The Myth of the Moderate Syrian Rebels

raqqaThe moderate Syrian rebels, like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, are a myth; an imaginary character used to tell soothing stories to children. Unfortunately the storytellers think that we’re the children.

The Syrian Civil War is a religious war. It’s not a war over democracy or freedom. It’s a conflict between two totalitarian systems, one loosely based on a mixture of Islam and Socialism, and the other more rigidly based on Islam. Both are brutal and merciless to anyone who doesn’t belong. Both have their death squads and extensive corruption on the inside.

Both are evil.

It’s also an ethnic conflict being played out between Iran and the Arab world. And it even has elements of Ottoman revivalism on the Turkish side of the border where its Islamist rulers dream of reclaiming an empire.

None of that is a recipe for moderation. There are no moderates in a religious war. There are no moderates in an ethnic conflict. There are no moderates among those who would start such a war or those who intend to finish it.

Neither side is seeking freedom. Both are seeking absolute supremacy.

The Syrian opposition that we hear about on the evening news and in the columns of newspapers is an elaborate Potemkin village masterminded by the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey and Qatar to convince Americans and Europeans that the rebels have a governmental structure and are ready to take power.

The Syrian National Council (full abbreviation SNCORF) is a bunch of names and letters peopled by ambitious men. It commands less of Syria than it does of Washington and Brussels. If it tried to give anyone an order in Aleppo, there would be laughter. But it keeps getting away with giving orders in D.C.

The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire and the Free Syrian Army is neither free, nor Syrian, nor an army. It’s a grab bag of guerrilla fighters, many of them foreign Islamists, who expect to receive American weapons and money and are occasionally willing to play along with the pretense that there is some kind of united army of national liberation for America to aid.

The political structures built up in Turkey and Qatar are fictional. The official leaders lead nothing. General Salim Idris commands nothing. All the organizations with Syria in their name are good for little except fooling Westerners into giving them weapons to funnel to the various rebel brigades, in exchange for promises of future influence and business deals, and plotting to take over the country afterward.

The only commanders who matter are the ones on the ground. And not only are they Islamists, but they are also far less housebroken than Idris. They’re the sort that casually kill prisoners and eat their lungs. They wouldn’t make a very convincing case for democracy and freedom in Washington, D.C.

The actual fighters have few allegiances except to wealth and religion. Some fight for pay, others fight for Jihad. Many for both. None resemble the mythical brigades of free officers fighting for a secular Syria that some senators still believe in.

Even the brigades and their names are smoke on a battlefield. Fighters move from one brigade to another. Brigades move from one association and alliance to another.

The boundaries between the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front are not hard and fast. Some Islamist brigades play on both teams. Identifications are a matter of convenience. The vast majority of fighters, whatever associations they may have, are fighting to impose a Sunni Islamist system on Syria.

General Idris originally refused to cut ties with the Al-Nusra Front. After enough pressure and promises from Washington, he went along with the charade, but the actual commanders on the ground didn’t. FSA forces continued conducting joint operations with the Al-Nusra Front and recently four out of five front commanders signed a letter demanding to work with the Al-Qaeda group.

The letter is another attempt to pressure Washington D.C. into providing weapons and air support. The Syrian opposition leaders have insisted that the only possible way that we would be able to “moderate” the rebels and marginalize Al Qaeda was by backing them to the hilt. In reality, the various brigades that are compatible will go on working together regardless of what D.C. does.

And none of them are our friends.

The “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,” an FSA-allied group, was caught sticking a photoshopped image of Washington, D.C. burning at the hands of Syrian rebel fighters on its Facebook page. An analyst was quoted as wondering why a group affiliated with “the generally pro-Western Free Syrian Army” would do such a thing.

“It raises the unfortunate but inescapable fact that not every group within the Free Syrian Army is closely aligned with U.S. interests in the region,” he said.

More accurately, not a single group within the FSA is either pro-American or aligned with US interests.

