Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm had disbanded, and their U.S.-provided TOW anti-tank missiles had ended up in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.
Today a video posted on YouTube by al-Nusra shows their operatives using the U.S. TOW missiles to attack Syrian army positions in Idlib. They also posted a statement to that effect on Twitter:
— Harald Doornbos (@HaraldDoornbos) March 24, 2015
Here’s the video, with a TOW missile making its appearance ~ 0:43:
When I reported on the collapse of Hazm earlier in the month, I noted that pictures had appeared of al-Nusra fighters posing with U.S.-provided weapons, including the TOW missiles.
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) March 2, 2015
Some D.C. analysts claimed that the TOW tubes in the pictures were empty, but it is apparent now that al-Nusra did get their hands on live rounds and acquired personnel trained in firing the TOW system.
This, undoubtedly, is one reason why former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, once one of the loudest cheerleaders for arming the Syrian rebels, has done a complete turn-around and is now openly critical of the Syrian opposition:
Robert Ford was always one of the Syrian rebels’ loudest cheerleaders in Washington, agitating from within a reluctant administration to arm vetted moderates to fight Bashar Assad’s brutal regime.
In recent weeks, however, Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who made news when he left government service a year ago with an angry critique of Obama administration policy, has dropped his call to provide weapons to the rebels. Instead, he’s become increasingly critical of them as disjointed and untrustworthy because they collaborate with jihadists.
The about-face, which is drawing murmurs among foreign policy analysts and Syrian opposition figures in Washington, is another sign that the so-called moderate rebel option is gone and the choices in Syria have narrowed to regime vs. extremists in a war that’s killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.
Of course, some had argued, including myself, that this is where things were headed all along with the Obama administration’s policy of supporting, arming and training the so-called “vetted moderates.” And now Ford is admitting that the “vetted moderates” supported by the U.S. are collaborating with jihadist groups.
More smart diplomacy in action.