemy, ISIS. What else goes on there at this point, whether Bashar Assad runs the place or one of the “Free Syrians,” is not our business. If we have to be Assad’s air force in wiping out ISIS, then we should do it. We need to focus on our goals, not anyone else’s.

Syria is a tragedy beyond repair. Arguably, extending the war by helping weak rebels will result in more deaths, not fewer.

At this point, Obama needs to focus on preventing American deaths by killing ISIS, not get distracted by nation building.

Of course, such focus – involving recourse to the old notion of realpolitik – is beyond Obama’s capability when it comes to foreign policy. Raising money, destroying Republicans, and getting out of sand traps, yes, he can do it all ruthlessly. If only he understood that foreign affairs requires the same, and even greater, single-mindedness.

Here’s a report about our new friends in Syria.

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37 Responses to Obama’s Syria Problem

  1. Keith: Thanks for the video clip and the clearest definition of the ‘fog’ that I have seen to date.

    Leading from behind? No. He’s leading as a “behind”.

  2. The bigger oops factor, the WH didn’t ever take a geography class.

    White House official in briefing on ISIL: “Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria”.

    Hashtag OMG.

  3. I am not great on the middle east whos’ who and the lay of the land but the way I interpret this is that we are basically doing Iraq Afghanistan again, only its Iraq/IS….(but isn’t a country of its own…but a caliphate…which means wherever they are is their ‘state’?) Is this even close to accurate?

  4. What is insulting to me is the fact that O kept said in his speech that he was going to ramp up our intelligence. We saw this unfolding! What was he doing with the intelligence reports for the last year?
    That is was he has to answer to.
    What is alarming is we are watching this unfold, so is everyone else around the world. This includes our allies and enemies.

      • That is what I figured. I was going to ask the question is anyone keeping track of what is going on behind the scene.
        In other words in the past somethings were discussed or done, but not released to the history books untill years later.
        I wasn’t thinking of the circular file, I was thinking of the shredder.

  5. To clear this up for those puzzled by who’s who: Imagine the Sharks and the Jets are having a gang fight in the street that the Dirty Dozen had already claimed as their own. The assorted ethnic Mafias are upset that this street fighting is cutting into their gambling profits. Local business concerns are complaining that the damage is causing their insurance to skyrocket.
    Along comes the modern Elliot Ness and the now Touchables to clean up everything, and make the streets safe for the Dirty Dozen and the ethnic Mafias to resume their profit making schemes.
    The Sharks and the Jets are not deterred, they just simply move their fighting to another location.
    The Dirty Dozen and ethnic Mafias demand that Ness pay to put their street back to the way it was before all the shooting started, he complies by giving them money and manpower he steals from unsuspecting friends.
    Elliot Ness takes a bow.

        • I heard this on my way out. Prayers and condolences to his family.

          It occurred to me that if I was a disaffected youth — anti Western — and I saw that the West was nothing but a Potemkin village and that there is no response to these beheadings — I might be attracted to an organization that no matter the reason was taking down “the man”.

          The longer we do nothing, the more we reveal how weak the Western resolve is, and the more hostages will be beheaded and the more people will be recruited.

          It’s not Barack Obama’s fault entirely but he is doing nothing to help by abdicating America’s role in the world. So, blood on those hands Barack.

    • Can you imagine what WWII would have been like with Obama as President? I am so saddened for those families and it looks like they’ve already selected their next victim.

    • Did you notice how fast PM Cameron was on the reply denouncing the savagery and speaking to his nation as adults?!?
      Why can’t we have leader like that. Say what you will about him. At least he spoke post haste.

  6. BIG, BAD BOOTS ON THE GROUND
    We Predict: The Obama team will hire mercenaries to be the “Boots on the ground” in Syria to destroy ISIS. When that task is completed, they will force Assad to leave for exile. Pres. Obama will get the Saudis and the other centers of great wealth to help finance the operation. These troupes will be very expensive but also very effective if vetted carefully. The mercenaries themselves will come from throughout the world. They will have a mix of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Some, including the leaders, will be retired U.S. military. The common denominator will be their professional expertise as soldiers. They will be fighting for pride and money. They will win decisively.
    Overview: Air strikes are inherently limited in urban areas containing sizable civilian populations unless you have specialists on the ground to direct the targeting in real time. To consolidate your success, you must have follow-up forces to solidify your territory gains and to “clean up” remnants of resistance. Pres. Obama continues to base all of his decisions on his personal political interests. He repeatedly promises “No boots on the ground” but every time he does, his military advisors tell him “we have to have somebody’s boots on the ground to succeed”. The coalition he is trying to form to “destroy ISIS” cannot succeed without “boots” and for varying reasons, his allies don’t want to supply them either. In addition, our military folks have been tremendously embarrassed by the “strip uniforms off, abandon equipment run and hide” behavior of the Iraq army they trained. They don’t want a repeat performance in Syria with the “moderate insurgents”. Can you imagine the red faces in the White House if Assad’s army or the insurgents were ultimately able to parade American military equipment through the streets of Damascus?
    The use of hard line professional mercenaries as the “Big Bad Boots” in Syria and, if necessary, elsewhere fits the needs of the moment. The funding should be there to provide big paydays for those who are interested and there are ways to provide the necessary equipment without placing a big new burden on American taxpayers. It is politically perfect for Obama and that is the only thing that counts for him.

    • Cameron said: The murder of David Hanies was an “act of pure evil”.
      The PM vowed to do “everything in our power to hunt down”
      the killers of the 44-year old aid worker, from Perth.
      Mr Cameron said the murder of an innocent aid worker was “dispicable and appaling.”
      http://www.bbc.com

  7. Mr. Haines’ horrible beheading did not move the needle on “degrade and destroy” — we don’t know who we are going to degrade and destory — and we don’t know how — and we don’t know who is going to “degrade and destroy” with us. But Obama is stuck on “degrade and destroy” — perhaps because it sounds cool — and there is no timeline or definition on degrade so there is no commitment or telling when we might get to destroy.

    No we be degrading.

  8. British hostage, David Haines, held by ISIS, has apparently been beheaded. The barbaric act uploaded onto social media, by his murderers. My sympathies to his family and friends. (hope this does not bother Obama’s Sunday golf game)

  9. Good article, Keith. You point out the difficulties involved and the weakness in the concept ” moderate rebels “, that it belongs in the world of make belief. Did I read a hint that cooperation with Assad in the destruction of these groups would be useful ? That´s realpolitik to me.

  10. From one of my favorite poems…

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

  11. No such thing as moderate muslims now, I fear they all want our American and Israeli heads. I don’t trust any of them — it has been reported that the so-called “moderates” in Syria, Obama’s muslim friends, turned in the American and British hostages to ISIS for money, and not a lot of money.