Why would they be? An Islamic brigade has as its goal the replacement of Western political and judicial systems with Islamic ones through armed force. And the majority of the FSA consists of Islamic brigades. Islamists with that goal tend to think of Western political and judicial systems as idolatry and heresy. To the Salafi, idolaters and heretics have less right to live than sheep in a butcher shop.

As reporters tried to learn more about the “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,” they found a maze of splinter groups and alliances with the Al-Nusra Front that revealed that all the artificial structural overlays imposed by Western experts on bands of Eastern fighters don’t actually matter in the real world.

There is no Free Syrian Army. There is no Syrian opposition. There are just groups of fighters carving out territory, seizing homes, oil depots and bakeries, raping women, killing Christians, and behaving exactly the way that armed gangs with heavy firepower and no law to restrain them do.

There are no moderate Syrian rebels. There isn’t even a Syrian rebellion; only Muslim Brotherhood men in Turkey who act as gatekeepers for Qatari and Turkish weapons flowing to thousands and thousands of fighters, drifting in and out of gangs, killing their way across Syria the way that their distant ancestors might have during the original conquests of Islam.

Islam is their identity. It is a far more significant identity than the names of the brigades and alliances that they occasionally align with. It is their law, in the same way that the Pirate Code was the law of the buccaneers and the Thieves Law was the code of the Russian criminal. It dispenses rough justice and enables them to split the loot while remaining devout men who after every rape bow to Mecca.

What is happening in Syria is not a war between two sides. It’s Afghanistan. It’s Libya. It’s the collapse of a country into warring bands. The only difference is that this collapse has been carefully orchestrated.

Slaughter in Syria will go on with the unrestrained savagery that can only be carried out by men who believe that other men are subhuman. It will go on with knives, with machine guns and with nerve gas. It will go on whether we bomb Assad or write him a sternly worded letter.

It will go on because there are no moderates in a religious war. Only the killers and the killed.

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  • Judahlevi

    There is absolutely no reason for the US to strike Syria at this time. We have no friends there, and once they stop killing each other, they will turn on Israel and the US. Other than Obama being embarrassed (and he should be), we have no side to take in that conflict.
    Until human beings recognize that all humans deserve equal respect, and that there are no super humans or sub humans, will we ever begin the process of improving human relations. Only then will we begin to end wars which are caused by such ridiculous assumptions as my god is better than your god. All peaceful paths to G-d are holy.

    • TW of G 58

      the last statement is totally incorrect- only the Prince of Peace, Jesus ( not the ‘Jesus’ Ahminijead has touted in his beliefs as being ‘the brother of Allah’) but the Saviour of all mankind. Read Genesis chapters 15, 16 and 21 and 22, about Ishmael. Only God (capital G) can save you from yourself. The Christians in Syria are facing TRUE martydom…all others are being decieved.

  • Hass

    Again I must stress, as Ex-Muslim, Daniel Greenfield has written an extremely accurate article about what’s going on with the Muslim Jihadist’s in Syria.

    Either the Western powers lets the Government clean it’s own backyard or stop providing weapons and money to savages that will kill you at a blink of an eye for the crime of not agreeing with them.

  • Alvaro

    If only Washington had half of your intelligence and common sense.

    Instead they think it is a good idea to kill Syrians in Syria to make a statement that it is wrong of Syrians to kill Syrians in Syria.

    • lyndaaquarius

      exactly what Governor Sarah Palin said. this is one of Daniel’s Greenfield’s strongest articles. send it on to everyone.

  • Melvin Polatnick

    A perpetual Syrian civil war is good for Israel, it will leave a harmless nation on its borders. Two bullies fighting one another creates an environment safe for peace loving people.

    • Gee

      There are more than 90 different factions fighting it out in Syria. This is the end of the artificial Anglo-French created state of Syria.

      It will splinter into at least 5 or more ethnic enclaves. Each much weaker than before. But only only after another million or so casualties.

      • Aizino Smith

        It will not splinter into 5 or enclaves. the reason it will not is because there are other powers o its borders with designs for those lands.

