United Press International, on the United States’ latest terrible idea for the Syrian war:
The U.S. will provide Toyota Hi-Lux pickup trucks to some Syrian rebels that will be equipped with machine guns, GPS devices and radios. The rebels can use the radios to call in airstrikes carried out by American B-1B bombers, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Mortars and more sophisticated anti-tank weapons may be provided as well.
Oh boy, this should work out great, based on our track record of arming the CIA’s private rebel army in Syria, Harakat Hazm, whose easy battlefield defeat resulted in Nusra Front (Syrian al Qaeda) getting anti-tank weapons.
Except this time it’s an even greater move, because now some of these incompetent rebels will be able to call in American airstrikes on god-knows-what, probably triggering an accidental war with Bashar al-Assad or some dramatic escalation.
I’m glad that coordinated air support helped save Kobani, but that’s just not the same situation as this proposal at all. Most worryingly, the people cheering the loudest for this idea are explicitly, openly hoping this will cause the United States to hit Syrian Armed Forces targets. These neo-cons want the United States to go to war in Syria. To quote The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, directly, on this:
Kimberly Kagan, founder of the Institute for the Study of War, said providing air support for the rebels is critical. But, she said, if the Obama administration doesn’t target the regime’s forces as well, it will inadvertently empower other extremists in Syria.
To re-state: Those favoring coordinated air support want the U.S. to attack the Syrian government directly.
As the article notes, even if this somehow didn’t lead to U.S. entanglement in Syria itself, it would certainly derail all the progress with Iran — both in Iraq’s war with ISIS (and problems with factionalism) and directly on nuclear negotiations.