Friday, October 11, 2013

"The main fight now is against Al Qaeda, it's not against the Assad regime.”

... The problem with Blanford are his 'sources', those who speak in 'confidence' to him, those he says 'speak to him' and those he invents!  However, I have no problem believing that he treally spoke to AIPAC/ WINEP's Tabler! Ultimately, Blanford is still peddling the same story: 'Go after Assad by talking to (sigh) 'the nice guys'.
"...“The [regime] hardliners’ strategy is to let Al Qaeda take over the insurgency," the European ambassador says. “The hardliners around Assad believe that the plan is working beautifully and that they just need to stay the course. ‘Soon the rebels will all be Al-Qaeda and the West will come back to us again.’ ”A confidential Western diplomatic report seen by the Monitor said that the hardline rebel groups are growing increasingly wary of the West’s unease at their presence in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra even evacuated some of their bases last month, fearing that they could come under attack alongside regime targets had the US launched its air campaign.
“Salafist groups have long expected that they will be exposed to Western-led attacks from the FSA and with drones,” the report says, referring to unmanned aircraft that have been used by the US military to target Al Qaeda militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen..., ...
“Right now, from a public standpoint, it might seem that it benefits their overall international cause,” says Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “But these things can get out of hand particularly because some of these salafist or extremist groups are some of the most effective on the field fighting the Assad regime.”
If the West wishes to check the rebel drift toward jihadis, it must seek ways of winning back factions such as Liwa al-Tawhid that have drawn closer to Jabhat al-Nusra primarily because of disenchantment with the mainstream FSA and Syrian National Coalition and a shortage of funds, analysts say. That will take funding, arms, and training – commodities that the West has shown little inclination to provide.
“I am beginning to think that the regime’s hardliners could win,” says the ambassador, who maintains close contacts with sources inside the Assad regime and opposition forces. “They are turning the opposition into Al Qaeda and we are all playing into it. I hear this from my colleagues. The main fight now is against Al Qaeda, it's not against the regime.” ..."

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