Obama’s Syria Plan: Calibrated and Reassessed? Try 'Winging It.'
So now we’re supposed to believe that president Obama just realized Syria’s president Bashar al Assad must be removed to take out ISIS (or in his words ISIL) as CNN reports and he’s calibrating and reassessing his strategy on Syria? One word: idol. I can already hear proverbial headshakes and eyerolls occurring in unison around the Leviant and the rest of the world. Did someone just inform our commander in chief that Syria has been embroiled in first a civil uprising, which escalated to a civil war over nearly four years ago? According to the United Nations, Syria’s body count ranges roughly in the neighborhood of 191,000.
Newsweek to Uncover ISIS Money Trail
Does Obama subscribe to Newsweek? Maybe he should. Newsweek singlehandedly dedicated its November 14, 2014 cover to the terror juggernaut’s deep pockets. My analysis: ISIS is a more result of ‘watching and waiting and supplying arms to Gulf states funding terrorism’ who are bent on power, ethnic cleansing and challenging our Western ideology than anything else. ISIS didn’t just come onto the scene yesterday. Newsweek details the organization’s deep pockets that operate outside legitimate banking channels on page 26 - 41.
Fact remains, ISIS has successfully overtaken territory that equals the size of Austria. A small, broke band of bandits couldn’t pull this off.
Yet you know what they say about opinions and bungholes. Everyone has one. But what about Obama’s well-laid plan on Syria? Some would say this is yet another mirage, smokescreen or fictional tale spinning out of the White House at breakneck speed to prove Obama isn’t asleep behind the wheel.
Yet is he?
Many would agree Obama kicked the can on Syria for years. His Administration operates out of vacuum of “do nothing and see if it goes away” mentality. I don’t want to point fingers or claim war is the only solution, as we know it’s not. Diplomacy comes into play, really. But sticking one’s proverbial head in the sand to play the domestic race card instead of attending to national security concerns of securing our borders and helping the citizens of Syria when they are under genocide much the way the Jews of Europe were is about the same as the Pope acting like Hitler and Mussolini were two misunderstood protagonists. Neither is further from the truth.
Deep Pocket Parties: Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
So exactly who is funding ISIS, ISIL or whatever you want to call this terrorist organization? Remember that inconsequential 11 billion arms deal our Administration signed recently with terrorist funding Qatar? Or how about the $60 billion arms deal in 2013 with Saudi Arabia? Or how about that paltry $5 billion arms deal with Kuwait who wanted 60 advanced Patriot Capability missiles with parts, equipment and training? Or how about the announcement of the $123 billion arms deal to the Gulf States in 2010. Well, duh. Sound like we’re arming and greasing the enemy? Just a tad.
So the bright minds at Newsweek took on the daunting task of interviewing leaders from government officials in Iraq, Kurdistan, Europe, Syria, and the USA to find out how ISIS can survive, conquer and pay their bills when under aerial and land assault. Oddly enough, ISIS has mushroomed to support 8 million. It has received some $40 million or more in the last two years alone from oil rich countries that include private donors like Persian Gulf royalty, business consortiums and wealthy individuals or families. Newsweek credits criticism from former secretary of state and now 2016 POTUS contender Hillary Clinton and the international community as the reason Saudi Arabia passed 2013 legislation criminalizing anyone funding terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and ISIS.
Yet other area actors didn’t budge. While Saudi Arabia declared ISIS their number one enemy, Gulf states like Qatar and Kuwait remained mum. So if counterterrorist funding is connected heavily to Qatar and Kuwait, why is the Obama Administration agreeing to arms deals with these out-of-control actors? Likely, because there is no plan minus the uh-oh-reactionary-fly-by-the-seat plan like Benghazi was just an outraged Islamic mob reaction to a video. Remember that whopper?
Funding Terrorists Under the Guise of Humanitarian Aid
Nothing like starving children and widows to get people to open their pocketbooks. But haven’t we learned anything from the Holy Land Foundation? One of the best tips in the Newsweek article is the part on mobile apps like What’s App and Kik. A professional colleague and former president of the Middle East at one of my former employer’s once recommended that I use What’s App. What’s App and Kik are used often used by terrorists to coordinate geographical drop-off points for payments. These apps use a GPS mapping tool that makes it simple for terrorists to communicate locations.
My advice? Read the Newsweek article in its entirety as it’s much too lengthy to detail its contents fairly here. Yet suffice to say it took a Brookings analysis to point out that:
“in asymmetric conflict, if insurgents survive 12 months of activity, the likelihood of opposition victory increases significantly, but should the conflict perpetuate for at least three years, the chance of insurgent victory begins to diminish and political agreements become more likely.”
Obama’s evolving Syria plan? Well, all I can say is race baiting and campaigning for 2016 is useless and hindsight sucks. Syria’s bloodbath started in 2011 and in a month’s time we are entering 2015.