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Dropping bombs, Obama’s ‘peace’ legacy

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to United States President Barack Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

Published: January 7, 2017, 10:46 am

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    But according to analysis of Defense Department data by the Council on Foreign Relations, in 2016 the majority of US bombs were dropped in Iraq and Syria where little evidence of international diplomacy and cooperation has been witnessed. The US leads an international coalition fighting in both countries and has carried out several air operations.

    Nearly the same amount of bombs were dropped in Syria (12 192) and Iraq (12 095) last year.

    The Obama administration also dropped more bombs in Libya in 2016 than it did in 2015. Nearly 500 bombs were dropped in the North African country that has essentially been ungoverned since regime change ended the rule of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Gaddafi was captured and killed during the Libyan bombing campaign.

    Last year the US dropped 79 percent of their coalition bombs in Syria and Iraq, totaling 24 287. That figure, along with others analyzed by CFR, is likely lower than the actual number dropped because one airstrike can involved multiple bombs.

    Obama also authorized a troop surge in Afghanistan — a conflict he pledged to end during his campaign — where the US dropped 1 337 bombs in 2016. The US only dropped 947 bombs in Afghanistan in 2015.

    The US bombing continued, because according to a CBS News poll, Americans were opposed to the idea of sending ground troops into Syria to become embroiled in yet another failed Iraq-like adventure.

    President Obama announced during a press conference Wednesday that about 8 400 troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of his term. Obama had previously planned to drop troop levels to 5 500 by ​early 2017​.​

    Obama’s promises to draw down American military presence abroad in various international conflicts, have come to nought. He is now widely criticized for assigning more weapons to anti-government groups in Syria in order to prolong the conflict.

    Last month Obama issued the White House memorandum to both the US State and Defense departments which waives any arms export control restrictions on providing “military assistance” to all “foreign forces” in Syria, according to a White House press release.

    Presumably, this includes not only guns and ammunition, but also lethal TOW Missiles and RPGs for tens of thousands of extremist foreign fighters and Takfiri terrorists currently operating inside Syria.

    In 2016 the US allocated some $500 million in US taxpayer funds in order to “train and equip” so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria via the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

    karin@praag.org

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