The New York Times has reported this before, but never quite so explicitly.
Back when Obama and Romney were debating, Obama boasted that he had intervened in Libya without risking American lives. This was an amazing claim since the “freedom fighters” we armed and supported may have been exactly the same people who killed our ambassador. Still, Obama and Romney both claimed we must intervene in Syria using the same methods. Romney said we needed to arm and support “our friends” over there.
He might have suggested we recruit and army of fairies and unicorns. There are no such creatures.
This was already obvious in 2012, but now the New York Times is saying it openly:
“Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government. Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”
If you want to find an army free of extremists, you have to go to the Assad regime for a “staunchly secular army.”
The most obvious truth in the world is that we have made a horrible mistake in trying to overthrow Assad. His crimes are not our responsibility but when we set up some Christian-slaughtering, terrorist exporting regime in Syria, the crimes of that government will be entirely our responsibility. The New York Times editors will never submit to the obvious. They treated it as if it were a foregone conclusion that Assad must be removed from power by American intervention.
The article quotes Ari Ratner, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project and former Middle East adviser in the Obama State Department, as saying “We have no illusions about the prospect of engaging with the Assad regime — it must still go…”
Why? Are Assad’s crimes really worse than all the raping and torturing and murdering of Christians and other religious minorities, or burning churches and abducting bishops? The US government has no basis on which to claim the authority to depose a ruler of another country.
By shipping supplies to Syria and allowing our “allies” (like Saudi Arabia) to ship arms to the conflict, we have provided a growth and recruitment opportunity for Al Qaeda.
“Emile Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, framed the rebels’ dilemma another way: ‘How do you denounce the Nusra Front as extremists when they are playing such an important military role and when they look disciplined, resourceful and committed?’”
The answer is too obvious to miss: you never support a military role for anyone. You don’t tell your allies to go ahead and arm whoever they want. You don’t have the CIA work with the Muslim Brotherhood in the hopes that they will help ship the arms only to the “good” rebels and not to the Islamist ones.
Syria was a mistake. Get out now!