2014 April 02 Wednesday
Syrian Moderate Rebels In Short Supply
Barack Obama is in a bind. Any anti-aircraft missile sent to Syria to overthrow Assad could end up in the hands of Jihadis who want to take out Western passenger jets.
Putin has gained the upper hand in Syria because Obama is reluctant to supply the opposition with advanced weaponry such as guided anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles out of fear they may fall into the hands of radical Islamic groups linked to al-Qaeda, said Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Defense Ministry’s advisory council and the head of the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade in Moscow.
The article is about Russia's successful support for Assad's government against the rebels in Syria. Since the rebels are dominated by Jihadists I say hurray for Russia and Tsar Vlad.
Meanwhile the US and Saudi Arabia are in a serious pickle over how to handle Syria. Even as Saudi recently introduced serious criminal penalties for Saudi citizens who fight in Syria the Saudi government continues to support overthrow of Assad even though Saudis who fight in Syria become transformed into threats to the Saudi monarchy. That shows you implacably opposed the Saudis are to any ally of the non-Arab and non-Sunni Persians. and of course Obama has recently assured King Abdullah during a recent trip Riyadh that the US government maintains its commitment to try to find and fund a moderate opposition to Assad's government. If you have any good ideas for how to find moderates in Syria who want to fight against the Jihadists and against Assad I am sure the CIA would like to hear from you.
Okay, this is more kinds of funny. The Saudis want to support civil war against supposedly evil neighbors. But at the same time the Saudis are afraid the sorts of people who fight against these evil (meaning non-Sunni) governments might come back and want to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. Whatever makes these neighboring leaders so evil? A lack of commitment to freedom and democracy! Nah, just kidding.
Then there is the US. Why ever is the US opposed to the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad? Its lack of democracy? Hey, Saudi Arabia does not have a democracy. Its oppression of minority groups? The current government protects minority groups against oppression by the Sunni (not very tolerant) majority.
I think Tsar Vladimir is showing great wisdom on Syria in marked contrast to elected leader of progressives in America.
By Randall Parker at 2014 April 02 08:51 PM
Excellent and granular coverage of jihadism is provided by Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal. His recent post Chief of Syrian Revolutionaries Front says al Qaeda is 'not our problem' is relevant here.
The absence of dedicated, fanatical Western-style moderates willing to sacrifice and die for a tradition that's comforting to us but alien to them -- yes, I recall that being a slight issue for Bush, and a problem that even The One's magical powers haven't dissolved. Yet.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial and Op-Ed pages are a fun read on this topic. The house pundits take the McCain line, excoriating Obama for dilettantism and timidity -- if only the U.S. would lavish advanced weaponry on the al Qaeda cutouts, then all would be well.
This is one of those times where the elites seem so unmoored from reality that it's hard to gauge their self-awareness. Perhaps their destructive actions are as intended. A case of "the worse the better"?
Here is a column by Gary Brecher ("War Nerd") from December 2013:
...of all their many skills, the one the Saudis have mastered most thoroughly is disruption... They don’t just “turn a blind eye” to young Saudi men going off to do jihad—they cheer them on. It’s a brilliant strategy that kills two very dangerous birds with one plane ticket. By exporting their dangerous young men, the Saudis rid themselves of a potential troublemaker while creating a huge amount of pain for the people who live wherever those men end up.
...Jihad is like the princess in those fairy tales: It draws all the daring young princes to undertake quests no underwriter would insure, and in the process gets them far away from home during their most aggressive years. Better yet from the Sauds’ point of view, most of them die.
If there was ever an opposition to Assad that we could stomach, I could see supporting them against Assad. Assad isn't our buddy. He has supported terrorism against us in the past and has worked with other rogue regimes like North Korea to spread nuclear weapons knowledge and technical capabilities. That being said, There hasn't been a serious moderate opposition to Assad during the civil war since the first few months of the conflict, so our window has long since closed. Our choices now are a Baathist dictatorship that hates us and Islamic radicals that hate us. Ahh, choices, choices!
Now our Syrian policy is totally confused. On the one hand, we are scheming with Saudi Arabia to support jihadi's against the Baathists, but on the other hand since we were tricked into that agreement with Russia to get rid of Syrian WMD's we now need Assad to stay in power to go through the motions of having done something to get rid of his WMD's. I don't think we could have gotten ourselves into a worse situation if Assad and Russia set our foreign policy with Syria.
The Syrian government are the moderates. The US is the one supporting terrorists.