Obama's Good and Bad Islamists
Senior American politicians (such as the Senators John McCain and Marco Rubio) have just asked Barack Obama to provide Syria's opposition with more money and help. More specifically, they have demanded that the U.S. Congress approve $500 million to train and equip what they call “moderate Syrian rebels”
It's strange that on the one hand America may well be taking military action against Iraq's Sunni Islamists (ISIS); and yet on the other hand it's funding -- to the hilt -- Sunni Islamists (the Free Syrian Army, etc.) in Syria.
Then again, the UK and US supported Islamists in Egypt (the Muslim Brotherhood) at the same time as fighting against them in other parts of the world (e.g., in West Africa, etc.).
Yes, it's easy to acknowledge that there is indeed a difference between Islamists (such as the members of the Muslim Brotherhood) and hardcore jihadists (such as ISIS and al-Qaeda). However, an argument can be advanced that Islamists are in fact far more dangerous to the West -- in the long run -- than honest jihadists. (It mustn't be forgotten that the Muslim Brotherhood motto includes these words: “Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!”) After all, the Muslim Brotherhood had power in Egypt (if only for a short while). It has even managed to firmly embed itself in American politics and civil life. (To a lesser extent, the Muslim Council of Britain has also done this the UK.) In other words, whereas ISIS and other jihadists control fighting forces of up to 15,000 young men, Islamists influence and even control (at least to some extent) nation states across the globe (e.g., the US, UK, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, the Sudan, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza, Kuwait, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, Indonesia and so on).
So how does Barack Obama know that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), for example, is “moderate”? How did he know that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt -- prior to 2011 -- was moderate? Simply because they told him that they are? Either that, or Obama had a prior sympathy and predilection for the Muslim Brotherhood. (Many sources and much evidence say this is in fact the case.)
The Syrian Sunnis have done a lot canvassing and lobbying in America and they've sold themselves as moderates. Yet actually being moderate and only selling yourself as being moderate are two different things. (Look at the Muslim Council of Britain [also Muslim Brotherhood] as proof of that.)
And even if these Sunni “fighters” in Syria were moderate:
i) Are there enough of them to win-out against the tens of thousands of home-grown and foreign jihadists Syria?
ii) How does Obama know the moderates won't be overrun by the jihadists in the (near) future?
iii) How does he know they won't join sides with jihadists in the future? (In fact this has already happened in many instances.)
Again, even if these Obama-friendly Sunni fighters are indeed moderate: that just means moderate-when-compared-to-the-jihadists. It doesn't mean they believe in Western-style democracy or rights for Syria's Christians, Shia, etc. Many of the so-called moderates believe in sharia law and the Islamization of Syrian society. In other words, all they've done is put on a nice show -- with their suits, ties, and trimmed beards (just like CAIR!) -- when they've visited Washington and dined with various American leaders.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Syrian Army
The main reason why Barack Obama supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is that it's primarily a Muslim Brotherhood organization. More specifically, two-thirds of those elected to its new command (as of 2012) were members of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood.
And as just about everyone knows, Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He does so because he deems it to be a moderate movement (at least officially). Thus it follows that Obama will see the Free Syrian Army as a moderate force too.
Historically, there has been a long war between the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian Baathists dating back to 1940. Moreover, Bashar Assad continued that war after his father, Hafez Assad, had passed it on to him in 2000. (Take the single case of the 1982 'Hama massacre'; in which between 10,000 and 40,000 people were killed.)
When/if the Syrian Free Army (therefore the Muslim Brotherhood) gains power, Syria will become a fighting front against Israel and a launching pad for Hamas (another Muslim Brotherhood organization). Thus a Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) Syria may well become far more dangerous to Israel and other countries than Bashar Assad's Syria.
All this must surely mean that the genuine moderates won't win out in the end. They will either be destroyed/taken over by the jihadists and Islamists; or they will simply go over to them when push comes to shove.
Thus Syria is highly unlikely to be become a pro-Western democracy in the near future. So, in the end, it doesn't matter if two or three members of the FSA are "nice" and believe in progressive lesbian collectives. We must look at all this historically.
In purely military terms, The FSA has around 40,000 fighters. One of its main rivals, the Islamic Front, has 45,000 fighters. And that's only one of FSA's many rivals. Other rivals –- or enemies -- include ISIS (between 5,000 and 22,000 fighters), the Al Nusra From (15,000 fighters), etc. In fact there are another three Islamic groups (largely unknown in the West) which, between them, have 43,000 fighters. So clearly the FSA is fantastically outnumbered by the other Islamist and jihadist groups fighting in Syria.
And all that's forgetting the 178,000 fighters of Bashar Assad's Syrian Armed Forces; as well as the 60,000 men of his National Defence Force. That means that Assad has 238,000 fighters against the 150,000 or so Islamic fighters of the various Sunni factions. In addition, those 150,000 Islamic fighters are not (on the whole) coordinated; whereas Assad's 238,000 men (on the whole) are.
The Reform Party of Syria (RPS)
In a sense, there are so many “opposition groups” and rival factions in Syria that my focus on the Reform Party of Syria (RPS) may seem a little odd. Nonetheless, as we shall see, the RPS had the ears and finances of many bigwigs in Washington and beyond. Despite that, the party now appears to be largely defunct.
Primarily, the RSP is an American lobby group. This means that the RPS is really just like CAIR. (A lobby group which has become deeply embedded in American politics: from Washington and the universities all the way to the interfaith circuit and even the US Army.)
So what's happening here (with the RPS) is the same as what happened when Washington literally flew in a Shia elite of American lobbyists into Iraq in 2003. Indeed the leader of RPS, Farid (or 'Frank') al-Ghadry can hardly be said to be Syrian at all. (He's been a US citizen since 1975.) The same was true of the Iraqi exile, Ahmad Chalabi, when he was flown into Iraq in 2003. People like Chalabi were mainly Americans/Westerners and, consequently, they were all destroyed -- by their fellow Iraqis -- within two years (by the 2005 election).
In any case, Frank Ghadry and the RPS have also been classed as "neo-cons" by their enemies and even by some of their friends. Ghadry has also said positive things about Israel; which always goes down like a lead balloon in the Arab world. Thus Ghadry and his outfit wouldn't stand a chance of gaining power in Syria. That's unless the US invaded and put him in power. And then guess what would happen. Yes, it would be Iraq all over again.