        Turkey, Lebanon Iraq, Jordan or Saudi Arabia could all take chunks.

        Even if Turkey did not want to recreate the Ottoman empire they would take the north to keep the Kurds there under their thumb. A Kurdish state south of their border would be destabilizing to Turkey. At least in their minds it would be.

        I don’t see Israel expanding into Damascus or anything. They might give arms and training to some rump states that are threatened by Salafis.That is about all.

        I don;t seen any rump states unless all the bordering states are under such stress they have no wherewithal to interfere.

      • defcon 4

        The only casualties I will mourn are the unarmed Christians.

    • dartson

      I am not so sure about that. Yes, a weakened Syria will not be able to pose a serious military threat to Israel. On the other hand, having dozens of terrorist groups on the Israeli border, armed with rockets and missiles (even conventional, not chemical ones), is not a safe environment (it’s like Gaza on the northern border). The best scenario would be to install in Syria a relatively pro-Western secular military dictatorship, as in Egypt, that will keep some kind of stability and break ties with Iran and Hezbollah. The question is whether such scenario is possible in Syria at this stage.

      • defcon 4

        Let us not forget that under Assad’s father, Syria’s legitimate military was fond of lobbing artillery shells into northern Israel from the Golan Heights.

      • kikorikid

        NOT POSSIBLE at this point in history.

  • Clare Spark

    Many defenders of the Obama policy are using the word “moderate” to describe at least a saving remnant of the Assad opposition. I’m glad that Daniel Greenfield exploded that conception and trust that he has the facts to back up his strong critique. I wrote about the uniqueness of this conflict, warning that prior conflicts are not comparable, here: “The Syria crisis and historicism.”

    • furby

      “moderates” who kill and eat the hearts of their enemy.

  • Dan Mesa/AZ

    Keep up the great work Mr. Greenfield. You are a great man..

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The existence of so-called moderates is an impossibility since Islam requires total, complete, and unconditional submission to the will of Allah under the penalty of death for blasphemy and apostasy. Thus, under those circumstances, Muslims either are Muslims or are not Muslims, and if it is the latter, then they are not moderates, but instead ex-Muslim apostates with a death sentence hanging over their heads.

    Moreover, all mainstream orthodox Muslims are jihadists in one form or another, either violent jihadists or otherwise non-violent stealth and deceptive jihadists. It’s the latter that is often confused as being moderates due to the fact that they are non-violent but very deceptive at the same time.

  • Rosasolis

    The war between Sunnies and Shiites has been going on for centuries.
    The terrible, unconvincing plans for intervention by Obama and Kerry will not change anything in the war in Syria between these 2 main Islamic
    groups! The gas attacks on innocent citizens which have been going on for over
    2 years, were probably caused by the government groups and the Rebels.
    Both are guilty! Obama has chosen, as expected, the side of the Sunni
    Rebels, who are supported by terrorist groups such as Al Qaida,
    The Brotherhood, Boko Harem, and others. He has decided to keep on
    importing oil from Sunni countries, such as Saudi-Arabia, instead of working together with his
    neighbour country: Alberta, Canada to import oil from North-America…
    (which could provide work for several unemployed Americans!)
    Perhaps the real, cover-up reason that Obama and Kerry have decided to support the Rebels in an attack on Syria, is that the Obama administation
    has failed badly in America. I wonder what our Western civilization all over
    the world would think if rapports would ever become public, about
    the years of support that Obama has given to terrorist Sunni groups
    in the Middle-east.
    I wonder what President Obama will be doing on 9 – 11?

    • glpage

      What will Obama be doing on 9/11? Probably playing golf.

      • Adolphus_Leopanzus

        While I like both of these answers, who’s to say he wouldn’t be hosting some Muslim group with Muslim interests, or, at the very least, attending some Muslim function in ‘honor’ of the day. After all, there is no convention fundraiser to go to this year in the midst of an American foreign crisis.

