The Obama administration has finally pulled the plug on the Pentagon program to train moderate rebels fighting the Islamic State in Syria, after their efforts only produced a handful of fighters. Judy Woodruff discusses the decision with former State Department officials P.J. Crowley and David Kramer a program that was widely denounced as a failure in recent months.
The Pentagon had spent $500 million on a program to train and equip moderate factions within Syria that opposed both dictator Bashar al- Assad and radical Islamist factions.
It said that it would shift its focus away from training to providing weapons and other equipment to rebel groups whose leaders have passed a U.S. vetting process to ensure they are not linked to militant Islamist groups.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a press conference that he “wasn’t very happy” with the program’s early efforts. “I think you’ll be hearing from President Obama very shortly,” he announced.
The sources said that the new strategy will likely involve training existing rebels on complex combat operations, such as operating mortars and calling in airstrikes. Ash Carter said that the administration “remains committed” to training Syrians in the fight over the Islamic State.