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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Free Syrian Army’

Obama Training Radical Islamists in Syria

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In a new development, the Obama Administration is apparently not only arming (indirectly, technically) but now training Syrian rebels. We know that the weapons are going to radical Islamists–both Muslim Brotherhood and smaller groups.

We don’t know which groups are now being trained militarily by the CIA in Jordan. It has been suggested that these are only Syrian army defectors who are thus likely not to be from radical Islamist groups including the Brotherhood. But is that selectivity certain? Finding out who is receiving this military training–which they are sure to use for other purposes in future–should be a priority in the national debate and in questions from Congress.

What might be happening is this: Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood; the Saudis who hate the Brotherhood are backing the smaller Salafi groups; and Jordan which is terrified by the Islamists is supporting the Free Syrian Army which is run by ex-army officers.

Such is the nature of U.S. policy that it goes along with all three rather than directs the process toward a specific goal. The State Department is trying to find people who are relatively moderate while also able to have links to the Brotherhood.

You can imagine how tough that is to achieve. What a mess. In the 1980s the United States was convulsed by a scandal because the Reagan Administration was providing arms–through Saudi Arabia–and training to the pro-American Contra group in Nicaragua that were fighting against the Marxist regime there. It was alleged that the Contras participated in some torture and killing of civilians. Well, today the Obama Administration is conducting the same strategy–with Saudi and Qatari help–in Syria, with much more likelihood of atrocities by those it is helping. On top of that, those being helped are largely anti-American and radical Islamist. Yet there is no serious concern being raised.

Largely due to the local situation but reinforced by U.S. policy, radical Islamists will one day rule Syria. What will follow will not be real democracy but another Islamist dictatorial state. Islamist militias armed with U.S. weapons and that new regime might well use U.S. weapons and training to kill Christians and Alawites; enforce second-class status on women; and intimidate moderates as well as to attack Israel. While the mass media has widely reported the U.S. role in arming the rebels and is now picking up the training story, virtually nowhere is the significance of this policy and its escalation analyzed.

As I have repeatedly explained, the issue regarding Syria is not whether the United States should help more—it is already helping to supply arms indirectly through Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—but to whom the arms and help flow. In principle, the Syrian opposition is fighting against a terrible dictatorship (see my book, The Truth About Syria for details, available free here). Yet for all practical purposes, it is dominated by radical Islamist militias (except for the Kurds who are faced with local rule by a radical Marxist militia).

The reality, then, is that the United States is helping arm and perhaps helping to train radical Islamist guerrillas who want a Sharia state in Syria, who believe Israel should be wiped off the map, and who may soon be murdering and oppressing Christians and other groups in Syria itself.

Shouldn’t this be an issue–one day it might be a scandal–that’s widely discussed in Congress and the mass media? There might be a way around this, as is being hinted, if the Americans, British, and French are only training former Syrian army soldiers, relatively few of whom would be in Islamist groups. The excuse would then be that only regular soldiers are qualified for the training but that would also be designed to keep out Islamists. This would be a better approach though it still has dangers.

This brings us to the second problem: the Islamists are getting more international military help than the moderates.

While the nominal Syrian opposition leadership backed by the United States is better than before (up until recently the Obama Administration openly backed the Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council!) it is powerless on the ground. The guys with guns—fully automatic weapons by the way with large magazines—are a nightmare.

Updated: Heavy Fighting in Syria. Hundred Reported Dead.

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

12:30 AM (Sunday) Syrian tanks shelling the town of Juvta Al-Chashav, 2 kilometers from the Israeli border.

11:50 PM Rebels looted and then burned 30 Turkish trucks at a border crossing.

11:45 PM Al-Arabiya reports that the Rebels have taken over the city of A-Ruchiyana near Ramat HaGolan.

11:30 PM Arab sources are reporting over 100 people were killed in Syrian-Rebel battle on the Syrian-Lebanon border within the past 20 minutes.

11:29 PM Heavy fighting reported on the Syrian side of the Hermon. The battle was heard by Israeli soldiers on the Hermon.

11:00 PM Reports that the Rebels are again trying to take over a Jordan-Syria crossing point.

9:30 PM  Reports are coming in that the Free Syrian Army (Syrian Rebels) are fighting at the international airport in Hallab and the Damascus International airport, and trying to take them over.

Additional reports are coming in that the Jihad branch of the Free Syrian army on the Golan (“Golan Eagles Brigade”) took over three Syrian military positions near Israel-Syrian border.

And finally, the Free Syrian Army is reporting they have taken over crossing points between Syria and Iraq.

Video Karma: Defender of Assad Regime Dies On Air

Friday, July 13th, 2012

According to Al Ahram, Egyptian journalist Adel Al-Gogari, 56, died on Wednesday night while discussing the crisis in Syria during a live televised broadcast on Iraqi Al-Hadath private channel in Media Production City, Cairo.

Al-Gogari, editor of Egypt’s Al-Anwar newspaper and Al-Ghad Al-Arabi magazine, suffered a blot clot following an intense phone debate over Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime with Brigadier-General Hossam, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who Al-Gogari had called a “fugitive soldier.”

