Free Syrian Army Commanders Defecting Back to Assad

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


syrian-slingshot

The takeaway for the story from the interventionists will be that this is happening because we failed to support the FSA.

And they’re wrong.

It’s happening because there was never a Free Syrian Army. There were assorted militias that functioned like mercenaries aligning with anyone and everyone who would help them get money and weapons. They even aligned with Al Qaeda and the US at the same time.

And there were lots of commanders and officials far from the battlefield who met with US officials and demanded more stuff while maintaining the FSA myth.

The Syrian Civil War was fought on crude barbaric terms with bands of fighters seizing control of territory to cash in on it. It’s still being fought that way with the leading militias fighting each other as much as Assad.

Now some of them are going back to Assad. This is how things work in much of the Middle East.

Syria isn’t France or Italy. Like the rest of the Middle East, it’s a jumbled collection of ethnic, religious and tribal alliances backed by militias and potential militias. It’s not a country, it’s an encampment.

Four top rebel commanders in Syria have switched sides to join President Assad’s forces in a further sign of disarray in fragmenting opposition ranks.

The men, from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), are thought to have become disillusioned with an opposition that is becoming increasingly dominated by Islamist factions and alliances. Islamists have been doing much of the recent fighting. There is also a strong sense that the recent gains made by Assad’s forces make it pragmatic for FSA officers to go back to the regime.

The defections are expected to improve Mr Assad’s standing in the June presidential elections.

Oh right. The “elections”. Can’t imagine how those will come out.

Brigadier Mohammed Abu Zaid, the former president of the military court in Aleppo, Colonel Marwan Nahila, the head of the military council in Homs, and Colonel Abu al-Wafa, the head of the military council in Damascus, are thought to have defected to the regime last week. The news was announced by both pro- and anti-government media channels yesterday, and has been verified by other senior FSA figures.

All three men were members of the Syrian military before the start of the uprising in 2011, and had defected to join the fledgeling FSA at the start of the armed conflict.

The fourth defector, Sergeant Fadi Deeb, was working under the command of Colonel Mustafa Hashem, the commander of the FSA’s western front. Sergeant Deeb is believed to have defected last month as the opposition began its Anfal offensive in Latakia province.

And if Assad fails to make enough gains, they’ll defect right back again. Which means anyone who thinks this is about freedom or democracy is kidding themselves. It’s about looting the other side which happens to be whoever isn’t paying you at the moment.

This isn’t a war. This is gangland with a gang religion.

  • tms5510

    I think it is the closest understanding of the reality of Arab states all built after WW 1 artificiality. Only real countries in ME are Iran and Turkey; all other countries will vanish gradually.

    • MukeNecca

      What exactly do you mean by “vanish”?
      Countries don’t vanish leaving vacuum behind. When they do vanish it is when they are absorbed by bigger and stronger neighbours. Now what neighbours will absorb Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Syria and, God forbid, Israel?

      As for the “artificiality” it is hard to think of a country which doesn’t owe its emergence to some kind of artificiality.

      • tms5510

        These countries are not based on some sort national identities. They might eventually survive and become real countries but it is not guaranteed. Just look at Iraq , do you see a nation or bunch of tribes struggling to kill each other?

        • MukeNecca

          You have it backward. For the most it is national identities that “are based on” countries, rather than the other way round. Still my question is if the “only real country” in the ME is Iran and Turkey what will happen after the, predicted by you disappearance, of the, other than these two, countries mentioned in my previous post? Please start with the Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

          • tms5510

            These countries will go through a form of civil war (syria, iraq, Egypt so far) If they survive then they remain(before civil war US was not a definite country, civil war make it a real country) but there is a chance that they ends there and new entities start on their ruins.

          • MukeNecca

            Why my comments don’t show up? It is not the first time.

  • wileyvet

    Assad has a better medical and benefit plan. ” About all those things we said about you Mr. President, we were just kidding. Your head isn’t too big at all, and you are so kind and forgiving, this we know.” Grovel, Grovel.

  • truebearing

    Well, as long as they can still kill people. That’s the important thing. If they couldn’t do that they’d have to get a job, and there are no jobs in countries run by Muslims.

    • Habbgun

      The USA for example.

  • De Doc

    Thankfully the US did not poke its face into that conflict despite the constant prodding by Obama admin and crazy McCain. Let’s hope it stays that way!