Thursday, October 23, 2014

Syrians to be trained to defend territory, not take ground from jihadists, officials say

Then why bother?  I guess we can only train them in our image and if we cannot provide them all the support we give our own forces they will never be as capable as ISIS who do not have the luxury of having all the same support we have.  What are we thinking?  

The Syrian opposition force to be recruited by the U.S. military and its coalition partners will be trained to defend territory, rather than to seize it back from the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. and allied officials, some of whom are concerned that the approach is flawed.

“We have a big disconnect within our strategy. We need a credible, moderate Syrian force, but we have not been willing to commit what it takes to build that force,” said a senior U.S. official involved in Syria and Iraq operations who, like others cited in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the training program.

Military commanders are reluctant to push Syrian fighters into full-scale battles with well-armed militants if they cannot summon close air support and medical evacuations, mindful of how fledgling forces in Iraq and Afghanistan crumbled without that assistance during the early years of the wars in those nations. But U.S. military aircraft cannot provide that aid without American or allied troops in close proximity to provide accurate targeting information on secure radio channels.

If we cannot provide training to forces that is commensurate with their abilities and in accordance with their customs, traditions, and capabilities and can only train them in our image then we have no business training them at all.


National Security
Syrians to be trained to defend territory, not take ground from jihadists, officials say

 
Rebel fighters run during a battle against Syrian government soldiers in Handarat, on Oct. 20. ModerateSyrian fighters have been deemed essential to defeating the Islamic State under the Obama administration’s strategy. (Fadi Al-Halabi/AFP/Getty Images)
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran October 22 at 8:57 PM  

The Syrian opposition force to be recruited by the U.S. military and its coalition partners will be trained to defend territory, rather than to seize it back from the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. and allied officials, some of whom are concerned that the approach is flawed.

Although moderate Syrian fighters are deemed essential to defeating the Islamic State under the Obama administration’s strategy, officials do not believe the newly assembled units will be capable of capturing key towns from militants without the help of forward-deployed U.S. combat teams, which President Obama has so far ruled out. The Syrian rebel force will be tasked instead with trying to prevent the Islamic State from extending its reach beyond the large stretches of territory it already controls.

“We have a big disconnect within our strategy. We need a credible, moderate Syrian force, but we have not been willing to commit what it takes to build that force,” said a senior U.S. official involved in Syria and Iraq operations who, like others cited in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the training program.

Military commanders are reluctant to push Syrian fighters into full-scale battles with well-armed militants if they cannot summon close air support and medical evacuations, mindful of how fledgling forces in Iraq and Afghanistan crumbled without that assistance during the early years of the wars in those nations. But U.S. military aircraft cannot provide that aid without American or allied troops in close proximity to provide accurate targeting information on secure radio channels.


Military officials also want U.S. and allied special operations troops to advise opposition forces if those forces are thrust into combat, helping them to fight effectively and reducing the chances that the new units will disintegrate in the heat of battle.

 
Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr. speaks about the operations in Syria during a news conference at the Pentagon in this Sept. 23 file photo. (Cliff Owen/AP)
“You cannot field an effective force if you’re not on the ground to advise and assist them,” said a senior U.S. military officer with extensive experience in training the Iraqi and Afghan militaries.

Obama’s unwillingness to deploy ground combat forces is rooted in concern that American troops would be drawn into a long, bloody war in the Middle East.

In announcing the campaign to confront the Islamic State, the president said the United States would “strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists.” The Pentagon subsequently announced that the U.S. military would seek to train as many as 5,000 Syrian fighters a year, aiming to build what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called an “effective opposition force, not just a hit-and-run group of rebels.”

The Obama administration’s plan calls for U.S. Special Operations troops to recruit moderate Syrianopponents of the Islamic State from refugee communities in Jordan, Turkey and other nations. They will be flown to Saudi Arabia, trained for about eight weeks, and then sent into the small enclaves of Syriaalready controlled by the Free Syrian Army and other moderate opponents of the Islamic State. The first units are expected to be deployed in roughly six months.

“The plan is for them to safeguard cleared areas,” said a senior official of an Arab nation that is part of the U.S.-led coalition and who has been briefed on the training program. “They will end up being a defensive force more than an offensive force.”

(Continued at the link below)

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