Obama plan to fight IS suffers big setback

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 7, 2014
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U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State (IS) has a short leg. It attacks IS from the air, but lacks an effective land force to defeat the IS on the ground.

Made in the USA [By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]

The Iraqi security forces keep losing ground in the key al-Anbar Province. They are low in morale, poorly equipped and corrupt.

The only effective fighting forces are the Shiite militias including the Iran-supported Badr Brigade. But it is highly sectarian and is alienating and driving Sunni tribes to support IS as the lesser evil.

The Kurdish Peshmerga is barely holding its own.

So Obama is pinning his hope on training and equipping the "vetted" "moderate" Syrian rebel forces the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Revolutionary Front. But these groups were recently routed, not by Assad's barrel bombs as Laurent Fabius and the Washington Post editorial board claim, but by the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group. The American armed and trained "moderate" rebels either surrendered or defected to al-Nusra which swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib.

Among those groups routed by al-Nusra was Harakat Hazin (Steadfastness Movement), the biggest recipient of U.S. assistance, including TOW anti-tank missiles, small arms and ammunition as well as non-lethal items like vehicles, food and uniforms. Scores of its fighters also received covert U.S. training in Qatar. U.S. officials still do not know whether these weapons have fallen into al-Nusra hands.

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