Friday, 31 July 2015

Syrian conflict: Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front abduct leader of US-backed rebels dealing blow to plans to build moderate opposition to regime

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Patrick Cockburn this time starts his lies with the headline. The US isn't trying to build an opposition to the régime, but a mercenary force that will fight only ISIS. They've even insisted all recruits sign a pledge to only use US weapons against ISIS and not the régime.
"A Syrian activist and a second opposition source were quoted by agencies as saying that 54 fighters trained by the US were from Division 30."
All 54 of the fighters trained by the US, Cockburn omits to mention.
"The US has been frustrated by the lack of any moderate military leadership opposed to Mr Assad’s government in Damascus."
No, this is another lie. They have tried to get the moderates to fight ISIS and even Jabhat al-Nusra in preference to taking on the régime, without giving them any heavy weaponry, which are two reasons Syrians have seen more Islamist groups as more reliable.
"It has sought to re-brand itself as being less sectarian and less violent than Isis, saying that Alawites, Druze and other Syrian minorities would not be automatically massacred. But it still insists on their forcible conversion to its fundamentalist variant of Islam which is ideologically close to Saudi Wahhabism."
It's four months since the Army of Conquest took Idlib. If there were forced conversions, we'd have heard about it by now. If they were chopping heads off like ISIS, refugees would be streaming away. Cockburn doesn't feel the need for any evidence for his assertions.

"There are attempts to present Ahrar al-Sham, with between 10,000 and 20,000 fighters, as being anti-Isis, which it certainly is, and a more moderate alternative to the jihadis, which it is certainly not." Again, fact-free.

 "The US is eager not to allow Turkey to relabel Jabhat al-Nusra or its clones as suitable partners in an anti-Assad and anti-Isis front. In practice, it may be some time before any anti-Isis free zone is established because of these differences."So all other anti-Assad rebels are Jabhat al-Nusra clones. That saves the effort of knowing who these people are, they are all mad Muslims, stay away. If an ISIS-free zone is established, and it isn't only inhabited by the mad of the bad, I expect Cockburn will ignore his false prognosis as he usually does.
There's a more  informed discussion of this incident at EA Worldview*:

'A local activist summarizes the situation for the US-trained rebels:
Sending in the 54 and then bombing JAN a few miles away from their positions — implying the 54 acted as spotters for the US Air Force — looks like constructing a case that “See, all our well-meant support is hopeless”.
Good folks say the US was totally aware that the solely anti-Islamic State soldiers would find their butts in a Jabhat al-Nusra jail shortly after crossing the border.
There’s only disagreement about the motivation of US actions: evil intention vs. plain stupidity.'


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