Al-Gogari, a Nasserist, also accused the FSA of being funded by Israel during the show.

Al Ahram reports that Al-Gogari was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The late journalist’s family announced on Facebook that they will receive condolences on Friday in his birthplace Abu-Suweir city in the canal governorate of Ismailia.

Al-Gogari recently appeared on Al-Jazeera Arabic’s controversial program “The Opposite Direction”, where he zealously defended the Syrian regime, claiming that what is happening in the war-torn country is “an international conspiracy” against Al-Assad.

Weekly Roundup: Syria on the Brink

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The carnage in Syria continues unabated, as reports came in Wednesday that over 80 people – including two Western journalists and a Syrian journalist – were killed in the besieged city of Homs. Syrian forces pressed on with their assault on Thursday, marking the 20th day of incessant bombardment of Homs.

The deaths of Marie Colvin, a veteran American journalist for Britain’s Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik, has drawn further outrage  and condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. According to witnesses, the two were killed when a rocket struck them as they attempted to escape a house that was being shelled. In another sign that the fighting in Homs is still raging intensely, the bodies of Colvin and Ochlik have not yet been extracted, while three other journalists wounded in the same attack are still waiting to be evacuated from the devastation.

The Syrian Information Ministry released a statement on state-run television saying that it “rejects accusations that Syria is responsible for the deaths of journalists who infiltrated into the country on their own responsibility, without the authorities knowing about their entry or location.”

Members of the Syrian opposition have reported that the army is impeding the transfer of medical supplies to Homs, while the International Committee of the Red Cross has been working feverishly to secure an agreement between the government and the opposition to implement daily ceasefires.

UN Report alleges ‘crimes against humanity’

Meanwhile, the United Nations asserted in a report released Thursday that Syrian forces have been directed by “officials at the highest level of government” and the military to commit “crimes against humanity and other gross human right violations,” implying that Assad himself is guilty.

“The commission received credible and consistent evidence identifying high- and mid-ranking members of the armed forces who ordered their subordinates to shoot at unarmed protesters, kill soldiers who refused to obey such orders, arrest persons without cause, mistreat detained persons and attack civilian neighborhoods with indiscriminate tanks and machine-gun fire,” read an excerpt from the report to the UN Human Rights Council. The report includes a confidential list of names of high-ranking officers and officials alleged to be responsible for perpetrating these and other crimes against humanity.

The UN commission was barred from entering Syria but asserted that it had interviewed 369 victims and witnesses. “Satellite imagery of areas where military and security forces were deployed and related reported violations occurred, corroborated a number of witness accounts.”

In the wake of the report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commissioned Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, “to visit Syria to assess the humanitarian situation and renew the call for urgent humanitarian access.”

International response

Syria’s Arab neighbors meanwhile continue to distance themselves from the Assad regime, with Egypt recalling its ambassador to Syria on Sunday. “The decision is a message that Egypt is unsatisfied with the situation in Syria as it is,” a Foreign Ministry official said. The decision came a few days after the Arab League’s entreaty for Arab states to end diplomatic relations with Syria, and follows similar moves by Gulf states and other Arab nations.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, in a brusque phone conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, was adamant that there was no use for additional dialogue with the regime, and criticized Russia’s controversial veto of a UN Security Council resolution in early February. “[A]ny discussion about the situation would be fruitless,” he was quoted as saying by SNA, the Saudi state news agency. “It would have been better if our Russian friends coordinated with the Arabs before using the veto in the Security Council.”

In related news, a “Friends of Syria” conference is scheduled to take place on Friday in Tunisia, and will be attended by Arab League countries, Turkey, the United States, European nations – all of whom are demanding that Assad resign. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal insisted that the conference would illustrate Assad’s isolation. “It will recall that the international community has condemned the regime’s venture into criminality.” Russia, Syria’s primary guarantor in the international community, has said it will boycott the meeting.

Free Syrian Army turning away Jihadists

Also, according to a report in Asharq Al-Awsat that may calm Western jitters, the Free Syrian Army has rejected the service of Arab jihadists in fighting the Assad regime. The report cited Imad Husari, a member of the Syrian National Council as saying that non-Syrian jihadists are already in Syria, but that the opposition has turned them away.

Republicans voice support for arming opposition

Stateside, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich both advocated the idea of arming Syrian insurgents, joining republican lawmakers John McCain and Lindsey Graham in pressuring the Obama administration to do more. “We need to work with Saudi Arabia and with Turkey to say, ‘You guys provide the kind of weaponry that’s needed to help the rebels inside Syria,’” said Romney, invoking geostrategic considerations in toppling Assad. “If we can turn Syria and Lebanon away from Iran, we finally have the capacity to get Iran to pull back.”

Report: Almost 50% of Syrian Territory No Longer Under Regime’s Control

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Riad Al-Assad, commander of the Free Syrian Army, proclaimed that almost 50% of Syrian territory is no longer under Bashar al-Assad’s control, according to YNet News.

He cautioned that the Free Syrian Army would not attempt to wrest control of the remaining areas due to fears that Assad may employ overwhelming force.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-almost-50-of-syrian-territory-no-longer-under-regimes-control/2012/02/01/

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