NBC News Admits “Free Syrian Army” is a Myth


It’s dressed up in the usual concern about “extremists”, but the NBC News piece lets a few crucial facts slip through the pipeline.

1. There is no Free Syrian Army

The difficulty determining where the FSA’s sympathies lie resides in the fact that it is an army in name only. It is made up of hundreds of small units, some secular, some religious – whether mainstream or radical. Others are family gangs, or simply criminals.

Few media outlets are willing to say that out loud, but it’s quite true. There is no Free Syrian Army. It’s an umbrella for providing Western aid to a front group run by the Muslim Brotherhood.

2. General Idris is a general of nothing

The “commander” of the FSA, Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, is a former Syrian Army general who defected in July 2012. He is seen as the leader of the most moderate segment of the FSA and under his leadership the group has been receiving limited assistance from the U.S. — small arms like AK-47s, ammunition, military rations, medical kits and cash, but not much more.

Idris acts more as a chairman of the board than a battlefield commander, offering advice and money to other groups that he feels are benefiting the cause.

This point has been made several times. Idris is basically a politician. He isn’t running the war. Putting him out in front of a lot of Salafist commanders is a scam. They’re the ones running the war. Not him. He’s just another politician funneling money and weapons from the Saudis, the Turks, Qataris and us.

3.  There are no moderates

The FSA is by far the largest Syrian rebel force. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain have both estimated the total rebel force in Syria at around 100,000. They claim the hardcore Islamists — defined as members of two al Qaeda-affiliated groups waging war against Assad — account for only 10 to 15 percent of that total.

But a senior military official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, disagreed, claiming the percentage of radical Islamic fighters is “way higher than that,” when the definition is expanded beyond the membership of the al Qaeda affiliates. He said Pentagon officials estimate that extreme Islamist groups now constitute “more than 50 percent” of the rebel force, “and it’s growing by the day.”

The funny moderate math depends on classifying Salafists who aren’t with Al Qaeda, officially, even if they fight alongside it, in independent groups or the FSA, as moderates.

But what percentage of the brigades are Salafist and can there even be such a thing as a moderate Salafist? According to various analysts, the Syrian Islamic Front is moderate even though its goal is to use violence to create an Islamic state. But compared to hard core Takfiris, it may be considered possibly moderate. But to us that’s a technical distinction without a difference.

  • oigevalt

    Thanks for the rundown, Daniel. Now I’m going to go and stick your article in my friend’s face who has been drinking way too much MSM coolaid. That might lift up his brain fog a little.

  • defcon 4

    By MSNBC’s logic the all muslime Handschar SS division weren’t nazis, they just fought alongside them, so they must’ve been A-OK.
    The sophistry and lies about the Syrian rebels continue unabated. At least they could improve the quality of their lies.
    I wonder what percentage of Syrian “rebels” aren’t even Syrian at all?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      That’s an interesting question. Unfortunately as in Libya, rather hard to answer.

  • lessthantolerant

    Jihadists all.

    • recycled jimmy

      There is no “Radical Islam”, no “Moderate Islam”. Jihad is only a stage in a young persons life, possibly the last one. There are “inactive” and “active” Muslims, with the inactives watching/approving/supporting the “actives”. We tolerate them at our peril.
      There is only one Islam, and the book tells Musselmen how to behave.

      The fires of the sun air-burst over Mecca and Medina would be a fine initial demonstration. Don’t bother to leaflet first, just do it. Do it during a fallout drill in Israel. Take responsibility right after the NSA gets the FOIR FAX machine fixed.

      • lessthantolerant

        Sounds good to me.

  • Larry Larkin

    Isn’t it interesting that when ever the leftards jump in on a side in a civil war they invariably jump in on the worst side. From the Russian Civil War, through the Spanish Civil War, right up to now the people they support are the psychopathic killers.

  • Guilford King

    It’s amazing to me that the Obama administration can continue to get away with treason by arming enemies of the United States. It also amazes me that any American working for his administration will follow this treason just for money.