Pentagon Won't Target ISIS Training Camps

ISIS camps produce about 1,000 new trained fighters each month, but we aren’t bombing them for fear of collateral damage:

The camps are spread throughout Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria and are off limits in the U.S.-led international bombing campaign because of concerns about collateral damage, said officials familiar with planning and execution of the yearlong bombing campaign.

Additionally, the IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) camps have been so successful that Islamic State leaders are considering expanding the camps to Libya and Yemen. Both states have become largely ungoverned areas in recent years.

The failure to target the training camps with U.S. and allied airstrikes is raising questions among some defense and intelligence officials about the commitment of President Obama and his senior aides to the current anti-IS strategy of degrading and ultimately destroying the terror group.

“If we know the location of these camps, and the president wants to destroy ISIS, why are the camps still functioning?” one official critical of the policy asked.

It’s better to judge a person by their actions rather than by their words.

Now I don’t actually believe President Obama is pro-ISIS — that would fly in the face of six years of him behaving objectively in Iran’s favor. But I do think he’d rather let Iraq sink into further chaos than risk even a little bad press for causing any collateral damage near the camps — and he knows he won’t take any blame for the targeted damage those fighters will cause once their training is complete.

There’s also a more out-there case to be made that the chaos in Iraq fits in with Obama’s (Jarrett’s?) broader ambitions for Iran. Defeating ISIS is going to take boots on the ground, and already some of those boots belong to Iranian soldiers. Who’s to say that they ever leave, and effectively* annex much of the Shi’ite provinces of Iraq to Shi’ite Iran?

It wouldn’t be easy. Co-religionisists aside, there’s still the age-old ethnic hatred between Persians and Arabs. But an Iran flush with $150,000,000,000 and trade deals flooding in from Europe, Russia, and China might just be able to pull it off.

An enlarged, enriched, emboldened, and nuclear-armed Iran might prove to be Obama’s truly lasting foreign policy legacy.

*Most likely de facto rather than de jure.

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