Success and failure in Syria

 
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Success and failure in Syria

Let's start with the success:

If media reports are to be believed, Tarkhan Batirashvili, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Omar al-Shishani - Omar the Chechen - has been killed by a United States air strike in Syria. He is one of the most well-known foreign fighters in ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Originally from the Republic of Georgia in the South Caucasus, his fair skin and red beard have become a regular feature in ISIL propaganda.

If true, his death would be a significant, but not fatal, blow to ISIL, which is also known as ISIS. It would also mark the death of the most senior ISIL commander by the US-led anti-ISIL coalition to date.

OK, obviously killing a bad guy is great news.  But then you read more about this particular bad guy, and find out that we're the ones who trained him.

It was Shishani who posed with the stolen US Humvees that ISIS had seized from Mosul and brought back into Syria.

And it was Shishani who had led successful ISIS military campaigns throughout Syria as well as a blitz through western Iraq that put the group within 100 miles of Baghdad. 

These military successes are not simply the result of any innate military capabilities. Instead, Shishani spent years conducting military campaigns against the Russians, first as a Chechen rebel and then as a soldier in the Georgian military. During Shishani's four years in the military, from 2006 to 2010, his unit received some degree of training from American special forces units. 

“He was a perfect soldier from his first days, and everyone knew he was a star,” an unnamed former comrade who is still active in the Georgian military told McClatchy DC. “We were well trained by American special forces units, and he was the star pupil.”

“We trained him well, and we had lots of help from America,” another anonymous Georgian defense official told McClatchy about Shishani. “In fact, the only reason he didn’t go to Iraq to fight alongside America was that we needed his skills here in Georgia.”

And that right there is our problem in a nutshell.  We can't seem to figure out the good guys from the bad, and some of the times when we find good guys, they turn out to not be good at actually fighting.  Recall this:

 

 

So, I get the reticence to introduce American ground combat elements to the fight in Syria, but everytime we train people, they either stink at actually fighting, or they end up fighting against us.   Here's another story from today:

But the strategic victory was built on “extraordinary” battlefield losses among allied Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria who are at the center of the U.S. military’s renewed effort to train-and-equip friendly forces against the militants, Thomas told the Senate Armed Services Committee. More than 70 Syrian rebels were killed during the past month, he said...

The U.S. trained and equipped rebels “have performed very, very well,” Thomas said. “Every time they’ve met their march objective on time or ahead of time and with pretty extraordinary losses.”

Special operators on the ground in Syria were able to confirm that 70-75 rebel fighters were killed in battles during the past month, Thomas said.

“They’re losing a lot of people to carry the fight against [the Islamic State], so I’m impressed with their tenacity,” he said.

Hey, I'm all for tenacity, but training up guys so they can go off and get killed almost immediately just seems like it would breed resentment.  The only ones I have any faith in is the Peshmerga (the Kurds) but we can't openly work with them for fear of turning off our Turkish allies.  

So I guess this is one step back and then one step forward?  We train a guy, he decides to fight us, and so we kill him.  As far as a long term plan of success, that one kind of stinks.  I admit I can't think of any better idea, and everything I think of just comes out to varying degrees of how bad an idea it is.  Anyone have any thoughts?  Besides using nuclear devices to turn the whole area to glass, which is neither helpful nor ever going to happen.

Posted in the burner | 21 comments
 
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Comments

Yes there are answers. One is to kill every terrorist or terrorist sympathizer in the area. Violence can only be met with a higher level of violence on the evil. Those who think an end to the violence is the answer, that education and understanding will prevent terrorism, are misguided and are the first to be beheaded. When a group of people attempt to kill, mame, and terrorize the innocent, they must be summarily and promptly murdered to death on their own soil.

To "Senior Soilder" (Please learn how to spell.) Also, to all of those who think that killing is the answer, remember that killing that one person leaves offspring, nephews, nieces and other relatives who then become terrorists who are not disheartened, but who come back to their movement even more determined than before! "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." --Napoleon Bonaparte

So you suggest we stop fighting then because we're worried some Terrorists kids will avenge their parents or aunts and uncles? Go up to an ISIS fighter face to face and let's see if you can "reason" with them. I wish you the best of luck as you go unarmed.

One Love

You are choosing to frame my comment in childlike terms. I did not make any recommendations here, although I would say conquering this enemy will be accomplished by educating their children beyond propaganda and weapons.

You are choosing to frame my comment in childlike terms. I did not make any recommendations here, although I would say conquering this enemy will be accomplished by educating their children beyond propaganda and weapons.

When are all who profess to know so much about the jihadi forces and activities find it so hard to give them one name? ISIS I understand, no problem. But, ISIL (which I understand implies control of all the areas over there, including Israel). It would be very helpful to those of us reading all these op eds and commentaries if everyone could make the effort necessary to coordinate this stuff.

Dear Cmmndr:

This is to late of a time to lament what is going on in the Middle East, we should have never had involved ourselves in those foreign entanglements it is to late as the saying goes; to late to cry over spilt milk what I say we should do now is stop sending token forces over there, e.g. sending 500- 1,000 troops to the slaughter house where we know the end result will be getting our soldiers, men and women to get killed; and no use fall for that malarkey they feed us we will negotiate; those are just stall tactics to allow the enemy to get stronger and get the upper hand on us, and take us for suckers.

Yours for GOD and Country
Frank p. Calderon

Due like the crusaders of old, kill'em all and let God sort them out, women and children are innocent...So, they are free to enter the afterlife and cannot grow an Army to stand against you. Obviously, this wouldn't go over well in the eyes of the world. There will always be Envy, Greed and Wrath. No matter what there will always be someone killing someone else for what the believe is right, just, or in the name of "RELIGION."

