Obama Asks Congress for Another $500 Million for Syria Rebels

Hopes to Create an Alternative to ISIS

Having thrown hundreds of millions of dollars at the various “moderate” Syrian rebel factions, the US has very little to show for it, as not only have groups like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra long surpassed the moderates as the dominant rebel faction, but ISIS appears to be on the cusp of forming its own country, carved out of Iraq and Syria.

Still, President Obama sees no reason to try something new, and is doubling down with a request to Congress for another $500 million for Syrian rebel funding, aiming at both training and equipment for the factions.

The White House is presenting this as an effort to do two things: oust the Assad government in Syria and create an “alternative” to factions like ISIS. Yet a casual glance at the situation suggests it will do neither.

The moderate groups like the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are in shambles, and US aid seems to accomplish little but postpone the inevitable collapse of the group, which controls no meaningful territory and is at this point more of a rebellion inside ISIS territory than what remains of Syria itself.

As an alternative to ISIS, the FSA has an even more uphill battle, as their long-term lack of success and reliance on groups like ISIS to do the heavy lifting in conflicts suggests that they are not a competent rebellion on their own, and $500 million more thrown their way isn’t likely to change that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.