Syria – February 2014

Syria – February 2014

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA1B1QB20140212?irpc=932

Frontline – Week Feb. 9th, 2014 – Excellent on anti-Jihadist rebel battalion

American Jihadists in Syria a Threat to Attack US
At Least 50 Americans Have Joined Al-Qaeda Groups
by Jason Ditz, February 04, 2014

The particular concern is Americans who have gone to Syria to join al-Qaeda or other jihadist factions. Officials say “at least 50” Americans are on the ground in Syria among those groups.

Americans with US passports are a particular problem because they could return to the US seemingly act like nothing is wrong, but have established contacts with al-Qaeda leaders through years of operations in Syria.

The 50 Americans are just part of the problem, as others have estimated as many as 1,800 Europeans with EU passports among the 7,500-plus foreign fighters inside Syria, a level of overseas recruitment al-Qaeda hasn’t seen in years.

White House Stands Behind ‘Failing’ Syria Policy
Downplays Disagreement With Kerry Over Policy
by Jason Ditz, February 03, 2014

White House spokesman Jay Carney says that the administration “absolutely” stands behind its current Syrian policy, despite talk of growing internal dissent and the plain fact that it’s been a complete disaster.

According to hawkish Senators John McCain (R – AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R – SC), Secretary of State John Kerry conceded at a closed-door session that the current Syria policy is “failing,” and called for further military intervention, including “forming a coalition against al-Qaeda.”

White House and State Department officials have downplayed the differences on policy, saying Kerry’s comments had been misconstrued and that the US remains committed to their present course.

Who said what is really only part of the story though, as US policy has been to openly back increasingly irrelevant rebel factions, keeping the civil war stalemated in the hope that they can eventually impose a negotiated settlement favorable to the West. That’s still clearly the plan, but not only does it show no signs of working, it is exacerbating a civil war in which al-Qaeda is gaining ground at an alarming pace.

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