U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands. Unexpectedly.
Reports this week revealed that a U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group, Harakat al-Hazm, had officially dissolved itself under pressure from Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, and many of the fighters have joined up with the jihadist Islamic Front. With the group's dissolution, the U.S.-provided TOW anti-tank missiles have reportedly falled into the hands of al-Nusra.
Hazm was the first U.S.-backed group to receive TOW missiles, the Washington Post reported last April -- and at the time the Washington D.C. foreign policy establishment hailed Hazm as "rebels worth supporting."
But now with the demise of Hazm it seems the fantasy of backing "vetted moderate" groups in Syria is effectively at an end.
Word of Hazm's demise began early this week:
And word began spreading of Hazm fighters joining up with other more hardline groups:
And now comes evidence that the U.S.-supplied weapons given to Hazm are now in Al-Qaeda hands:
And one astute observation:
As I reported throughout the past year here at PJ Media, the U.S. reliance on the so-called "vetted moderate" groups was doomed to failure for no greater reason than that these groups were never moderate to begin with. Back in July I was reporting that U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) units were defecting to ISIS.
By early September I reported that even more FSA units were operating openly with ISIS and al-Nusra, and two Hazm fighters were telling the L.A. Times that they fight alongside al-Nusra and approve of the group. A day later a FSA commander publicly admitted that his forces were fighting with ISIS and al-Nusra -- both designated terrorist organizations -- along the Syria/Lebanon border, confirming my earlier reporting.
As Congress approved an Obama administration request in mid-September for an additional $500 million in support for the "vetted moderate" rebel groups and the U.S. began bombing ISIS positions in northern Syria, Hazm issued a statement condemning the U.S. bombing campaign, calling it "an attack on the revolution."
By mid-October, Obama officials were publicly throwing the "vetted moderate" rebel groups under the bus, saying they were going to instead train an entirely new force to confront ISIS. This happened just a few weeks after Obama persuaded the GOP leadership to buy into his failing Syria policy.
In early November reports began to emerge of Hazm, FSA and Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF -- another U.S.-backed group) units surrendering and defecting to al-Nusra. Those surrenders and defections continued up until now.
Then in December I reported on al-Nusra deploying U.S.-provided TOW missiles that had been previously supplied to the "vetted moderate" groups. By the end of the year, even the New York Times was reporting that the FSA was under effective control of Al-Qaeda.
And yet despite these developments some -- namely Senator John McCain and his crew -- continued to back the FSA:
While some will complain that the complete collapse of the three-year Obama Syria strategy was because we didn't support the "vetted moderate" rebel groups... ENOUGH...
...the simple fact is that any fool with a pair of eyes and not blinded by the foreign policy establishment's narrative could see this result coming. In fact, a few of us, myself included, warned of this end game going back to when the conflict in Syria began in 2011. And here we are.
With the Middle East in tatters in the wake of Obama's "Arab Spring," it is past time for the D.C. foreign policy establishment to admit to total failure. The evidence of this bipartisan policy disaster is written across the map.
As Instapundit is wont to say, this has all happened rather... unexpectedly.