Leader of new U.S.-backed Syrian rebel coalition: Obama shouldn’t have designated some of our fighters as terrorists

posted at 5:21 pm on December 12, 2012 by Allahpundit

A short but important footnote to the NYT’s story about Assad using scud missiles against the rebels. Remember, this is supposed to be the new pro-western face of the Syrian opposition that’ll make deeper U.S. involvement more politically palatable.

But the leader of the coalition took issue with a decision by the Obama administration to classify Al Nusra Front — one of several armed groups fighting Mr. Assad — as a foreign terrorist organization and urged the United States to review that decision.

The coalition leader, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, said, “The logic under which we consider one of the parts that fights against the Assad regime is a terrorist organization is a logic one must reconsider.”

He also said: “We love our country. We can differ with parties that adopt political ideas and visions different from ours. But we ensure that the goal of all rebels is the fall of the regime.”

Why is an alleged “moderate” sticking up for Jabhat al-Nusra, allegedly an offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq? Because: The only thing Syrians care about right now is bringing down Assad, and if the Nusra Front is willing to pitch in on that then, as far as they’re concerned, three cheers for them. Read Aaron Zelin’s piece at Foreign Policy for a more thorough exposition of that, or just click here and check out the photo that was circulating on Syrian Facebook after the State Department declared Al Nusra officially a terrorist group. Writes Zelin:

Syrians are also planning to take to the streets to express their solidarity with Jabhat al-Nusra this week. A coalition of coordinating committees and rebel battalions has called for demonstrations this Friday under the slogan “No to the Interference of America — We Are All Jabhat al-Nusra.” The statement originally had 29 signatories, but now contains more than 100.

Even more worrisome from the perspective of the United States, there are tentative signs that Jabhat al-Nusra has also been providing local services. While the designation signals that the U.S. government is committed to isolating the group, its heroics on the battlefield and its work to provide for the basic needs of the Syrian people could signal that it is becoming embedded within the social fabric of the population.

Some of the Al Nusra fans are undoubtedly good old-fashioned jihadi sympathizers but even the more secular types are in no mood to be picky when it comes to fighters willing to risk their lives to finish off Assad. And so Obama’s attempt to earn some goodwill with the population by endorsing the Syrian Opposition Council last night is instantly off to a bad start. It’s a perfect example of why intervention there is doomed to be messy and thankless: Politically, Obama had no choice but to denounce Al Nusra and al-Khatib had no choice but to defend them. And meanwhile, the group is hard at work expanding its own influence over the rebellion even as the White House strains to limit it. New from Long War Journal:

Jihadist groups in Syria are “beginning to coalesce under a single command, and are following the lead of the Al Nusrah Front,” a US intelligence official familiar with the situation in Syria told The Long War Journal.

“Al Nusrah isn’t the only jihadist group operating in Syria, but as part of al Qaeda’s franchise it has access to its resources and expertise,” the intelligence official continued. “Al Nusrah has the cachet to organize the local jihadists and integrate them.”

“The influence of the jihadist groups in Syria, and their prowess on the battlefield, is being vastly underestimated,” the official said. “Al Qaeda, through the Nusrah Front, is working to unite these disparate jihadist groups, just as it did in Iraq.”

That’s from a post about the founding of the new Mujahedeen Shura Council incorporating 10 jihadi groups that are currently doing much of the heavy lifting on the battlefield. Which do you suppose will have more influence in Syria after Assad, the MSC or Obama’s weapons-less Syrian Opposition Council? To see what the medium-term, or even near-term, future holds, click here — but only if you have a strong stomach.

Al Nusrah even benefits from Assad’s dumb scud offensive. The weapons aren’t very accurate and therefore are unlikely to set the rebels back much, but as an ostentatious form of escalation (they’re capable of carrying chemical warheads) they’re bound to infuriate the Syrian population even more. And the angrier Syrians get, the less discriminating they’ll be about who’s doing the fighting on their behalf and what sort of government might follow the butcher of Damascus. The White House knows all of that, which is why it’s now scrambling to boost the profile of the Syrian Opposition Council and, eventually, to intervene somehow in the rebels’ defense. Exit question: Too little, too late?


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Obama and his brothers

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

New rules for how to kit glove the Taliban…Obama’s brothers.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM

How dare she say what most of you already know?

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:24 PM

In Syria all are the enemies of the US and Israel.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:24 PM

one of several armed groups fighting Mr. Assad — as a foreign terrorist organization and urged the United States to review that decision.

Imagine, just imagine, terrorists now tell the US what to do/say!

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Why is an alleged “moderate” sticking up for Jabhat al-Nusra

“Alleged” is the key word.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:26 PM

100+ years (for the most part) of intereventionism, and nothing to show for it except debt, deficit, death, devaluation.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Jihadist groups in Syria are “beginning to coalesce under a single command, and are following the lead of the Al Nusrah Front,” a US intelligence official familiar with the situation in Syria told The Long War Journal.

Barack Hussein Obama is the Commander in Chief and President of the USSA, circa 2009-2016.

Islamists, rejoice. He enables you, blatantly.

The world laughs its collective head off.

AmeriKa is out shopping.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:29 PM

“It’s all America’s fault, and the fault of the Eskimos Jews” — Dante

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:29 PM

100+ years (for the most part) of intereventionism, and nothing to show for it except debt, deficit, death, devaluation.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM

WWII was justifiable, so was our support of NATO.

Now, we just support the new caliphate.

darwin on December 12, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Boy is egged on by older men chanting Allahu Akbar’, or ‘God is great’

What the leftists, some Paulbots and Obama enable, in full view.

America re-elected a president with blood on his hands, and then continued to shop.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Horrific footage shows ‘Syrian rebels’ forcing boy to behead captive with sword

What the leftists, Obama and Dante condone.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Ho-hum, another day, another country falling into hands of Al Qaeda. Whoop-ti-do.

Progressive Heretic on December 12, 2012 at 5:34 PM

The White House knows all of that, which is why it’s now scrambling to boost the profile of the Syrian Opposition Council and, eventually, to intervene somehow in the rebels’ defense. Exit question: Too little, too late?

The premise/s, the premise/s – Obama is the Master and Enabler of the Arab ‘Spring’.

Only the blind don’t see. Obama is very successful in spreading Sharia, in the ME, Europe and the US.

Wake up world, or your head will be on the cement, like in the video.

p.s. I’d love to witness a few leftist heads on that block, especially if they keep cheering this on.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Mayans know their stuff.

the_nile on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

WWII was justifiable, so was our support of NATO.

Now, we just support the new caliphate.

darwin on December 12, 2012 at 5:31 PM

No to both.

Our interventionism into WWI led to the economic conditions that engendered the rise of N.azism and Hitler. Further, FDR engaged in interventionist acts designed to draw the U.S. into war. He succeeded.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Iran will still be supporting Syria…..no matter who controls it.
Iran is actually excited because the rebels will want to impress their new
overloads with attacks on Israel.

Obama should not be supporting anyone in Syria.
Look what happened in Libya and Egypt.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Sharpen up your arrows and grab the crossbow, Warrior Bark, your combat expertise will be needed soon.

Bishop on December 12, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Boy is egged on by older men chanting Allahu Akbar’, or ‘God is great’

What the leftists, some Paulbots and Obama enable, in full view.

America re-elected a president with blood on his hands, and then continued to shop.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM

I send all this stuff to the lefty’s I know…
They are in denial.
They are idiots.
They will be shocked when the knife slits their throats.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Greatest FP President in my lifetime! The New Caliphate!

Bmore on December 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

No to both.

Our interventionism into WWI led to the economic conditions that engendered the rise of N.azism and Hitler. Further, FDR engaged in interventionist acts designed to draw the U.S. into war. He succeeded.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Yeah whatever. Hindsight is wonderful.

darwin on December 12, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Obama should not be supporting anyone in Syria.
Look what happened in Libya and Egypt.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Third time’s the charm.

the_nile on December 12, 2012 at 5:45 PM

“Obama shouldn’t have designated some of our fighters as terrorists…

… but thanks for the weapons anyway.”

Seven Percent Solution on December 12, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Obama should not be supporting anyone in Syria.
Look what happened in Libya and Egypt.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

He succeeded, for Sharia and his brothers, and himself.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Note that Dante doesn’t blame Obama.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Remember the good old days then leftists like Pelosi and Kerry were traveling to Syria to kiss the mad ophthalmologist’s terror-loving a$$? Nancy even wore some nasty head scarf so as not to offend his delicate Mooslim sensibilities. Good times. Good times.

