Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Washington’s Alliance With Syrian Jihadists

Remember when President Obama decided it was time to bomb Syria and was only stopped by a wave of widespread grassroots protest? After announcing his intent to bomb, Obama decided to seek congressional approval and go through the motions of asking permission – although reserving the right to do what he wanted in any event – perhaps because he realized the move would not be popular. And he was right about that: as congressional switchboards were overloaded with calls from outraged, war-weary citizens, one-by-one those members of Congress who were either on the fence or inclined to go along with the War Party changed their minds and defected to the Peace Camp. A broad coalition of anti-interventionist groups, including, was involved in the campaign against this new folly, and its success was a wonderful sight to behold – but that wasn’t the end of the story.

In a little-noticed move, the President has now authorized air strikes over Syria in support of Syrian rebels, as Bloomberg News reports:

“President Barack Obama has authorized the use of air power to defend U.S.-trained Syrian rebels if they come under attack from terrorist groups or the Assad regime, deepening the U.S. role against Islamic State forces in Syria.

“The broader US rules of engagement, approved July 31, came after rebels fighting Islamic State were attacked by the al-Nusrah Front, an al-Qaeda offshoot, in northern Syria, a US defense official said. The US provided close air support to protect the rebels and quash the attack, he said.

“While air strikes remain limited to Islamic State targets for offensive operations, they can now be used to defend US allies on the ground in Syria, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.”

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