The Daily Beast. June 9, 2016
American-armed rebels are in deep trouble in the city of Aleppo. Washington’s response: escalate the fight—between the U.S. military and intelligence communities.
U.S.-backed opposition forces in Syria’s largest city are facing a ferocious Russian-led assault, raising fears that the rebels could be eliminated in a matter of weeks.
Two Department of Defense officials told The Daily Beast that they are not eager to support the rebels in the city of Aleppo because they’re seen as being affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat al-Nusra. The CIA, which supports those rebel groups, rejects that claim, saying alliances of convenience in the face of a mounting Russian-led offensive have created marriages of battlefield necessity, not ideology.
The interagency squabble is a manifestation of growing tension about the U.S. approach to arming rebels, which is inconsistent across Syria.
The Defense Department currently is helping some rebels fighting ISIS in northern and eastern Syria, with more than 250 U.S. military advisers alongside forces marching toward the ISIS capital of Raqqa. This combination of fighters also is attacking the city of Manbij, which has served as a major thoroughfare for ISIS fighters, weapons, and supplies traveling from Turkey to Syria. Meanwhile, the CIA is backing some opposition forces in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and the site of a Russian- and Syrian-led air offensive over the past few weeks.
“The U.S. has two isolated programs that are not mutually supporting each other and are actually sometimes at odds with each other,” said Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
The division within the Obama administration comes at a critical time for the war in Syria. Aleppo could descend into a months-long siege between opposition and Russian-backed government forces, endangering civilians and potentially creating a new refugee flow. That’s the better-case scenario. At worst for the opponents of the regime, Aleppo could fall under Assad control within weeks, potentially ensuring his survival. And yet the fall of Aleppo offers no guaranteed outcomes for the war. Indeed, it could encourage Assad’s opponents, like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to increase their support for the opposition fighting on the front lines.
Regardless, Assad’s confidence was on display earlier this week when he addressed parliament and said he would rid Aleppo of its foreign-backed “terrorists,” going so far as to say Aleppo will eventually become Turkey’s “graveyard.”
“Our war against terrorism is continuing,” Assad said in a speech to parliament broadcast by state TV. “As we liberated [Palmyra] and before it many areas, we will liberate every inch of Syria from their hands. Our only option is victory, otherwise Syria will not continue,” Assad reportedly said.
And according to Institute for the Study of War, which maps attacks across Syria, the number of places that have come under Russian attack nationwide over the past five days has tripled—from roughly 10 to 30. Among the tactics Russia has deployed, according to ISW, is to launch a series of attacks along a main opposition supply route thoroughfare, Castello Road.
To be sure, the U.S.-led coalition does not have the authority to go after the Syrian regime and its push to break the will of opposition. The U.S. military mission only authorizes strikes that target ISIS.
The U.S.-led coalition has not conducted any strikes around Aleppo in weeks, according to Pentagon statistics.
Whatever the outcome in Aleppo, critics argue the lack of a clear approach toward rebels weakens the U.S. ability to help resolve the five-year civil war.
Правительство США грубо нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com
Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют мою пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.
ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — запретить меня выступать в СМИ и не пропускать отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…