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John Kerry’s Moderates: Are Non-Al-Qaeda Syrian Rebels Really ‘Democratic’?

That 80 percent Kerry wants us to support? Most align with Morsi or Hamas.

by
Jonathan Spyer

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September 6, 2013 - 8:21 am
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For elected representatives and the public to have the necessary discussion regarding action in Syria, it is crucial that a clear picture of the realities on the ground in Syria be presented.

Regarding the Assad regime and its apologists, nothing needs to be cleared up. This is a regime characterized by murderous brutality since it first emerged in the 1960s. It has been perhaps the single most destabilizing factor in the Levant throughout the years of its existence. An apparent use of nerve gas against its own civilians fits entirely with the more general pattern of its behavior.

But as the U.S. grapples with the issue of what, if anything, is to be done, it is clear that a rival campaign of deception is underway: an attempt to present the Syrian armed rebels as consisting in the main of “moderate” and pro-democratic forces. If only that were so: in reality, the spectrum of orientation among the observable Syrian rebel units spans from a Muslim Brotherhood-type outlook to open identification with al-Qaeda.

This means the most “moderate” rebel units share the ideas of former President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. And Hamas.

Let’s take a closer look. According to the most authoritative studies on the subject, there are three main blocs among the Syrian rebels.

The most radical element is the al-Qaeda-type groups: Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). The latter is the direct descendant of the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of Iraq’s organization. (For those who don’t remember, this individual was known as a brutal sectarian murderer of Iraqi Shia before he was killed by U.S. forces.) Much evidence has emerged showing that his current followers are faithful adherents to his methods. Also, both of these groups are openly and directly loyal to the core al-Qaeda group led by Ayman al-Zawahiri.

A second, larger bloc consists of openly anti-democratic Salafi Islamist fighters, gathered together as the Syrian Islamic Front bloc. The main element of this grouping is the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia.

These groups have been prominent in the fighting in northern Syria; they are responsible for capturing the single provincial capital to fall to the rebels: Raqqa. Today, Raqqa has exchanged the repression of the Assads for the repression of the Islamists.

Then we have the third bloc, the largest collection of brigades. These are the ones who we are encouraged to see as “moderate” and “democratic.”

The main element of this third bloc is called the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. Its 20 constituent units are loyal to the Western-supported Supreme Military Council (SMC), or General Staff of the Military and Revolutionary Forces. They include some of the most powerful rebel brigades, including Liwa al-Islam in the Damascus area, the Tawhid Brigade of Aleppo, and the Farouq Brigades.

The SMC is headed by former Syrian Army Major General Salim Idris. It is today responsible for the distributing of Western and Gulf assistance to the rebels, and on this basis has secured the loyalty of most of the SILF rebel units. (A number of smaller factions, including Afhad al-Rasul and Asifat al-Shamal, also align with the SMC, though not the SILF.)

All of the groups mentioned here pledge allegiance to some form of Sunni Islamism.

I have made several trips to rebel-controlled northern Syria over the last year. In September 2012, I interviewed one of the senior commanders of the Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo, and I spent several days traveling with the brigade’s fighters at the height of the fighting there. I also interviewed members of the emergent Sharia councils in the rebel-controlled areas.

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All Comments   (23)
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my best friend's ex-wife makes $66 every hour on the laptop. She has been without work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $18322 just working on the laptop for a few hours. read the article......... www.cnn13.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
my classmate's step-sister makes $82/h hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $20983 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site...

http://www.Rush60.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These moderates wouldn't by any chance be linked to the terrorists who attacked Benghazi and killed Ambassador Stevens and his men, would they? Are these the moderates Kerry wants to aid now?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There was this video no one saw that caused it all, dinja know?
And all the Middle East loves Obama, dinja know?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Islam, to which all of the rebels belong, is incompatible with democracy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For an immediate and practical definition and example of "DEMOCRATIC", see the legislation and actions of the DEMOCRAT PARTY in the USA since 2006.
Where's the "moderate" there?
DEMOCRATIC has nothing to do with any of this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Assad's people are "moderate" in the same way that OFA is "non-partisan".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"it is clear that a rival campaign of deception is underway: an attempt to present the Syrian armed rebels as consisting in the main of “moderate” and pro-democratic forces... This means the most “moderate” rebel units share the ideas of former President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. And Hamas."

Fakery is at the center of how are elites rule nowadays. An apples-to-oranges comparison here, a missing state unemployment report during a campaign over there, and clever redefinition of words everywhere.

This is the artifice of a power base deeply committed to following through their delusions to the bitter end. The average progressive will not be satisfied until the country is run into bankruptcy and penury.

Then they will partake the satisfaction of designating the conservatives as the guilty ones, and will do so from their leather chairs in the Faculty Lounge, ten thousand court benches and, of course, the plush executive offices of the various bureaucracies in Washington.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It was my understand those fighting against Assad were the majority tribe. Those Assad's minority tribe has been ruling with an iron fist for some time now. The last few years, again to my understanding, has seen the rise of AQ type groups coming into Syria to help bring about the Caliphate. Kerry wants US tax dollars to go help these people, murdering Christians be damned.

The CFR lead United States government should just come out, and tell everyone US assets need to be used to bring about the completion of region 4 of the WTO. Then, they can concentrate on region 1 where the real nasty people are.

So, when Fox News states Assad is gassing his own people, even Fox News is misleading the American public.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
hello. I am praying for a false flag operation huge nuke taking out Washington,DC; then we can get on with nuking Mecca.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey, some of us happen to live in Washington.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why can't we just cut the BS and recognize that Obama is not only cheering on the muslim brotherhood - he is aiding and abetting them? He did so in Libya and Egypt - and now wants to do the same in Syria. When seen in that light the posturing and maneuvering by this administration begins to make sense. His endgame? The downfall of Israel.

As seen through any other lens all I see is clouds and confusion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, I'm finding it hard to explain it any other way too. Making the destruction of Israel the goal just explains more of the facts - right from the beginning of this administration when it did nothing to help the Iranian Green Revolution. But why such support of the Muslim Brotherhood? I think I have part of the answer. Edward Said - the Palestinian intellectual who coined the term Orientalism. I'll give him his hatred of Israel - his family suffered as a result of the creation of israel, but he a major contributor to the modern postcolonial narrative. And guess who was his student? From Wikipedia: "In 1963, Said joined Columbia University as a member of the faculties of the department of English and of the department of Comparative Literature, where he taught and worked until 2003 (he became professor there in 1991); in the course of that tenure, Barack Obama was one of his pupils at Columbia College." The connection doesn't prove anything, but the implications are entirely consistent with Obama's behaviour. In terms of foreign policy at least Said may a lot more important than Bill Ayers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For someone who seems so clueless and out of his depth, Obama sure has been consistent—almost like he has a plan....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's gonna come as a real shocker that the destruction of Israel comes, should that happen, isn't going to satisfy the Moslems. It will only embolden their 1,400 year old campaign for global sharia.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unlikely... Any attack on Israel will result in a lot of dead muzzies and another crushing defeat for them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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