In what appears to be a coordinated strategy to inflict a humiliating blow against President Obama on election day, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (known as ISIS or ISIL) and their Al Qaeda allies (Jabhat al-Nusra) launched new offensives across northern Syria that quickly forced the two main U.S. armed “Syrian Free Rebels” groups to surrender, turn over weapons, and for many, to swear allegiance to ISIS.
President Barack Obama signed Congressional legislation on September19th that gave him the power as Commander in Chief to continue to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS. Three weeks later, the Obama Administration trumpeted their leadership in forming a coalition of at least 22 Western and Middle East allies to fight against ISIS.
The coalition members committed to support the rebels with air strikes, offensive weapons, and humanitarian aid. The Harakat Hazm and the SRF were especially favored by the coalition. They received intensive military training and heavy weapons that included GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles. When President Obama recently announced a new program, run by the U.S. and Turkey to train and equip 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, the Hazm and SRF were expected to be big beneficiaries.
But late Saturday night, Jabhat al-Nusra captured Deir Sinbal, the home town of the SRF’s leade,r Jamal Marouf. Twenty-four hours later, the Harakat Hazam joined SRF in surrendering their military bases and weapons supplies after their villages in northern Idlib province were overrun by ISIS.
The collapse of SRF and Hazm movements after four years of war has undermined the viability of all moderate rebel fighting groups in Syria. Many of the U.S.-supplied weapons are now in the hands of the radical Al-Qaeda and ISIS militants. It is only a matter of time before they are turned on the remaining Syrian moderates and the Kurds defending the besieged Iraqi city of Kobani on Turkey’s southern border.
Jabhat al-Nusra members bragged on Twitter they now control a stockpile of American anti-tank missiles as part of the surrendered weapons. But more ominous for the United States, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the International Business Times, “Some of the rebels swore allegiance to al-Nusra.”
The Obama Administration was trying to find something positive to tell voters about America’s new wars on terror, when U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones reiterated his October 3rd statement Monday night that coalition ground forces are not needed, because U.S.-led airstrikes have been successful inflicting “high-level losses in Syria and Iraq” on ISIS, according to a report from Stratfor Global Intelligence.
But Stratfor reported late Monday that Jabhat al-Nusra was massing fighters along the Syria-Turkey border, presumably to try to seize the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Western-backed Syrian rebels on the U.S. Election Day. The checkpoint is a key supply lane for the U.S.-led coalition supplies to reach what is left of the Syrian Free Rebels.
Stratfor also reported that Islamic State militants “beheaded eight Syrian rebels who had surrendered to the group following promises of amnesty.” The men were hung from crucifixes in eastern Deir el-Zour province, and video is already posted on the Internet.
Gallup reported that President Obama’s approval rate had steadily risen in early 2014 to a high of 47% on May 6, 2014. But since ISIS overran a huge part of Iraq and Syria in early June, the President’s approval rate has steadily sunk to 41% today. Obama’s disapproval rate has relentlessly risen since May from 48% to a current 54%.
Election days are supposed to be scripted by political consultants to show the President as a happy warrior rallying his party. But November 4, 2014 is sure to be packed with ISIS and Al-Qaeda propaganda claiming victory over the United States.