In Re Syria: The Answer Is NO!

“Syria crisis: Al-Nusra pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda” (BBC, 4/10/13):

Still frame from video obtained from a social media website shows three rebels, two of them carrying Jabhat al-Nussra flags, stand behind a row of 11 kneeling men prior to executing them in what is said to be Deir al-ZorThe leader of the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group fighting in Syria, has pledged allegiance to the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri….

“The sons of al-Nusra Front pledge allegiance to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri,” Mr Jawlani said in a recording released on Wednesday.

“Syria’s Nusra Front eclipsed by Iraq-based al Qaeda” (Reuters, 5/17/13):

The most feared and effective rebel group battling President Bashar al-Assad, the Islamist Nusra Front, is being eclipsed by a more radical jihadi force whose aims go far beyond overthrowing the Syrian leader.

Al Qaeda’s Iraq-based wing, which nurtured Nusra in the early stages of the rebellion against Assad, has moved in and sidelined the organization, Nusra sources and other rebels say.

Al Qaeda in Iraq includes thousands of foreign fighters whose ultimate goal is not toppling Assad but the anti-Western jihad of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri….

“Nusra is now two Nusras. One that is pursuing al Qaeda’s agenda of a greater Islamic nation, and another that is Syrian with a national agenda to help us fight Assad,” said a senior rebel commander in Syria who has close ties to the Nusra Front.

“Al Qaeda grows powerful in Syria as endgame nears” (Reuters, 12/20/12):

Members of the group interviewed by Reuters say al-Nusra aims to revive the Islamic Caliphate, which dates back to the Prophet Mohammad’s seventh century companions, forerunners of the large empire that once stretched into Europe.

“McCain visits rebels in Syria” (CNN, 5/27/13):

McCain is the leading voice in Congress for a greater U.S. role in ending Syria’s civil war, which has been waged for more than two years. He has suggested establishing “safe zones” for Syria’s rebels and taking out the regime’s air assets, along with providing lethal weapons to Syria’s opposition.

“Free Syrian Army fighters defecting to Al Nusrah Front” (Threat Matrix, 5/9/13, h/t Hot Air):

Despite the growing popularity of the Al Nusrah Front and mass defections of Free Syrian Army fighters and units to Al Nusrah, as well as top FSA leaders expressing their support for the al Qaeda group, the US government seems determined to fund the FSA and the umbrella Syrian Opposition Council, whose leader opposed the US’s designation of Al Nusrah as a terrorist group. With mass defections of FSA forces to Al Nusrah, there is no better way to ensure that US funds and weapons will fall into al Qaeda’s hands.

“Video shows Islamist rebels executing 11 Syrian soldiers” (Reuters, 5/16/13):

Islamist militants with black flags shouted “God is great” as each man was shot. The executioner returned to some victims, firing more bullets into them to make sure they were dead.

“The Thin Red Line: Inside the White House debate over Syria” (The New Yorker, 5/13/13, h/t Hot Air):

But, according to American officials and nongovernmental groups that work in the region, the overwhelming majority of the rebels are fighting for an Islamic republic. Al Nusra, like the other Al Qaeda affiliates, wants to do away with the Syrian state altogether and reëstablish the Islamic caliphate. “The Islamists are the majority,’’ Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst for the Institute for the Study of War who has travelled to rebel-held areas several times, said. The small number of non-Islamists among the rebels are often socialists, she told me, and are referred to by their peers with an English word: “hippies.”

“Senator John McCain confident of identifying ‘good guys’ in Syria” (Reuters, 5/29/13):

U.S. Senator John McCain said on Wednesday, two days after meeting with rebels in Syria, that he is confident the United States can send weapons to fighters in Syria without the risk they will fall into the wrong hands.

“We can identify who these people are. We can help the right people”….

Critics of some lawmakers’ push to arm the rebels have expressed concerns that weapons could end up in the hands of militants who might eventually end up using them against the United States or its allies.

But McCain said such radical fighters make up only a small part of the rebels forces.

In a word: Bullshit.

Andrew C. McCarthy nails it: “Syria: John McCain’s Next Libya” (NRO, 6/1/13):

The Maverick is sensitive to the criticism that he has been a smidge less than discriminating when it comes to sorting out America’s friends from America’s mortal enemies. Thus, the immediate objective of his latest Middle Eastern jaunt was to show that the anti-Assad “rebels”–I’d call them the Syrian Mujahideen, which is how most of them think of themselves–are predominantly, indeed overwhelmingly, secular and moderate. Oh, there may be a bad apple or two in the rebel legions, but rest assured that the arsenal McCain wants to dole out to them, in conjunction with U.S.-led aerial attacks on Assad’s forces, will not be yet another exercise in arming the next anti-American jihad. Those who claim we cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys are just a bunch of craven isolationists….

Just as he does now when it comes to Syria, McCain looked out on an Islamic-supremacist sea [of Libya], saw a couple of progressive islets, and pronounced the rebels his “heroes”–while they blared their Allahu Akbars, waved their black jihadi flags, and carried out their terrorist atrocities.



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