Just as O is pondering arming the Free Syrian Army and training them to secure WMDs, the process of transforming the Free Syrian Army into a purely Islamist entity is all but complete. And it all happened under the careful supervision of Obama’s allies in Ankara and Doha.
Syrian rebel groups have chosen Brigadier Selim Idris, a former officer in President Bashar al-Assad’s army, to head their new Islamist-dominated military command, opposition sources said on Saturday.
The joint command named Islamist commanders Abdelbasset Tawil from the northern province of Idlib and Abdelqader Saleh from the adjacent province of Aleppo to serve as Idris’s deputies, the source said.
The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam. It excludes the most senior officers who had defected from Assad’s military.
Its composition, estimated to be two-thirds from the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, reflects the growing strength of Islamist fighters on the ground and resembles that of the civilian opposition leadership coalition created under Western and Arab auspices in Qatar last month.
Absent from the group is Colonel Riad al-Asaad, founder of the Syrian Free Army and Brigadier Mustafa al-Sheikh, a senior officer known for his opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Asaad and Sheikh were not part of the 263-man meeting in Antalia. Also excluded was general Hussein Haj Ali, the highest ranking officer to defect from the military since the uprising erupted in March last year
Abdelqader Saleh heads the Tawheed Brigade in Aleppo which has repeatedly stated that they are fighting to turn Syria into an Islamist state. It’s a project of the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar, so despite the previous statements it’s not surprising that Saleh has climbed on board for the moment. The Muslim Brotherhood, unlike other Salafist groups, has no problem lying about its intentions and misrepresenting its plans.
I’m surprised this article even ran, but it appears to be part of a growing trend of media acknowledgement that the Syrian rebels are Jihadists. And that appears to be driven by growing White House acknowledgement of the same thing. But that hasn’t translated into doing the rational thing and backing away from them.