Citing Failures, Pentagon Scraps Syrian Rebel Training Program

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 10:15 AM
Citing Failures, Pentagon Scraps Syrian Rebel Training Program

The Obama administration’s ill-conceived and overly ambitious program to train thousands of Syrian rebels against the Islamic State has failed to produce any results. The Pentagon hoped to train over 5,000 fighters this year, yet as of July, they had equipped only 60. Now that the program has proven to be a waste of time and money ($500 million), the Pentagon is ending the effort and replacing it with a seemingly more realistic one. The New York Times reports:

A senior Defense Department official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there would no longer be any more recruiting of so-called moderate Syrian rebels to go through training programs in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Instead, a much smaller training center would be set up in Turkey, where a small group of “enablers” — mostly leaders of opposition groups — would be taught operational maneuvers like how to call in airstrikes.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter admitted to Michael Fallon, the UK's secretary of defense, that it was clear fairly early on the program would not meet their standards.

“I wasn’t happy with the early efforts” of the program, Mr. Carter said during a news conference with Mr. Fallon. “So we have devised a number of different approaches.” Mr. Carter added, “I think you’ll be hearing from President Obama very shortly.”

Perhaps Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey is correct in his assessment that this program was the Solyndra of foreign policy.