Most Doubt Success in US Anti-ISIS Fighter Training

Rebels Unlikely to Ever Be Game-Changer

Pentagon officials still issue statements, about once a week, saying the training operation aimed at creating a new Syrian rebel force is progressing, still narrowing down the list of potential recruits.

It’s not going nearly so well as they say, of course. A training operation that was supposed to begin at the start of the year, then was set in stone as early March still hasn’t begun, and promises of getting it going by May seem tentative, at best.

And the Pentagon has only identified a small fraction of the 5,000 rebels they intend to produce over the next three years. It’s unclear how many of those are even able to be vetted as sufficiently pro-US to subsidize.

Analysts are warning that even if they somehow manage to find all these guys and get them trained up in three years, they’re likely to get routed by ISIS more or less immediately upon returning to Syria. That’s the “best case” for which hundreds of millions of dollars is being spent.

The reality is that the Syrian war hinges on a faction that doesn’t exist, and the promise that the Pentagon is going to manufacture them out of cold, hard cash is just silly, but absent any better plans, they’re going to keep plugging away at one that obviously won’t work, simply for the sake of keeping the war going a few more years.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of