MJBrutus on December 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

The president is busy making executive decisions…shall he go to Detroit or PA to campaign against those rotten Republicans? Will it be Leno or The View…can’t decide, why not both? Oh bother, he can’t make up his mind where to tee off tomorrow. Is it vacay time yet? Can we have Jay Z and B over for a party again and can we bring the Gangnam guy back? He was a hoot!

barf.

scalleywag on December 12, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Note that Dante doesn’t blame Obama.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Dante doesn’t bite the hand that feeds him.

the_nile on December 12, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Our interventionism into WWI led to the economic conditions that engendered the rise of N.azism and Hitler. Further, FDR engaged in interventionist acts designed to draw the U.S. into war. He succeeded.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Why do you stay in this country?

JPeterman on December 12, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Smart Power

jake49 on December 12, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Don’t worry, Syrian rebels.

If you don’t like 0bama’s position on any issue, just wait a few days until he inevitably changes his story.

UltimateBob on December 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Amateur…

right of the dial on December 12, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Exit question: Too little, too late?

It was always going to be too little and too late no matter what. It will be a strategic blunder for the United States to get involved in Syria. I don’t care who the president is either on this issue.

The sad truth is Assad is less dangerous to U.S. (and Israel for that matter) interest than the Sunni Jihadist forces trying to take the country over.

Truly brilliant. Sadly Obama will get lots of support for this from the John McCain/GWB school of the GOP.

William Eaton on December 12, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Our interventionism into WWI led to the economic conditions that engendered the rise of N.azism and Hitler. Further, FDR engaged in interventionist acts designed to draw the U.S. into war. He succeeded.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

.
Why do you stay in this country?

JPeterman on December 12, 2012 at 5:58 PM

.
Evading the question, Dante ?

listens2glenn on December 12, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Boy is egged on by older men chanting Allahu Akbar’, or ‘God is great’

What the leftists, some Paulbots and Obama enable, in full view.

America re-elected a president with blood on his hands, and then continued to shop.

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM

I wish I could forget what you said but I hope
I never do .

Lucano on December 12, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Iran will still be supporting Syria…..no matter who controls it.
Iran is actually excited because the rebels will want to impress their new
overloads with attacks on Israel.

Obama should not be supporting anyone in Syria.
Look what happened in Libya and Egypt.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I disagree. The more likely danger is a Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood / Hamas / Sunni Syrian Jihdist State alliance. Israel will find out that is far more dangerous than anything Iran has (with the exception of multiple Iranian nuclear weapons, if they can ever build one). Iraq will go into a civil war between the Sunni and Shia factions. Iran backing the Shia forces. The only reason Iran had influence in Syria was because Assad needed assistance from someone to keep power and to protect the Alawites in a sea of crazed Sunnis who viewed him as an infidel.

William Eaton on December 12, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Lew!!!

Bmore on December 12, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Obama should not be supporting anyone in Syria.
Look what happened in Libya and Egypt.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I do agree 100% with this though…We need to stay out of Syria and let two enemies of the United States kill each other.

Sunni Alliance: (1) Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, (2) Syrian Sunni Jihadist forces, (3) Hamas, (4) Iraqi Sunnis, (5) Arab States,

VS.

Shia Alliance: (1) Iran, (2) Hezbollah, (3) the remains of Assad’s Syrian (Alawites, shia, etc.) forces

That is probably were this is all going…if we don’t get in their way.

William Eaton on December 12, 2012 at 6:37 PM

He also said: “We love our country. We can differ with parties that adopt political ideas and visions different from ours. But we ensure that the goal of all rebels is the fall of the regime.”

Heh. That actually seems, taken by itself, pretty honest.

“Yes, yes, some of these people are sworn to annihilate the non-entity and it’s enablers — Allah be praised — but we have a war to fight and they are on our side, so let’s keep perspective.”

Axe on December 12, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Evading the question, Dante ?

listens2glenn on December 12, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I thought Dante was Canadian?

