As we noted over the weekend, the US has now thrown in the towel on the ill-fated (and that’s putting it lightly) strategy of training Syrian fighters and sending them into battle only to be captured and killed by other Syrian fighters who the US also trained.
The Pentagon’s effort to recruit 5,400 properly “vetted” anti-ISIS rebels by the end of the year ended in tears when the entire world laughed until it cried after word got out that only “four or five” of these fighters were actually still around. The rest are apparently either captured, killed, lost in the desert, or fighting for someone else.
This has cost the US taxpayer somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million over the last six months.
Because this latest program was such a public embarrassment, the Pentagon had to come up with a new idea to assist Syria’s “freedom fighters” now that they are fleeing under bombardment by the Russian air force only to be cut down by Hezbollah.
The newest plan: helicopter ammo. No, really. The US has now resorted to dropping "tons" of ammo into the middle of nowhere and hoping the “right” people find it.
U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration's urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.
Details of the air mission over Syria were confirmed by a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because the details have not yet been formally announced.
C-17s, accompanied by fighter escort aircraft, dropped small arms ammunition and other items like hand grenades in Hasakah province in northern Syria to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.
And here's a bit more color from GOP mouthpiece Fox News:
The ammunition originally was intended for the U.S. military's "train and equip" mission, the official said. But that program was canceled last week.
"So now we are more focused on the 'E' [equip] part of the T&E [train & equip]," said the official, who described equipping Syrian Arabs as the focus of the new strategy against ISIS.
The Defense Department announced Friday that it was overhauling the mission to aid Syrian rebel fighters. After the program fell far short of its goals for recruiting and training Syrian fighters, the DOD said it would focus instead on providing "equipment packages and weapons to a select group of vetted leaders and their units so that over time they can make a concerted push into territory still controlled by ISIL."
The shift also comes as Russia continues to launch airstrikes in Syria, causing tension with the U.S. amid suspicions Moscow is only trying to prop up Bashar Assad.
Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, confirmed that coalition forces conducted the airdrop on Sunday.
"The aircraft delivery includes small arms ammunition to resupply counter-ISIL ground forces so that they can continue operations against ISIL. All aircraft exited the drop area safely," he said in a statement. All pallets successfully were recovered by friendly forces, a U.S. official said.
Yes, “friendly forces.”
Just let the hilarity of that sink in.
The US just paradropped 50 tons of ammo on pallets into the most dangerous place on the face of the planet with no way of ensuring that it falls into the "right" hands (it goes without saying that the term "right" is meaningless there). Meanwhile, the Russians are dropping bombs on the same extremists who are set to receive the guns the US is dropping.
Of course if it does somehow fall into the “wrong” hands, it wouldn’t be the first time (see Mosul and recall the $500 billion worth of weapons Washington “misplaced” in Yemen) and as we said a few days ago, this is at least great news for the military-industrial complex. It means more "terrorist attacks" on U.S. "friends and allies", and perhaps even on U.S. soil - all courtesy of the US government supplying the weapons - are imminent.