Syria

CIA-Backed Syrian Rebels Fighting Pentagon-Backed Syrian Rebels

The Pentagon resumed funding and training rebels this month.

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Defense.gov

The United States continues to fund rebels on the ground in Syria's five-year-long civil war, with President Obama a few weeks ago authorizing the Pentagon to resume training and arming Syrian rebels meant to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).

But Pentagon-backed rebels and CIA-backed rebels in Syria have increasingly found themselves fighting each other, as the Los Angeles Times reports, with multiple skirmishes between Aleppo and the Turkish-Syrian border in recent days. And Pentagon funding of rebel groups had been suspended after U.S.-trained rebels handed their weapons over to an Al-Qaeda affiliate last September.

The fighting between U.S.-backed rebels illustrates the confused, counter-productive, and costly foreign policy the Obama administration has been pursuing in Syria. The policy has met little legislative resistance in Congress, which continues its decades-long trend of ceding its role in foreign policy to the executive branch, and a bit more resistance on the campaign trail.

Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz voted against arming Syrian rebels in 2014, saying the U.S. didn't have a "dog in the fight" in Syria. Instead, Cruz proposes doubling down on the aerial campaign against ISIS and funding Kurdish fighters instead. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a relatively early Washington supporter of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, also voted against arming Syrian rebels, and Trump himself called the move to arm them a "mistake" back in 2014.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, Obama's first secretary of state, has offered a "stay the course" approach toward Obama administration foreign policy in Syria and elsewhere. Sanders, despite acknowledging unintended consequences, has largely done the same, reiterating his support for arming Syrian rebels as recently as last October, after the program had been suspended because of problems like weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups.

Candidates on both sides have expressed a desire for the U.S. to back foreign troops on the ground in the broader campaign against ISIS. While Republicans tend to paint this as a break from the Obama administration, Democrats offer the same position, framing it as a continuation of Obama's foreign policy.

And Democrats' nonchalant approach to arming hostiles in a civil war is particularly noxious given their stance at home not just on gun control but on money in politics as well. Democrats (and Donald Trump) warn that Americans spending freely on political speech has an undue effect on the electoral process, despite the failure this cycle of "big money" candidates like Jeb Bush to move the needle of public opinion at all. If politics is "war by other means," civil wars represent a break-down of the political system. Hillary Clinton is as enthusiastic about muzzling Americans opposed to her at home as she is arming Syrians opposed to their leaders abroad.

NEXT: Hillary Clinton's Use of a Private Email Server Perfectly Explains Why People Don't Trust Her

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  1. Stimulus, desert style.

  2. Being in government is like playing a video game. You get to make all kinds of absurd decisions, watch the violence that ensues, and suffer no real-life consequences of your own, all for your own amusement and at no cost to yourself.

    1. I’d much rather they were playing a video game, and leave the rest of us alone.

  3. OOPSIE

    1. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, Obama’s first secretary of state, has offered a “stay the course” approach toward Obama administration foreign policy in Syria and elsewhere. Sanders, despite acknowledging unintended consequences, has largely done the same, reiterating his support for arming Syrian rebels as recently as last October, after the program had been suspended because of problems like weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups.

      “It isn’t working”

      KEEP DOING IT!!!!

      1. STATE HARDER.

        1. Oooh – I like. Make it Latin and you have a great motto:

          Civitas Magis

          1. May I yoink? That’s fabulous.

          2. Civitas Magis! Those who are about to die salute you.

  4. So it is a proxy war.

    1. a proxy war between who though the CIA and the Pentagon?

      1. Or maybe between Halliburton and ISC. Gotta make the share price look good.

  5. You guys should hire Scott Horton. His foreign policy rants are hilarious and very informative.

  6. this specific rifle in the hands of a crazy ass jihadi may have been debunked.

    not sure about this one though.

    this along with south of the border gun running by BATFE really piss me off.

  7. So the CIA is backing the Syrian People’s Front and the DoD is backing the Popular Front of Syria?

    1. It’s Fronts all the way back down.

  8. So, what is Gary Johnson’s position on Syria?

    We got Clinton,Sanders, Cruz, Trump and Obama positions, but no Johnson?

    Candidates on both sides have expressed a desire for the U.S. to back foreign troops on the ground in the broader campaign against ISIS.

    Both sides? Which of the two sides is Gay Jay on?

    It’s bad enough when the the MSM doesn’t acknowledge his existence, but when the libertarian website can’t work him in…

  9. Reminds me of Yemen too. U.S./Saudi coalition bombs houthis, gives al qaeda space and room to advance on the ground. Then shit! Get the drones! Al qaeda is making gains in Yemen!

  10. There is no point in funding a ‘faction’ unless they support basic freedom and human rights as defined by a Libertarian, not a republicrat. Otherwise it’s just a waste and the ‘least bad’ will quickly become the ‘worst bad’. It’s easy to tell if they believe in human rights – first check to see if their children know anything other than Koran verses and go from there. And you can safely ignore the sand monument consecrations to Admiral Dempsey – impressive but offer little strategic advantage. There are no factions fighting for freedom? OK well I guess sometimes people have to learn the hard way.

