Obama's Anti-ISIS Coalition Fails to Impress; Iraq Opposes Foreign Intervention; 'Moderate' Rebels Defecting to ISIS
September 15, 2014
Jason Ditz AntiWar.com & Bill Gertz / The Washington Post
The Obama Administration has been desperate to cobble together a "coalition" to fight ISIS in an attempt to convince the American public that the war is not going to be "America's war" to fight alone. But, while 40 nations have tentatively signed on to Obama's plan, only 26 of them are expected to show up at a scheduled Paris summit to talk strategy. And, apart from showing up at summits, it's not clear what -- if anything -- most of the "coalition partners' are actually going to do.
40+ Nations in America's Anti-ISIS Coalition, But Few to Do Anything
Jason Ditz AntiWar.com
(September 14, 2014) -- The Obama Administration has been desperate over the past few weeks to cobble together a massive "coalition" of nations to fight ISIS, an attempt to convince the American public that the war is not going to be "America's war" to fight alone.
Over 40 nations have now signed on, with 26 of them expected to show up at the Paris summit Monday to talk ISIS. Apart from showing up at summits, it's not clear what most of them are actually going to do.
A handful of Sunni Arab nations, along with France, have committed to airstrikes against ISIS, while Australia is planning to commit 600 ground troops to the war. Australian PM Tony Abbott insists the deployment is open-ended.
But the Sunni Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, aren't welcome to launch strikes, according to Iraq's president. Iran, a nation Iraq actually does want in the coalition, isn't welcome according to the US.
Nations that have been hyped for their involvement, like Britain and Turkey, have both indeed signed on to the coalition, but neither seems to be planning to do anything. Turkey has insisted they will play no role in the ISIS war itself, and will restrict their involvement to humanitarian aid shipments.
That appears true across many of the members of the coalition, who were willing to put their name down on paper, but don't want to actually get involved in the ISIS war, which promises to be long and bloody. The administration, which chiefly wants them on board just to pad their stats, is fine with that, knowing either way the US is the one doing all the fighting.
Iraqi President: No Need for Arab Nations to Strike ISIS
Jason Ditz AntiWar.com
(September 14, 2014) -- The Obama Administration's efforts to cobble together a coalition of nations for the new war on ISIS has netted a handful of Sunni Arab nations willing to conduct airstrikes inside Iraq, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and by some accounts Egypt.
The big problem is that no one asked the Iraqis if they were okay with this, and President Fuad Massoum today made clear that the Iraqi government considers such nations "unnecessary," which is a polite way of saying extremely unwelcome.
It's not hard to imagine why, as the Shi'ite dominated Iraqi government, allied with Iran, is not on the best of terms with the Sunni Arab world, and having those nations' warplanes looming overhead is going to be problematic for Shi'ite leaders.
President Massoum is a Kurd, however, so it is rather surprising that he would be the one vocalizing government disquiet about the US moves to include such nations in the strikes, without consulting the Iraqi government.
Massoum's comments came in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, in which he also expressed "regret" that the US was not allowing Iran, the primary nation currently involved in the fight against ISIS in Iraq, to even attend the coalition meeting in Paris.
France had similarly said they wanted to invite Iran to the coalition meeting, though the US insisted it was "not appropriate" to include them. It was seen at the time as a concession to the Sunni Arab nations which the US has been so desperate to include, but seems to be putting the coalition on a rather sectarian-looking footing to the Iraqis, and an unwelcome one at that.
Ever since putting itself on the path to a new war in Iraq, the US has been eager to put on the show of a broad "coalition," even if it meant many of those coalition members weren't doing anything. Keeping the Iraqi government more or less on board seems to have fallen by the wayside in favor of getting more members, which is making the US intervention far less comfortable for all involved.
Syria's ‘Moderate' Rebels Suffer Defections to ISIS
Jason Ditz AntiWar.com
(September 14, 2014) -- Loudly endorsed by the US for years as their "vetted, moderate" rebels of choice, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is courting the United Arab Emirates for increased funding, saying it needs help as it aims to "reform."
The FSA has a much smaller footprint across Syria than it once did, having lost virtually all of its territory to rival rebels, and seeing mass defections, including large numbers joining ISIS.
The Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the self-proclaimed government-in-exile based in Turkey, aims to reform the FSA under more direct political control, and is waving the prospect of using them against ISIS as an effort to get more foreign subsidies.
Yet the FSA and other factions just got done signing a non-aggression pact with ISIS on Friday, and it's hard to imagine the group's fighters will willingly break that for foreign aid, particularly when they're so dramatically outmatched by ISIS fighters at every turn.
The FSA's ability to recruit and keep fighters seems to be heavily weighed down by the group's lack of success so far, as the group has not shown itself to be particularly adept at anything but currying favor with Western nations, and what arms its obtained from them are quickly distributed to other factions, which do all the heavy combat.
The United Arab Emirates has joined the US coalition against ISIS, and could likely use sending some funding to the FSA as its excuse that it is "doing something" as a coalition member. It is hard to imagine, however, that any amount of money could turn the FSA into a major faction on the ground.
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