Maybe if you could retrain some really tough badass soldiers that would not only shoot to kill Isis
but would go back over and behead every dead Isis that's on the ground and leave them lay! Isis gets a kick out of doing that and could maybe make Isis do a rethink...sorta a tit for tat!

In my opinion, people need to wake up! Islam by their actions seem to be an authoritarian, fascist, death cult! They will not stop until the entire world is Islamic! They allied with Nazis during WW2 and have continued the movement ever since. Through a combination of disguised "peaceful" migration around the world and outright murderous slaughter, they will continue to increase their numbers in each country to gain political power and influence over each population to ultimately force people to accept Islam ideology as their own and convert or kill those who won't. Open your eyes and ears because Islamist are just once again thrusting their baggage out further across the globe. Unless non-Islamic people band together to push back and crush this ideology, you or your grandchildren will have Islam at your door...it's just a matter of time. but again this is just my opinion based on their deeds not their words.

It should NOT have been made policy to involve ourselves in Syria. We have made a mess out of all the Regime changes we have tried to make for example Lebanon, Iraq now Syria, not to mention Afghanistan, others do not readily come to mind but they are out there. We are using our Military as Diplomats ,,,,,,, our Military is NOT a diplomat. We are not supporting Rebels in Syria without supporting ISIS, Al-Quaeda, and all the other fighters in Syria. IF we were truly interested in defeating Terrorists in Syria we would partner with the Syrian government . Our Military Industrial complex is helping put our Troops in harms way for their personal gain. The Military is currently in so many different countries as peace keepers, as fighters as the light before the darkness that our Reserves are none existent. Our Government provides poor care for returning casualties and long term care is even worse. Many troops have given so much, yet our Military Industrial Complex wants them to give up more so that more can be spent on weapon development.
So really in answer bring our troops back, care for those who are wounded, train our troops NOT the foreign fighters, equip our troops with the best weapons NOT the foreign fighters, and respond to any attack on the US with all the deadly force we have.

History and Education is the answer . Bin what's his name was educated but his followers were not. Killing is not a solution as someone has said, it only ads fuel to the fire, unless he or she is a top gun. I'm sure we are already doing it, instead of sending in arms that are wasted or being used on us or our support, we should fund programs (award) that will turn in the top guns. Either dead, alive or by their location so we can decide on how to handle the situation. None of this is political, it's about power and down right criminal.

Whoever says this should preach it to the fanatical Muslims. They are the ones who are dedicated to the slaughter of anyone who does not convert to Islam. I am a veteran of five wars including WWII and Iraqi Freedom. America's problem is Political Correctness. We have not won a war since 1945 when we adopted the nice objective of the passivist 4-G philosophy: "GET IT. GIVE OUT. GIVE UP, AND GET OUT!" Our soldiers never lost these wars in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, or anywhere else. Our political leaders did. We have the best soldiers in the world. Just take the political handcuffs off them and let them the wars!

Amen brother!

We have been firing guns at each other for 200+ years. It is time for a change. We should use sleeping gas that will NOT KILL but put everyone to sleep for 4 hours. Then we could go house to house and separate the good guys from the bad guys. I know, I know, that gas was banned after World War 1, but this would not be Mustard gas. We have the technology to create a very effective sleeping gas, and the means to deliver it. I am sure that some civilians will die from some sort of reaction to the gas, but there is a lot of collateral damage anyway. Against the Geneva convention?? What about the enemy not wearing an identifying uniform? Just think fewer wounded soldiers, no more neighborhoods completely destroyed. It is time to fight smart.

Complex answer! We kicked USSR out of Afganistan at the end of the 80's- We supplied a lot of equipment and technology thru Pakistan to the Mujahadeen to do that under Osama bin Laden. Then
we celebrated and abandoned our allies. I was pissed and I know they were! Told my wife that bad news was coming and it happened 9-11-2001. When we went back in and I saw all of the stickers 2006-I told her We are in deep dookey. We have not learned crap! Saw that coming since I was in VN 1966-67. 72 yrs old and hope We will NOT be around for the next SNAFU. USAF-Arclight-Skyspot VN

Complex answer! We kicked USSR out of Afganistan at the end of the 80's- We supplied a lot of equipment and technology thru Pakistan to the Mujahadeen to do that under Osama bin Laden. Then
we celebrated and abandoned our allies. I was pissed and I know they were! Told my wife that bad news was coming and it happened 9-11-2001. When we went back in and I saw all of the stickers 2006-I told her We are in deep dookey. We have not learned crap! Saw that coming since I was in VN 1966-67. 72 yrs old and hope We will NOT be around for the next SNAFU. USAF-Arclight-Skyspot VN

Complex answer! We kicked USSR out of Afganistan at the end of the 80's- We supplied a lot of equipment and technology thru Pakistan to the Mujahadeen to do that under Osama bin Laden. Then
we celebrated and abandoned our allies. I was pissed and I know they were! Told my wife that bad news was coming and it happened 9-11-2001. When we went back in and I saw all of the stickers 2006-I told her We are in deep dookey. We have not learned crap! Saw that coming since I was in VN 1966-67. 72 yrs old and hope We will NOT be around for the next SNAFU. USAF-Arclight-Skyspot VN

Dear Cmmdr:

I do not know what anyone will think at my opinion of what goes on in the Middle East, but my opinion now , as the only solution is prayer asking for Divine intervention; where can it hurt, we always waste our time in idle gossip why not rry instead asking GOD for help, and to prove the power of prayer, why not google the Epic of the Battle of Lepanto, which took place in 1571.

Check it out, and decide if it is worth a try or not, itg can not hurt any ,ore then we(the world) are now hurting.

Yours for GOD and Country
Frank P. Calderon

Thank you for what I see as the only solution.

Thank you for what I see as the only solution.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.