Even though the Obama administration’s previous unconstitutional support for jihadists and rebels in Syria empowered the “Islamic State” to begin with, the president announced on September 10 that a key part of his strategy to deal with the ISIS threat would be to provide still more weapons and training to Islamists. Without constitutional or congressional authority to do so, then, Obama is plotting to supposedly defeat jihadists and terrorists by arming and supporting what he refers to as “moderate” jihadists and terrorists. In reality, as has been documented by The New American and countless others, there is virtually no difference between the “moderate rebels” and the terrorists often referred to as ISIS or ISIL.
Critics ridiculed Obama’s anti-constitutional “strategy” as absurd, but it appears that he will not be deterred. Other analysts noted that, after failing in his Libya war-style bid to overthrow the anti-ISIS Assad regime by backing jihadists, Obama appears to be plotting “regime change” in Syria through the back door. Not only will he be providing more support to the jihadist rebels, under the guise of striking ISIS, Obama also vowed to unleash military strikes within Syrian territory — something Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said last month would be considered an act of aggression if done without permission. Jihadist rebel groups in Syria immediately celebrated Obama’s plot.
In the president’s highly anticipated speech on Wednesday night, he claimed the goal was to “degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.” However, as The New American and countless other publications have documented extensively, U.S. foreign policy is almost entirely responsible for the group’s emergence and power. From the United Nations-approved campaign to overthrow Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi by backing jihadists, to arming and training Islamic terrorists in Syria to depose the Assad regime, Obama’s entire Middle East policy seemed almost designed to create the ISIS threat. More than a few analysts even said Obama had “switched sides” in the terror war.
Last night, Obama announced that he would double down. “Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition,” Obama boasted, seemingly oblivious to the irony and absurdity of it all. “Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime [a former U.S. ally] that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.” He also noted that his “allies” were also already “sending arms and assistance” to “the Syrian opposition.”
One major problem with that “strategy,” of course, is that even the supposed “moderate” Syrian opposition — all of whom proudly describe themselves as Islamists and jihadists fighting for Allah against an “apostate” regime — have openly boasted of their collaboration with both al-Qaeda and ISIS. “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the [al-Qaeda-linked] Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” commander Bassel Idriss with the Obama-backed “Free Syrian Army” recently told Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.
Indeed, entire FSA brigades armed and trained by Obama and his “allies” have proudly defected to ISIS, taking all of their Western government-provided weaponry with them. Even Islamic State operatives boast of their intimate ties with Obama’s “moderate” rebels in major media outlets. “We are buying weapons from the FSA,” ISIS terrorist Abu Atheer was quoted as saying by Al-Jazeera. “We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti-tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”
As The New American has reported extensively, despite claims of “moderation” by Western supporters, self-styled FSA fighters and groups have been implicated in more than a few atrocities — many of which, such as executing captured prisoners without due process, constitute clear war crimes. Last year, the FSA even worked with the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front and the jihadist Ahrar al-Sham group to seize control of the ancient Christian town of Maaloula — one of the few remaining places on Earth where Aramaic, the language of Christ, is still spoken. Christian villagers there said they were ordered to convert to Islam or die. Others were simply slaughtered.
Before that, a spokesman for the Sunni-dominated Free Syrian Army went on Turkish television last May and openly threatened that rebel forces would exterminate Shia Muslims. According to a report in Bloomberg about the statements, FSA “Colonel” Abdel-Hamid Zakaria said the minority communities would be “wiped off the map” in response to advances made by Assad’s forces. “It’s going to be an open, sectarian, bloody war to the end,” the spokesman said, even as U.S. lawmakers were sparring over Obama’s lawless support for the terrorist opposition.
In 2012, meanwhile, the Australian Associated Press reported on FSA war crimes near the border with Iraq documented by Iraqi officials. According to Iraq's deputy interior minister, Adnan al-Assadi, Iraqi border guards witnessed numerous atrocities when FSA forces seized control of border checkpoints. Among the worst: A Syrian lieutenant colonel was detained by FSA fighters, who proceeded to cut off their prisoner’s arms and legs. “Then they executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers,” al-Assadi was quoted as saying.
Worse still, perhaps, is that Obama was reportedly training actual ISIS fighters in Jordan under the guise of helping “moderate” rebels overthrow Assad, according to Jordanian security officials cited by WND journalist Aaron Klein. “The officials said dozens of future ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” Klein reported. “The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.”
Even before that, Obama’s UN-approved machinations in Libya were literally backing the exact same terrorists now fighting under the ISIS banner — Libya is now run by al-Qaeda-linked jihadists aided by the White House, many of whom had previously been killing U.S. troops in Iraq. “ISIL is certainly not a state,” the president observed. “It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border.”
Leaders from al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, of course, were also the very same Obama-backed leaders in the Libyan “regime change” operation, as The New American documented extensively. For instance, Abdul Hakim al-Hasidi, the man identified as “the Libyan rebel leader,” was actually battling U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan before deciding to take on “apostate” dictator Gadhafi in Libya with air support and weapons from Obama. In an interview with an Italian newspaper in 2011, he admitted that the Islamic warriors he originally recruited to kill Western forces were fighting alongside Westerners in the war on Gadhafi. Al-Hasidi also said his al-Qaeda fighters were “good Muslims … fighting against the invader.”
Some astute U.S. lawmakers who previously warned that Obama’s strategy of arming al-Qaeda and other jihadists would backfire are now speaking out yet again. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for example, outlined those concerns on Fox News after the president’s latest speech. “The one thing we need to remember about all of this,” he said, “we need to remember how we got here. The reason we got here is we took it upon ourselves to topple secular dictators who were the enemy of radical Islam.”
Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, and Assad, of course, were all mortal enemies of jihadist terrorists who were attacked in “regime change” plots by the U.S. government and its allies. Last month, Senator Paul also highlighted the troubling U.S. government role in the making of the Islamic State. “This administration, through bad decision-making that I specifically warned against, has already indirectly aided al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria,” he said, citing his earlier warnings about arming jihadists in Syria. Directly aided would have been closer to the truth.
Separately, liberty-minded Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) raised questions on Facebook about the scheme, saying Obama had “left unanswered the basic questions responsible Americans and their representatives must ask before going to war.” Among those questions: “Which rebel groups does the president intend to arm in Syria and Iraq? How do we know that those weapons won't be turned against us and our allies?”
Obama never explained. “First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists,” he claimed, presumably the ISIS terrorists his administration helped empower. “Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.”
In other words, just as The New American has been warning for years, Islamic terrorists, enabled and empowered by Obama to overthrow Assad, are now running wild across Syria — butchering Christians and others along the way with weapons provided by Obama and his “allies.” And those same jihadists are also now serving as the pretext for Obama to start launching military strikes in Syria against a regime that is locked in mortal combat with ISIS and other jihadist groups — many of which have been directly aided and abetted by Obama, Western governments, and Obama’s allies among Middle East regimes such as those ruling Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Instead of allowing Obama to pour fuel on the fire by sending more assistance to jihadists — one analyst used the headline “Obama Plans to ‘Fight ISIS’ by Arming ISIS” to describe the half-baked strategy — Congress must act immediately to restrain the executive branch. The Constitution grants no power to the president to declare war. Even if it did, though, boosting self-declared Islamists at war with Assad under the guise of fighting other Islamists at war with Assad is absurd. A better foreign policy would be the one advocated by America’s Founding Fathers: non-intervention in foreign quarrels.
Photo of Arab militant with M-16 by atphalix