BI’s Pamela Engel says that the Obama Administration’s anti-ISIS effort suffers from a “crippling contradiction” which is only getting worse as time goes on:
The US training program for Syria to counter ISIS has not yet produced a single fighter.
The training failures highlight a massive contradiction that is crippling Obama’s strategy to combat Sunni extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
While the president insists that Sunnis are a crucial part of the plan to defeat ISIS, the administration is achieving little as the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad slaughters Sunnis in droves and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad avoids arming and training Sunnis out of fear that they might one day rise up against Baghdad.
In Iraq, training efforts are stymied because SecDef Ashton Carter says, “We simply haven’t received enough recruits.” Given the Administration’s lackadaisical efforts in Iraq, compounded by Obama abandoning that country after 2011, and by years of White House overtures to arch-enemy Iran, it’s easy to understand why Iraqis might not be exactly enthused.
UPDATE: Of course another item popped up in my feed right after I’d hit the Publish button on this piece. Josh Rogin & Eli Lake have a scoop out of Iraq:
The U.S. military and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are getting closer and closer in Iraq, even sharing a base, while Iran uses those militias to expand its influence in Iraq and fight alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime in neighboring Syria.
Two senior administration officials confirmed to us that U.S. soldiers and Shiite militia groups are both using the Taqqadum military base in Anbar, the same Iraqi base where President Obama is sending an additional 450 U.S. military personnel to help train the local forces fighting against the Islamic State. Some of the Iran-backed Shiite militias at the base have killed American soldiers in the past.
In the end, Obama will let Iran have most of Iraq and obtain nukes.