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AND OBAMA BACKS THEM

by Sharon Rondeau

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a loose conglomeration of rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad. It has fought with and against Al Qaeda-linked groups, which are now calling on the institution of Sharia law in Syria, contrary to McCain and Kerry’s assertions to Congress

(Sep. 25, 2013) — A Reuters article carried by Yahoo! News in Canada has reported that 13 groups considering uniting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a reported “moderate” rebel faction, have asked that foreign groups be excluded and in-country groups form “an Islamic framework.”

The Obama regime has been aiding the rebels for an unknown period of time but openly for the last several months.  Putative Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain insisted while testifying before a congressional committee earlier this month that Syria is a “secular state.”  Both Kerry and McCain relied on information from an “adviser,” Elizabeth O’Bagy, who penned an article published in The Wall Street Journal on August 30.  On September 11, O’Bagy was discovered to have lied about her credentials and was subsequently terminated from two positions.

Multiple fighting forces make up the Supreme Military Council (SMC) in Syria which seeks to remove dictator Bashar al-Assad from power.  In an undated paper authored by O’Bagy for the Institute for the Study of War, one of the organizations which terminated her, she wrote:

…Syria’s state security apparatus will collapse as the Assad regime finishes its transformation into a militia-like entity.  The Supreme Military Command is currently the only organization that could serve to fill the security vacuum left by this transformation.

Ultimately, even if the SMC only serves as a mechanism for greater cooperation and coordination, it is a significant development in that it has united the efforts of rebel commanders across Syria. It is the first attempt at unity that incorporates important commanders from all Syrian provinces and has enough legitimacy on the ground to even begin the process of building a structure capable of providing a national-level chain of command.
Syria’s state security apparatus will collapse as the Assad regime finishes its transformation into a militia-like entity. The Supreme Military Command is currently the only organization that could serve to fill the security vacuum left by this transformation. As the Syrian opposition begins to build a transitional government, the SMC could create a framework for rebuilding Syria’s security and governing institutions if properly supported. The SMC’s ability to act as a basis for a national defense institution will be an important component in filling the power vacuum left by Assad’s fall and will aid in a secure and stable Syria.

– See more at: http://www.understandingwar.org/report/free-syrian-army#sthash.b1j0jDmC.dpuf

Ultimately, even if the SMC only serves as a mechanism for greater cooperation and coordination, it is a significant development in that it has united the efforts of rebel commanders across Syria. It is the first attempt at unity that incorporates important commanders from all Syrian provinces and has enough legitimacy on the ground to even begin the process of building a structure capable of providing a national-level chain of command.
Syria’s state security apparatus will collapse as the Assad regime finishes its transformation into a militia-like entity. The Supreme Military Command is currently the only organization that could serve to fill the security vacuum left by this transformation. As the Syrian opposition begins to build a transitional government, the SMC could create a framework for rebuilding Syria’s security and governing institutions if properly supported. The SMC’s ability to act as a basis for a national defense institution will be an important component in filling the power vacuum left by Assad’s fall and will aid in a secure and stable Syria.

– See more at: http://www.understandingwar.org/report/free-syrian-army#sthash.b1j0jDmC.dpuf

O’Bagy was also political director for the Syria Emergency Task Force (SETF), which advocates the overthrow of Assad.  She has appeared on Fox News, CNN, PBS and the BBC.  McCain’s trip to meet with the rebels in May was arranged by the SETF.

After Kerry made an offhanded remark on September 9 proposing that Syria give up all of its chemical stockpiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to broker an agreement with Syria and the United States.  Obama and Kerry then hastily said that “diplomacy” should be tried before launching a military strike.

Videos and written reports of rebels fighting in conjunction with Al Qaeda members have appeared on the internet over the summer.  In some cases, “moderates” are fighting against Al Qaeda.  In a firefight on September 19, Al Qaeda members defeated FSA fighters near the Turkish border.  Turkey is reported to have been “allowing militant Islamist fighters to cross into Syria from its territory.”

Although “consist[ing] of different opposition forces inside and outside Syria,” an SMC media official said that non-lethal and lethal aid was being provided by the U.S. “because they are sure that the mechanisms that the SMC has established are well-tested, and they will ensure that weapons are not- are not falling to the wrong hands.”

FSA groups have voiced a desire for “advanced weapons” from Western and Arab countries.  In June, the Obama regime announced that it would support the FSA, but on June 25, SMC chairman Col. Salim Idris said, “I have not received a single thing.”  He expressed fear that demoralization might “drive fighters into the ranks of Al Qaeda.”

On September 4, Daniel Greenfield of FrontPageMag reported that O’Bagy’s Wall Street Journal article referenced by McCain and Kerry was “a collection of crazy distortions” and that “The relatively moderate Salafist Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), which is tied to the SMC, also appears to be moving toward the more militant Salafist wing of the opposition.”

A Reuters Philippines report quotes a State Department official as having said that in fighting between rebel factions, “the extremists are actually doing the government’s work now.”  The report continues, “The growing influence of radical Islamist fighters and the disarray of rebel forces have also made Western powers wary of intervening directly in the civil war.  While some rebel tensions stem from contrasting ideological outlooks, most infighting centers around rival claims over the control of territory, smuggling and other spoils of war.”

The Canadian article stated, “Islamist forces grew in power as the Syrian conflict changed from peaceful protests into an armed insurgency after a fierce crackdown by Assad’s forces. Militant groups, some linked to al Qaeda, have become even stronger in the ensuing civil war.”  It reported that the signed statement by the rebel groups signifies that the “moderate” fighters are being overcome by the Islamic radicals advocating the adoption of Sharia law in Syria.

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