    1. There is no point in funding a ‘faction’ unless they support basic freedom and human rights as defined by a Libertarian, not a republicrat. Otherwise it’s just a waste and the ‘least bad’ will quickly become the ‘worst bad’. It’s easy to tell if they believe in human rights – first check to see if their children know anything other than Koran verses and go from there. And you can safely ignore the sand monument consecrations to Admiral Dempsey – impressive but offer little strategic advantage. There are no factions fighting for freedom? OK well I guess sometimes people have to learn the hard way.

      FTFY

      1. Fine. Then we must stop bombing them. Can’t have it both ways. (Except under the Western Secular Caliphate – in which case you can do whatever you want at least for now.)

  11. *Obama opens newspaper*

    *Sees headline: CIA-Backed Syrian Rebels Fighting Pentagon-Backed Syrian Rebels”*

    “You learn something new everyday.”

    1. A mute trombone plays a descending scale in a minor key.

    2. Hillary! Get in here!

  12. I eagerly await seeing him grilled in the press over this. No, I’m not holding my breath.

  13. Obozo – what a clown. He arms Nusrat-al-Wahabbi while he bombs Wahabbi-al-Nusrat. He knows nothing about the middle east and his incompetence only makes the situation worse. This is why we need Ted Cruz in there to just carpet bomb the whole place into oblivion.

    1. Genocidal fucktard says what?

  14. The Russians fought their end of the conflict in a smart manner with limited objectives and, it appears, achieved those objectives. We throw money at the problem with no clear objectives and only make the situation worse. It’s a Goddamn disgrace and the best argument I’ve ever seen for cutting the Pentagon’s budget. They’ve become fat, stupid, and incredibly ineffective.

  15. From the statist point of view, this is all extraordinarily clever. Back multiple sides, and then declare the winner to be an “national security threat” which the state must have more money and power to fight. Talk about job security.

    1. We still have to fight them because otherwise an extremist cleric will produce a high quality video about the glories of Islam and upload it to the youtubes and the children will see it and become ‘radicalized’ to jihad against us.

  16. Let’s you and him fight!

    1. They called you all pussies. You going to take that?

  17. Jesus, were the Romans or Egyptians or other superpowers of history this incompetent?

    1. TBF: the Romans’ solution to their problems of empire probably wouldn’t fly today.

      1. -1 Dacia

        1. +1 Carthaginian peace

    2. “were the Romans or Egyptians or other superpowers of history this incompetent?”

      It takes a certain level of population, organization, and technology to express incompetence at current levels.

      That said, yes – they did some pretty stupid shit. A brief survey of the relationship between the Romans and the Goths (Visi- and Ostro-) re the Huns is a pretty shining example.

      Short version: sack of Rome in 410 and subsequent troubles with Huns, Vandals, and rebellious governor of Britain were all 100% avoidable had the rulers not been utter morons.

      1. Nothing we can learn from that at all.

  18. I don’t see what the problem is. Both sides are killing Islamic militants aren’t they? Why shouldn’t we fund both sides since each presumably knows the other better than we do and can probably get the job done much more efficiently and effectively than we can? Hell, if anything we should encourage more factions to form and fund those, too.

    1. Welcome to the witch hunt. Everyone grab your pitchfork!

      1. You people and your masturbation euphemisms.

  19. I smell victory, unless you are Syrian or a US taxpayer.

  20. Obama’a approach to national issues is like 52 card pick up. throw all the weapons in the air and see who comes up with it. thats worse than anything Bush ever did.

    1. “thats worse than anything Bush ever did”

      Go Republicans!!

  21. RE: CIA-Backed Syrian Rebels Fighting Pentagon-Backed Syrian Rebels

    Who does the Las Vegas bookmakers think is going to win this one?
    Any bets ladies and gentlemen?

    1. The Military Industrial Complex.

  22. despite the failure this cycle of “big money” candidates like Jeb Bush to move the needle of public opinion at all.

    It was literally days before Jeb dropped out that my Democrat friends were convinced of an 11th hour comeback– because Bush’s “warchest” was yuuuge.

    Sorry, but say what you will about Democrats… they really do believe money is magical.

  23. Ted Cruz voted against arming Syrian rebels in 2014, saying the U.S. didn’t have a “dog in the fight” in Syria

    Of course we should ignore this whenever we want to hyperventilate about his campaign remarks about making “sand bounce” or “carpet bombing”.

  24. If only we had a military-industrial complex in 1865.

    1. The only way the MIC loses is if there is no war.

  25. So no matter who wins, that side will be pissed off at us for supporting the other side, right?

    1. Well when we end up fighting against them in 10 years, at least they’ll be well armed and be well versed in our military tactics.

  26. It’s too bad all the diplomacy and peace negotiations Obama had with the Assad regime fell through. War was our last resort. We had no other options at that point. /sarc

    1. Right. If only Assad had taken his money and fled to Russia things would be so much… um…better?
      /moresarc

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