It’s been two months since Congress authorized a train-and-equip mission to help Syrian rebels fight ISIS—but recruiting has not started, and training won’t begin until spring of next year.
In conjunction with air strikes, the American mission to train and equip the Syrian moderate opposition is a central part of the Obama administration’s strategy to counter ISIS. Yet this strategy and its execution are deeply flawed, say Congressional lawmakers focused on national security issues—which raises questions about whether the planned training of some 5,000 fighters will ever happen.
Congress authorized the train-and-equip mission in mid-September, but two months later, recruitment has not even begun. Instead, the time has been spent setting up a system to vet potential recruits. According to Pentagon and Congressional sources, training of opposition fighters won’t begin until March or April at the earliest, and it will take a total of eight or nine months to train an initial small group of fighters. […]