Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Free Syrian Army Defeated, US Entices Saudi Led Terror Group

by Oui Mon Dec 16th, 2013 at 07:56:48 AM EST

Out of the main media, I repeatedly read that Free Syrian Army general Idriss has withdrawn to the Syrian-Turkish border. Searching for more news, it appears the FSA has lost the civil war, not defeated by Assad's Army but by terror groups funded by Saudi Arabia under command of Zahran Alloush. According to several jihadist commanders, "Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from the Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan" and Liwaa al-Islam is Saudi Arabia's private army in Syria.

That the Obama administration is divided on Syria policy is clear, now more so as the Geneva II conference is planned for January 22 and there is no agreement as to the opposition delegation. I understand Ambassador Ford is talking to terrorist Zahran Alloush as to his conditions to participate in name of the opposition force in Geneva talks. How completely void of sound thinking by whoever send this envoy to negotiate with this enemy commander.

Syria: U.S. Moving Towards Supporting Assad

(M of A) - The first open sign of a change of U.S. policy towards supporting the Assad government in Syria came from Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker who advised to talk to Assad. Now the former CIA chief General Hayden says that Assad winning would be the best geopolitical outcome of the conflict. The BBC, which so far acted as a reliable pro-insurgency propaganda outlet, is now asking if it is Time to rethink a future with Assad?

"Someone has got to bite the bullet and say Assad stays," says Prof Joshua Landis, Director of the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Oklahoma University whose views are frequently sought by policy makers in Washington. "We don't have another game in town."

Professor "Aleppo has fallen" Landis should notice that China, Russia and Iran, as well as this site, have been saying this all along. Anyway. As some regard Landis as an expert his change of mind will be noticed in the State Department and the White House.

Continued below the fold ...

Will Assad triumph in Syria?

(JPost) - The Syrian opposition is now effectively in the hands of extreme Islamist groups with a very different agenda from that of the secular-led Free Syrian Army. In November, when details of the peace conference on the Syrian civil war - known as Geneva 2 - were finally agreed upon, and the event was scheduled for January 22, 2014, the outcome of the conflict was in the balance.  A month later, it seems as though Bashar Assad's régime is gaining the upper hand militarily, while its opposition has fallen into disarray.

Back in April 2011, as small-scale popular protests developed into a nationwide rebellion, it seemed that the rule of President Bashar Assad was doomed. Protesters were demanding his resignation and an end to Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.  Soon the opposition began to organize political and military wings, in anticipation of a long uprising against the Assad regime. By December 2012 the US, Turkey, the Gulf states, France and Britain had recognized the main opposition, the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution (NCSR), as the "sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people" - a clear sign that they believed the Assad government was doomed.

However, the NCSR never coalesced into a coherent or effective body, nor did it ever achieve sufficient authority to persuade Western powers to provide it with the sort of military support it needed to overcome the Syrian army.

More Syria rebel groups leave U.S.-backed command amid worry 'moderates' will be shut out

BEIRUT (McClatchy) Oct. 17, 2013 -- The moderate rebel command at the center of U.S. policy in Syria is becoming increasingly marginalized as dozens of militias peel away to form rival, Islamist alliances in a move that could leave the Obama administration with no battlefield partner in the fight to topple President Bashar Assad.

The Supreme Military Command and its forces, known collectively as the Free Syrian Army, are reeling as 40 or more affiliates this month have signed onto two new umbrella groups, both with agendas that are at odds with the U.S.-backed opposition's long-stated vision of a democratic, pluralistic Syria.

If the project to build rival Islamist commands succeeds, opposition activists and Middle East analysts warn, the Supreme Military Command is likely to fizzle quickly, essentially ending talk of a "moderate" rebel force to counter the influence of Islamist insurgents, including at least two factions aligned with al Qaida.

Extremists stealing revolution: National Coalition officer Ammar al-Wawi

Not to let jihadists travel south into Syria or convoys with arms shipments, or political figures like John McCain, but to keep the gangs of Al Qaeda and Islamic militias outside. The Free Syrian Army has been routed and commanders have been assassinated by Islamist or Al Qaeda groups.

Britain's policy on Syria has just been sunk, and nobody noticed

(The Independent) - The final bankruptcy of American and British policy in Syria came 10 days ago as Islamic Front, a Saudi-backed Sunni jihadi group, overran the headquarters of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) at Bab al-Hawa on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey. The FSA, along with the Syrian National Coalition, groups that the United States and Britain have been pretending for years are at the heart of Syrian military and political opposition, has been discredited. The remaining FSA fighters are in flight, have changed sides, or are devoting all their efforts to surviving the onslaught from jihadi or al-Qa'ida-linked brigades.

 « click for more

The US and Britain stopped the delivery of non-lethal aid to the supply depot at Bab al-Hawa as the implications of the disaster sank in. The West's favourite rebel commander, General Salim Idris, was on the run between Turkey and his former chief supporter and paymaster, Qatar. Turkey closed the border, the other side of which is now controlled by the Islamic Front.

Takfiris in Syria execute FSA secretary general

A single source from Teheran has announced the Takfiri terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has executed secretary general of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) Ammar al-Wawi.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 16th, 2013 at 01:09:05 PM EST
Hmm... Top Western-Backed Rebel in Syria Is Forced to Flee (WSJ, December 11, 2013)

Top Syrian rebel commander denies reports of fleeing (Haaretz, Dec. 12, 2013)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 16th, 2013 at 01:27:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Op-Ed: Moonwalking in Syria

(LA Times) - Here's how feeble U.S. influence on the outcome of Syria's dreadful civil war has become: For the Obama administration's diplomacy to succeed, it now needs help from an armed group with the unpromising name of the Islamic Front. Many young rebels, following the money (and, more important, the weapons), voted with their feet and joined the Islamic Front.

And that brings us to the situation in Syria today: a civil war among four main factions, in which the group supported by the United States, the Free Syrian Army of Gen. Salim Idriss, appears to be the weakest.

Last weekend, the headquarters and main warehouse of the FSA were overrun by troops of the Saudi-funded Islamic Front. The attackers made off with much of the U.S.-supplied equipment there, including trucks and food rations (but not weapons, officials say).

The dust-up had the effect of both embarrassing Idriss, who spent much of the week denying that he had fled the country, and confirming the most important new fact on the ground: The strongest player in the opposition now is the Islamic Front, a loose alliance of seven factions that wants Syrians to live under Sunni Muslim law.

"They're Salafists but not extremists," explains Andrew J. Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy [Utter nonsense, Salafists are part of the militia and terrorists in Tunisia, Libya and Maghreb - Oui]. What that means is that although members of the front want a government dominated by devout Sunnis, and they probably aren't reliable pluralist democrats, they're at least not Al Qaeda-style terrorists.

That's why U.S. diplomats have been trying to persuade the Islamic Front to join -- or at least endorse -- the peace conference that's scheduled to begin in the Swiss city of Montreux next month.

The top U.S. negotiator on Syria, Ambassador Robert Ford, met in Turkey recently with representatives of the most important faction in the Islamic Front, sources told me. But the outcome of the talks isn't clear, and in previous statements, the Islamic Front's leaders have said they will not participate in any talks that include the Assad regime.

Egyptians Reject proposed new US Ambassador Robert Ford

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 16th, 2013 at 04:18:00 PM EST
Islamic Front (Syria) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Islamic Front's charter rejects the concepts of representative democracy and secularism, instead seeking to establish an Islamic State ruled by a Majlis-ash-Shura and implementing Sharia law.

Probably aren't reliable pluralist democrats, is of course an accurate though somewhat weak description of a group that opposes democracy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 19th, 2013 at 04:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
West signals to Syrian opposition Assad may stay

AMMAN (JPost/Reuters) - Western nations have indicated to the Syrian opposition that peace talks next month may not lead to the removal of President Bashar Assad and that his Alawite minority will remain key in any transitional administration, opposition sources said.

The message, delivered to senior members of the Syrian National Coalition at a meeting of the anti-Assad Friends of Syria alliance in London last week, was prompted by rise of al-Qaida and other militant groups, and their takeover of a border crossing and arms depots near Turkey belonging to the moderate Free Syrian Army.

The civil war pits Assad and many Alawites, backed by Iran and its Shi'ite Muslim allies, against Sunni Muslim rebels supported by Turkey, Libya and Sunni Gulf Arab states.

Unlike in Libya in 2011, the West has ruled out military intervention, leaving militant Islamists including al-Qaida affiliates to emerge as the most formidable rebel force, raising alarm among Washington and its allies that Syria, which borders Israel and Iraq, has become a center for global jihad.

Washington and Russia appeared to be working in tandem on a transitional framework in which Alawites would retain their dominant role in the army and security apparatus to assure their community against retribution and to rally a unified fight against al-Qaida with moderate rebel brigades, who would be invited to join a restructured military.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 17th, 2013 at 06:24:15 PM EST
US official: Syrian rebel claims West will accommodate Assad 'patently false'

WASHINGTON (JPost) -- The United States is denying claims made by Syrian rebels this week that Western powers are willing to accommodate the continuation of Bashar Assad's regime. Such claims are "patently false," Dina Badawy, a State Department spokeswoman, told The Jerusalem Post, after rebel leaders cited a conversation in London that seemed to indicate otherwise.

Reuters characterized the story as a sign in a "shift in Western priorities, particularly the United States and Britain."

At the December 13 meeting, the London 11-- a core group of nations with pledged support to organized Syrian opposition-- publicly reaffirmed its allegiance in a statement.

    "We reaffirmed that the aim of Geneva II was to implement a negotiated solution on the basis of the Geneva communiqué, by establishing a Transitional Governing Body with full executive powers agreed by mutual consent."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 18th, 2013 at 04:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]