President Obama Setting Up Syria As The Next Afghanistan

As opposition grew against the Soviet backed government in Afghanistan in the 1970’s, in one of the last ‘battles’ of the cold war, the US government decided to support the anti-Afghan government mujahideen. This support became even more pronounced after the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan. We poured weapons and money to the mujahideen and took it as a moral and military victory when the Soviets retreated.

And then as the Taliban solidified post war power in Afghanistan, the mujahideen turned their attentions to the West and Al Qaeda and other radicals went from cold war allies to hot war enemies.

Now President Obama is supporting opposition forces in Syria, a broad loose coalition of secular and Islamic groups all opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. These groups are already being supplied with arms from Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but the West has been supplying a combination of humanitarian and non-lethal military aid.

Now Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that the Obama Administration is going to double the financial support that the US will afford the Syrian rebels:

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Sunday morning that the United States would double its aid to the Syrian opposition, providing $123 million in fresh assistance.

American officials did not specify the items that will be sent, saying that will be determined in consultation with the coalition. But the Obama administration has considered providing items like body armor and night-vision goggles. (emphasis mine)

The new aid would be in addition to the food and the medical supplies that the United States had already pledged at a conference in late February in Rome.

With the pledge of new aid, the total amount of nonlethal assistance from the United States to the coalition and civic groups inside the country is $250 million.

Wait a minute…wasn’t one of the advantages that the US military touted during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, our night vision goggles? Now we are just going to hand them out to potential future enemies?

The Syrian opposition forces have become a magnet for terrorist and extremist groups who hope to be in position to gain power on the fall of the Assad regime. Why we can’t see it when the Germans clearly see it. We seem bound and determined to repeat our first big fail in Afghanistan…the enemy of our enemy is our friend…well until that second enemy is declawed and our friend of opportunity becomes our new enemy.

I have no issue with providing food and medical supplies to Syrian refugees whether inside Syria or in the bordering nations. But I have a major issue with supplying military hardware to opposition groups that have a very serious potential of turning into lethal enemies in the very near future. And night vision goggles are certainly a military advantage and of course so is body armor or advanced communication gear for that matter (another item currently under discussion):

Providing body armor and night-vision goggles “would be consistent with the president’s directive to look for ways to increase assistance to the opposition,” the U.S. official said.

Kerry is expected to formally unveil the U.S. decision at a meeting in Istanbul on Saturday with Syrian opposition leaders and their international backers. Fresh U.S. humanitarian aide for Syrian refugees is also likely.

A senior State Department official said “assistance to the Supreme Military Council (of the rebel Free Syrian Army), beyond military food rations and medical kits to include other types of non-lethal supplies, is … being discussed, and will be determined in collaboration with SMC leadership.”

U.S. officials have said in the past that the equipment could include armored vehicles and advanced communications equipment.

Just because a military item doesn’t shoot a projectile, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to just hand them out to the enemy of our enemy, just because it looks like a great short term idea. And like our first intervention in Afghanistan, we may be setting ourselves up for a second intervention in Syria if we follow the president’s current path. Quite frankly, as we wind down our military involvement in Afghanistan today, I can’t think of a worse idea that getting involved in Syria beyond basic humanitarian aid.

This isn’t our fight…the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are involved…it’s there region…let them handle it. Other that providing humanitarian aid, we have NOTHING to gain with involvement in Syria.


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