Do you know what’s troubling? A top United States Senator went to Syria, met with Syrian Jihadists and showed that he knows less about the conflict than anyone reading this site.
In an Anderson Cooper interview, Senator McCain claimed, “We can identify who these people are. We can help the right people.” And who does he think the right people are?
McCain said such radical fighters make up only a small part of the rebels forces. For example, he said, Syria’s Islamist al-Nusra Front, identified as an alias of al Qaeda in Iraq, accounts for only about 7,000 of the 100,000 fighters battling the government of Assad.
“Every single day, more and more extremists flow in… “They’re flowing in all the time, these extremists. But they still do not make up a sizeable portion,” the Arizona senator said.
McCain said he was escorted during his visit on Monday by General Salem Idris, leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, and that he had a long meeting with Idris and a group of his battalion commanders.
The Al Nusra Front had repeatedly fought alongside with and coordinated operations with the Free Syrian Army. Salem Idris, whom he just met with, is on the record as defending the Al Nusra Front.
“All rebels are fighting to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and before we designate anybody or accuse anyone of being a terrorist we should tell what they have done to terrorize others,” the Free Syrian Army military command’s Brigadier General Salim Idris, told al-Jazeera television. “Not everyone wearing a beard is an extremist.”
“They are not terrorists,” he said of the Nusra Front.
Recently Idris has changed his tune, but it’s safe to say that his original position is the real one. The FSA remains closely aligned with Al Qaeda and even the enthusiastic supporters at the New York Times have bowed to reality and admitted, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”
That’s not somewhere. That’s nowhere. And if you’re reading this right now, you’re more qualified to be a United States Senator dealing with the question of whether to arm the Syrian militias than John McCain is.