New video of U.S. B-52's wiping out an ISIS facility near Mosul, Iraq is well worth watching for a real-time sense of the conflict. The video is reminiscent of Air Force footage of bombs unloaded in precision fashion on the same country during the Gulf War.
An ex-CIA operative claims, in a new book, President Barack Obama rejected a CIA plan to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power. Senior intelligence officials have confirmed this account, and believe this decision allowed for the growth of ISIS and other events that have destabilized the region.
Doug Laux, who worked undercover for the CIA in Syria and Afghanistan, details how Obama failed to act on a specific, "multi-tiered plan" to aid Syrian rebels and overthrow the Assad regime. This failure to act, and to prevent the subsequent Syrian civil war, fomented the rise of ISIS and related threats to Europe and the West.
In 2012, then-CIA Director and former general David Petraeus proposed a detailed plan to oust Assad from power. Laux helped write the "ops" plan. Obama nixed it.
Petraeus, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others believe the plan might have prevented the Syrian civil war, which is being fought between the Assad regime and his allies and U.S.-backed rebels. The war has sent thousands of refugees pouring into Europe and ceded to ISIS a large chunk of the strife-torn nation-state.
Other intelligence-related news paints a still-darker picture. The Daily Beast reports the "growing scandal over cooked ISIS intelligence just got much worse" with the disclosure of retaliation against internal administration critics. The Obama administration reportedly demoted two senior intelligence officials at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for questioning U.S. portrayals of progress in the war against ISIS. The analysts say they were forced out of their jobs because of their "skeptical reporting on U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria."