By Moon Of Alabama
Last week the Lebanese Army and Hizbullah defeated ISIS in the Lebanese-Syrian border area of Qalamun. A ceasefire was announced and a deal was made. Lebanon received the bodies of its army fighters earlier captured and killed by ISIS. The remaining ISIS fighter and their families would disarm and receive free passage to ISIS held areas in east Syria.
The U.S. has now launched a media campaign against this deal. The Iraqi government has joined in.
As noted in the last Syria Summary here:
In the Qalamun area at the Lebanese border the Lebanese army and Hizbullah attacked the last ISIS enclave along that border. Today the remaining 200 ISIS fighters in the area agreed to lay down arms in exchange for an evacuation towards east-Syria.
The later announced total of evacuees was higher with 308 ISIS fighters and about 500 of their relatives including kids. These are transported in 17 buses and several ambulances across Syria towards the Syrian city of Abu Kamal (Bukamal) at the Iraqi border.
The overall military motive is sound. In the end ISIS will be concentrated and surrounded in the desert along the Syrian-Iraqi border. Removing ISIS outposts throughout the country frees up lots of soldiers for the big fight. Its concentration in one place also allows to concentrate forces to fight it. Just like al-Qaeda in Idleb governate ISIS will have no way out to leave and can be killed from the air and from the ground.
The U.S. military threatens to bomb the convoy:
The American military coalition strongly criticized on Wednesday a decision by the Lebanese Army and its allies to allow Islamic State fighters safe passage across Syria, and did not rule out airstrikes against the convoy, according to the coalition’s spokesman. “We will take action where necessary; those would be absolutely lucrative targets,” Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the American-led military coalition in Iraq and Syria, said. “We are monitoring them in real time.”
Colonel Ryan said the agreement undermined efforts to fight the Islamic State in Syria.
“The coalition, we are not party to this agreement between Lebanon, Hezbollah and ISIS,” he said. “Their claim of fighting terrorism rings hollow when they allow known terrorists to transit territory under their control. ISIS is a global threat, and relocating terrorists from one place to another is not a lasting solution.”
The U.S. envoy for the fight against ISIS chipped in:
7:20 AM – 30 Aug 2017 – Brett McGurk @brett_mcgurk
Irreconcilable #ISIS terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across #Syria to the Iraqi border without #Iraq’s consent 1/2
Our @coalition will help ensure that these terrorists can never enter #Iraq or escape from what remains of their dwindling “caliphate.” 2/2
This is ridiculous. Over and over the U.S. gave ISIS all chances to grow and to escape destruction. It itself made similar cease fire and retreat deals with the Takfiris.
The ISIS core was groomed in a U.S. prison in Buqqa, Iraq. It later came from Iraq into Syria. Obama as well as then Secretary of State Kerry are on the record saying that they intentionally let ISIS grow to oust the Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and the Syrian President Assad. The U.S. let ISIS flee from Fallujah and protested when the Iraqi government bombed the escaping ISIS convoys. In the assault on ISIS held Mosul the U.S. military held open a corridor towards Syria to let ISIS fighters escape. When the Kurdish U.S. proxy attacked Raqqa the front towards Palmyra was left open to let ISIS flee. Russia protested. Recently 1,800 out of 2,000 ISIS fighters fled from Tal Afar towards Syria before the Iraqi army assaulted the city. This is why I could take the city in just 10 days. U.S. action was designed to enable ISIS to take Deir Ezzor and only a heroic defense by Syrian troops prevented that.
Moreover in August 2016 the U.S. military itself made a deal with ISIS in Manbij, Syria, and gave free passage to retreating ISIS fighters:
Several hundred vehicles containing 100 to 200 Islamic State fighters were given safe passage by US-[backed] forces, out of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, after surrendering their weapons, according to defense officials.
The 100 to 200 fighters left the city of Manbij last Friday under watch of coalition drones to ensure the militants didn’t regroup and try to return to the city.
Associated Press reported US military officials said some of the IS fighters had already made their way into Turkey, and many were still in Syria.
Another such deal with ISIS was later made at the Tabqa dam. It is embarrassing, though not extraordinary, that U.S. officials now make such ridiculous remarks.
On wonders though why the Iraqi prime minister decided to join in:
The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, faulted Syria for relocating the Islamic State fighters to its eastern frontier, which is the border with Iraq.
“We fight the terrorists in Iraq,” he said in a speech on Tuesday. “We do not send them to Syria — we kill them in Iraq.”
Mr. Abadi called on the Syrian government to investigate the decision to relocate the Islamic State fighters.
Abadi’s claims are false. The Syrian-Iranian-Russian coalition had urged Abadi to block ISIS in the Syrian-Iraqi border area in Anbar province before assaulting it in Mosul. Abadi did not go along but followed the U.S. plans. In consequence ISIS fighters could flee from Mosul to Syria.The Iraqi government had let them go. Hizbullah leader Nasrullah explained the Lebanese deal in a TV speech (vid, ar) which was also broadcasted in Iraq. Abadi’s voters are informed about the reasonable Lebanese motives.
What then does Abadi hope to win with claiming that Iraq behaved differently than Syria and Hizbullah did now?
This article was first published by Moon Of Alabama