In Friday’s Washington Post, David Ignatius described “an intelligence report provided to the State Department last week by Syrian sources working with the Free Syrian Army (FSA),” which describes Syria’s rebel opposition as “disorganized fighters, greedy arms peddlers and profiteering warlords.”
“There are hundreds of small groups (10-20 fighters) spread all over the area of Aleppo,” notes the bleak assessment given to the State Department. “The FSA has [been] transformed into disorganized rebel groups, infiltrated by large numbers of criminals. All our efforts with MCs [military councils] were abolished. .?.?. Warlords are a reality on the ground now. .?.?. A [failed] state is the most likely outcome of the current condition, unless adjustment [is] done.”
The battles in the north these days are mostly for the spoils of war, argues the Syrian assessment. “Rebel violations are becoming a normal daily phenomenon, especially against civilians, including looting public and private factories, storage places, houses and cars.”
What’s important to note here is that the report from Free Syrian Army sources is not describing the most extremist, terrorist groups that have been a part of the rebel fighters for the bulk of the civil war. Nay, it is describing the types of groups Washington has attempted to portray as worthy of Western aid.
So while US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar actively fund the terrorist groups in Syria, Washington is aiding the rag-tag rebel bands of criminals.
US policy does seem to be shifting, apparently in recognition of the kinds of realities the FSA-State Department report explains. Focus has been adjusted to the Syrian National Coalition, basically an exile group organized by the US that doesn’t have strong roots inside the country. There little evidence the Syrian people accept it. But there is strong evidence it has been vehemently rejected by the armed rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.
According to the State Department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland, the US aim is to use the coalition to “maintain the functions of the state.” In other words, to get rid of Assad, but keep the regime. You know, for the sake of freedom and democracy.