For John, BLUF: . Nothing to see here; just move along.
From the London Review of Books we have Mr Seymour Hersh accusing senior officials in the Department of Defense of treason—"Military to Military", "Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war".
Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.While the I think suggesting President Obama "is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China" is flat out wrong, there has been a recent flap about intelligence out of the Middle East being "adjusted". And, there is the fact that President Obama has fixated on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a way that has allowed the nation to descend into chaos. The fact is, President Assad has been the protector of minorities in Syria. Yes, the Arab Spring came to Syria, but it died there. But, Daesh did not. It lives. It thrives on opposing the Shia Bashar Assad.
And, the area is so complex and intertwined that there is no way to sort out the good guys from the bad. Each faction is working to achieve its own goals and they may not be the same goals as other factions they align with. As an example of the problem, Turkey is against Daesh, but it is also against the Kurds, who are also against Daesh. Here is a sample from The Huffington Post, "The U.S. Found The People Who Can Beat ISIS. The Only Problem Is Everyone Hates Them". This would be the Syrian Kurds. This article doesn't address the leakage of young Sunni Kurds to Daesh. What a mess.
Then there is this "bottom line up front" from the Soufan Group today:
The tremendous effort required to topple the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will pale compared to the effort necessary to prevent its return.Read the whole thing from the Soufan Group. It is bracing. If Ms Hillary Clinton thinks that Donald Trump is the recruiting tool for Daesh she is in way over her head and electing her would just give us more of the same clueless avoidance of discussing the real issues.
Regards — Cliff