Great news from Syria today: eleven Islamist rebel groups in Syria have announced they do not recognise the authority of the main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, that is the formula chosen by the BBC. The BBC does not explain why the National Coalition is the “main” opposition alliance, but it does add that the “Istanbul-based Western-backed National Coalition was formed in November 2012 and is recognised by more than 100 countries as a legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition“. Now let’s translate all this into plain English:
The liver-eating Wahabi crazies which represent at least 50% of the insurgency in Syria are refusing to take orders from the US-controlled Syrian National Coalition. Depending on the source, 11 or 13 Wahabi groups have signed an official statement to that effect, including all the following:
- Al-Nusra Front
- Ahrar al-Sham
- Liwa al-Tawhid
- Liwa al-Islam
- Suqur al-Sham
- Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya
- Harakat al-Nour al-Islamiya
- Kataib Nour al-Din al-Zinki
- Liwa al-Ansar
- Tajammu Fastaqim Kama Ummirat – Aleppo
- 19th Division
As I said, other sources mention 13 groups.
Recently, the hostility between these al-Qaeda franchises and the US-backed SNC has even resulted in numerous cases of armed clashes and assassinations between these two movements and now the rift between these two is official.
In practical terms, this means that there are 3 basic forces now fighting in Syria:
1) The Wahabi crazies (local branches of the international al-Qaeda)
2) The US controlled SNC and its FSA
3) The Syrian government forces (with Iranian and Hezbollah support)
Most sources seem to credit the first group with roughly 50% of all the manpower of the insurgency, but something like 80-90% of its combat capability. Now keep in mind that the US official policy is to only arm the second group. I would submit that the conclusion is rather obvious:
First, if the insurgency was winning, or even if it could secure an acceptable stalemate, it would not be busy overly splitting into two hostile groups but it would agree to negotiate under the Geneva II context and hope for the maximal amount of support from the US/EU/NATO/KSA/etc.
Second, it is pretty darn obvious that the American plan to arm and train the weakest part of the insurgency while at the same time preventing these arms from flowing into the hands of the Wahabi liver-eaters is absolute nonsense. Lack of weapons is not what makes the 2nd group so weak. What makes it so weak is that is has no real indigenous, local, home-grown legitimacy or ideology. You can’t just grab a mix of local dissidents and foreign grown CIA assets and turn them into a powerful fighting force. That did not work in Iraq, that did not work in Afghanistan, and that will not work in Syria. In contrast, for all their liver-eating insanity the Wahabi crazies do have a coherent ideology and a simple but understandable ethos, and that is what makes them strong, not their weapons.
The West has always had a fixation on technology and weapons, and this belief is still prevalent today. Look at all the so-called Western “experts” who always compare weapon systems (“our tank is better than their tank”) or hardware numbers (“we have 400 guns, they have only 250”). Of course, inside the Western armies experts know that this is nonsense, but Western politicians simply cannot operate outside this completely mistaken assumption about the nature of warfare. Hence this stupid idea of “fixing” the Syrian situation by “arming” the “moderates”.
This is all very good news for the Syrian people because it goes to show that the only force with knows for what it fights, which has the willpower and expertise to skillfully use weapons and which is not dependent on foreign sponsors (be it al-Qaeda or the US CIA) is the Syrian military. My guess is that the recent threat of a US attack on Syria followed by a complete US stand down made the Syrian military only morally and psychologically stronger: they have faced a very frightening “unknown” and their enemy backed down. This is bound to be a huge moral booster.
Next time when the Americans resume their saber-rattling and threats, I am quite sure that there will be a next time, the Syrians will know that the US is not nearly as powerful as it likes to pretend to be and that in any contest of willpower the Syrians will quite easily prevail over the clueless and spineless US politicians.
At this point in time I really cannot come up with a scenario which would have the insurgency win this war.