Middle East Expert Explains Exactly Where The US Went Wrong In Syria

SyriaREUTERS/ Mohamed AbdullahA member of the ‘Ansar Dimachk’ Brigade, part of the ‘Asood Allah’ Brigade which operates under the Free Syrian Army, uses an iPad during preparations to fire a homemade mortar at one of the battlefronts in Jobar, Damascus September 15, 2013.

The U.S. policy in Syria
is unravelling, and yesterday
Shadi Hamidof the
Brookings Institutiongave a concise explanation as to why that is happening.

Hamid cited an article by IHS Janes analyst Charles Lister that explains how a new alliance of several important Islamist militant groups in Syria could be extremely damaging the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and its military arm, the Supreme Military Council (SMC).

Hamid then explained where U.S. policy went wrong: By failing to build an effective opposition, the U.S. pushed rebel groups toward al-Qaeda extremists.

The U.S. has been reluctant to provide Islamist-linked rebels with weapons throughout the 30-month conflict.

Meanwhile more hardline Islamists — including groups affiliated with al-Qaeda — have become increasingly influential on the battlefield because of superior weapons and organisations.

After U.S. recently championed a diplomatic route to end the war, several of the largest Islamist rebel groups chose to go their own way.

So basically, the idea of a “moderate” SMC backfired when the “swing Islamists” — rebels fighters with good relations with jihadi and moderate groups — decided to denounce the SNC and work more closely with extremist factions.

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