The PJ Tatler

So Now We're Going to Arm the Syrian Rebels

President Obama has wanted to arm Syria’s rebel groups all along. Now, thanks to the ISIS threat, he has his wish.

Do we even know who many of the Syrian rebels are, and what their long-term goals are? Not really. But Congress has voted to arm them anyway.

WASHINGTON — Legislation requested by President Barack Obama authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants in the Middle East is headed for his signature after a sweeping Senate vote.

The bipartisan 78-22 tally Thursday blended support from Obama’s close Democratic allies and some of his fiercest GOP critics, including top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. It put leading contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination on opposite sides. Some of Obama’s liberal allies defected.

Best-case, it will take five or six months to get them trained. During those five or six months, our border will remain as open as it is right now.

Best-case, the Syrian rebels help drive ISIS out of Syria. But given how many of them are allied with ISIS, as Patrick Poole has reported here, the best case isn’t the way to bet.

The Free Syrian Army has been working with ISIS.

The Syrian Revolutionaries Front has been working with ISIS.

Just one more reminder — Sen. John McCain quickly hired Syrian rebel apologist Elizabeth O’Bagy after she was busted for faking her credentials. McCain has been the leading GOP voice for arming the Syrian rebels. The Syrian Emergency Task Force that O’Bagy worked with up to a year ago had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots.

Both John Kerry and John McCain failed to vet her and the SETF before using them as experts. What are the odds that the two Johns’ vetting of rebel groups in Syria is any better?

So, best-case scenario, the Syrian rebels defeat ISIS. Then what? These rebels will now be armies in the field equipped and trained by the US military, and they will be armed with US weapons. They won’t be a state security force like the useless Iraqi military. They won’t be a cohesive pro-American force like the Kurds.

I hope Congress included a very generous buy-back program in its legislation authorizing arming them.

Those weapons will stay in the field after ISIS is beaten, even in the best case scenario. And then what?