Reuters is reporting that the President has authorized secret support for anti-Assad rebels in Syria:
Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.
We also announced publicly this week that we’re giving $89 million to the rebels for “non-lethal” supplies and “humanitarian” assistance.
But we can’t even have a national dialogue on most of it, because it’s secret.
Well, at least we’re trying to overthrow a dictator and foster democracy.
Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.
U.S. and European officials say that, so far, intelligence agencies do not believe the militants’ role in the anti-Assad opposition is dominant.
I feel so much better now.
I don’t have access to any top secret security briefings, Mr. President. But even I can figure out that these folks aren’t about freedom and democracy. Here are just a few of the articles available around the web.
From Germany’s Der Spiegel, “Christians Flee from Radical Rebels in Syria”:
Reserved and halting, the women described what happened to their husbands, brothers and nephews back in their hometown of Qusayr in Syria. They were killed by Syrian rebel fighters, the women said — murdered because they were Christians, people who in the eyes of radical Islamist freedom fighters have no place in the new Syria.
[. . .]
There may have been respectable aims at the start of the uprising, but the insurgency has since been hijacked by Islamists, the mayor argues. “And we know the types of Muslims who have emerged at the head of the rebellion: The ones who would like to lead the people back into the Stone Age.”
From Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “Syria: Israel Considers Strike at Chemical Weapons”:
King Abdullah of Jordan . . . told CNN that in the “worst case scenario” chemical weapons could end up in the hands of jihadist groups among the patchwork of anti-Assad forces.
“Our information is that there is a presence of al-Qaeda in certain regions inside Syria, and has been there for a while,” he told CNN.
From Italy’s International Mediterranean News Service, “Syria: Now Is the Decisive Battle, Muslim Brotherhood Says”:
In recent days, Syrian Kurdish National Council leader Sherkoh Abbas accused the Muslim Brotherhood of ”railroading the revolution” in order to replace Assad with “an Islamic, Sunnite, Arab and nationalist regime.”
From the BBC, “Syria Conflict: Jihadists’ Role Growing”:
The situation in Syria is also attracting jihadists from neighbouring countries as seen in Iraq a few years ago.
According to the New York Times, the intelligence community in the United States assesses that jihadists from the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda are expanding to Syria.
And from the Assyrian International News Agency, “Aleppo’s Christians Arm Against Islamists”:
“What is going on in Aleppo is not a popular revolution for democracy and freedom. The fighters of the so-called Free Syrian Army are radical Sunnis who want to establish an Islamic state,” [Abu George told GlobalPost].
[. . .]
As religious and sectarian hatred intensify, Syrian rebels are being joined by foreign jihadis, some of whom have reportedly fought in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Yemen.
Last week, a Dutch and a British photographer in northern Syria were released from captivity at what they said was a training camp for between 30 and 100 foreign jihadis, who repeatedly threatened to kill them.
“They were only foreign jihadis; I don’t think there was one Syrian among them,” Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans told the New York Times. “All day we were spoken to about the Quran and how they would bring sharia law to Syria.
The whole world understands that the United States is supporting jihad in Syria.
Except, apparently, us.
Sure, Assad is a thug. But we like jihadists why?
Because they’ll value liberal democracy?
Improve the status of women?
Be a better friend to the U.S.?
And are we really so naïve as to think that Assad is the worst thing that can happen to Syria?
Because he’s not.