ISIS in Retreat of Russian Attacks in Syria – US Accuses Russia of Targeting Civilians
When it comes to the Middle East and policy, Obama has egg on his face while Putin has come out smelling like a rose. However, we know Putin is not the quintessential “good guy” as his actions are part of a bigger plan that works to strengthen Russia’s Middle East interests and insertion of Russia deeper into the politics of Middle Eastern nations. Putin has continually moved the pieces on the Middle Eastern chessboard as Obama plays checkers to be “king.” Since Syrian president Assad requested Russia’s assistance to thwart ISIS, reports coming out of Syria and Russia indicated ISIS was in retreat. A target assessment by the think tank Institute for the Study of War, based in Washington, indicates “Russian jet fighters and helicopter gunships fly only a smattering of missions against the Islamic State’s terrorist army, the prime objective of the US-led coalition’s year-old air campaign in Syria and Iraq.”
According to the Washington Times:
The vast majority of Russian airstrikes in Syria are hitting rebel forces opposed to the Bashar Assad regime — not the Islamic State terrorists — and, like the Syrian president’s forces, often make no effort to avoid hitting civilians, a study says.
Meanwhile, a former US Air Force officer who commanded fighter wings tells the Washington Times that the Russian campaign is “very definitely effective” because it has given new life to the beleaguered Syrian forces and to Mr. Assad himself.
“Russia means business, said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney. He said the Russians are flying more missions over Syria than the US and are dropping unguided bombs that kill civilians indiscriminately and “intimidate” rebels.
Previously, Americans learned the Obama administration authorized $500 million dollars to train supposed “rebel” forces and supply the group arms only to discover only 4 or 5 individuals remained as the others fled to join ISIS. Reports have also indicated the Obama administration, itself, was supporting ISIS to further its agenda to unseat Assad as president of Syria. One can conclude that ISIS and “rebel forces” are now one in the same, lending credence to reports of a proxy war between Russia and the US.
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ISIS typically hides behind civilian targets knowing the west will hesitate to target civilians. Moreover, ISIS typically “indiscriminately” kills civilians in every territory it occupies. This is Islam. That’s how it works. Yet, Russia receives criticism for aiding its ally at the ally’s request and for attempting to eradicate an Islamic group that threatens nations worldwide.
The report cited on-the-ground reports from multiple sources accusing Russia of limited strikes against the Islamic State and specifically targeting American backed “rebel” forces and civilian targets. Human Rights Watch documented Russia’s unleashing of cluster bombs on the rebel village of Kafr Halab in the northwest. “Locals reported that the same indiscriminate munition was used on Oct. 11.”
The report indicates that Russian targets are coordinated with Assad’s ground forces that are attempting to move into the “rebel forces” stronghold in the city of Aleppo. “The Russian air campaign in Syria increases the Assad regime’s asymmetric capabilities against the Syrian opposition,” the institute’s report claims. It also indicates the Russia is willing to incur heavy civilian casualties like the Assad regime.
This same report backs the Pentagon assertions that the real objective of Putin is to “destroy US backed rebel groups in a direct challenge to President Obama’s Syria strategy.”
One has to ask what strategy does Obama and the Pentagon possess in regards to Syria? The US arms the US created ISIS and will settle for nothing less than the removal of Assad from leadership. And, exactly where is and who comprises this “Free Syrian Army” we keep hearing about?
McInerney indicated Russia’s increased air strikes “reinvigorated” the moral among Assad’s troops and assisted in attacks against US backed “rebel” forces. The retired Air Force general claimed Russia uses “dumb bombs except for cruise missiles” to achieve large collateral damage making the campaign “more effective” in intimidating the “Free Syrian Army.” He chastised Putin’s insult of Washington as having “mush for brains” as it was a direct jab at Obama.
According to McInerney, the coalition carried out 10 airstrikes one day last week compared to Putin’s claimed 60, making his point of indiscriminate bombing and heavy collateral damage.
