‘None Of Those Weapons Have Fallen Into Jihadist Hands’
September 5, 2013 Leave a comment
General Jack Keane made the following set of assertions yesterday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show:
Second thing is the Saudis have been giving the opposition forces, and audience, please listen to this, they’ve been giving them weapons for eight months, and none of those weapons have fallen into jihadist hands, which are the concern of many. It’s just not going to happen. The jihadists are in the north, and they are geographically separated from these folks. And they’re not about to turn over their weapons to them, nor are the jihadists about to get into some kind of gunfight with them to take them away from them. The moderates actually outnumber them. It would be a heck of a fight. Now I will say this, that the jihadists have resources, and they have some weapons systems that are certainly better than the moderates. So we have to put arming the moderates on fast forward, and also provide a training assistance. But most importantly, we have to think strategically, and this is the State Department’s job. What is the strategy to enable the moderate opposition forces, which has a political and a military element to it, to politically, economically, socially, and militarily succeed? What is our strategy for that to happen?
If “moderate” were a drinking game, I’d make the college student who blew a .341 look like a lightweight amateur.
When advocates of intervention in Syria talk about “moderates,” what they really mean are “moderate Islamists,” which I defined in January 2011 as Sharia adherents who only blow up small wedding parties. It is, like so much political language, a thought-terminating cliche that obscures rather than describes; a nonsense term, and those who use it are engaging in rhetorical dishonesty–presumably because “marginally less homicidal in the service of Islamism than al Qaeda” probably wouldn’t rally much U.S. public support for their cause.
But I guess “moderates” is an improvement over John McCain’s “good guys.”
Andrew C. McCarthy blows the Free Syrian Army “moderates” meme out of the water here.
But what particularly interested me about General Keane’s comments was the assertion that “none of those weapons have fallen into jihadist hands.” He seems to be referring specifically to weapons provided by the Saudis, but at the same time seems to be making a larger argument (or is attempting to leave a more general impression) that no weapons provided to the “moderates” have ended up in the hands of al Qaeda and its allied immoderate groups or will do so in the future.
Free Syrian Army units are known to conduct joint attacks and administer areas of Syria with al Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria, despite claims from senior FSA leaders that they oppose the Al Nusrah Front and the ISIL.
Currently, in northern Syria, Free Syrian Army units are fighting alongside the the Al Nusrah Front; the ISIL; Ahrar al Sham; the Ahfad al-Rasoul Brigade, which is backed by the government of Qatar; and the Islamic Kurdish Front; to battle Kurdish forces allied with the PKK.
A year ago, in August 2012, the Al Nusrah Front said it launched a joint operation with the Battalion of the Mujahideen of the Companions (Al Sahaba Battalion), a Free Syrian Army unit, against a police station in Jadida Artouz in the countryside of Damascus.
Additionally, in August 2012, the Al Nusrah Front imposed sharia, or Islamic Law, in conjunction with the Tawhid Brigade, an FSA unit, and the Ahrar al Sham Brigade in Aleppo.
In October 2012, the Al Nusrah Front claimed it commanded elements of the Al Fajr (Dawn) Islamic Brigade, a known Free Syrian Army unit, as well as “Chechens,” likely from the Muhajireen Brigade, during an assault on a Syrian air defense and Scud missile base in Aleppo.
In April, the Al Nusrah Front said it conducted a suicide assault with the help of the Nasser Salahuddin Brigade, and conventional attacks with the help of Dera’ al Assima, Liwa al Habib al Mustafa, and Liwa’ al Tawhid brigades, three Free Syrian Army units in Damascus.
Buried at the end of this Al Jazeera story on tensions between the Free Syrian Army and an al Qaeda affiliate, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed that the FSA is selling weapons to the terror group:
And we asked its vali [wali] – or governor of Allepo province, Abu Atheer – why some accuse them of trying to weaken Syrian opposition groups by taking control over border villages. He didn’t want to be filmed. But he told us: if we wanted to cut the supply lines it is easier for us to take the warehouses of the FSA. Anyhow we are buying weapons from the FSA. we bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.
Armor-piercing guided weapons systems have made a dramatic increase in in Syria over the past several weeks, giving reeling rebel fighters an advantage against President Bashar Al-Assad’s loyalist army. The catch: The weapons are being supplied by multiple nations and some have already landed in the hands of Al Qaeda…
Oh, and there’s the whole WMD condundrum. From the aforementioned Andrew C. McCarthy piece:
There are WMD in Syria. Assad’s use of them is reprehensible (albeit in character), and the specter of his transferring them to Hezbollah is alarming (though no more alarming than the fact that Assad has them in the first place, as does Iran — the patron of Assad and puppeteer of Hezbollah). But the possibility of WMD falling into the hands of the Brotherhood and its jihadist allies — who, by the way, have been colluding with Iran for two decades and have energetically sought WMD — is no more comforting.
But don’t worry. We have General Keane’s assurances (along with the WSJ, et al) that al Qaeda and the Syrian “moderates” are geographically and organizationally distinct, and that the “moderates” will not distribute (or have taken from them) military hardware intended for them by the West, Arab states, and Turkey.
Never mind that that ship has already sailed.