Blitzer To Rhodes: Obama’s Continuing an Islamic State Policy That’s ‘A Total Failure’

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer pressed White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on President Obama wanting to train people in Syria and Iraq to fight ISIS even though “that’s been a total failure” on Monday’s “Situation Room.”

Blitzer said, “The president also said last night he wants to continue to train tens of thousands of people in Syria and Iraq to go ahead and fight ISIS. So far that’s been a total failure. The US spent several hundred million dollars, trained five or six rebels in Syria to fight ISIS, and in Iraq, the Iraqi military for all practical purposes, from Mosul, simply ran away, why is it so hard to find allies to fight on the ground in Syria and Iraq?”

After Rhodes responded, “Well, Wolf, where it’s been a success, we’ve seen that the model can work. In northern Iraq the Peshmerga forces, the Kurdish forces –” Blitzer cut in, “The Kurds are good allies, but I don’t see a lot of Syrian rebels willing to take up the fight on the ground, or Iraqi military personnel willing to go into Mosul, or Ramadi, or Fallujah, and retake those areas, where so many american military personnel gave their lives.”

Rhodes then stated, “Well, two things, Wolf, first of all, we have been able to identify more partners inside of Syria, both Kurdish and Arab, who are now fighting against ISIL in eastern Syria. And our special forces who will be deploying to Syria, are there to help facilitate those efforts, to provide them with equipment, to provide them with advice, so that they can go on the offense against ISIL, and continue to make progress. In Iraq, I think the challenge that we’ve had, Wolf, is that the Sunni areas that have been taken by ISIL, a majority of the Iraqi Security Forces — many of them were Shia. And what we wanted to do is get multi-sectarian units of the Iraqi Security Forces, and also get the Sunni tribes mobilized in those areas, so that they can push back against ISIL’s presence. we have an ongoing effort to do that in partnership with the Iraqi government. But clearly, this is an area where we want to continue to accelerate our efforts. That’s how you’re ultimately going to get at places like Ramadi and Fallujah.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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