Are these the “bad” rebels or the carefully vetted “good” rebels?
The answer may surprise you!
The image is one of eight photos posted on the official Facebook page of the “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,” a small armed Sunni rebel faction fighting with the Free Syrian Army, the main umbrella military organization of the opposition forces. Two other photos posted on the group’s page feature the widely recognized black flag of the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group, which operates freely in Syria…
“As a group that claims affiliation to the generally pro-Western Free Syrian Army, it is difficult to reconcile the fact that it has plastered such a lurid anti-American image as the banner on its own official Facebook page,” [counterterror analyst Evan] Kohlmann said. “It raises the unfortunate but inescapable fact that not every group within the Free Syrian Army is closely aligned with U.S. interests in the region.”
Kerry told the House yesterday that “maybe 15 percent to 25 percent” of the total rebel opposition belongs to jihadi groups. Back to you, NBC:
Several lawmakers questioned Kerry’s assertion and a senior military official told NBC News that actual percentage is “way higher than that.” Defense officials estimate that al Qaeda and related extremists groups now constitute “more than 50 percent” of the rebel force, which is made up of at least 70 different factions, “and it’s growing by the day,” according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Onion posted a short item last night headlined, “Target Of Future Drone Attack Urges American Intervention In Syria.” That’s meant as satire but it doesn’t really qualify because it’s not exaggerated in any way. It’s undoubtedly true, and some of the would-be targets know it: There are, without question, jihadis on the ground there right now who want us to hit Assad hard for their own reasons and who’ll inevitably be targeted by Predators in the next few years as we try to tip the balance of power from fundamentalists to “moderates.” Like the Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades.
If you’re curious why the Secretary of State’s sense of how moderate the Syrian opposition is differs from the Pentagon’s, here’s your answer. Meanwhile, in other “moderation” news, one of the key U.S. spokesmen for Syria’s main opposition group has been suspected of terrorism links since the mid-90s. He used to visit U.S. military bases to discuss Islam but was suspended after the Fort Hood massacre and investigated. The military hasn’t released the result of the investigation. The suspension remains in effect.