The U.S. and its regional allies armed and trained “moderate” Sunni rebels to oust President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in order to weaken the Iranian/Russian influence in the Middle East. Then those “moderate” Sunni rebels became more radical and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has emerged as the largest, wealthiest and most-radical terrorist organization in the region.
The strategy of arming radical Sunni Muslims has been an abysmal failure, yet Hillary Clinton and neoconservatives like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham continue to push their Brzezinski-inspired foreign policy. In a swipe at the Obama administration, Clinton said, “Failure to help Syrian rebels led to the rise of ISIS.”
Last Sunday, both McCain and Graham appeared on the Sunday talk shows to warn about the “direct threat” of ISIS.
Graham told Fox News, “The Islamic State is ‘an existential threat’’ to our homeland.” Graham asked, “Do we really want to let America be attacked?”
What the mainstream media fails to ask war hawks like Graham is what made ISIS a threat in the first place?
What the mainstream media is not telling you is that both Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham played roles in strengthening ISIS and other Islamic insurgents in Syria.
ISIS success is due to the support they received from the CIA and key U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf — Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Both countries remain to be a critical financial support for al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Recently, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of openly funding the Sunni Muslim insurgents.
McCain still praises the Saudis, despite the known fact of its state-sponsored terror network and funding sources.
At the Munich Security Conference, McCain said, “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar and for our Qatari friends.”
According to Steve Clemons writing for The Atlantic, “ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria.” Clemons notes that according to one senior Qatari official, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Saudi ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, recruited both McCain and Graham to “put pressure on the administration to get more involved in Syria.”
So why are U.S. Senators working with the same actors who are behind ISIS instead of working to cut off the Islamic funding mechanisms?
Not only has the U.S. created an unholy alliance with states who sponsor terrorism, it has strengthened ISIS by training and arming radical Sunni insurgents who join ISIS, that share similar goals of creating an Islamic caliphate.
The CIA trains and arms Islamic rebels making matters worse.
There is no real distinction between moderate rebels and ISIS. In fact, there are an endless parade of reports that the U.S.-supported “moderate rebels” in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have joined ISIS. See here, here and here.
The FSA, al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and other Syrian rebels are joining forces with a unifying goal of creating an Islamic state.
Despite the reality on the ground in Syria and Iraq, politicians continue to advance their failed policies and the mainstream media never challenges them. They refuse to accept that arming Sunni rebels prolongs the conflict and makes matters worse.
The foreign policy strategy of arming radical Islamist to fight in American proxy wars postulated by Clinton, McCain and Graham is not based on any winning strategy but is based on political distraction by averting attention away from their failures.
The blame game is alive in Washington, D.C.. But their ideas are dangerous for the American people who face a challenging world.
Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch, said that the scheme of arming rebels is “just wrong” and it’s a strategy that won’t work. He noted that an “external support for insurgents typically makes conflicts longer and bloodier.”
“It’s difficult to produce a single example in modern history of a strategy of arming rebels actually succeeding,” said Lynch.
Steve Clemons describes the current blowback in Iraq perfectly:
“ Like elements of the mujahideen, which benefited from U.S. financial and military support during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and then later turned on the West in the form of al-Qaeda, ISIS achieved scale and consequence through Saudi support, only to now pose a grave threat to the kingdom and the region.”
“It’s this concern about blowback that has motivated Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to encourage restraint in arming Syrian rebels. President Obama has so far heeded these warnings.”
According to recent polls, Americans want to be less active in global affairs. What will bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq really accomplish when there is no real prospect of victory?
In recent opinion piece, Pat Buchanan asks, “If ISIS’ gains are truly an “existential threat” to the republic and our cities are about to “go up in flames,” why did these Republican hawks not demand that President Obama call back Congress from its five-week vacation to vote to authorize a new war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq?”
Congressman Thomas Massie agrees with Buchanan.
“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress—not the President—the power to declare war … these air strikes require congressional authorization, and the American people deserve open debate by their elected officials,” said Massie.
Massie told the media that “America’s national security interests in Iraq are unclear, because Iraq poses no imminent threat.”
“And, because the President has not articulated a long term strategy, I would vote against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq,” Massie said.