Let's just say, I have many reservations about this. I've been skeptical from the beginning that we ever could really properly vet the rebel groups in such a way that we are not associated with what I would at the mildest describe as "unpleasantness" and at the worst "a fucking disaster". Part of it is because there may be some groups (out of dozens--yes, dozens of separate militias that might not even work well together--but later for that) that will turn out to be sort of related to or sympathetic with the very probably lesser known and worse of two evils--ISIL. And the other problem is, ISIL is pretty coordinated, has captured a bunch of territory over Syria and mostly Iraq, and they have a tendency to just take what they will from groups they overrun:
On Wednesday, June 10, ISIL solidified its hold on Mosul, the largest city in Northern Iraq, a city with a population of around 600,000 people. ISIL’s attack on Mosul, which Al Jazeera reports occurred with around 800 Sunni fighters, defeated over 30,000 Iraqi soldiers, many of whom abandoned their uniforms and fled.
While the taking of the city, ISIL recovered “massive cache” of weapons, vehicles and equipment, given to Iraqi security forces by the United States. Reports claim that many pieces of American equipment captured in Mosul have already been seen on the Syrian battlefield.This sort of thing makes me feel like we could end up arming a pretty screwed-up, hardcore, dangerous terrorist organization, rather than empowering these smaller guys to take them on--because there are clashes between the various rebel orgs. And when ISIL has their way, it goes very badly. This sort of thing looks to be the way ISIL will be running things in their so-called caliphate.
Now, the Iraq government might be able to get it's feet under it properly to defend against them, and possibly with Iranian help. But the Iran government is not signaling that they are ok with our involvement at all, and that their support for Iraq will be the same as their support for Syria's Assad.
The Syrian and Iraq situations are intertwined in some respects. But in that this is looking to be a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, I am thinking it is the height of dumb to do anything that starts getting us further involved. Our interests in keeping out of this thing should prevail. On Bill Maher's show, he likened this potential big conflict to the first World War--and I don't think he's entirely wrong there, because this has the potential to spread to other countries' involvement and have blowback for we don't know how long.
I know there is a line of reasoning that supposes that if we stayed in Iraq, ISIL could not have taken over the territory they have--I still think for one thing they have to be able to keep it so we don't know how successful they are in the long run--this is a short run, but for another, these pressures of outside countries meddling? I think they would have always been there once Saddam was removed. Everyone was looking to divvy up the Iraq pie in the aftermath of our invasion.
This thing makes me feel very cynical. I don't like ISIL, but I think they need to be disposed of by the region.