The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, apparently doesn’t think America has “learned its lesson” from sending arms into Middle East conflicts, only to see those weapons end up in the hands of enemies.
“Send arms and equipment to your agents and dogs. Prepare them with the most modern equipment. Send them very much, for it will end up as war booty in our hands,” boasts a 42-minute long audio statement purportedly made by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a spokesman for ISIS, and translated by Flashpoint Partners. “You will spend it, then it will be a source of regret for you, then you will be defeated.
“Look at your armored vehicles, machinery, weaponry and equipment,” the audio continues. “It is in our hands. Allah granted it to us. We fight you with it.”
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved President Obama’s proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels to combat the growing threat to several countries posed by ISIS. The administration hopes to build a “coalition” of nations, backed and supplied in part by the U.S., to fight ISIS from several directions without requiring U.S. boots on the ground.
The purported ISIS audio – which has not yet been verified as al-Adnani – openly mocked the president’s plan, calling Obama “more foolish” than his predecessor, George W. Bush.
“And oh, Obama, oh mule of the Jews, you are vile,” the audio rants. “You will be disappointed, Obama. Is this all you were capable of doing in this campaign of yours? Is this how far America has reached of incapacity and weakness? Are America and all its allies from amongst the crusaders and atheists unable to come down to the ground? Have you not realized, oh crusaders, that proxy wars have not availed you nor will they ever avail you?”
In Washington, the president’s plan passed by a wide margin, with votes from both parties, but not without ardent opposition.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised the vote: “The Senate has passed a strong bill to arm and train vetted Syrian opposition fighters as part of the president’s strategy to destroy ISIS without repeating the mistakes of the past in the Middle East. America will lead a coalition that includes our friends and allies in European and Arab nations in a targeted, strategic mission to destroy ISIS.”
Others, however, warned Obama is precisely “repeating the mistakes of the past.”
“No one knows where these arms are going to wind up,” objected Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who called the plan “ludicrous” on the Senate floor before the vote. “We don’t even know who these groups are.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., likewise called the plan “insanity.”
“The first principle of war is to know your enemy,” Manchin said. “It is equally important to know our allies, and I am not confident we know who our allies are.”
In fact, ISIS is already using U.S. weapons in its fight for Middle East supremacy. The Washington Post, for example, reported ISIS soldiers using “looted American arms” taken from fleeing Iraqi soldiers in June.
The Post also reported on a study by Conflict Armament Research, which determined anti-tank weapons likely once owned by “moderate” Syrian rebels eventually landed in the hands of ISIS. The study also determined ISIS had captured “significant quantities” of U.S.-manufactured small arms and put them to use on the battlefield.
Nonetheless, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Hart assured MSNBC’s Chris Hayes the U.S. plans to fully “vet” any recipient of American arms.
“We go to great lengths to vet people we give any assistance to,” Hart told Hayes in late August. “Particularly when we’re talking about this new Department of Defense program that we asked Congress to authorize, to train and equip the Syrian opposition, we go to great lengths to vet them. For exactly the reason you mentioned: We don’t want our assistance falling into the wrong hands.”