Photo Credit: Local Coordination Committees in Syria
Embattled Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs, Syria, in flames.

A new U.S. agreement with Turkey to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces “is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” a displaced Syrian activist refugee says. Aboud Dandachi, who now lives in Istanbul, Turkey says a plan to train and arm 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces is “not serious at all.”

The plan signed by the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is intended to train, equip and arm 5,000 troops. Congress has already allocated half a billion dollars for the project, but according to a Pentagon spokesperson, only 1,200 “moderates” have been “identified” for the program slated to begin in mid-March. How long will it take U.S. military specialists to train, equip and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels? How effective will this program be? Will it help change the picture with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group? Will anything be resolved in Syria by this?

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Dandachi has had first-hand experience observing the factors that led to the nightmare that once was his homeland. A business person, he became a refugee within his own country after being forced to leave his home in Homs when the Syrian Army launched an artillery and tank assault on his neighborhood. After moving from one place to the next and following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against two Damascus neighborhoods, Dandachi made the painful decision to leave his homeland and traveled to Istanbul, arriving in September 2013.  He has a rather sardonic view of President Barack Obama’s new plan to help Syrian rebel forces. As to the American president’s international credibility …. well …

“Where do I begin with the problem with this approach,” Dandachi replied in an exclusive interview conducted via the Internet with JewishPress.com on Thursday. “If an Israeli wants a career in the IDF, he or she knows where to sign up. If any Jew anywhere in the world wants to dedicate a few years of their lives to serving Israel, they know the address.

“You can’t build a military by “scouting” soldiers; you need people to know where to come forward,” Dandachi said. “As a Syrian I can’t very well sit around and hope to be ‘discovered’ by Obama,” he continued. “And then if I were, it will be a cold day in hell before I trust him to sell me a used car, much less supply me with weapons.

“War is a potentially long term affair; will Obama keep this force supplied for the years it may take to have any effect? The Americans have proven notoriously fickle in the past,” he observed. (Ed. – More than one news commentator has made similar remarks, referencing America’s behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters.)

Somewhat taken aback by his candor, this writer asked a second time about the advisability of revealing his identity – but was told “by all means” to go ahead.

“I was never a fighter and I will never be one, I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’m sure that’s what many potential fighters could be thinking right now,” Dandachi wrote. “When the U.S. went to war in WWII and Vietnam, it didn’t want to “vet” its potential pool of recruits – it drafted anyone above a certain age. When you wage all-out war you can’t hand-pick your fighters; you need to make sure of the widest possible amount of potential manpower available.

“Training” several thousand soldiers is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” he contended.

By the way — Dandachi’s point has some merit: how effective can 5,000 U.S.-trained troops be against the combined forces of Syrian military forces, backed and equipped by Russia and Iran, fighting side by side with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards force and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla fighters?

Syrian “moderate” forces will also be facing the “other” Syrian rebel faction — that of the radical Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, for instance) and now also Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That force alone numbers in the tens of thousands: the most recent estimates place the total number of “moderate” Syrian rebel fighters at best at 20,000.

Can this cause be saved?

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Good coverage by Hana: I said the same thing yesterday? … On these pages…. less coverage … same outcome. Obama is not NOT serious. When he tours the World after he is kicked out of the White House at $100,000 (for 30 MIn) he will say,"I am the leader of the Muslims of the World and I proved it for 8 years in the White House."

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