Axe on December 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the US will send mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft missiles to Syria through Middle Eastern countries.

more treasonous activity by this president….aiding the enemy, something he has done a lot of these last 4 years…and that kid who was forced to behead that man, what sick barbaric people..Islam again is the root cause of all this bloodshed

sadsushi on December 12, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Too bad this administration doesn’t bother itself to find out exactly who and what they’re supporting. What’s an even worse thought though is that maybe they do.

Murf76 on December 12, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Obamas Marxist goal is to put the world into
economic depression and let loose the
Islamic war dogs. Goal is to crush the good
and get rid of Israel. He really thinks that
the world will do it his way after the caliphate
is all powerful.

redguy on December 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Yeah whatever. Hindsight is wonderful.

darwin on December 12, 2012 at 5:43 PM

It’s not hindsight.

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM

You’re ALL terrorists, and if we had more brains than a dandelion and a longer memory span than a goldfish, we’d have remembered what happened the last time we armed one bunch of camel-f*ckers to fight another.

MelonCollie on December 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM

I thought Dante was Canadian?

Axe on December 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM

…he’s a National Idiot!

KOOLAID2 on December 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM

I thought Dante was Canadian?

Axe on December 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Unfortunately he hasn’t yet needed Canadian healthcare.

MelonCollie on December 12, 2012 at 10:54 PM

“One misconception to overturn is that if you are skeptical of, or an outright opponent of, your government’s foreign policy, then probably you must be a pinko commie who hates America and all this other stuff.

People who do not believe a word of what the government says when it comes to milk subsidies, or agriculture policy, or whatever, shouldn’t necessarily assume that everything the Pentagon says is sacred scripture. The same kind of skepticism ought to run in a natural continuum across all these sorts of things.

And I used to be a typical neoconservative: whatever the government told me on foreign policy I’m sure must be right, and anything going on overseas is simply the righteous might of the United States government dispensing summary justice against the bad guys, and who are you to ask about this, and if you are worried about civilian casualties, again you’re a pinko. I went through this whole thing.

But then I finally came to the conclusion, actually by just mindlessly adopting this position, I’m involving myself in all kinds of moral outrages because I’m falling in this trap of believing this, really, left wing Rousseauean myth that, “We ARE the government, and WE are bombing them, and WE’RE going to get them.” And so the “we” makes you feel like, “Well, gee, I’m implicated in this, too. So, darn it! Anyone who criticizes this foreign policy is criticizing me. No way, baby! WE are in this…” But it’s not “we”. The relatively small number of people who run the U.S. government is not “we”, it’s “them” it’s “they”. We don’t say, “Well, gee. We are taxing ourselves,” or “WE put me in jail for a wetland violation of my property.” We wouldn’t say “we,” we would say “they”.

And the same thing follows in this case. I’ll give you just one example: In the 1990s it was a totally bipartisan policy, and by the way, anytime something’s a bipartisan policy, you can guarantee it’s evil, always and everywhere. There was a bipartisan policy to impose sanctions on Iraq and a great many people died of malnutrition as a result of it, now the number is in dispute, but the fact that people died because they weren’t allowed to get equipment to repair their water treatment facilities and things like that, that’s beyond question, and that was deeply inhumane, and if the Soviet Union had done it, we never would have heard the end of it. “Oh, look at the commies! Of course they hate human life, and they’re terrible!” But as soon as it’s OUR ruling class that does it, well immediately the so-called skeptics of government, the conservatives, got right in line immediately rushing to defend this policy, and after awhile I just decided, “You know, I just can’t defend these people anymore. I cannot defend that type of thing.” It is deeply immoral to do something like that. Just because somebody is your enemy there are still things you are not allowed to do to him, especially when the actual general public of that country has done nothing to you.” This is just the simple basic insight that conservatives of yesteryear would have had, but this “we” thing … “WE’VE got to have this policy! WE’RE getting these guys!” You hear it on CNN and FoxNews, “What should WE do?” It’s not “we,” it’s a small group of sociopaths.”

How Government Bamboozles Us on Foreign Policy

Dante on December 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Oh screw this, let them fight it out and if the Islamists take over and start acting up, we start raining hell on them. That should be our policy with the Muslim world, period. I’ve had enough of these people.

Daemonocracy on December 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM