America, ISIS and a Third World War?

As Congress prepares to fund military action against ISIS or the Islamic State, America will also attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar in the process.  The consequences of our overthrowing yet another Middle Eastern leader will cause another vacuum which I believe will simply empower radical Jihadists.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who may be criticized on other grounds, has not beheaded Americans or Israelis.  Syria has been at peace with Israel since 1967.  Syria has not engaged in hostile acts towards the U.S.  Yet Syria may become another American military target while we fight ISIS.

Please ask your Congressman and two Senators to ensure that American military action is directed against ISIS and not the overthrow the Syrian president.  The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote as early as today ((9/17/14) on a bill to fund the federal government through December 11, 2014 to avoid another federal government shutdown.  Because this vote on military action is in the government funding resolution, Congress must vote up or down to both objects in the same bill.

The White House prefers to merge (called “logrolling”) the War Authority into the Government Funding bill, rather than vote on these items in separate measures.  President Obama has already sent roughly 1600 men and women soldiers (our children, grandchildren, fathers, mothers, etc. - not merely “boots on the ground” ) to the Middle East promising no American ground fights against ISIS.  The ground fights in Syria will be done by troops from the region such as the “Arab Spring” anti -Assad Free Syrian Army [FSA].

The President has failed to tell us that he has a wider agenda than action against ISIS: That is, a war against Syria, Russia’s ally:

“Colonel Riad al-Asaad, [of the Free Syrian Army] stressed that toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is their priority, and that they will not join forces with US-led efforts without a guarantee that the US is committed to his overthrow.

"’If they want to see the Free Syrian Army on their side, they should give assurances on toppling the Assad regime and on a plan including revolutionary principles.’

...  Saying they had ‘long called for this action’, the coalition called on US politicians to authorize the training and equipping of the Free Syrian Army ‘as soon as possible’".  (Middle East Eye (9/13/14) at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-1651994714

Language complying with the FSA request comes from Congressman McKeon (CA) for a wider war in the Middle East and will be attached to the government funding bill. The language authorizes the Secretaries of Defense and State,

“to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals for ... Defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ... securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition. ... Protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria.  (3) Promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.”

The last condition could include massive American bombing of Syrian government forces and civilian infrastructure such as power plants to bring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the “bargaining table.

The “allies” America will train to fight ISIS (and apparently the present Syrian government) will be trained in Saudi Arabia, home of the Wahhabi version of hard-line Islam and home of 15 of 19 of the September 11 hijackers.  These fighters are, believe it or not, to be “appropriately vetted.”  Senator McCain told Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, that is was not realistic to assume that the Free Syrian Army would only fight against ISIS, and not also the Assad government at a 9/16/14 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

The so-called Free Syrian Army has already been in close working alliances with al Nusra, al Quada and ISIS in fighting President Assad.

The New York Times (8/15/14) reported that rebel fighter, Abu al-Hassan

“... could not blame fighters for joining ISIS, which rebels said had beheaded a group of rival insurgents in a nearby town. ‘ISIS fighters didn’t come from Mars ... Fifty percent of them are from here, Syrians, I know them personally. They left the F.S.A. [Free Syrian Army] after what they saw from corrupt commanders.’”

The Obama Administration has already been providing arms and training to Syrian “Arab Spring” rebels and their anti- Assad allies of all stripes.   In March 2013, The New York Times reported,

“With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad ...

“American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive  ...

“Most of the cargo flights have occurred since November, after the presidential election in the United States ...

“‘A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,’ said Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who monitors illicit arms transfers.”   (The New York Times, 3/24/13)

Another New York Times (4/28/13) headline reads, “Syrian rebel groups dominated by Islamists.” The Telegraph (3/25/11) reports that Mr. al-Hasidi, who recruited Libyans to fight coalition troops in Iraq, said,

“... his fighters ‘are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,’ but added that the ‘members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.’"

The International Business Times (9/11/14) reported that beheaded American journalist James Foley, was handed over to ISIS by the “Dawood Bridgade ... that was originally aligned with relatively moderate opposition groups such as the Free Syrian Army, but recently pledged allegiance to ISIS.  The family of beheaded Steven Sotloff said their son was “sold” to ISIS for up to $50,000 by "the so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support."  (CNN 9/10/14)

Lastly, our 2011 NATO-aided Libya intervention, formally rebuked by the House of Representatives, left that country without a stable government.  Now, eleven Libyan airliners have been stolen by Jihadists.  Three planes could make it to Los Angeles from Burkina Faso.  Almost all the rest are capable of flying from West Africa to Washington DC or to Norfolk where we berth aircraft carriers.
How can we possibly “vet” such rebel fighters under wartime conditions where alliances are constantly shifting?  Was the Fort Hood Jihadist properly “vetted?”   The fog of war makes prudential judgment difficult enough without additional complicating elements present in the Middle East.  We must concentrate on destroying ISIS, rather than another government overthrow could result in more radical leaders taking control of power in Syria.

ISIS, or the “Islamist State” has been making converts from the so-called “moderates.”  Conversions are not happening the other way around. The latest CIA estimate upped the number of ISIS fighters from 10,000 to between 20,000 and 31,500.  The CNN Report on CIA figures concluded,

“More than 15,000 foreign fighters, including 2,000 Westerners, have gone to Syria ... The fighters come from more than 80 countries ...”  (CNN 9/11/14)

Israel will now have to worry about Congress training and arming additional Syrian “rebels.”

“The violence on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is a new reality. For the past 40 years, the region has been the quietest of Israel's front lines. ... a weaker Syrian government provides less resistance to the militants encroaching on its borders. ...

"... The fact that a Syrian UAV was allowed to enter the demilitarized zone is something that would have been impossible until a few months ago," said Nisman.”  (Middle East Eye, 9/12/14,  see http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/features/golan-unrest-spells-new-militants-israels-syria-borders-1053014275

Apparently, quite a few ISIS terrorists have slipped through the CIA vetting process!  Yes, we must destroy ISIS, but making the Assad government a co-target with ISIS is not in the interest of lasting peace in the region.

Given Syria’s close alliance with Russia, the ferocity and fervor of ISIS troops which claim murder is their religious duty, the world-wide recruitment of Jihadists to fight against the Infidel, it is no wonder that Pope Francis, apparently the subject of an assassination threat by ISIS, recently lamented while standing next to tombstones of Italian soldiers killed in World War I, that a piecemeal “third world war,” is emerging from Middle East and Eastern Europe conflicts.  (The Pope has nevertheless stated, speaking in the context of ISIS attacks, that force can be used to stop "unjust aggression.”)

America’s Founders, when faced with the prospect of war with Great Britain, publicly proclaimed their “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”  We must do the same.

Please phone, email or fax your Congressman, Senators Kaine and Warner (contact info here)  and urge them to not link America’s effort to destroy ISIS with the overthrow of the Syrian government since Syria has not taken hostile action against the United States or Israel.