photo: NY Times
The NY Times today:
Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West
The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.
The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.
“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”
The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.
This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.
The two prominent Al Qaida powered groups in Syria are Islamic States in Syria and Al Nusra. Most (John Kerry, apparently, among them) do not know that Al Nusra merged with the Free Syrian Army a couple of months ago.
This footage from May and June 2013 shows battalions from the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) declaring their unification with al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) in the eastern Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta and in Aleppo, both strongholds of the anti-government militants. Although some instances have occurred where clashes between the two groups have taken place, for the most part, the FSA and al-Qaeda unite under the banner of Islamic monotheism.
At this point Al Qaida and the FSA are one and the same. The Times goes on:
That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals.
Ya think? The star of the NY Times video makes a promise- genocide:
But, they said, one of his tactics has been to promise to his fighters what he calls “the extermination” of Alawites — the minority Islamic sect to which the Assad family belongs, and which Mr. Issa blames for Syria’s suffering.
The Al Qaida linked rebels also promise to slaughter the Christians in Syria once Barack Obama comes to their aid.
It is against this backdrop that the feckless and clueless John Kerry argues the Obama regime position:
Secretary of State John Kerry’s public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.
At congressional hearings this week, while making the case for President Barack Obama’s plan for limited military action in Syria, Kerry asserted that the armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership, and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution.
“And the opposition is getting stronger by the day,” Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
U.S. and allied intelligence sources and private experts on the Syrian conflict suggest that assessment is optimistic.
Indeed. Back to the Times:
Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.
And they appear to be winning:
“I’ve heard that there are moderate groups out there we could, in theory, support,” said Joshua Foust, a former U.S. intelligence analyst who now writes about foreign policy.
“But I’ve heard from those same people and my own contacts within (U.S. intelligence) that the scary people are displacing more and more moderate groups. Basically, the jihadists are setting up governance and community councils while the moderates exhaust themselves doing the heavy fighting,” Foust said.
If we tip Syria over, these groups will be the new leaders. And if we knock Assad off or over, we’ll most certainly have to insert ground troops to secure the WMD’s. You can’t help but get the feeling Barack Obama has been thinking about this for some time.
Securing Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and the facilities that produced them would likely require the U.S. to send more than 75,000 ground troops into the Middle Eastern country, MailOnline learned Wednesday.
That estimate comes from a secret memorandum the U.S. Department of Defense prepared for President Obama in early 2012.
U.S. Central Command arrived at the figure of 75,000 ground troops as part of a written series of military options for dealing with Bashar al-Assad more than 18 months ago, long before the U.S. confirmed internally that the Syrian dictator was using the weapons against rebel factions within his borders.
‘The report exists, and it was prepared at the request of the National Security Advisor’s staff,’ a Department of Defense official with knowledge of the inquiry told MailOnline Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
Which is why I doubt it when Obama says he doesn’t want to ouster Assad or tip the balance of the war. Obama initially promised no boots on the ground and then sent Kerry to the Senate and opened the door for just such an action. The plan written by the Senate is chock full of loopholes. Why would Obama need 90 days to send a “message”?
So what are the goals of this regime? The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was asked about this:
Dempsey Can’t Say What U.S. is Seeking in Syria
I don’t think we’re going to like Obama’s new best friends.
Barack Obama has made a career as a community organizer. His entire life as an adult has been spent pitting one group against another and it has been the hallmark of his Presidency. I don’t know that he’s even capable of banding people together using anything other than fear and threat, which I think is why we’re seeing him flounder so badly right now. There is no “we.” There is only “us” and “them.”