Sunday, September 14, 2014

Obama's Loose Lips Sink Ships - And Kill Potential Allies

My friend Commander Jennifer D. Dyer (ret) has a great piece on the Obama Administration's non-strategy that will definitely reward your attention. Among other things, it details exactly how the president's preferred strategy collapsed between his turgid speech  last Wednesday and today..because ISIS was listening and took action..emphasis mine:

ISIS is busy neutralizing the Syrian factions that might make common cause with the United States.  On Thursday, Breitbart London reported that several dozen leaders of Syrian rebel factions opposed to ISIS, who were gathered at a meeting in northwestern Syria, were killed in a massive explosion on Wednesday.
Huffington Post on Friday evening summarized reports that ISIS has signed a non-aggression deal with a separate group of rebel factions in Syria, nominally so that all of the factions can continue to fight the Assad regime.
According to the Dubai-based Arabic news site Orient News, one of the signatories to the agreement is the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), a group that has received U.S. support and has been touted as a likely partner for a U.S. strategy to oppose ISIS in Syria.
The SRF has been losing ground in recent weeks, suffering a major blow when one of its top commanders was killed at the end of August.  At the same time, the SRF was reported to be fighting alongside al-Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in southern Syria, including the battle for the crossing point with Israel in the Golan over which the rebel factions claimed control on 27 August.
Now it appears that the non-aggression pact with ISIS was brokered by Jabhat al-Nusra.(ed note: an ISIS ally)  None of this comes as a surprise to those who’ve been following along with Patrick Poole at PJ Media.  On 3 September, Poole outlined the continuing cooperation of factions in the Free Syrian Army with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra – cooperation that has resulted in a flow of U.S.-supplied weaponry to the latter two armies.  On 9 September, he expounded on a report from the Los Angeles Times that one of the “vetted moderate” groups, Harakat Hazm, is quite open about fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra.
The U.S. has already given this group anti-tank missiles.  Appended to Poole’s analysis is the tweeted text of an alliance agreement concluded by “vetted moderate” faction Harakat Hazm and other similar groups with Jabhat al-Nusra.  The text was tweeted on 8 July.
It’s not just credible, it’s highly bloody likely that some of the rebel factions – including U.S. client SRF – have indeed made a pact with ISIS.  The fact that it won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit ought to serve not as an encouragement to U.S. delusions of a meaningful alliance in Syria, but as a warning.[....]
In fact, ISIS hasn’t sat still.  Once Obama made his speech on Wednesday, the option of mounting coordinated attacks on ISIS’s strategic rear in Syria immediately became a major threat posed by the U.S.  If we could do it effectively, we could force ISIS to defend its rear: shift resources away from the campaign in Iraq, and perhaps even rework its overall strategy.
So ISIS promptly took out nearly 50 opposition rebel leaders and signed its non-aggression agreement with America’s potential partners in Syria.
Remember that ISIS doesn’t have to show good faith over time with any of those Syrian factions.  It just has to preempt their cooperation with the United States.  The mechanism for that is straightforward.  We’re an easy read – ponderous making decisions, easily spooked, committed to at least perfunctory public transparency – and our president is a slow learner.
If ISIS can prevent anyone in Syria from cooperating with the U.S., ISIS can concentrate its effort in Iraq, where our forces on the ground will be: small, scattered, un-concentrated, embedded with local groups which may not all be fighting for the same objectives.  Remember this also: Obama is determined not to overlay an obtrusively coherent U.S. framework on this operation.  Kurds fighting in northern Iraq and Sunnis fighting along the Euphrates in Anbar – each with a separate ill-defined connection to the struggling Shia-majority government in Baghdad – will have the lead.
Even in Vietnam and Somalia, I don’t think we’ve ever backed into anything with our hindquarters flapping quite so egregiously in the breeze.  Military success doesn’t just happen.  It’s as much a matter of political will, and a coherent strategy and operational plan, as it is of training, expertise, and weapons superiority at the tactical level.  Assuming we do go ahead with the plan-deficient, few-boots non-war the Obama administration has been proclaiming for the last 72 hours, I am very concerned that American troops could find themselves vulnerable under fire and fighting for their lives within weeks.
I would actually feel better at this point if we weren’t enlarging our footprint in Irbil at all, but instead planned to just keeping flying strike-fighters from Kuwait and Qatar.  There are sound operational reasons to be gravely concerned about Obama’s decision to dismiss the advice of his military leaders and go with a toxic brew of half-measure objectives and exposed deployment situations.
The rapid, cynical, homicidal initiative shown by ISIS in seeking to neutralize Obama’s Syria option is a pretty good indicator of what we’ll be up against.  Pundits and officials who are vocally criticizing the president are not just showing partisan sour grapes.  This is real, and it’s bad.
Commander Dyer also  makes the point that the troops we do have in the region are going to be in very small concentrations, particularly in the vulnerable Kurdish capitol of Erbil. We going to be basing both troops and fighter planes there because, as I reported before,  our Turkish  'ally' won't let us use bases in their country to attack ISIS, even ones we pay a handsome fee to lease, most notably Incirlik, a mere 100 miles from the front. So much for all that appeasement .

Moreover, as Commander Dyer points out,  putting together an airbase in Erbil, this close to the front with ISIS makes the planes vulnerable to any heat seeking missiles, of which ISIS has plenty.It's one thing once they're up in the air, but very different when it comes to landing and takeoff.

The bottom line, of course, is is that there is no real strategy, except a political one. President Obama isn't trying to destroy ISIS, he merely wants to rescue his poll numbers by launching a few airstrikes and giving the appearance of doing something so he can kick the can down the road for his successor.

Of course having opened his mouth in prime time on national television, the president has pretty much destroyed any chance of  real cooperation with any Syrian  opposition. The ones whom ISIS thought might be a problem are dead, and the others are neutralized, especially after they saw what happened to the others.

Read the rest of Commander Dyer's piece here..

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