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Analysts in the United States this week are debating the precise meaning of the statements Wednesday by John Allen, the ex-Marine general who now coordinates the U.S.-led coalition's response to ISIS. He said that the United States is not coordinating with the Free Syrian Army, and instead plans to develop from scratch new local ground units in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS on two fronts.So when Gen. Allen says that the United States and its coalition partners will aim to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it is associated with "a credible field force" that would be intensely vetted, my eyes roll and my heart aches for the millions of people in the Arab region who will become refugees in the years ahead. The United States has tried to do precisely this kind of thing in recent years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, spending billions of dollars over 10 years – but it has failed miserably on most fronts.
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