      • TW of G 58

        yup, his second office, to try to get peace of mind, away from all his lies spinning around in his head, that he has told us (always on the campaign trail)

    • CSA

      he will be reading the Koran !!! what else would he be doing??

    • TW of G 58

      Correct on all points- and add to the failures of America, the failures in Lybia, Egypt, not going near Sudan. This POTUS is made, hand-tailored since birth, and influenced by a radical left-agenda and socialism plays a BIG role in transforming everything he touches.
      What we have witnessed, is a total fraud in the White House, and everything he touches, therefore, becomes a polar-opposite of what it should be. he does not think as MOST people in the ‘civilized world’ think. His association with MB, unrepentant american ‘hippie’ terrorists and left-wing agendas; a step-brother and father who are/were known to have terrorist ties. Do you see some parallels & patterns with what is going on in Syria, to this article?

  • Gee

    Islam requires supremacy. That is their most basic goal.

    • defcon 4

      As do all fascist ideologies.

    • CSA

      ohhh yeah…and it also requires suicide vests !

  • al_kidya

    So, how do we drill this into the heads of the likes of John “Swift-boat” Kerry, Brokedown Obombya, Lindsey Graham-cracker and John McCain-Slew-Abel?

    • defcon 4

      You have to fill their pockets and campaign warchests w/islamofascist petrodollars.

  • glennd1

    This is one of the few articles with any substance on the Syrian “revolutionary” forces, and I really appreciate it. This information needs to be brought forward and Obama and Kerry and Powers and Rice need to be questioned about it. One question that comes to mind is how our congressional reps and senators did not have this info to hand during last week’s hearings? It would seem to me that this information would be available via our intelligence agencies, no? Are they lying to us too? I realize Obama has gone ‘all in’ with the Turks and MB types, and knows how to play ball with the Saudis, who are terrified of Iran, so he will ‘frame’ the issue to his purposes, but what I can’t understand is why congress would or could be so ignorant of all this? I know that sounds naive, but do you see what I mean? How badly has the executive branch of govt cut the legislative branch out of the loop? Do they even have accurate intelligence on the FSA?

    All worth knowing, yes?

    • ziggy zoggy

      Every member of Congress has a bloated staff to do research for them while they enjoy the perks of their lavish lifestyles. They are theoretically capable of doing their own research as well. Not all of them can be ignorant of who are attacking Assad’s regime.

      Many don’t want to know and many don’t care. The rest are lazy or cowardly, with the exception of the few who have been honest, like Cruz.

      That’s what it seems like to me, anyway.

  • Infidel4Ever

    As usual, Mr. Greenfield blows away the non-sense and chaff and speaks the cold hard truth. There are no moderates here. Only a fascist thug regime at war with fascist thug rebels. And the fools we call leaders are only leading us to a disaster.

  • M.T. Aziz

    The terms “moderate” and “extreme” are monikers which obfuscate the true dichotomy within the ummah: there are only true believers, real Muslims who submit to the Divine Word of Allah as related to humanity by His Greatest Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the charlatans. Assad and his Iranian masters are even worse than the Zionists and imperialists, for they claim to be Muslims but are not. Whether your Obama invades Syria or not will do little to change the outcome. Syria and all other Muslims lands must be liberated from heathen control and united under Muslim rule, and the Assad and other corrupt Western puppets will not know peace until that day comes. Allahu akbar!

    • UCSPanther

      You want imperialism?

      We’ll give you imperialism,chump. Far more than you can handle…

      • M.T. Aziz

        What could be worse than the century of imperialism you have already imposed? Your threats mean nothing to me, you of small mind. Islam has come to America too and will win the hearts of the people; our banner will fly atop your White House.

        • defcon 4

          It’s strange how muslimes frequently win hearts by killing, maiming and persecuting people — sometimes, but not frequently enough, the targets include fellow muslimes.

        • UCSPanther

          If you are winning, then why is the Muslim Brotherhood getting the living tar slammed out of it?

