​‘US has no plan, policy on countering Islamic state in Syria’

The US has no real plan for tackling the Islamic State in Syria, with airstrikes and arms supplies to the unreliable opposition announced “just to do something,” Matthew Hoh, former US marine and analyst at the Center for International Policy, told RT.

Damascus has warned that unauthorized US airstrikes in Syria would be tantamount to an act of war, with Moscow stressing that such action can’t go on without a resolution from the United Nations.

However, Hoh believes that Barack Obama, which is forced to take on the Islamic State by fear-mongering and domestic political pressure, is unlikely to seek an allowance from the UN. The analyst said that Washington is about to repeat the same mistakes it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, warning that a ground operation in Syria would be the “worst scenario”.

Hoh is a former US marine and former State Department official, who resigned from his post over the American policy in Afghanistan back in 2009.

RT:Is Obama using air strikes on the Islamic State in Syria as a pretext to oust the regime of president Bashar Assad?

Matthew Hoh: I’m not sure if I agree with that, because I don’t think that the US government really has a plan or a policy. It really is an operation that’s just meant to do something. I know that sounds very simple and really absurd, but if you look at what the president has laid out: we’ll be conducting airstrikes against targets that we have very little intelligence on; we have no clear objective of what we want to occur when these airstrikes have taken place; and we are planning on arming and training Syrian opposition forces, again, that we are not sure, who they are, [or] what their objectives are.

And this all comes on the back of US airstrikes throughout the Middle East, whether it be Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, etc., or military training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan that have failed.

So, I don’t give it too much credence that the US government has a real policy a real objective here. I think it’s really just out of domestic politics, out of fear-mongering, that the US is acting in Syria.

RT:Could the US bomb Islamic State positions without a UN resolution or will Congress pressure Obama to seek international approval?

MH: I don’t think that it gets any traction, besides with maybe a couple of members of Congress, who are internationally-minded that way. But in terms of actual, real chances of any type of real pressure on the president to go to the UN, I don’t expect to see that. He may, but that would be just to try and get some international coalition. But in terms of actual, real domestic pressure within the US to go to the United Nations, I don’t expect to see any.

RT:Supplying arms to the Syrian opposition. Is this really going to help or are we going to see more members of the opposition defect to ISIS?

MH: That’s absolutely right. We [the US] don’t have a clear idea of who the opposition is. We don’t have a clear idea of their objectives. Again, we are backing our claims of vetting the opposition primarily with expatriate Syrians. And that’s very similar to the US mistakes made in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where we backed expat Iraqi and expat Afghans, who have been exiled from the country for decades in some cases, and who had other competing interests, some of which were just pure profit in terms of overthrowing the regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, who are we actually backing, whom we are providing arms to? As you mentioned, many of the “moderate” opposition has defected. You know that notion [that] somehow they are moderate doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to a lot of Americans, particularly, after Steven Sotloff’s family – the American journalist, who was executed by the Islamic State – informed the public that their son was sold to the Islamic State by the “moderate” Syrian opposition. So it doesn’t seem to appear that the US government [has] a clue as to what it’s getting itself into.

Watch the video for the full interview