Wednesday, August 20, 2014

United States President Barack Obama’s Weak Response to the Islamist Threat in Syria and Iraq

           Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq have seized large swathes of territory, declared a caliphate it intends to extend to the entire Islamic world, committed atrocities in attempts to force conversions, created a large refugee crisis, and have expressly threatened the United States directly, yet U.S. President Barack Obama has been slow to respond adequately to the threat.  Indeed, his weakness has invited it and has already signaled to the enemy they can outlast the Americans.
            Obama failed to aid the non-Islamist rebels in Syria adequately in quickly enough to prevent al-Qaeda and other Islamist militants from taking over the opposition to the pro-Iranian terrorist-sponsoring regime of Bashar Assad.  After failing to secure a satisfactory status of forces agreement, he pulled American military forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011, leaving the Iraqis to fend off the jihadist threat by themselves.  The Obama Administration began to sell some significant weapons to Iraq a few months ago, but provided inadequate additional support and authorized no military mission, despite the obvious threat from the Islamists who were rapidly gaining territory in Syria and especially Iraq since last year.  Only recently were American advisors sent to the war zone. 

            Obama finally justified limited American airstrikes on Islamists in Iraq by aircraft and drones, at the request of the Iraqi government, because of the stated concern for U.S. diplomatic and other personnel in Iraq and the moral obligation to prevent genocide and other atrocities, instead of because of the more significant Islamists’ threats to American security.  The enemy was thus given sufficient time to change its tactic from attacking like a conventional army to guerilla tactics, thus making it a more difficult target.  Although the Commander in Chief put no time limit on the mission, he ruled out combat troops.  The Administration is only now beginning to send weapons to the autonomous Kurdish government through the Iraqi government. 

           The Obama Administration’s delay in providing adequate aid to non-Islamist Syrian rebels and the Iraqi government or the Iraqi Kurds, the focus on limited interests, the pinprick nature of the U.S. military response that exposes American servicemen to minimal risk, and the ruling out of combat forces after the premature departure of American combat forces from Iraq, combine to send a signal to the enemy that Americans have no stomach for war and if it murders enough American soldiers, the public will demand a withdrawal – a strategy Islamists already have used successfully a few times.

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