The lax approach by the US toward terrorism may provoke serious consequences, just like the incompetence of US authorities in 2001 let Al-Qaeda off the leash, leading to the September 11th terrorist act, former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz believes.
White House strategy in Syria and Iraq shouldn’t be called “policy” in the first place, because it’s hard to do less for those countries suffering from endless chaos. It seems like Obama will leave the mess for the next president, Fleitz, current Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs with the Center for Security Policy, told Fox News.
The Obama administration announced major changes in its policy toward the Syrian crisis and ISIL terrorist threat twice in two years. However, both times it was nothing more than attempts to burnish the reputation of America’s government after it had been humiliated. Both times, the world community took those attempts for evidence of US weakness and indecisiveness, the analyst explained.
The first “shift” in US foreign policy was marked during Obama’s September 10, 2014 speech, following a series of public executions by ISIL. Obama announced his readiness for complete victory over the terrorists with airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, along with a plan to train-and-equip “moderate” rebels and enhancing support for the Iraqi Army.
“The failure of the September 2014 policy shift was obvious soon after it began,” Fleitz said. “Pinprick airstrikes in Syria did not stop ISIS from making gains on the ground. In Iraq, ISIS took the city of Ramadi last May despite being outnumbered 10-1 by the Iraqi army. The Iraqi army and the Iraqi Kurds clamored for more arms while the Obama administration sat on its hands.”
The next indication of Obama’s policy collapse came to light this fall when a US $500 million train-and-equip program failed, and Russia started its air campaign in Syria along with Iran expanding its presence in Syria.
“Russian President Putin mocked and ignored President Obama as he sent Russian forces into Syria,” Fleitz noted. “An intelligence sharing agreement was signed between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Iraqi lawmakers even called on Russia to conduct airstrikes against ISIS positions in their country.”
The Obama administration’s response to this failure was another foreign policy shift, which could have even worse consequences than the first one. Without any clear strategy, Obama sent “less than 50” elite force groups to help Syrian rebels. Then it turned out that elite US military forces have been consulting Kurds, a group with their own interests in Syria apart from fighting ISIL. Additionally, Turkey has shown their own displeasure with US support for Kurdish forces.
US allies understand that Obama’s “policy” is just a way to stall for time before his presidency comes to an end. Then he’ll be able to say that at least he “tried” to do something about the situation, Fleitz explained. And this is why the power dynamics are changing in the region.
“Russia is filling a power vacuum in the region and is building a new alliance with Iraq, Iran and Syria,” the analyst explained. “Russia has improved its relations with Egypt and Israel.”
According to Fleitz, the president’s policy of idle resistance in the fight against terrorism may have dangerous consequences and lead to a September 11th scenario.