Thought for the Day

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Obama adviser: Trained Syrian rebels could fight Assad

Is there anyone on Obama's team (his closest advisers who have been through the "crucible" of the 2008/2012 campaigns who really sufficiently understands unconventional and political warfare as is being practiced today? (and I am not talking about partisan political warfare which admittedly the administration is well qualified to conduct).  I know there are experts in the Pentagon and perhaps even on the NSC who could really explain the difficulty that we face in conducting effective unconventional warfare and the folly of a simplistic train and equip program with the objective of hoping that a trained and equipped Syrian force will on its own (or with US air power) defeat ISIL/IS sometime in the future.  But if, as I have heard but of course do not know for sure,  the only people with credibility on the national security staff are those who have been through the election crucible my fear is that the President may not be getting the best advice (despite the Chairman and Joint Chiefs attempting to do so by giving their best military advice).

As an example I am hearing from people on the ground who really have insights into the situation that there is no "moderate opposition" and despite the attempts at training forces over the past months there are no actual vetted Syrian opposition forces.  Yet we hear from Administration officials that there are and our plans are dependent on them to achieve our objectives:

“The moderate opposition is key to both being able a counterweight on the ground to ISIL, and then, over time, also being a counterweight to Assad,” he added.
The quote below cries out for effective unconventional and political warfare.  But I have to ask again - is there a really a feasible unconventional and political warfare solution and do we have Administration officials who really understand what such a campaign and strategy would entail?  
“Building them up enables us to have forces on the ground that can deal with ISIL as we use our air power and other unique assets,” Blinken said. “At the same time, if you’re going to change the dynamics in Syria, if you’re going to get to a political transition that moves Assad out, you’re going to have to have a strong moderate opposition.”

I truly hope  Mike Nagata is doing a thorough assessment of the situation to include the true resistance potential and the feasibility of conducting an unconventional and political warfare campaign and if he finds it unfeasible I hope that people will listen to them.  And if he finds it feasible I truly hope that he will be properly resourced and supported for the duration plus six months so he can accomplish his mission. (my turn to invoke the hope COA)


Obama adviser: Trained Syrian rebels could fight Assad


By Timothy Cama - 09/28/14 09:43 AM EDT

A top adviser to President Obama said the military intends for Syrian rebels to use their training to fight President Bashar al-Assad after they fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken laid out the strategy in response to criticism from Fox News’s Chris Wallace that the United States’ involvement in Syria is alienating anti-Assad rebels who see the fight against ISIS, also known as ISIL, as helping Assad.
“We’ve seen strong expressions of support from the Syrian opposition for the effort that we’re making against ISIL,” Blinken said on "Fox News Sunday," using another acronym for the terror group.
“The moderate opposition is key to both being able a counterweight on the ground to ISIL, and then, over time, also being a counterweight to Assad,” he added.
Wallace said anti-Assad Syrians were protesting around the country Friday against the U.S. airstrikes that started last week in an attempt to hit ISIS. Those protesters represent the same moderate Syrians that the U.S. is training and arming to fight ISIS on the ground, so that it does not have to send American troops.
But Blinken was certain that the moderate Syrians support the U.S. mission.
“Building them up enables us to have forces on the ground that can deal with ISIL as we use our air power and other unique assets,” Blinken said. “At the same time, if you’re going to change the dynamics in Syria, if you’re going to get to a political transition that moves Assad out, you’re going to have to have a strong moderate opposition.”
Wallace asked if the military is planning to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria to protect civilians from Assad’s forces.
Blinken did not endorse the idea, but said the White House is considering it among a suite of options in its efforts in Syria.

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