          Your arrogance will be your downfall…

        • ziggy zoggy

          Islamopithecines are like cockroaches and rats in more ways than one. They cause immediate revulsion in any human being who sees one. Cockroaches and rats have a better chance of ruling America than your stone aged cult of ignorance.

        • MadmaxUSA

          only if you can get it done before 2016. You must enjoy hate mail.

    • defcon 4

      Zionists, the word muslimes use to disguise their Jew hatred.

      • M.T. Aziz

        You accuse others of hatred, while you purvey hatred of Muslims. I vow hatred against anyone who slaughters innocent Muslims in Muslim lands. Until the Zionists abandon all of Palestine (including that which they illegally claim as “Israel”), there will be no rest for them. Zionist Jews around the world who support this abomination are just as guilty.

        • 4arepublic

          Y’all just keep blowing yourselves up and all will work out well. The religion of pieces, fool.

          • MadmaxUSA

            Well said. That (allowing them to blow themselves up) should be our foreign policy with respect to Islamic countries. It’s the most productive and least cost option.

        • iluvisrael

          dream on acccchhhhhmed – the invented paleostonians should be grateful the Israelis let them live in ANY part of Israel.

        • momolala

          over 90% of the 11 millions innocent muslims violently killed since 1948 were killed by innocent muslims. innocent muslims have also killed over 270 millions non-muslims and are currently innocently killing both innocent muslims and um, non-muslims on all continents. common sense demands all innocent muslims leave all the christian and other non-muslim lands they’ve violently hijacked since muhammad went mental and find themselves another planet if they find saudi arabia too small.

        • defcon 4

          It’s always hilarious to see the one-eyed myopia w/which muslimes perceive Israel. But the hypocrisy w/which they regard the one Jewish state in the world becomes readily apparent when we notice muslimes have no problems w/the one religion apartheid that is Soddy Barbaria, or the fact that all their various islam0fascist garbage dumps are religious apartheids to one degree or another.

        • Who Isit

          It is obvious that the bbiggest hatred of Muslims, is provided by other Muslims …. one cannot help themselves from believing that it’s all derived from the only thing they hold in common Islam and its Koran …. Muslims are the biggest providers of Ignorance, Violence and Poverty, while Jews are the most Educated, Inventive, Entrepreneurial, Intelligent, Wealthy and now Best fighters in the world!!!!!

    • ziggy zoggy

      M.T.Azzdisease, you chose the wrong cult to convert to. islam is weak and getting weaker. Your phony moon god can’t help you and your pedophile prophet pretender ill’ Mo is still burning in heII. (Pi$$ be upon him)

    • knowshistory

      i am looking for the tip-off that your post is satire, but cannot find it. is it possible that your diatribe that looks like a satirization of islam is actually serious? I recognize that it is extremely difficult to satirize islam. to satirize, the usual technique it to take a position that is more extreme than what is being satirized, but with islam, that is impossible, since islam itself is the most disgusting thing on the planet. nice try, mr Aziz, but it did not work. let me try to satirize islam. ok. here it is. I have this wonderful religion you should join. we worship a false god that has no power, so we must do our god’s killing for him. our wonderful god loves worship, so we pose in the sodomy accepting position 5 times daily to show our respect for our god, who allows us to commit any sin or crime we choose. if we cannot deceive evil infidels into joining our evil religion, we are commanded to rape their women, molest their children, molest their goats, kill their men, and force any survivors to worship our wonderful make believe god. there. is that more extreme than islam? sigh. no. it is the unvarnished truth about islam. no satire there.


    Funny how the Left thinks…some Syrian Rebels are “Moderates” while all American Tea Party folks are extremists and potential terrorists…even if they are law-abiding and peaceful; the Left’s moral compass is off

    • physicsnut

      i don’t know whether it is ‘the left’ – more like David Brooks and his pals. Lots of lefty sites are dusting off their anti-war stuff and are calling these clowns war mongers and tyrants. A very curious situation.

