Top 5 Reasons US Aid to “Moderate” Syrian Fighters is Quixotic

The Obama administration’s fruitless search for effective Sunni “moderate” fighters in Syria continues, with the announcement of a $500 million grant to them for training and weaponry.

This policy seems in part to be driven by Saudi Arabia from abroad and by liberal interventionists, including Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Susan Powers. It is very bad policy, committing all over again the worst mistakes of the Reagan administration in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s. Anti-Communist crusading and liberal interventionist imperialism turn out to look an awfully lot alike on the ground.

The problem is not that there are no moderate Sunni oppositionists. There are plenty of them and they are decent people standing up to a regime guilty of crimes against humanity (i.e. of a systematic and extended series of war crimes). The problem is that they are highly unlikely to defeat ISIS or similar groups on the ground, and that any arms and training given them will also go to ISIS for ultimate use against the United States.

1. The Sunni Syrian fighters are not all that wedded to a particular ideology. Several important groups originally operating as part of the pro-Western Free Syrian Army defected to the al-Qaeda affiliates last September, apparently mainly because the latter pay better. That is, the assumption that there are essential or perduring “moderates” is incorrect. Guerrillas need resources and admire winners, so groups with more resources that have more victories will pick up allies over time even if they are horrible groups.

2. The kind of money the US is offering, $500 million, is simply not enough to allow it to compete with the funders of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. ISIS captured that much just from Mosul banks alone last week. Plus it has Syrian oil fields and enormous influxes of capital from the private business billionaires of the Gulf. The US will be outspent, and so will fail to keep the loyalty of the moderates it trains, many of whom will switch sides and join al-Qaeda.

3. Civil wars are polarizing. Quite apart from money and resources, it is extremely difficult for a moderate third force to remain moderate. The Syrian regime has deployed Alawite thuggish gangs of ‘ghosts’ or shabiha against civilian populations, sometimes committing massacres. Alawite Air Force pilots routinely drop petroleum barrel bombs, which are indiscriminate in their impact, on civilian neighborhoods. This logic forces Sunni opponents to match the shabiha for brutality and identity politics. Hence, the most motivated fighters over time have been radical fundamentalists, not open-minded moderates. Many groups once just adherents of political Islam have over time been pushed into the arms of the al-Qaeda affiliates in northern Syria by the dynamics of the battlefield.

4. Weapons given by the US to ‘moderate’ Sunnis will make their way to the radicals, in part because of corruption. Indeed, US weapons and ammunition traveled from Shiite Iraqi troops to Sunni extremists in Iraq. The troops allied with the US would often be corrupt and would sell their weapons, only to find themselves later outgunned by fundamentalists who had bought them. Given the influx of Kuwaiti and other private Gulf money to ISIS and other radicals, they will be in a position to profit from any corruption among US allies. But also, it is inevitable that “moderate” Sunnis will sometimes be engaged in firefights with the Syrian regime on the same side as the radicals, and the radicals will be in a position to acquire the latter’s weaponry when they fall on the battlefield or suffer reversals at regime hands.

5. Training given by the US to “moderates” will be shared with ISIS and other radicals. It is obvious that the training the US Central Intelligence Agency gave Afghan Mujahidin in northern Pakistan in the 1980s, in how to form covert cells and how to plan and execute tactical operations flowed to the Arab volunteers who were allied with the Mujahidin. In other words, US training helped to produce al-Qaeda when the training was shared by trainees with allied radicals. There is little doubt that any special training given Syrian Sunnis by the US will be acquired by members of al-Qaeda affiliates for use against the US. It will be acquired because out on the battlefield US-trained moderates will be de facto allies of ISIS, and so will need the latter and will fight alongside them, sharing techniques. It will also be acquired when the moderates defect to the al-Qaeda affiliates.

Syria has become a moral dilemma. Allowing the regime to survive is extremely unpalatable because it is guilty of war crimes. But then so too is ISIS guilty of war crimes, indeed, of crimes against humanity, and it could well sweep into Damascus if the Baathists falter, just as it swept into Mosul. Having an al-Qaeda wannabe take over the rest of Syria after taking northern Iraq is a very, very bad outcome. The West supported the Algerian military regime against the Islamic Salvation Front in the 1990s, despite the government’s dirty war and similar crimes to those being committed by the Baathists in Syria.

