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U.S. will train Syrian rebels: Go figure?

The difference between training Iraqis and training Syrian rebels include the following:

Developing foreign policy on the fly
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  1. Americans trained Iraqis who were not well motivated and may have been reluctant recruits.
  2. Syrian rebels are highly motivated to take down Bashar al-Assad.
  3. Syrian rebels who are trained by the U.S. may have more allegiance to Americans in the long run, even when some rebels are Sunnis and aligned with ISIS.

Middle East foreign policy is growing more complicated because enemies may become friends; friends may become enemies; terrorism breaches formal boundaries.

We have experience doing this sort of thing. We trained Osama bin Laden didn’t we?

  1. It is our place to be in the Middle East or else it fall into the wrong hands. (Stop laughing. This is serious business.)
  2. It is about the oil. Remember that.

This activity and planning has been in play for a long time, months at least. Turkey is surely a good site for training. Turkey has already been engaged defending against intrusions from Syria. Turkey might be one of the best models in the neighborhood.

The Obama administration is working hard to bring Egypt back around. Jordan needs our defense, and being too visible there would not be helpful now.

The concept of balance of power is at work. The U.S is trying to balance the table among Sunnis and Shiites and other ethnic factions. The theme is that central unified governments are best for bringing about security for all citizens. The strategy is to convince a majority of people in these places that this should be their aim and that Americans will help achieve that.

Going down the extremist and factional road will undermine economies and stability that are essential for peaceful existence. That’s the story and we’re sticking to it.

Congressional representatives in both parties must have their heads spinning.

“Obama asks for authorization to provide direct military training to Syrian rebels

BY KAREN DEYOUNG June 26 at 3:21 PM

The Obama administration asked Congress Thursday to authorize direct U.S. military training and equipment for Syrian opposition fighters, a move that could significantly escalate U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Money for the program would total $500 million and would expand a current CIA covert training program. It is included in a $65.8 billion request for Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, added to the fiscal year 2015 Defense Department budget.

Details of the OCO budget had been withheld from the budget request that Congress has been considering.

The administration has said repeatedly in recent weeks that it was preparing additional assistance to vetted “moderate” opposition forces who are fighting both the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and al-Qaeda-linked militants who have now spread their area of control across the Syrian border into Iraq.

If Congress approves the funding as requested, it would mark the first direct U.S. military participation in the Syrian conflict. The training would likely take place in neighboring Jordan, where the CIA is currently training Syrian opposition forces, and possibly in Turkey.

The request does not specify the type of military equipment that would be included. Although the administration has sent small arms and ammunition, as well as non-lethal assistance, and has allowed others to send U.S.-made anti-tank weapons, it has rebuffed opposition calls for portable anti-aircraft missiles.

The speed with which militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have taken control of Iraqi cities and towns has focused the administration’s attention on what now threatens to become a regional conflagration.”

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