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02 November 2014


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In my last comment about the defeat of US-backed rebels in Syria's Idlib province at the hand of Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, I have said I would be eager to read the reaction from the White House. Well, it seems, here it is, hold your breath. Quote from Washington Post:

The Obama administration’s Syria strategy suffered a major setback Sunday after fighters linked to al-Qaeda routed U.S.-backed rebels from their main northern strongholds, capturing significant quantities of weaponry, triggering widespread defections and ending hopes that Washington will readily find Syrian partners in its war against the Islamic State. ...

A White House spokesman said Sunday night that the Defense Department was best positioned to provide “a battlefield assessment of what these alleged reports mean for the current military campaign in Syria.” Defense officials did not immediately respond to queries about the significance of events on the ground over the weekend.



Seems to me the next days in US politics regarding IS/AQ in Iraq and Syria could become interesting.

different clue

If Big Banka, Big Insura and Big Wall Street quietly send quiet messengers to tell Obama privately that he will not be paid after office unless he accepts the housecleaning being requested, then he will find a way to accede to it.


"President is impatient, short tempered and uncompromisingly unwilling to digest bad news."

Obama don't want to hear that he and his cronies has been parading naked for years. Will he clean the house or bomb all the messengers?


"Boots on the ground--preferably non-American boots--are going to be required to actually defeat the IS"

Whatever else they've done, Obama and company were absolutely correct in refusing to commit American soldiers to this fight - it's not ours. If the combined efforts of Iraqis and Kurds, millions of them, is not enough to defeat a handful of fighters than they deserve whatever happens to them. End of story.

The only way to motivate them is to convince them that we are not going to be there to save them. They've got the numbers, the resources and American air support and they still can't win?!

William R. Cumming

Excellent and accurate post IMO!

This Administration contains a FUNDAMENTAL FLAW when it comes to NATIONAL SECURITY issues and policies. Like Admiral Poindexter and Colonel Oliver North both believed that the NSC staff should be deeply involved in oeratioal details, including military ops. Since over 1/3 of NSC staffers are active duty officers of the US Armed Forces anyone can see how their careers and wishes might be enhanced by involvement in operations.

I suggest that most if not almost all of the WH staff, the NSC staff in particular, and the President and Cabinet do not have a copy of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended.

As Retired General Brent Scowcroft has repeatedly testified, even under oath, the statutory authorities vest in the President are to enhance policy coordination of domestic policy, military policy, and international policies of the US government to enhance the NATIONAL Security of the US. The military operational role of the President is as Commander-In-Chief, not as Chief Executive.



Books such as RUNNING THE WORLD about the NSC history document the egos and hubris that drive NSC staffers.

Babak Makkinejad

"... hubris that drive NSC staffers..."; no doubt each and everyone fancies himself or herself as another Stalin or Marshall...


Doesn't it seem likely that the boots on the ground problem will be resolved by the Pentagon and the administration with contractors?



"... triggering widespread defections..." Just what did the Obama advisors think the brave band of brothers in the FSA was loyal too- the ideology promoted by a bunch of professor at some western university that gave this great chorus an A+ on thier pdh thesis?


Another stream of consciousness that I ask you to bear with. When the Wall Bangers told Boris the Y that he should let his county disintegrate and capitalism would rescue everyone, I believe the resulting chaos gave us Mr. Putin. Of course, why should anyone have expected that fresh lesson to be learned by our intelligentsia?

Having aided and abetted the destruction of two nations (Libya and Syria), the Administration, with the help of Cap'n John Mac and The Old Lady from SC, can't find a way to walk all this back. Not that the GOP is offering any more sanity but I claim that the electorate can smell the incompetency and that is the reason they will punish the Dems tomorrow.

And the kiddies in the WH will continue to find that Seal Team Six is not the solution to all their Foreign Policy problems. I wonder who they will blame in their memoirs?



No. All the armed contractors employed by State and other civilian agencies were security guards. It would be a vastly different thing to form a mercenary army to fight in Syria and IMO we will not do that. pl


Thought it'd be interesting to note here that Ben Rhodes brother is David Rhodes, head of CBS News.

Its all about who you know.


If this ineptitude keeps up I believe we are going to see the destruction of a major US maneuver element in the near future.


I don't really get what the Pentagon wants in regard to Syria.

The political hawks and some ME Islamist countries want Assad removed but that would predictably end up like Libya.

The sane realists want to accept Assad and the Syrian Arab Army as the boots on the ground against the Islamic State.

Obama tried to walk somewhere between those two positions and that failed.

What is the Pentagon's position?

From the news about the recent Hagel letter to Rice I assume that Hagel wants the "regime change" to be called off and to work with Assad.

Interestingly two recent AP news pieces emphasized that most Syrian Sunnis are on Assad's side. That takes away the sectarian propaganda Washington has distributed the last three years. Who told AP to change its ways?

Syria's army represents the sectarian makeup of the country: it is largely Sunni Muslim, fighting mostly Sunni Muslim rebels.


Sunnis, who form the country's majority faith group, form Assad's chief power base, even as the rebellion is dominated by Sunnis.


William R. Cumming

bth! IMO greed not power now drives Washington's elites. SELF-DEALING a major driver.

William R. Cumming

Is a US carrier a "maneuver element'?

Charles Dekle

I fear that you are right and hope that you are wrong.


Without getting into the merits of the arguments on either side, is there any discussion about the motivation of people leaking their side of the story to the press?



I'd say so. The amount of CYA would have yo be seen to be believed. Unlike the USA after Kasserine, Im sure everyone will quickly convince themselves it was a fluke and continue doing what they wanted to anyway.

FB Ali

"Boots on the ground--preferably non-American boots--are going to be required to actually defeat the IS"

The US seems to be going about mobilising these "boots on the ground" in a rather strange way. In Syria it bet its strategy on the FSA, and they seem to be disappearing - as anyone with sense of realism could have predicted (and many did).

In Iraq, the only people really fighting the IS at the moment (even though defensively) are some Sunni tribes in Anbar. Despite their desperate pleas for help, the US ignores them, leaving them to be defeated by the IS. For a harrowing account of one such debacle, see:


It seems the US is betting here on a refurbished Iraqi army. It is doubtful they'll perform much better than the last one the US prepared.

What then?


According to Jane's inventory, the three ME countries that have weapons that could be considered as 'carrier killers' are Iran, Egypt and Israel. It is hard to imagine a scenario where one of them tries to take on an entire battle group, even Iran.




Very smart question.


SOMEBODY - a lot of somebodies - elected this empty suit TWICE.
People (the dimwits, that is) get the government they deserve......and the rest of us suffer.


"Whatever else they've done, Obama and company were absolutely correct in refusing to commit American soldiers to this fight"


and maybe, the strategists could take an interest in who sponsors IS/Daesh, and ask how it all got to be the way it is? Otherwise its just pissing into the wind.


b -
I thought Assad's group was Alawite...

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