Army Col. Steve Warren, the top US military spokesman in Baghdad, blistered the Russians’ attacks using cluster bombs on the towns of Hama, Homs, and Latakia resulting in the displacement of 35,000 civilians.
“The Russians have been indiscriminate,” Col. Warren said. “They’ve been reckless in Syria. They seem to have no difficulty dropping cluster munitions around where civilians may be. They do not appear, based on their actions, they do not appear to be interested in defeating [the Islamic State]. They appear to be interested in preserving the Assad regime.”
It’s the old “pot and kettle” rhetoric as usual. Complaining about Russia only being interested in preserving the Assad regime instead of targeting ISIS is about the same as the US arming ISIS to topple the Assad regime instead of targeting ISIS.
Russia didn’t back down after Col. Warren’s statement on Wednesday. In response, the Russian Defense Ministry stated, “Airy dreams of Col. Steve Warren concerning using cluster munitions by the Russian aviation in ‘inhabited areas’ of Syria are absurd. It appears that the American colleagues have not established their aims in the announced war against the ISIS terrorist organization. This may be why the terrorist feel comfortable a year after the start of the anti-ISIS coalition’s operations.”
Score one for Russia on a “burn” to the Obama administration.
The Defense Ministry admitted to hitting areas in Aleppo, claiming all targets were either ISIS or unspecified “terrorists.”
In an interview with Steve Kroft on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Obama called for “diplomatic” resolutions” to the conflict in Syria. As we all know, the only “diplomatic resolution” this administration will accept is the replacement of Assad.
Again, everyone skirts around the issue of ISIS or the Islamic State, as well as other terrorist organizations, hiding behind civilians in order to evade air strikes or being attacked on the ground. According to Islam, every follower has a call to “jihad.” It is the highest honor in Islam to die in the “cause” for their devil Allah. It’s a concept the West in general has a difficult time comprehending. ISIS plays on the sympathies and policies of the West to do no harm to “innocent civilians.” But, even civilians are called to “jihad.” Does anyone think that the Islamic State consists only of military individuals? Hardly as plenty of Muslims in the West — civilians — and those in Iraq and Syria have heeded the call to “jihad” traveling to Iraq and Syria to fight.
Since when has Obama and his “yes man” military been so concerned about collateral civilian damage? King of the drone strike, “I’ll decide who gets to be killed” Obama never batted an eyelash at the “collateral” civilian deaths by his drone strike “decrees.”
The situation in Syria becomes more “touchy” by the day. Russia appears to be the only nation involved that has a clear objective. Under the “inexperienced” Obama and his “yes man” military leaders, the US objectives are like muddy water. Obama wants Assad out of power, probably due to one of his master’s bidding for whatever reason. So, the US arms ISIS to help oust Assad by proxy and limits its airstrikes to only “certain” targets, making very little headway against the terrorist organization while issuing rhetoric about how effective the “coalition” airstrikes have been. With Russia entering the scene, it becomes more difficult for the propaganda spinners as Russian forces are witness to the results or lack of results of coalition airstrikes.
Russia and Putin are certainly not altruistic as they have a definite interest in keeping Assad in power since the two nations are allies. Moreover, the Russians have no qualms about collateral civilian damage when it comes to war. The US, on the other hand, has no business trying to topple through coercion or military action the government of a sovereign nation directly or by proxy. But, Obama provides arms to ISIS in the attempts to dislodge Assad, making Obama’s pledge to fight ISIS an outright lie — the terrorist group serves his agenda. Obama will “use” ISIS as a means to an end. There is nothing altruistic about Obama or his actions as nothing has been said about ISIS targeting of Christians or using civilians as shields.
So, here the US government plays the “pot and kettle” game with a much more astute opponent. This is one conflict the US should avoid as Obama cannot be trusted to thwart the Islamic State without trying to topple Assad. The US involvement at this point is a recipe for disaster.
*Article by Suzanne Hamner