The revolution in Syria has been touched on briefly earlier in this blog, however in light of recent events and our discussion about Al Qaeda in class, it seems fitting take another look at what’s been going on.
The US has been supplying aid and weapons to the Syrian opposition for some time now. This opposition, the Free Syrian Army and a mixture of other various militias, includes the Al-Nusra Front. The Al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, is the opposition. They’re the muscle. They’re the armed militants who account for the overwhelming majority of deaths, both military and civilian. They’re also blacklisted by the US as a terrorist organization (as of December 2012).
Last week al-Nusra swore loyalty to al-Qaeda. This essentially solidifies that the core of their front and the Syrian opposition movement is Jihadi Islamism in order to establish an Islamic state over the secular state that currently exists under President al-Assad. Their goal is to create a state run under sharia law and to reinstate the Caliphate. How will they achieve this? Just as they have attempted to in the past: by carrying out suicide bombings and attacks against government and civilian targets. The FSA claims they don’t support the ideology of al-Nusra, yet they continue to operate with them.
So why is it that the US continues to support them?
There seems to be a popular belief that President Assad is bad and the rebels are good, when the truth is neither are good. They’re both killing innocent people in order to establish what they think is the appropriate and only true way to rule. President Assad and the socialist Ba’ath party have a history of violent oppression within their secular, socialist states, and with the Syrian opposition there exists US-supported extremist mercenaries running around killing any who are deemed unfit to exist in their Islamic state.
These Islamist militias, including al-Nusra, have been receiving millions from the US under the supervision from the CIA across the region for years. The Obama administration has declared publicly that the US is ensuring that this support is reaching the right groups in the opposition. However with no clear articulation of who the “right people” are, or what “opposition forces” are receiving such aid, it is likely that the flood of arms and money going into Syria has and will continue to end up in the hands of al-Qaeda forces.
This entire situation screams Afghanistan 1979, when US-backed mujahideen forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government clashed in a bloody war which took millions of lives, led to a civil war, and prompted the war in Afghanistan.
What is the United States’ endgame here? Is it right for the United States to support one side during a nation’s civil war? Is US support for this “opposition” and the Islamist militias simply an effort to destabilize the country in order to legitimize further involvement in the region?
– James Greathouse
http://ir-ingr.livejournal.com/1185799.html (Warning: some graphic images)