It is pretty symbolic of our whole Middle East Fuck Up of the last 12 years
The Pentagon has said that a group of US-trained Syrian fighters has handed over ammunition and equipment to the Al-Nusra Front rebel group, purportedly in exchange for safe passage.
To just remind ourselves because keeping track of all the warring factions in the region is far from easy
The al-Nusra Front's pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda has ended speculation over the suspected ties between the Syrian jihadist group and the Islamist militant network.
The announcement came just days after al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called on jihadis to do everything possible to bring about an Islamic state in Syria.
But al-Nusra was quick to stress that the oath would have no impact on its role in Syria, where it has come to play a significant role in the fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad
The $500m programme originally aimed to ready about 5,400 vetted fighters a year for three years but problems finding suitable candidates have seen only a tiny fraction getting trained.
The first graduates, who made up a group of 54 fighters, were attacked by the Nusra Front in July and the Pentagon is still unsure what happened to them all, with at least one killed.
The second group, consisting of about 70 fighters, were sent back to Syria last weekend and reports began circulating on Twitter soon after that they had either defected or handed over equipment.
The Pentagon has ended up essentially admitting two things
1] They haven't got a clue what is going on the ground.
2] The fighters they do find, cant pass the background checks.
Damn, where did Rambo go?
This analysis [pdf] of the region by RUSI gives some idea of the complexities, some excerpts:
It is true that the Middle East cannot simply be left to its own devices, in the hope that the current violence will ‘burn itself out’, not least because it is too close to, and bound up with, Europe, and too dangerous in terms of weapons and population pressures to be cauterised or quarantined. However, this does not mean that every Middle Eastern conflict requires a Western-led military intervention, nor that military force is always the right response. Indeed, the ‘spray’ approach to international crises – simply bombing those we do not like – will not achieve any more in the Middle East today than it did in the Balkans during the 1990s
This deep-rooted conception of the region’s lack of control over its own affairs is complicated by a growing regional power play between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The rivalry between the region’s pre-eminent powers has reopened the Middle East’s age-old sectarian dynamic. This has been exacerbated in recent years by the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its bloody aftermath, as well as the civil war in Syria since 2011, both of which have pitted Iranian-backed state actors against Sunni-led insurgencies. The result has been the proliferation of regional militias defined along sectarian and ethnic lines, backed by the two primary regional powers.
The deployment in September 2015 of Russian troops to Tartus and Latakia (namely, one
battalion of the Russian Black Sea Fleet 810th Marines Brigade and, probably, one company of the 27th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, along with one battalion of military engineers) does not change the overall picture.
Instead, it only underlines the contradictions of the Kremlin’s policy, given that these troops have been deployed to (and are fighting in, according to numerous but unverified reports 46) areas of Syria where ISIS is not present. In this way, Russian troops are backing Assad in the fight against groups such as Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham, which are themselves opposed to ISIS. If Russia troops do eventually join combat, therefore, they would also – technically – be assisting ISIS
Whether you agree with their conclusions or not, it is an interesting read.
The only conclusion I can draw is, there needs to be a radical rethink and this is not going to end anytime soon.
We have also seen this:
One year on, there have been some successes in pushing ISIS back in Iraq and Syria thanks in large part to US-backed Kurdish forces. However, Turkey will not tolerate any further expansion of Kurdish-held territory, control of Syria has fragmented between the regime and an array of armed groups, and Iraq is increasingly likely to split along sectarian lines. As ISIS moves west from its stronghold in Raqqa, it continues to take land from forces fighting for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, while also running into the externally supported jihadi groups and other rebel forces.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Washington over its support of Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People's Protection Units - the YPG, in its fight against the Islamic State. The dispute comes as tensions are renewed between the two NATO allies over the battle against the Islamic State.
Ankara and Washington could be on a collision course over the Syrian Kurdish militia the YPG.
One thing I would recommend to the Pentagon, quit trying to flood the region with more "fighters" and weapons, there are more than enough there already.
Of course with the refugee crisis ongoing, you can expect only one reaction from certain corners.
David Cameron will urge MPs to support air strikes against Isis in Iraq but is unlikely to ask them to approve military action in Syria against the militant extremist group.
It'll work this time I'm telling you.
I met a Traveler from an antique land,
Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings."
Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!
No thing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822): Ozymandias.
“The fringes of their deserts were strewn with broken faiths.”
― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier.
It is not possible to create peace in the Middle East by jeopardizing the peace of the world.
Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
To achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East takes guts, not guns.
Queen Rania of Jordan