      • MLCBLOG

        A quaint remnant of common circumstance since the 1960’s and the 1930’s before that, common to the old socialist line thinkers. So many odd quirks of thinking did I notice when I was among them, as one! I’ll never forget the months when it seemed to make sense to some that LSD be put into the water supply (Ayers among them, at least his circle) and then we would all have peace on earth. Cities would be liberated! whatever that meant. Just weird to me now.

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    I can’t understand the obsession that people like Congressman Pompeo have with intervention in Syria. We simply MUST intervene, because Syria “will be better off,” for our intervention. No one seems to remember that Obama visited Israel 6 months ago. The purpose for this visit, and for this “pin-prick” strike on Syria, is to draw Israel into a war with Syria, to accomplish two things:
    1-To continue to weaken the US military
    2-To distract Israel, and keep them from striking Iran’ s nuclear facilities
    Don’t any of our Congressmen remember Iran?


    Daniel really cut through the B.S. with this one. It should be mandatory reading for every Republican Congressman (Democrats are hopeless).

  • John

    Daniel— very illuminating. Can one ask: where do you get the intell about these groups— ?

  • RaDonna Marshall

    This is the best description of what is in the MidEast in laymen’s terms. I strongly recommend ALL congressmen get this message. It is up to the grassroot patriots to make them aware as well as our own countrymen. Thank you

  • knowshistory

    the Syrian question reveals much more about our traitorous media than anything else. if we had a republican in the white house pushing to “strike” a nation that is not actually doing us any more harm than the entire region which as always would like to do us infinite harm, our “watchdog” media would be squealing like a pig under a gate. it is only because a traitor in the white house wants to help his co-religionists that the media is all for the stupidity of wasting expensive weapons to give people who already hate us a really good reason to hate us. our dear liberals supported the invasion of Iraq until the slightest opposition began. then it was all “bush lied”. they were right to oppose the invasion of Iraq, but the right time to oppose it was before it happened. thanks traitorous media. you got Iraq wrong, and now are determined to do wrong in Syria. what is next? maybe the media will foist off on a gullible nation a muslim candidate for president. oh, they already did that. what treason next, media “watchdogs”?

  • Sheri Hardinger

    Another great article from Daniel Greenfield

  • TienBing

    The Myth of the Moderate Syrian Rebel goes hand in hand with the myth of the moderate Muslim. They are all moderates until they get the weapons and or numbers.

  • Drifter12

    We must not enter another war on the side of al Qaida…

  • Lujack Skylark
  • Bijili India

    What goes around comes around

  • lynn cicero

    Everyday McCain states is love of the Syrian Free Army moderate rebels who need our help and aid. WHAT !! His head is in the sound so deep he doesn’t hear about their daily atrocities the do to innocent people in Syria. Wake up McCain there are NO Moderate Rebels.

    • defcon 4

      McInsane knows that, he’s a paid liar for islam0fascism.

  • jack

    Syria is the venue for a cage match in the Ummah League.

  • Madame_deFarge

    Thank Daniel.


    Wow! this is informative and seems true. Thank you.

  • sleepergirl

    I sent this article to my (yuck) senator, McCain, saying I guess there are other POV about Syrian rebels. And Ms. Bagey got it wrong as well. To use a word Obama used recently, McCain is abhorrent.

  • insanity

    Front Page is run by racist lying scumbags who are in fact part of the corporate fascist interests funding Al Qaeda. Syria is a secular state, not “Isamic” and Al Qaeda is driven by godless Saudi state cult of Wahabism, NOT Islam. The Muslim people have spent DECADES trying to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood and their militant arm of Al Qaeda and guess who keeps propping them back up? The Fortune 500. This war in Syria according to reports back in 2007 was engineered under good ole “Crusader” Bush, who was arming and funding Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood even as US troops fought and DIED fighting them in Iraq. (see Sey Hersh’s “The Redirection.” That Obama is STILL funding and arming them proves that the president is in charge of nothing and it is bigger more powerful entities driving US policy.