Editorial January 15, 2016 Page II

Fight Against Islamic State Not Going So Well, Say Former Administration Officials – Continued

“Some of the Peshmerga [Kurdish] fighters had not been paid in three months,” Ford said.

Iraq and Syria will also need money and resources to help local authorities step in and provide services to local populations as territory is reclaimed from ISIS, he said.

In his remarks, Vickers argued that the US strategy could no longer afford to put Syria on the back burner.

Syria is where “the battle for the future of the Middle East is largely being waged,” and the U.S. should adopt a “Syria-first” strategy, he said.

He called for an intensification of airstrikes and more raids by US special operations forces…

Morell issued a particularly bleak picture of the danger posed by ISIS.

“I believe IS poses a significant and lethal threat to the United States of America,” he said.

It is so dangerous because it is a combination of things, including a quasi-state, a terrorist group and a revolutionary political movement, according to Morell: “We have not faced the likes of it before.” And it had more sympathizers in the US, according to Morell, than al Qaeda ever had.

Editor’s note about those interviewed: former acting CIA Director Michael Morell – managed the staff that produced the Presidential Daily Briefings for President George W. Bush. Morell was Bush’s briefer during the September 11, 2001, attacks, and has been quoted as saying, “I would bet every dollar I have that it’s al Qaeda.” Later, Morell was a trusted asset to President Barack H. Obama in the Osama bin Laden raid on May 2, 2011. former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers  –  he provided advice on Iraq strategy to US President George H.W. Bush and his war cabinet. In July 2007 he was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he is the senior civilian advisor to the US Secretary of Defense on such matters as “counter-terrorism” strategy and operational employment of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces. In 2004, he wrote an op-ed piece for USA Today in which he stated that the United States can be successful in Iraq by using a much smaller force modeled on its deployment in Afghanistan, and former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford – In 2010, U. S. President Barack Obama nominated Ford as the first U.S. Ambassador to Syria in five years (pending U.S. Senate approval).[6] In December 2010, after the U.S. Senate had failed to act on the nomination, Obama used a recess appointment to secure Ford the position. The Senate then confirmed Ford by unanimous consent on October 3, 2011. In 2014 and 2015, Ford said he could “no longer defend” the Obama Administration’s Syria policy, claiming that if the Administration armed the moderate rebels, the al-Qaida groups would have been “unable to compete”. He later walked back these comments and shifted his criticism towards the rebel groups for cooperating with jihadists. (Source; Wikipedia)

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