Recently, President Obama along with his friends in Europe and Middle Eastern allies, announced their plans to ramp up support for the so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria and Iraq.
BenSwann.com has reported extensively that US intelligence on the ground in Syria have been supporting al-Qauda linked militants for years in a proxy war to overthrow the Assad regime.
As Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook noted in a previous article, Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch, said that the scheme of arming rebels is “just wrong” and it’s a strategy that won’t work. He noted that an “external support for insurgents typically makes conflicts longer and bloodier.”
According to the Washington Post, some rebel groups received training and financial and military support to overtake Muammar Gadhafi and battle Bashar al Assad.
The idea is “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and that is the point of view America and our allies have approached these opposition groups.
And frankly, this plan is a failure. The biggest failure of this was in Afghanistan, where we taught and supplied a group to fight the Soviet Union only to have them become stridently anti-Western.
“In that environment, Al Qaeda flourished and established the camps where perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were trained. Yet instead of learning from its mistakes, the United States keeps making them,” wrote Souad Mekhennet, co-author of “The Eternal Nazi” and a visiting fellow at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the Geneva Centre for Security policy.
We empowered these groups whose members were either already anti-American or anti-Western, or they became that way over time. According to interviews with members of militant groups, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s Al Nusra Front (which is aligned with al Qaeda), that is exactly what happened with some of the fighters in Libya and even with factions of the Free Syrian Army.
“For a long time, Western and Arab states supported the Free Syrian Army not only with training but also with weapons and other materiel. The Islamic State commander, Abu Yusaf, said that members of the Free Syrian Army who had received training — from the United States, Turkey and Arab military officers at an American base in Southern Turkey — have now joined the Islamic State,” wrote Mekhennet.
The Washington Post interview with a rebel insurgent below reveals the impossible task of controlling “moderate” rebels from joining more extreme ones:
Abu Saleh left Libya in 2012 for Turkey and then crossed into Syria. “First I fought under what people call the ‘Free Syrian Army’ but then switched to Al Nusra. And I have already decided I will join the Islamic State when my wounds are healed,” the 28-year-old said from a hospital in Turkey, where he is receiving medical treatment. He had been injured during a battle with the Syrian Army, he said, and was brought to Turkey with false documents. “Some of the Syrian people who they trained have joined the Islamic State and others jabhat al Nusra,” he said, smiling. He added, “Sometimes I joke around and say that I am a fighter made by America.”
Cook asked award-winning journalist and researcher Nizar Nayouf his thoughts on ISIS, America’s role and if there was any truth to the Washington Post’s article. (Nayouf spent 10 years in prison and was tortured for speaking out against the Syrian government.) Nayouf first broke the story about US troops training insurgents in Jordan.