Small Wars Journal

What the Demise of the CIA’s anti-Assad Program Means

What the Demise of the CIA’s anti-Assad Program Means by David Ignatius - Washington Post

What did the CIA’s covert assistance program for Syrian rebels accomplish? Bizarrely, the biggest consequence may be that it helped trigger the Russian military intervention in 2015 that rescued President Bashar al-Assad — achieving the opposite of what the program intended.

Syria adds another chapter to the star-crossed history of CIA paramilitary action. These efforts begin with the worthy objective of giving presidents policy options short of all-out war. But they often end with an untidy mess, in which rebels feel they have been “seduced and abandoned” by the promise of U.S. support that disappears when the political winds change.

One Syrian opposition leader highlighted for me the danger for his rebel comrades now: “The groups that decided to work with the U.S. already have a target on their back from the extremists, but now will not be able to defend themselves.”

The demise of the Syria program was disclosed by The Post this week, but it’s been unraveling since President Trump took office. Trump wanted to work more closely with Russia to stabilize Syria, and a program that targeted Russia’s allies didn’t fit. The White House’s own Syria policy remains a hodgepodge of half-baked assumptions and conflicting goals, but that’s a subject for another day.

The rise and fall of the Syria covert action program conveys some useful lessons about this most delicate weapon in the United States’ arsenal. To summarize, the program was too late, too limited and too dependent on dubious partners, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia…

Read on.

Comments

Outlaw 09

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 9:32am

The Trump/Putin move to cut aid to the Syrian rebels has in fact now forced the moderate FSA to join with HTS/AQ and using Trumps own tweets that is a WIN!

HTS absorbing Ahrar_al_Sham in Idlib & Aleppo. 1000s of fighters joined HTS during the last days. HTS taking over weapons & factories.

REALLY great Trump FP move and when we are still in Syria in the next decade thank Trump.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/22/2017 - 3:21pm

MORE evidence from Syria today that Trump/CENTCOM/CIA aid stop is driving moderate FSA units into the arms of HTS/AQ

Massive win for the Trump Syrian FP.....

Idlib: Rebel brigades Usud al-Islam, Khalid Ibn Walid and Usud Bani Umayya joined HTS in Zardana.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/22/2017 - 9:51am

Ironic seeing who celebrates the end of US support to Syria’s opposition:

- Pro-AQ
- Pro-ISIS
- Pro-Assad/Iran/Russia
- [Some] analysts
- Trump as a sure sign of his affection for Putin

Openly now drives Syrian moderates straight into the arms of HTS/AQ and sucks the US deeper into Syria especially if FSA decides to openly attack PKK/SDF with Turkish OK and support which is happening now......

Great move by the Trump WH to appease Putin.

Example of how some view this cut off and they are so called academics who know Syria
Charles Lister Retweeted Joshua Landis
Do you lie so blatantly to your students?

- #FSA groups lost 100s/1,000s fighting #ISIS
- FSA groups who fought AQ were abandoned to lose
Charles Lister added,

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Joshua Landis Retweeted Charles Lister
Isis will not benefit from being destroyed in Syria. Arab Rebels refused to fight al-Qaida or Isis. Fought along side radicals. Obtuse