There was a time when the US-CIA worked very discreetly. They waged war in Laos: No army just an airline for humanitarian aid. They even helped the French army to move out of Dien Bien Phu. Of course, no one knew it.
Nowadays, thanks to Wikileaks and the press, the weaknesses and the mistakes of the CIA in Syria and Libya are known by us as if we were there. For example, we had the classified report of the operation called « SOOPHIA » in February 2016. We have details such as the fact that the US and Europe are waiting for a reliable Libyan government that would allow EU forces to operate within its teritorial waters and later obtain the permission to extend EU military operations on the shore. John Kerry in Rome (February) claimed that at least 5,000 Islamic State fighters had taken over parts of the Libyan coast.
And what about Syria? According to Reuters a covert CIA mission to arm Syrian rebels goes awry. Mid 2016, the CIA had a weapons and training program. The training had started in 2013 but the program consisted in background-checking all of them. Commanders were interviewed for days on end. To get help from the US was long and difficult and much slower than expected An excerpt from the Capital journal:
« I think we’ve lost our window of opportunity, » says Robert Ford, the State Department’s ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014. Former Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan who led the House Intelligence Committee, says the trickling pipeline of supplies drove some US allies into the arms of Islamists. « We didn’t commit to them, so why should we expect them to commit to us? » he asks. Rep. Eliot Engel, (D., N.Y.) the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, adds: « We need to get them the materials they need to sustain themselves. It’s the right thing to do. »
We read that all sides agree now that the US effort to aid moderate fighters battling the Syrian army has gone badly. Moderate factions control only a fraction of Northern Syria.
The reality is that entire CIA-backed rebel units, a few hundred who went through the training program have changed sides joigning forces with Islamist brigades, quit the fight or « gone missing ».
The CIA have now stopped offering aid to all but a few trusted commanders.
Some Obama officials are talking of chaotic circumstances and policy disagreements in Washington and elsewhere. A senior official said that « despite controls some weapons still wound up on the wrong side. »
This account of the CIA’s program is based on interviews with U.S., Turkish and Arab officials involved in the effort as well as current and former and trusted commanders. CIA officials have trained nearly 5,000 fighters in Syria, but the financial cost is classified and few details have been disclosed publicly. »
The United States came out of World War II as one of the great powers and had the advantage of having a stable democracy which it tried to spread throughout around the world. The United States replaced Europe and its colonial empires. NATO was an effort to unite Europe militarily. The OSCE was a way to keep the United States involved in European democracy. Of course, there was the cold war. Russia had a authoritarian regime that was not going to last very long. Things have now changed and the Russian know it. And for its own strategic reasons it has intervened in Syria in a way that appears reasonable leading to a cooperation with the United States, putting aside the extremist groups financed by the oil-producing states that are spreading their idelogy in Africa.