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Western Allies Faces Questions Over Initial Support To ISIS
As the Islamic militants ISIS consolidate their hold on parts of the Middle East, an accusatory finger has been pointed at some western countries, includihg the United States and some of its Arab allies as being partly responsible.
By: Mithout Gomez
Turkey, the United Arab Emirate, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are believed to be among a long string of nations that initially provided massive military support to Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime in the initial stage of the revolt. “These countries were encouraged by the United States to provide maximum military and financial support to the Free Syrian Army to topple the Assad regime. The result today is chaos, because we had no idea who those guys were,” said John Stedman, one of many critics who have taken to social media websites to express their views. “We may have shot ourselves in the foot.”
The revolt has since been infiltrated by several Al Qaeda elements, including the al Nustra front and the now infamous ISIS, whose videos of beheaded victims have galvanized world public opinion. With massive military hardware captured from the ill-trained Iraqi army, including hundreds of tanks, humvees, and artillery pieces, ISIS fighters and their allies have managed to tighten their grip on a huge stretch of territory.
Today, as the region descends into chaos, those same elements at the roots of the current crisis – Turkey, the United Arab Emirate, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – have been called upon to help a coalition of nations led by the United States to confront the growing threat posed by ISIS in an air campaign that has so far raised far more serious foreign policy questions than it answers. “They would not admit it, but the West made a huge mistake when it decided to arm Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime without serious consideration of the potential consequences such an approach would bring,” said John Scott, 45, who spent a couple of years in Syria before the revolt began. “Now, they’ve taken our weapons and are using them against us.”
But the most pointed criticisms have been leveled against Turkey, whose tanks and troops sit just meters away from the Syrian town of Kobani, where heaving fighting pitting Kurdish fighters against ISIL militants is taking place. Turkey’
But the Turkish foreign ministry quickly fired back, saying Turkey would not intervene unless a buffer zone is set up. “Turkey maintains a principled and responsible attitude vis-à-vis the conflict in Syria which has been continuing nearly for four years and approaches the issue with utmost sensitivity, as is well known by those following the developments,”
News that coalition forces, including Kurdish Pershmega and Iraqi forces, outnumber ISIS fighters 20 to 1 in a new study by a British independent agency, Statista, is highly depressing.
According to the study, released today, the militants have a combined force of 31,000 fighters spread out throughout Iraq and Syria, with many captured weapons, among them tanks, artillery and rocket propel grenades.
By contrast, the Iraqi army alone has 270,000 active personnel, backed by 375,000 Kurdish Pershmega fighters, bringing their total combined forces to more than half a million. This combined force is backed by dozens of coalition warplanes patrolling the sky over both countries.
Page Updated Last on: Oct 10, 2014