MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Did the US allow ISIS to escape to keep the fighting going?

Posted by Martin C. Fox on November 22, 2017

Does this mean that we can expect considerable fumbling and a game with no exit strategy, something like a replay of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? You betcha.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/boy-is-this-stupid-or-what/

Even the U.S. media has been reluctantly reporting that ISIS has been rolled back in Syria by the joint efforts of the Syrian Army and the Russian air force with the United States and its allies playing very much secondary roles in the conflict. The Russians have, in fact, complained that Washington seemed just a tad disinterested in actually cooperating to destroy the last remnants of ISIS in the few areas that the group still controls, citing most recently an alleged incident during the Syrian government liberation of the town of Abu Kamal in which U.S. air assets on site appear to have allowed ISIS fighters to escape.

According to the BBC investigative report, the SDF and Kurds were wary of clearing out the remaining fighters from the ruins of the city and so negotiated an agreement whereby the ISIS fighters from Syria and Iraq and their families would be able to leave and be allowed to either go home and face the consequences or proceed to ISIS controlled areas about one hundred miles away. The objective was to avoid a final assault from the air and using artillery that would have produced a bloodbath killing thousands, including large numbers of civilians. The agreement stipulated that only ISIS fighters who were local would be allowed to leave. Others, referred to as “foreigners,” from Europe, Africa or Asia would have to surrender in order to avoid their going free and getting involved in new terrorist activity after returning home.

U.S. and British military advisers who were with the SDF and Kurds reported, somewhat improbably, that they had not been party to the negotiations, that it was “all-locals,” though they later admitted that there had been some involvement on their part. In the event, trucks and busses were assembled on October 14th, formed into a convoy, and were loaded with more than 4,000 fighters and families. More than 100 ISIS-owned vehicles also were allowed to leave and there were ten trucks filled with weapons. The convoy stretched for more than four miles and film footage shows trucks pulling trailers filled with militants brandishing their weapons. The fighters were not allowed to display flags or banners but they were not forced to disarm and in fact loaded all the vehicles with as many weapons as they could carry, so much so that one truck broke its axle from the weight. The BBC reported that “This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of so-called Islamic State.”…

A waggish friend of mine suggested that Mattis might be deliberately selectively releasing ISIS fighters so the U.S. will never have to leave Syria, but my own theory is somewhat different. I think that Washington, which has done so little to defeat ISIS, wants some threat to continue so it can keep its own “resistance forces” in place and active to give it a seat at the table and a voice at the upcoming Geneva discussions for a political settlement in Syria. Otherwise Washington will be outside looking in. The unspeakable Nikki Haley at the U.N. appears to endorse that line of thinking by asserting that Washington will continue “to fight for justice” in Syria no matter what the rest of the world decides to do.

Does this mean that we can expect considerable fumbling and a game with no exit strategy, something like a replay of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? You betcha.

Be seeing you

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I am not a number. I am a free man!-Number 6

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