What is the US doing in Syria?

20/10/2015
The US’s new strategy in Syria is considered illusive and risky when the US’s weapons would be potentially under the IS control.
The United States will largely abandon its efforts to train moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State, and instead provide arms and equipment directly to rebel leaders and their units on the battlefield, the Obama administration said on Friday.
Admitting mistakes and failures
Washington's announcement came as Islamic State fighters seized villages close to the northern city of Aleppo from rival insurgents, according to a monitoring group, despite an intensified Russian campaign.
From Washington Post, the military and national security editor, Missy Ryan assessed that the Pentagon’s decision was the admission of mistakes and consecutive failures in the training program for Syrian rebels. The goals of the U.S. $580 million program were to train and equip units of fighters at sites outside of Syria, after its disastrous launch this year fanned criticism of President Barack Obama war strategy.
However, after the strict recruitment process and tough training program, the US-trained rival units had been defeated consecutively on the battlefield in the fights with the IS fighters. On of the rival units even surrendered and handed over all of the US’s equipments and weapons for Al-Qaeda militants.
The failures in the training program is considered one of the main reasons that have made the US’s campaign against the IS falling into deadlock. Thousands of the air strikes of the US and its allies can’t prevent the IS from spreading its control in both Iraq and Syria.
The strategy switch comes as the Obama administration grapples with a dramatic change in the landscape in Syria's four-year-old civil war, brought about by Russia's military intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow's intervention has cast doubt on Obama's strategy there and raised questions about U.S. influence in the region.
The illusive strategy
On October 9, the NYTimes commentator, Andrew Rosenthal, wrote that the US’s new plan to equip weapons for Syrian rebels was “the illusion”, especially when Russian jet fighters were striking the IS forces in Syria.
Therefore, it’s hard to believe that the US will be successful surprisingly in the effort of finding the rival groups that share the goals with the US to weaken the IS and not to bring down the Government of President Bashar al-Assad. The historical experiments of the US in Syria and recent wars show that the indigenous fighters, who were recruited and trained by the US, are often very shaky and the US weapons are not strictly under control and easily to cause brutal disasters.
Craig Whitlock, a national security analyst in London, argued that the military assistant for rival militants in the region including IS fighters would be a dramatic change form the US’s previous policy. However it’s potentially risky if the weapon is taken by IS forces or the rival units are defeated by the Government and its allies forces.
The analysts have also expressed their concern over the possibility of confrontation between the US’s and Russia’s fighters when they are conducting air strikes to support rival forces and the Government’s military nearby the city of Raqqa.
It would be better for the US to be patient for the dramatic change in battlefield rather than being risky to provide weapon for rival forces and make things more complicated in Syria. The most viable choice for the US is to promote a big improvement in diplomacy and accept Russia as an equal partner in solving the Syria crisis./.

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