Baghdad tried to overtake Kirkuk from the Kurds on October 16, 2017. The Kurds’ plan was to make Kirkuk part of an independent state through Iraq’s security forces, which have been armed and trained by Washington, by assaulting part of a country that the US deems valuable in the fight against ISIS, all while being assisted by Qassim Suleimani. Suleimani is Tehran’s top operative, notable for his use American Humvees and Abram tanks in his mission with Iraqi militias. The takeaway from this case is that the October event wasn’t Washington’s first miscalculated action in terms of their security assistance to the Middle East.
The similar attempt at providing security assistance to the Middle East was made by the US in Syria. After spending four years and billions of dollar to for a rebel force to stand against the jihadists, disaster was all there is to expect. Very little number of Syrians made it through the training, which drove Washington to strike a deal with Al Qaeda. The US then transferred equipment to the notorious terrorist group. Concerns regarding US military assistance to the Middle East have grown significantly. In June 2017, nearly half of the Senate voted against the plans of transferring precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia to help with its war in Yemen. In July the same year, President Trump put an end to a program under CIA meant for supporting Syrian rebel forces.
America’s tendency to provide security assistance to the Middle East is something that is absolutely understandable. However, this has yet to see an outcome in the form of a policy debate that is useful. Washington has so far been able to deal with what would be called symptoms while it is expected that the more fundamental matters that should be addressed. This is neither about whether the US has spent too much or too little on programs intended for Arab partners nor about whether the US has sold too many or too little weapons.
The more appropriate question about this is whether the security assistance the US has provided so far truly brings something that drives US policy priorities in the ME to evolve. If it does not, then something needs to be done to explore options that make the program fail and the reason why it fails. That being said, there have been various forms of assistance that the US had provided the ME with, which actually yielded results.