What exactly is going on in the fight against the Islamic State? Does the U.S. government have any intention of actually defeating the terrorist group? Well, based on a new bombshell report, the United States government actually cut a deal with the ISIS terrorists that calls into question what exactly is going on over in Syria.
For years, the federal government has maintained the notion that there is not much going on over in Syria on our part; there are merely a few military advisors there assisting and training the anti-Islamic State groups like the Kurds.
However, as time has progressed, we have found out that American military operations in Syria are far more extensive than we were led to believe. Indeed, we now know that there are over a dozen military bases now being operational in Northern Syria alone, thanks to leaks from Turkey’s state-run news agency.
In spite of that fact though, the fact that the American public was lied to, the U.S. military continues to conduct operations in the region, all without any sort of Congressional approval.
There they are, illegally conducting military operations in a country that is not covered by a Congressional AUMF, against an enemy that is also not covered under a Congressional AUMF; all that, compounded by the fact that there is really no clear objective promulgated.
With that in mind, the U.S. government must answer why they struck a deal with the Islamic State that allowed droves of their fighters to escape their caliphate’s capital when it was taken by coalition-backed forces. The BBC reported the bombshell revelation that the coalition allowed Islamic State fighters, full of arms and ammunition, to escape the defeat and ruin at Raqqa.
Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job.
He drives an 18-wheeler across some of the most dangerous territory in northern Syria. Bombed-out bridges, deep desert sand, even government forces and so-called Islamic State fighters don’t stand in the way of a delivery.
But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting from the town of Tabqa on the Euphrates river to a camp further north.
That was at least what his contractor claimed, nothing terribly out of the ordinary at first. However, his real mission was far more insidious, and when he began his work, he realized that the coalition lied to him.
Abu Fawzi and dozens of other drivers were promised thousands of dollars for the task but it had to remain secret.
The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.
But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.
The BBC posed a very chilling question: “Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?”
If the pact enabled Islamic State fighters to escape Raqqa with their lives and with military equipment, the unequivocal answer is yes. There is no way to spin it while maintaining a shred of intellectual honesty.
BBC uncovered the deal by speaking with over a dozen people who were involved and observed in the operation, as well as those who negotiated the pact.
Publicly, the SDF claimed that only a few ISIS fighters were able to leave, but that was entirely false. According to one of the truck drivers who took part in the operation, he revealed that there was a staggering number of escapees.
“We took out around 4,000 people including women and children – our vehicle and their vehicles combined. When we entered Raqqa, we thought there were 200 people to collect. In my vehicle alone, I took 112 people.”
The convoy was six or seven kilometers long, and while (again) SDF publicly claimed that only a few personal arms were taken, 10 trucks were full of weapons and ammunition, one to the point where it snapped an axle because of how much was packed in.
The SDF didn’t want the retreat from Raqqa to look like an escape to victory. No flags or banners would be allowed to be flown from the convoy as it left the city, the deal stipulated.
It was also understood that no foreigners would be allowed to leave Raqqa alive.
Yet all of them were able to leave, local and foreigner alike. They were allowed to leave the city in droves, heavily armed and willing to take up the fight wherever they can. What happened to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ claim that that war against ISIS is one of annihilation, and that back in May the coalition was moving in on that annihilation phase.
Based on the fact that a secret deal was struck, which allowed thousands of ISIS members to escape to fight another day, it calls into question the narrative that this is a war of annihilation. If anything, it could lead one to believe that the U.S. military may not even want to fully defeat ISIS.
It sounds off the wall, but why would so many fighters be allowed to escape like this? A true war of annihilation would never have seen such an escape of the enemy. All of them would have been crushed in one swift blow, yet they were allowed to escape. Why? It just makes no sense in any sane world.
Mattis told reporters on Monday that the next phase of the fight will be to prevent an “ISIS 2.0.” However, if the coalition struck a deal to let thousands of ISIS members escape, it completely undermines that objective. There is a fundamental disconnect between the stated goals, and what is actually happening on the ground.
Something is very amiss here; very much so.