Patrick Cockburn has an informative piece (part one of two apparently) in the UK’s ‘The Independent’ newspaper. It could be worth reading in conjunction with Blips post of yesterday and, of course, contrasting it with the the general ‘black hat/white hat – thems guys is bad guys’ guff coming from ‘our’ media – stuff like this (by way of representative example).
I’m only supplying three pointed passages from the piece. Read the whole thing and join the damned (damning) dots.
As long ago as August 2012 the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, said in a report first disclosed earlier this year that the “Salafists [Islamic fundamentalists], the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq, later Isis] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”
It noted that the opposition was supported by the West, Gulf countries and Turkey and forecast that Isis “could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria”.
From an early stage in the Syrian crisis, intelligence reports discounted or derided claims that moderate or secular forces were leading the opposition. In a moment of frankness in 2014, Vice President Joe Biden gave a succinct account of what the administration really thought about what was happening in Syria. He said that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE “were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war”. They financed and armed anybody who would fight against Assad, “except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements coming from other parts of the world”.
Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington wrote that the time had come to stop pretending “that Syrian ‘moderates’ are strong enough to either affect the security situation or negotiate for Syria’s real fighters”.
But as news spread this week that the Russians had started bombing in Syria, the FSA and the “moderates” were disinterred in order to suggest that it was they and not Isis who were the targets of Russian air strikes.
For further reading and , perhaps, a better understanding of what the hell is going on in Syria, this archive containing a selection Cockburn’s analyses would look like a reasonable place to start.