A new study from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has revealed that one of its key strategies of arming and training foreign groups to intervene in a country is ineffective.
The internal report is still classified, but according to U.S. newspaper The New York Times, it concludes that training foreign rebels has a minimal impact in the result of an armed conflict.
The review was commissioned by President Barack Obama between 2012 and 2013 to determine if it was convenient for the U.S. to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight against President Bashar al-Assad.
In April 2013, Obama authorized the CIA to start training Syrian rebels at a base in Jordan. Ironically, the Syrian forces will now fight against the militants of Islamic State group, enemies of al-Assad, though their future role remains unclear.
“One of the things that Obama wanted to know was: Did this ever work?” said one former senior administration official, quoted by The New York Times.
The study “was pretty dour in its conclusions,” added the anonymous official.
Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has a long record of failed interventions in other countries, mainly to overthrow left-wing governments.
From 1946 to 1984, the U.S. operated the School of the Americas, a special facility in Panama to train Latin American soldiers and policemen to fight against guerrillas. Some of the graduated students are famous for committing crimes against humanity during dictatorships in Latin American countries.
One of the most famous U.S. interventions was Bahía de Cochinos’ operation in Cuba. The government of then-president John F. Kennedy armed Cuban rebels to attack Fidel Castro in 1961. However the rebels were completely overcome by Castro’s army, and the operation has been considered one of the biggest failures in the CIA’s history.
During his administration, Ronald Reagan intervened into countries such as Angola, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua, with very poor, but deadly, results.
Some U.S. interventions have even strengthened forces who have then targeted the US. Arms were provided to mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan who “later formed the core of Al Qaeda and used Afghanistan as a base to plan the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.” reads the NYT.
Likewise numerous analysts have pointed out how arms provided to groups in Syria are now likely to be in the hands of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.