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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Report: American-supplied arms fell into al Qaeda's hands -- By Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal

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Buried in an interesting account by The Wall Street Journal is this nugget of information (emphasis added):
The Supreme Military Council, led by Gen. Idriss, has been the focus of U.S. efforts to bring a command-and-control structure to rebels--but has now lost to the Islamist extremists most of its ability to operate in some parts of the north. ISIS fighters recently raided a council arms depot filled with lights [sic] weapons and ammunition, funded by the Gulf states and funneled to the council with the guidance of the Central Intelligence Agency, council members said.
The ISIS is, of course, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, one of two al Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria. The other is the Al Nusrah Front, which continues to fight alongside its ISIL brethren despite a dispute between the two affiliates' emirs.

The rest of the WSJ article ("Rebel-on-Rebel Violence Seizes Syria") is well worth a read and describes how some Free Syrian Army commanders and units are trying to counter al Qaeda's growing influence. Other outlets have published similar details. This is good news in the sense that it may make it easier to identify specific parts of the FSA that are worth supporting.

The bad news is that al Qaeda's affiliates dominate significant parts of northern Syria. FSA units that challenge al Qaeda are, by and large, unsuccessful. And as unnamed members of the Supreme Military Council itself have conceded to the WSJ, arms intended to support the most friendly side in this "three-front war" have ended up in one of the wrong side's hands.

There are a few other pieces of information worth noting in the WSJ account.

First, "ISIS fighters have adopted a strategy of dropping back--taking rear positions--as rebels with the FSA alliance leave for front lines to fight government forces, allowing ISIS to build a presence in towns and villages left without security or services." In other words, the ISIS is willing to let some FSA rebels die, taking some Assad allied forces with them in the process. All the while the al Qaeda affiliate deepens its roots into rebel-controlled strongholds. Much of those same rebel-controlled areas are already dominated by al Qaeda and its extremist allies.

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