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Published On: Mon, Oct 12th, 2015

US ends Syrian rebel training, the ‘failure’ should be a wake up call for Congress says Barbara Lee

The Obama administration abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and some weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.

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Defense Department training sites across the Middle East, including ones in Turkey and Jordan, will soon suspend almost all operations, officials said. Senior officials at the White House and the Pentagon admitted that the strategy to pull fighters out of Syria, teach them advanced combat skills and return them to face the Islamic State had simply not worked.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement, praising the move.

“I applaud the Obama Administration’s decision to end the Pentagon’s program to train and equip Syrian rebels. More than a year after Congress authorized this program, only a handful of rebels have been trained. The failure of this program should be a wake-up call for Congress: instead of blindly wading further into another war in the Middle East without a debate or comprehensive strategy, we must live up to our constitutional responsibility to hold a full debate on the costs and consequences of military action…”

“It is past time for the United States to stop engaging in military action without a coherent strategy or a full debate in Congress. Before the authorization of this program, I stated that ‘instead of rushing into another war, flooding the region with more weapons, and intervening further in a civil war, Congress should be pressing the pause button.’ In order to fully degrade and dismantle ISIL, we must have a robust and comprehensive strategy that is regionally-led and incorporates the political, economic and diplomatic approaches critical to mission success. My legislation, H.J. Res. 30, provides a framework for such a strategy while repealing the 2001 blank check for endless war.”

Critics have pointed out that arming the rebels has also resulted in supplies falling “into the enemy’s hands” and used against the US campaign. The House vote a year ago was a bipartisan move, supported by both parties and the White House. The US has been working in Jordan to train “rebels” since 2013 and worked closely with the “Free Syria Army” movement.

photo/FreedomHouse via Flickr public domain

photo/FreedomHouse via Flickr public domain

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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