The Obama administration has ended the $500 million program that was put in place to help train and arm the "so-called moderate" Syrian rebels. The move seems to declare defeat, acknowledging that the program did little to nothing to create a ground force capable of combating the Islamic State in Syria (ISIL).
The New York Times reports, “Pentagon officials announced the end of the program on Friday, as Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter left London after meetings with his British counterpart, Michael Fallon, about the continuing wars in Syria and Iraq.”
This follows closely with the shifting focus on Northeast Syria, where many officials have said their hope is “to assemble a group of Sunni tribes in a ‘Syrian Arab Coalition’ to fight alongside Syrian Kurdish forces against the Islamic State,” according to The New York Times.
Devastating reports suggest that when the program first arose, the U.S. was training and equipping over 54,000 moderate rebels, but that number has since dropped to a sad 100 rebel fighters, and only a handful of those have actually been in combat with enemy forces. It is also reported that a large majority of the equipment that was first sent to the rebel forces “had quickly fallen into the hands of enemy forces, such as the al Qaeda-backed Al Nusra Front,” according to NBC News.
To think that this program went on for so long with such stark and depressing numbers is beyond anyone.
“Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is now directing the Department of Defense to provide equipment packages and weapons to a select group of vetted leaders and their units so that over time they can make a concerted push into territory still controlled by ISIL,” a Pentagon statement said of the new effort, adding that the Pentagon will monitor the new group “and provide them with air support as they take the fight to ISIL.”
Carter spoke with London reporters early Friday morning, explaining that the U.S. “remains committed” to helping Syrian rebels but officials have been looking for “new ways to improve” the current program.
"I wasn't satisfied with the efforts on that regard, so we are looking at different ways to achieve basically to the same kind of strategic objective," Carter said. "We have devised a number of different approaches to that moving forward, and President Obama ... I think we will be hearing very shortly from him in that regard."
Keep in mind that, as stated earlier, the rebels the program was helping went from 54,000 to a mere 100, all while the equipment that was being sent over was ending up in the hands of enemy forces. Also keep in mind that while delusional U.S. officials asked Russia to “watch out for civilian casualties,” Russia, of course, turned around and continued to approve airstrikes on the very people that the U.S. was supposedly funding after a request by President Bashar al-Assad. It brings up the question: are U.S. officials seriously so delusional that they aren't aware Russia is part of the "enemy forces" that reports continually reference?
As Einstein once said, "Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results." Why is the U.S. so sure that doing the exact same thing in different locations will yield different results? As long as Assad has Russia on his side, these kinds of tactics are simply a waste of time, money, and human lives.