US stands by helplessly as Russia bombs the stuffing out of our rebel allies in Syria
CIA-backed rebels in Syria are pleading for anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down Russian bombers who have been pounding them mercilessly for three days.
U.S.-backed rebels in Syria appealed to the Obama administration Friday for antiaircraft missiles to defend their positions against relentless Russian airstrikes that have so far mostly targeted the moderate opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
A joint statement issued by the United States and other Western allies who have collectively aided moderate rebel units urged Russia to stop targeting moderate rebels and “to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL,” the acronym referring to the Islamic State.
U.S. officials indicated that there is no immediate plan to offer additional assistance to the rebel units that have been armed and trained under a covert CIA-led program aimed at supporting moderate groups and weakening Assad’s hold on power.
The covert operation is separate from a much-publicized Pentagon program to train a force to fight the Islamic State that has so far produced no more than four or five loyal fighters, and it is widely credited with having helped rebel advances over the past six months in the areas now being targeted by the Russians.
Obviously, they aren't going to get them. And despite Russian claims to the contrary, it appears that about 95% of their missions are being directed against U.S.-backed rebels, not ISIS.
Only one in 20 Russian air strikes in Syria are aimed at Islamic State targets, Britain's defense secretary said on Saturday, warning that Vladimir Putin was instead killing civilians to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia bombed Syria for a third straight day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting, and drawing an angry response from the West.
In an interview with the Sun newspaper, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said the vast majority of Russian air strikes were not aimed at the militant group at all.
"Our evidence indicates they are dropping unguided munitions in civilian areas, killing civilians, and they are dropping them against the Free Syrian forces fighting Assad," he said. "He's shoring up Assad and perpetuating the suffering."
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he sees a strong case for conducting British air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, but he wants to make sure he has enough support in parliament to gain approval.
He lost a parliamentary vote on the use of force in Syria in 2013. Consequently, British bombing so far has only targeted Islamic State in neighboring Iraq.
Fallon said Putin's actions complicated the situation in Syria, but the British government had made progress in persuading lawmakers from the opposition Labour party to back strikes in Syria. It would be morally wrong not to do so, he said.
"We can't leave it to French, Australian and American aircraft to keep our own British streets safe," he said.
Putin doesn't give a fig about civilian casualties, nor world outrage at the deaths of innocents. This seems pretty clear by his use of "drop 'em and forget 'em" dumb bombs. Killing rebels and their families is the only thing that matters.
President Obama says that Russia's foray into Syria is a sign of "weakness" and that Russia will slip into the Syrian "quagmire." Does he really believe that if he says it, that makes it so? Obama is slipping into a fantasy land, where he is projecting his own weakness on to President Putin. Meanwhile, the Russian president continues to give the U.S. president the finger while destroying CIA-backed militias that have carried the fight to President Assad in the last six months. Putin is targeting the rebels' most effective fighters, while readying Iranian and Hezb'allah ground forces to engage them. With air power that the rebels can't match or defend against, the ground forces should make pretty short work of Assad's most effective enemies.