Apparently, the pretense of supporting “moderates” has proven too slow and ineffective for the Washington DC humanitarians who are pushing for the removal of Bashar al-Assad. Now they are looking for a more direct way to move the show along. From Foreign Policy:
As the moderate faction of the Syrian rebellion implodes under the strain of vicious infighting and diminished resources, the United States is increasingly looking to hardline Islamists in its efforts to gain leverage in Syria’s civil war. The development has alarmed U.S. observers concerned that the radical Salafists do not share U.S. values and has dismayed supporters of the Free Syrian Army who believe the moderates were set up to fail.
On Monday, the State Department confirmed its openness to engaging with the Islamic Front following the group’s seizure of a Free Syrian Army headquarters last week containing U.S.-supplied small arms and food. “We wouldn’t rule out the possibility of meeting with the Islamic Front,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday. “We can engage with the Islamic Front, of course, because they’re not designated terrorists … We’re always open to meeting with a wide range of opposition groups. Obviously, it may make sense to do so at some point soon, and if we have something to announce, we will.”
How soon the U.S. might engage with the powerful rebel faction, if it chooses to, is uncertain. On Saturday, Reuters reported that Syrian rebel commanders in the Islamic Front were due to meet U.S. officials in Turkey in the coming days to discuss U.S. support for the group. A Syrian opposition source speaking with The Cable said that efforts were in place to unite the Western-backed Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front under the same coalition. “There are negotiations planned for very soon between the [Free Syrian Army’s] SMC and the Islamic Front to determine what the relationship will be,” said the source. America’s role in coordinating the talks remains unclear.
Notice how much has changed since less than a week ago when the Islamic Front’s seizure of Free Syrian Army warehouses containing US gear was a reason to freeze aid. Then, we described the Islamic Front as “an al Qaeda-inspired union of six major rebel groups.” I repeat: al Qaeda-inspired. It is convenient that they have not yet been listed as a terrorist organization. But they are still basically the same group that we blame for hijacking planes and crashing them into the World Trade Center and Pentagons.
How is it possible for the US to claim to be the leader of the “free world” and support such terrorists? How can the American people allow a secular ruler who protects religious minorities, including Christians, to be conquered by Jihadists who are every bit as cruel and murderous as he is—and who want to also terrorize the United States?