On the Farid Zakariya newsie today Susan Rice explained with some brevity and clarity that No Fly Zones/Sanctuary Areas in Syria are not favored by the BHO branch of the Borg because they are "resource intensive" and would require "tens if thousands of troops to defend them." Well, duh... I would bet some of my own money that it took a lot of time and many briefings by the JCS to persuade the herd of squirrels at the WH of those simple facts. Good! Someone managed to do that. One wonders if HC could be similarly persuaded.
An equally important element in the active fantasy life of the Obama Administration as well as most Republican and Democratic presidential aspirants is the notion of a regional ground combat force that would in their field of dreams go to Syria and Iraq and destroy the Islamic State. The truth is that such an army will never be.
- The Gulfies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.) are core supporters of Sunni jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq. They may have washed their hands of the IS specter but the reason for doing that is the arrival in the Gulf of the idea that the petty princes on the Gulf are inevitably seen by IS as a collective abomination to be destroyed as soon as conveniently possible.
- Even if the Gulfie group decided to accede to Obamanite wishes for them to fight IS on the big chess board of north Arabia they are impotent to do so. Their collection of foreign built military equipment is one of the largest static displays of military materiel in history. They are poorly trained, under-manned and commanded by sycophants of the princely (to include SA) houses, men for whom their wages are all they live for. To top off the list of the defects of the armed forces of the Gulfies they lack "the stones" for real war. They can be killers, but not fighters. Look at the mess they have made of their aggression in Yemen. Look at it!
- Egypt. The Egyptian military is a large money making enterprise that is built to control internal political activity in Egypt itself. They do that well but have neither the taste nor an inclination to go fight IS in northern Arabia.
- Iran. They DO have "the stones," but we reject their participation.
- Jordan. The country's small but effective armed forces are fully committed to blocking both internal and external threats to the kingdom. IMO King Abdullah is not going to risk Islamist revolt at home while his men are engaged in Syria or Iraq.
- Turkey. Basically on the Islamists side.
- Iraq. What will be on the Sunni Arab side already is. There are Sunni Arab units in the Iraqi Army. They are largely worthless as combat power. There are tribal forces that the central government thinks of as enemies and refuses to arm.
When you add this all together you find that the only Sunnis seriously fighting the Islamists (IS, Nusra, etc.) are Kurds and the Sunni Arab soldiers and militia fighting on the side of the government in Syria. They and their Russian, Hizbullah, IRGC and sectarian and ethnic militia allies are alone and will remain alone. pl