Worries in the Middle East: Obama increases boots on the ground in Syria



Obama speaks about this latest development in the Syria situation.

Brendan Chase, Contributing Writer

Yet again more United States’ soldiers are flung into the Middle East to protect and fight for freedom and democracy. This time, the target region is the war torn landscape of Syria. On Monday April 25th, President Obama announced an additional 250 Special Forces units to be sent to support the Syrian Rebels fighting Bashar Al­-Assad and ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). This deployment increases the current number of Americans on the ground sixfold, now totaling 300.

Rather than a direct military intervention such in Iraq and Afghanistan years ago, President Obama claimed “They’re not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces as they continue to drive ISIL back” in a speech in Germany.

This increase in US involvement comes after yet another attempted ceasefire has ended in tatters with no real force on the ground to back it up. Throughout the five year long civil war, over 250,000 people have been killed and millions more have fled the country, flooding into the surrounding nations. In turn these nations have been overwhelmed, which
gave birth to the Syrian refugee crisis.

All this statistics culminate into the anarchy that dominates much of Syria as rival factions fight for control. This chaos served as an excellent breeding ground for terrorist groups such as ISIS.

In response the United States sent aid to the Syrian rebels fighting ISIS in the form of weapons and 50 soldiers to train the Syrian fighters. However, Many of these weapons landed in the hands of ISIS members after capturing the equipment.

Sophomore Joe Cavanaugh believes the increase in Special Forces units is simply not enough. He believes “We have been at war our entire lives, and destroying ISIS at its root is the only way to be safe. Don’t you like your life?”

Russian President Vladimir Putin showed his support for Al-­Assad by launching air strikes on Al­-Assad’s rivals, some of whom America supports. In addition to a potential proxy war arising in Syria, a ground force invasion will the cost more money and risk more lives. Looking back at previous wars in the Middle East, ground campaigns have shown to have come at a great cost of American lives and ruined thousands of more once they return home. Many Americans worry this is yet another endless battle.

One potential solution could be to talk seriously with Russia. If the parties involved could put aside their differences in the region for some time and focus solely on wiping out ISIS, the Al­Assad regime and the rebels might be able to find a compromise.

Across the school and across the world many agree that ISIS is a major threat to world peace. As long as ISIS exists in the capacity it does currently, American lives are at risk, Islamophobia is fueled, and the situation in Syria continues to devolve.

If America must sacrifice a bit of pride to ally with Russia in order to save lives, the end result may be a better world for everyone.