I have concluded that the dangers of blowback from US intervention are so great and the danger of an ISIS victory in Syria so unacceptable that the US would be better off not intervening directly in this conflict. I don’t believe that the Baathists can come back and remain a stable regime over the medium term given their extreme brutality in Homs and elsewhere. Since I think their legitimacy has been fatally weakened for the next generation of Syrians, it seems to me crazy to take the risk of repeating the Reagan mistake of fomenting private armies that morph into terrorist threats to the US. (What bad thing would have happened if the US had left the Babrak Karmal Communists alone in Afghanistan, in the end?) And I fear that that is exactly what the liberal interventionists in the Obama administration are doing, President Obama, who is more of a defensive realist, needs to stop listening to them and instead get with Chuck Hagel and Gen. Dempsey; I can’t imagine that they agree with this cockamamie quest for “moderates.”

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34 Responses

  1. You buried the “lede”. Indeed, “Syria has become a moral dilemma.” Great column.

    Unpalatable as it is, perhaps doing “nothing” is not only the preferable but the only prudent course. Problem is, the “American Way” is to be “proactive.”

  2. Thank you for another clear-sighted and informative column.
    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!
    WikiLeaks have shown that after the failure of Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 2006 to crush the Hizbullah, U.S. and Israeli officials decided to cut off the link between Iran and Hezbollah. Saudi King Abdullah said: “Nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria.” The result has been the destruction of Syria, the death of close to 200,000 people, and the creation of the Al-Nusra Front and the ISIS, exactly as happened with the creation of the Afghan Mujahedin that gave us Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Clearly both the Syrian government and the insurgents have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, but as you point out the victory of ISIS in Syria would create a situation in the entire Middle East that is hard to imagine.

    The fact is that in recent months the Syrian government has been gaining the upper hand and has defeated the terrorists in a number of cities, including Homs where the residents who had fled are beginning to return. Also there was an election in Syria, no less valid than the elections in Ukraine or Egypt, which showed that the majority of the Syrians voted for Bashar Assad. To spend a further $500 million, in addition to all the funds that the United States has already spent overtly or covertly, to train and arm what the White House called “appropriately vetted” members of the Syrian opposition in the midst of a raging civil war is the height of folly, and is like pouring more fuel on the fire. This time the result will be much more catastrophic than the training of the Mujahedin. The aim in both Iraq and Syria should be to defeat the terrorists first and then push for more inclusive governments.

    • >which showed that the majority of the Syrians voted for Bashar Assad.

      They only took place in a minority of syria and only assad and those vetted by his government were allowed to run.

    • Regarding the unintentional eventual transfer of American weapons to jihadist elements, I have already stated numerous times that arms are a valuable commodity on the black market and their transfer impossible to be traced once they leave U.S. hands and enter the supply network in question. The fact that ISIS has Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other sophisticated U.S. military technology should be a source of concern to U.S. officials.

      The U.S. has attempted to deliver materials to the free Syrian Army via the Syrian Support Group (SSG), based in Washington D.C., an NGO which has close ties to the State Department and other federal agencies and which is staffed by Syrian exiles and those with national security backgrounds. The SSG has maintained a videotape record of deliveries to satisfy the U.S. government that the materials are being received by the proper parties – but after then, its anybody’s guess where the deliveries will eventually find themselves.

      • Sure, some weapons intended for the Free Syrian Army will find their way to fundamentalists. (Although not stinger missiles, that idea is not on table.) Question is whether this downside is justified by advantages. ISIS is already very well armed in the absence of significant military support of the FSA. The FSA is barely capable of holding a portion of Aleppo, while ISIS comfortably controls western Syria, including its oil and other energy resources. (Assad is buying electricity from ISIS!)

        Opponents of arming moderates need to honestly acknowledge the evidence: the west has provided very little weaponry to moderate insurgents for three years. Your approach has been tested. Is the outcome good?

        • Actually, Richard, YOUR approach is what’s been tested. Other than for militarists, mercenaries, arms merchants, sneaky- Petes and friendly dictators, how has THAT worked out?

          “The only way to win (for us ordinary people) is not to let the grim careeristwarriors and chicken hawks play the game…”

        • No JTM, in regards to the Syrian rebellion, we have followed a hands-off policy. Every situation has a unique set of circumstances. Syria is not Iraq or Libya or Mali or Yemen.

