Out of the main media, I repeatedly read that Free Syrian Army general Idriss has withdrawn to the Syrian-Turkish border. Searching for more news, it appears the FSA has lost the civil war, not defeated by Assad’s Army but by terror groups funded by Saudi Arabia under command of Zahran Alloush. According to several jihadist commanders, “Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from the Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan” and Liwaa al-Islam is Saudi Arabia’s private army in Syria.
That the Obama administration is divided on Syria policy is clear, now more so as the Geneva II conference is planned for January 22 and there is no agreement as to the opposition delegation. I understand Ambassador Ford is talking to terrorist Zahran Alloush as to his conditions to participate in name of the opposition force in Geneva talks. How completely void of sound thinking by whoever send this envoy to negotiate with this enemy commander.
(M of A) – The first open sign of a change of U.S. policy towards supporting the Assad government in Syria came from Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker who advised to talk to Assad. Now the former CIA chief General Hayden says that Assad winning would be the best geopolitical outcome of the conflict. The BBC, which so far acted as a reliable pro-insurgency propaganda outlet, is now asking if it is Time to rethink a future with Assad?
“Someone has got to bite the bullet and say Assad stays,” says Prof Joshua Landis, Director of the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Oklahoma University whose views are frequently sought by policy makers in Washington. “We don’t have another game in town.”
Professor “Aleppo has fallen” Landis should notice that China, Russia and Iran, as well as this site, have been saying this all along. Anyway. As some regard Landis as an expert his change of mind will be noticed in the State Department and the White House.
(JPost) – The Syrian opposition is now effectively in the hands of extreme Islamist groups with a very different agenda from that of the secular-led Free Syrian Army. In November, when details of the peace conference on the Syrian civil war – known as Geneva 2 – were finally agreed upon, and the event was scheduled for January 22, 2014, the outcome of the conflict was in the balance. A month later, it seems as though Bashar Assad’s régime is gaining the upper hand militarily, while its opposition has fallen into disarray.
Back in April 2011, as small-scale popular protests developed into a nationwide rebellion, it seemed that the rule of President Bashar Assad was doomed. Protesters were demanding his resignation and an end to Ba’ath Party rule, which began in 1963. Soon the opposition began to organize political and military wings, in anticipation of a long uprising against the Assad regime. By December 2012 the US, Turkey, the Gulf states, France and Britain had recognized the main opposition, the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution (NCSR), as the “sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people” – a clear sign that they believed the Assad government was doomed.
However, the NCSR never coalesced into a coherent or effective body, nor did it ever achieve sufficient authority to persuade Western powers to provide it with the sort of military support it needed to overcome the Syrian army.
More below the fold …
(McClatchy) Oct. 17, 2013 – BEIRUT — The moderate rebel command at the center of U.S. policy in Syria is becoming increasingly marginalized as dozens of militias peel away to form rival, Islamist alliances in a move that could leave the Obama administration with no battlefield partner in the fight to topple President Bashar Assad.
The Supreme Military Command and its forces, known collectively as the Free Syrian Army, are reeling as 40 or more affiliates this month have signed onto two new umbrella groups, both with agendas that are at odds with the U.S.-backed opposition’s long-stated vision of a democratic, pluralistic Syria.
If the project to build rival Islamist commands succeeds, opposition activists and Middle East analysts warn, the Supreme Military Command is likely to fizzle quickly, essentially ending talk of a “moderate” rebel force to counter the influence of Islamist insurgents, including at least two factions aligned with al Qaida.