Approximately 120 U.S. Army soldiers have landed in Turkey to train “moderate” Syrian rebels at a Turkish air force base, Hurriyet News reported Friday.
The Obama administration previously has announced a grandiose program to train and equip rebels fighting the Assad regime, which has been joined by the Iranian-back Hezbollah terrorist organization.
Implementation of the program has been delayed because of disagreement over which fighters will be trained. The United States wants to vet fighters so that the weapons don’t end up in the hands of Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, but that could mean that the best fighters won’t be trained.
American governments and their State Dept, gurus have a long and bloody history of ignorance of the Middle East, as well as Vietnam for those who recall the groups of “advisors” that ballooned into a full force of soldiers, 58,000 of whom were killed in the war in the 1960s and 70s.
A senior opposition commander in eastern Syria told Reuters, “When the Americans see anyone shout ‘Allahu Akbar! they think they’re Islamists.”
The Syrian rebels being trained by the American soldiers will return to Syria to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) and will take along machine guns and anti-tank weapons.
President Obama has been extremely reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria, and one wonders whether he simply is going through the motion to show that he is doing something, without actually doing much at all.
One rebel commander told Reuters that Syrians are most motivated to defeat Assad, whose regime he described to Reuters as the “biggest killer.”
Syria is geographically divided, with the ISIS controlling areas in eastern Syria.
The State Dept., in response to questioning from Sen. John McCain in March, wrote him, “Even when considered as a whole, U.S. government assistance to the moderate armed opposition will not be decisive in defeating regime forces.
“Nor will the fighters who receive this assistance, on their own, force Assad to change his calculus about trying to hold on to power.”