          But I hear your point of view. You are arguing for a pacifist policy, you are against arming foreign groups.

        • You don’t get to decree what the ground truths and sociology are in all the places where that set of mostly wishful, idiotic and pathogenic “policies” you speak so faux-authoritatively for have lumbered over the landscape. And you don’t “win” the discussion with a cheap epithet like “pacifist.” It’s your burden of proof to show how sneaking or shipping more AKs and ammo and antitank/aircraft weapons which you admit will “sure, some of them” leak into ISISL stocks and how all that goes with the chaos that has been summoned up from Hades by “interventionist” Gamers can in any way “fix” the Chaos. Not an example out there, is there? “We” (whoever “we” is) have gone Hands off in Syria? You dare to claim that? Breathtaking illusionism!

        • You presented an argument that could be applied to arming any side in any conflict, and now double-down on it, claiming no example of a successful outcome in interventions. This is a pacifist stance – why do you consider “pacifist” an epithet?

          As an example where arming a side has succeeded, I give you Iran and Hezbollah proxy in Syria. From Iran’s perspective, “Great Success!”, to quote Borat. Russia is also quite happy with result of arming Assad – no regrets, client regime has been stabilized.

          And as to your implication that the U.S. has dramatically intervened in Syria, I can’t fix that false perception.

        • You seem like a debater type, sir. One part of debate, I believe, is defining terms. As in what, per Borat, makes “Great success!”? Interesting selection of example. Maybe Iranians are better at the Game than past and present rulers of Western empires? Per you, ” we” are advised to arm somebody. Maybe there’s an example of “success” by our rulers? Contras? Mujihedin “freedom fighters?” Jonas Savimbi? South Vietnam? I bet you reaallly liked the “surges.” And I really like your Russia-Assad example. Is what’s going on there a “success?” In your moral and political framework? And the US has done no arming in Syria? I heard the idea there and in most other “interventions” was to arm and train just enough to ensure instability over the long haul, and meta- dominion for friendly dictators (“we” arm Egypt and Israel and on and on.)
          I’m curious if you are or were a warrior and/or officer and/or policymaker for our fading empire. For which set, along with other parasites, “pacifist” is clearly a pejorative epithet.

        • “Pacifist” is not a pejorative. Today I heard Jesse Ventura say he wanted a constitutional amendment barring U.S. troops from acting 500 miles outside borders. I do not agree with isolationists, but intervention has hardly been fruitful overall.

          Arming and air support for Croatians and Bosniacs in 1990s proved to be a humanitarian success, albeit messy.

          Hezbollah, Iran, Assad, Russia have been successful from the standpoint of their goals, which I do not support

        • @jtmmcphee

          You seem to be making the same error you made in the past, you make grand statements and apply the same opinions to various events which are quite different to one another.

          Again this is done for it is easier than performing a detailed analysis on the differences between the various outcomes and situations..

        • As to how the Empire has or has not been arming the, what do you guys call it, the “Syrian opposition,” a couple of quick reportorial write-ups among many, showing that maybe “we” are filling the battlespace with more nice weapons for the “moderates” to employ to do what, again? achieve undefined “success?”:

          “CIA begins weapons delivery to Syrian rebels,”
          link to washingtonpost.com

          “Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels,” link to reuters.com

          “US reportedly starts supplying Syrian rebels with anti-tank weapons,” link to rt.com

          “Bosnia was, er, ah, messy,” and intervention by Imperial arms at some point did what, again? Where were the “statesmen” in the runup to that carnage who by application of something closer to Solonic wisdom and “policy” might have set conditions that might have avoided or reduced the killing and stabilized the ground short of really cool war toys like BLU-114s? link to en.wikipedia.org. Got any “interventions” that have been, by your lights, equally “successful?” By what criteria do you claim “success?” And how do all those “interventions,” that bland medical-sounding term for profitable armed violence, in any way, ever, lead to anything but more of the same?

