Infighting among Syrian opposition gives opportunity for all


By Conor Higgins

WASHINGTON, January 15, 2014 — reported Monday that al-Qaeda allied forces have managed to seize control of several cities in Syria. Considering that al-Qaeda has received a large part of a $1 billion river of foreign aid money in order to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the United States should pay particularly close attention to the group that is taking American money while simultaneously engaging in combat operations against US forces in other parts of the World. Just to add, by money, we mean large amounts of American taxpayer dollars used to buy firearms and give them to known terrorist organizations, among them are those responsible for 9/11.

In this rendition of Back Porch Politics, we will be delving into the apparently more than complicated topic of the Syrian Civil War and the involvement of radical Islam in the fight against President Assad.

The Syrian Civil War has been going on for an absurdly long time, mainly because of the balance of power is constantly shifting, as are loyalties and momentary battlefield advantages. The various factions have staked out their claim to certain areas of the country, holding on to cities and clusters of villages. On one side is President Assad, the Syrian military, and various militias loyal to the Syrian government. Their nemesis in the other corner is the Syrian Opposition, which up until recently was comprised of both radical Islamic and secular fighters. No one in the Obama Administration was fazed by the fact that part of the Syrian Opposition wanted to establish Sharia law and an Islamic state, and so they decided to send everyone a gun. It was like a taping of Oprah for rebels, you get a gun, you get a gun, you all get guns! However in November several key and large, rather large, radical groups formed the Islamist Front. According to preliminary reports they number around one hundred thousand fighters, while the Free Syrian Army number far less. Of course, in the third corner is the Kurdish Supreme Committee, mostly made up of Kurdish fighters. The largest and most effective of these groups are the YPG, or Popular Protection Units. These guys are responsible for keeping pretty much everyone out of the ethnically Kurdish areas of Syria in the Northeast and Northwest corners of the country. They take on all comers, and they will most likely wait out the conflict and strike a deal with the victors in exchange for some kind of autonomy.

Just to muddy the waters for you here, one of the key allies and players to al-Nusra (Syrian al-Qaeda) is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIS. ISIS and the Islamic Front are fighting the Free Syrian Army for control of the Opposition with major help from al-Qaeda and her allies. Al-Qaeda is rather bad, if you do not remember. We do not like them. Well if you recall about a week ago, ISIS captured Fallujah after a prolonged firefight. So if on believes that individuals in an organization share resources, then it may be reasonably concluded that the United States helped to capture Fallujah. But that is for another day.

Now with the Islamist Front breaking from and now actively engaging the Free Syrian Army, the Opposition is rather fractured, but that does not mean it is not formidable in any way. One hundred thousand veteran Jihadists are backing the Islamist Front, while the Free Syrian Army maintains a steadily decreasing force.

The infighting between The Islamist Front and the Free Syrian Army presents a unique opportunity for both the United States and President Assad, now why aren’t either leaders taking advantage?

For Assad, the opportunity is simple. Divide and conquer. If he can break out of this tug of war, prolonged bloody chess game, he can swoop in and destroy the winner of the civil-civil war before they have a chance to regroup. The pitfall here is that if they attack too soon, and don’t wait for the right moment, Assad will be in danger of uniting the newly formed enemies and they will once again turn their collective guns on him. However another situation which could present itself would be the reconciliation of the Free Syrian Army with Assad in the face of turning their nation over to the Islamic radicals. The danger being of course that if the Islamist Front gains complete control over the Syrian Opposition, they will draw in more fighters and more money from their Saudi Arabian and Qatari benefactors. This could be the tipping point for the future of Syria.

For the United States it represents an opportunity for redemption. If the radical Islamic groups of the Opposition are separating themselves from the Secular groups of the Opposition then the US government has a chance to pull away from the Jihadists. It does the United States no good to a.) support Jihadists, b.) support Jihadsts who are actively engaged in fighting Americans, and c.) support Jihadists who want to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law. Hard pass on all of the above.

But now is our chance.

Now the United States can begin reforming our decimated and dysfunctional Foreign Policy and realize that the greatest threat to American interests in the World is the rise of radical Islam. And that is what these groups seek to establish all over the Middle East and North Africa, a revitalized Sultanate under Sharia law. It will not happen overnight, it will not happen in one year, but when the United States is supporting the very people who seek to make that terrifying dream a reality it will most certainly happen piece by piece. One day we may all wake up and realize that from Syria all the way to Algeria is under radical Islamic control and Sharia law.

This is part of the problem; this Administration does not recognize the radical Islamists as a threat, and refuses to learn from the previous mistakes of both his and his predecessors Administration. One Iran is enough, but imagine an entire region of Iran’s? It would be hell. And for those who believe that if we leave the region, and we stop supporting Israel, then Jihadists would not be against the United States. Well if you want to get into it, the power of the United States is largely if not entirely rested within her economic strength. Our military, our technology, all of it, is purchased and maintained by the money generated by the American economy. The American economy relies heavily, very heavily, upon the Global economy. Do you see where we are going with this? It does not benefit the United States to have half the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal controlled by nations who only seek to expand their territory. The rise of radical Islam to power within nations will only bring about global instability and war.

That is why the United States needs to begin sending support to the right people, and the right people only, to pull the weed up at the roots. If the US withdraws support from al-Nusra and all other Jihadist groups and then concentrate on assisting the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish Council, it will go a long way to insuring that the United States not only stops the ascendancy of radical Islam in Syria, but it will promote a faction which espouses the principles of a Free Syrian, secular government.

Now is the time to take action against the Syrian Jihadists. The Opposition is weakened by infighting, and depending on the severity of it all President Assad will have to do when the fighting is over is to mop up whoever is unfortunate enough to be left alive. However, given the track record of this Administration and their either inability or unwillingness to recognize the rise of al-Qaeda and their allies, it does not seem likely that this particular advantage will be pressed anytime soon.

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