          As I said, the burden of proof is on proponents of “intervention” to show how what’s done in the Empire’s name is going to lead to anything better, healthier, more stable and sustainable for the ordinary people who pay for the Games you proponents of “intervention” invite the rest of us to eat the costs and blowback from…

        • @jtmcphee

          >a couple of quick reportorial write-ups among many, showing that maybe “we” are filling the battlespace with more nice weapons for the “moderates”

          No one here has suggested that the us has not given weapons to the syrian opposition, please dont use strawman tactics.

          >“Bosnia was, er, ah, messy,” and intervention by Imperial arms at some point did what, again?

          As pointed out the intervention played a part in lifting the siege of sarajevo and forced bosian serb forces to return to the negotiation table which helped to bring an end to the conflict.

          >Got any “interventions” that have been, by your lights, equally “successful?”

          Kosovo, overthrow of the taliban (which polls show most afghans support), irans support of hezbollah.

          By what criteria do you claim “success?” And how do all those “interventions,”

          If stated goals are achieved, if the situation improves for most people on the ground, if most people on the ground see the intervention as being right.

          >that bland medical-sounding term for profitable armed violence

          It isnt a term for that, consult a dictionary if you feel otherwise.

          >As I said, the burden of proof is on proponents of “intervention”

          No, its on both sides, if one feels an intervention made things worse, evidence must be presented, if one feels it made things better, evidence must be presented. One side does not get a free pass.

        • The Obama Administration has mostly provided non-lethal aid. They announced some small arms a while ago, but reporters in Aleppo said they saw little change on front lines.

          As Juan correctly pointed out, $500M is a small amount compared to the challenge. Previous aid has been at tens of millions level, arms and nonlethal combined. You can’t argue that the trickle of arms the FSA receives is a substantial intervention, even though the U.S. CIA and Special Forces are working with Turkey and Jordan.

          I think the main role U.S. has played has been an unsuccessful attempt to steer Saudi and Qatari money away from ISIS.

          The fact is that ISIS has flourished under current policy. This does not prove a remedy, but it certainly invalidates the “blowback” argument. ISIS already has an excess of small arms and munitions.

        • Maybe we can call each other “pro-inteventionists” and “anti-interventionists.” Bearing in mind that across the board, intervention involves bombing, strafing, blasting, demolishing, and a lot of ‘bug splat’ that is deemed later to have been “acceptable.”

          I guess the “arming Syrian rebels” had an unstated condition that “we” haven’t “armed them enough.” Not a straw man, the pro-interventionist raised the claim that “we” haven’t armed the “rebels.”

          You, dmol, don’t get to conflate after-action, post-hoc, casual analysis (with all the biases) of interventions with run-ups to interventions, when it comes to burden of proof. Below are a number of cites indicating some consensus that the Grand International Law burden is in fact on the interventionists to show that the inevitable tolls in life and stability are “worth it,” and by what standards the claim is made. This article explores both, from the place named for one Great Intervenor, Woodrow Wilson: “Humanitarian Intervention Reconsidered: Lessons from Kosovo,” link to wilsoncenter.org

          Then there’s this litany of stuff that was so very wrong in the Kosovo deal, noting that “some stupid idiotic is inevitable in war,” but this was institutionalized. Including weapons being deployed to establish their presence in the inventory and a whole lot more: “From the Archives: The Failure of Intervention,” link to foreignaffairs.com

          And some more scholarship on the subject: “Was NATO’s Intervention in Kosovo in 1999 “Just?”, link to e-ir.info

          Seems to me that the authorities who parse the bloody entrails of “international law” sort of agree that a number of conditions must be established by the violence imposer before the fig leaf of legality can be affixed.

          A lot of “conservatives” who are also pro-interventionists get all exercised about “cultural relativism,” but your definition of “success” is redolent of that, and of post-hoc justification — “Success” is defined not as “mission” but as justification, from “results.” By your own criteria, without room for detailed exposition, I would say that even the “successes” you cite are “failures” as far as ordinary people might be concerned. Though they gave and will give the warriors a good workout and weapons-and-tactics-testing, maybe a la Germany in the Spanish Civil War?

  3. link to newyorker.com
    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—After announcing, on Thursday, that it would seek $500 million to help “train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition,” the White House today posted the following Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form:

    Welcome to the United States’ Moderate Syrian Rebel Vetting Process. To see if you qualify for $500 million in American weapons, please choose an answer to the following questions:

    As a Syrian rebel, I think the word or phrase that best describes me is:
    A) Moderate
    B) Very moderate
    C) Crazy moderate
    D) Other

    I became a Syrian rebel because I believe in:
    A) Truth
    B) Justice
    C) The American Way
    D) Creating an Islamic caliphate

    If I were given a highly lethal automatic weapon by the United States, I would:
    A) Only kill exactly the people that the United States wanted me to kill
    B) Try to kill the right people, with the caveat that I have never used an automatic weapon before
    C) Kill people only after submitting them to a rigorous vetting process
    D) Immediately let the weapon fall into the wrong hands

    I have previously received weapons from:
    A) Al Qaeda
    B) The Taliban
    C) North Korea
    D) I did not receive weapons from any of them because after they vetted me I was deemed way too moderate

    I consider ISIS:
    A) An existential threat to Iraq
    B) An existential threat to Syria
    C) An existential threat to Iraq and Syria
    D) The people who will pick up my American weapon after I drop it and run away

    Complete the following sentence. “American weapons are…”
    A) Always a good thing to randomly add to any international hot spot
    B) Exactly what this raging civil war has been missing for the past three years
    C) Best when used moderately
    D) Super easy to resell online

    Thank you for completing the Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form. We will process your application in the next one to two business days. Please indicate a current mailing address where you would like your weapons to be sent. If there is no one to sign for them we will leave them outside the front door.

  4. Is it possible, given the relative smallness of the gift, that it’s not so much help for Syrians as STFU for Senator McCain and his friends?

  5. Mukhtar Karim

    @snarwani By arming moderates (if there is such a thing) what guarantees that they remain moderate and not share arms with #ISIS?

  6. Leslie G.

    The dangers of blowback from US intervention in Syria are so great that we would be better off not intervening. h/t

  7. Guerrillas need resources and admire winners, so groups with more resources that have more victories will pick up allies over time even if they are horrible groups.

    Nothing new there. In his history of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides noted that the smaller and weaker towns would align themselves with the side they considered the more powerful

  8. All sides in the US, Tea Party-ites and moderates,like the President are living in a legendary universe.By legendary, I mean constructing a world view in which belief trumps facts and evidence. For example, the US is fighting an”axis of evil.”
    And now Washington wants to help the group it identifies as the good guys,ignoring strong evidence that their weapons will help the bad guys.
    Belief has trumped the convoluted truths on the ground.

  9. Omar

    ISIS rose to power precisely because moderate rebels were not supported early on. Obama continues to “lead from behind”.

    • ISIS rose to power because they had a great deal of financing and backing from regional and global Sunni donors and radicals who have affinity to their Islamist ideology. Despite wrecking the movement, they unfortunately have always been seen as much part of this movement as anyone else initially, including the FSA. They have even successfully out-competed other well organized Islamist groups such as Islamic Front or official Al Qaeda affiliate, Al-Nusra, who were there early on.

      Obama can’t solve this popular ideological crisis alone by somehow believing that funding FSA alone, which had loose connections with different types of Syrian local groups, would magically prevent ISIS and other Islamist groups, when some of the ISIS members themselves took advantage of US help, such as training in Jordan. When we’re not really going to stop any funding from ISIS’s backers or shut their radicalization program and supporters, it’ll make little difference and were always unlikely to out-compete.

  10. What I find poignantly, ironically hilarious is the notion that the new rounds of idiot-inspired violence, that cost ordinary people so very dearly, in those “theaters of conflict” where our sneaky-Petes and war dudes, will, like our us political theatre here at home, be decided by who outspends whom.

    Bwahahahaha (sob).

  11. Why do Americans continue to think that the rest of the world is somehow clean and simple and straight forward? Peasant societies and societies transitioning out of tribal organizations are complex and alliances are continually shifting. That world is a big market place where everyone is always looking for the next best deal. Consequently, people in those worlds are obviously too complex for the more simple minded Americans. It happens over and over and it’s very frustrating.

  12. Metro Detroit has a large Arab-American population that has a relatively small percentage of those of Syrian extraction. They have raised over 17 million dollars to support the Free Syrian Army. Many expatriates simply cleaned out their bank accounts to assist the opposition against Assad. Many also have spoken out and risked retribution against their relatives remaining in Syria.

    These expatriates have emphasized that civil war is a struggle against human rights violations that is rooted in the 30,000 massacred at Hama in 1982 by Baathist forces while quelling a revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood in that city.

    They de-emphasize the purported sectarian nature of the fighting. Sunni Muslims in Metro Detroit tend to be the most fervent supporters of the Free Syrian Army and its allies and Christians generally support the ouster of Assad, but there are some Christians that feel that Assad has protected their interests and the eventual alternative to the Baathist regime could be far worse.

    • Avoiding the sectarian nature of the conflict is hard to do even in Dearborn, who try to arrange Unity rallies and conferences.

      During the US invasion of Iraq, sectarian prejudice (besides the overall anti-Muslim prejudice faced by residents), particularly the anti-Shia sentiments – despite having a larger Shia Lebanese representation, was noticeable there.

      While most US Sunni Muslims, including in Dearborn, may support the more moderate Syrian opposition in the FSA, there has been some pro-ISIS condoning, if not support, which has seen some American Jihadists join ISIS – not necessarily from Dearborn.

      • Dearborn has had a large percentage of Shia Lebanese since the mid-1970s that continued to swell due to both the civil war of that time and the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon.

        Following the Persian Gulf War, many Iraqi Shia came to Dearborn as refugees and of these some went on to be affiliated with the CIA-backed Iraqi National Congress and eventually returned following the deposing of the Baathists in 2003 – attempting to create a new Iraqi government.

  13. The argument that some of the weapons and training that the U.S. might interject will find their way to ISIS and have a net negative impact ignores facts on ground. ISIS is not wanting for weapons or training; the more moderate factions are starved for resources. Even if 25% of resources were to slip to ISIS (a pessimistic scenario) the overall effect would be to strengthen the moderate factions vis-a-vis ISIS.

    ISIS and the Free Syria Army both likely acquired the bulk of their weaponry and training from Assad’s military through captures and defections. Are those transfers arguments for Assad to disarm his army?

    As to identifying moderates, well, for better or worse this task is getting easier. The Sunni-dominated factions competing with ISIS for control of Aleppo will suffice as “moderates.” The forces being organized from scratch in Jordan will also do.

    I know some of the people we arm will be ISIS infiltrators. I also have no answer for Juan’s point that “moderates” will be involved in war crimes. We’re choosing best available option.

    The assertion that 500M is too little is undoubtedly true, but it doesn’t argue for doing nothing. I don’t see the need to build a force that can defeat ISIS or rival it for resources. The goal is to build a credible political and military force which does not have an agenda of international terrorism. If they can hold some territory, pay their soldiers, they are a viable option waiting for opportunity. ISIS seems set for major rollbacks. Perhaps a more moderate alternative will look like the winning horse to Sunni backers some day.

    I’m sure that Dr. Cole’s essay will be popular, staying out of an ugly mess is appealing. I see no useful role for U.S. in Iraq, other than strengthening Kurdistan. In Syria, I see some modest benefit to funding an alternative to Assad and ISIS.

  14. There are enormous moral and practical differences between the FIS in Algeria and the Syrian rebels.

    In 1991-92 the FIS-led opposition in Algeria won sweeping electorial victories in elections which were held under the existing regime’s own auspices. There could be no doubt whatsoever that the FIS would have been the legitimate democractically elected government of Algeria.

    The Algerian Civil War began only after the FLN regime repudiated its own constitutional and electoral process, banned the victorious opposition parties, and arrested their leaders.

    Western support for the FLN regime, under those circumstances, was completely unjustifiable. There was not even a lousy geopolitical excuse for subsidizing the FLN, since the Cold War was over and world oil prices were low at that time.

  15. Given the competence of US attempts to build a democratic Iraq, there is no cause for optimism anywhere we are involved in the Middle East.

    Veterans not surprised Iraq’s Army collapsed: Veterans who built, trained and advised the Iraqi Army explain why it crumbled so fastlink to america.aljazeera.com

    This article indicates some people were aware of the apparent theft and other forms of corruption in Iraq so why was nothing done about it? Potential whistleblowers aware of what happened to Bradley/Chelsea Manning?

    • And “we” are “training and equipping national armies and national police forces” at huge cost with massive fraud and corruption, ” and all that wealth transfer is doing WHAT, again?

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