the moderate rebels A) do not really exist, we are talking about different variations on Islamists and B) inasmuch as there are groups less directly connected to Islamist Jihad abroad, they aren't even able to consolidate the rebels, much less Syria.The moderate rebels are still the only serious challenge to Assad's rule
Assad aided ISI(L) years ago when they were fighting Americans. Not now.Assad deliberately aided the jihadist rebels in order to divide and conquer the opposition.
Probably, however, that is at current rather unlikely to happen.The Islamists seem to be content controlling Syria's northern regions rather than attempting to conquer the entire country; and even if they somehow did manage to overthrow Assad, they'd fracture amongst themselves and turn Syria into the warlordism that was Somalia and Afghanistan in the 1990s.
And others, but sure. Mind you, the Protesters were mostly Muslim Brotherhood and affiliates, but sure. And we had a few golden moments there.... that we let slip away through inaction. I was screaming at the time that we needed to get involved, that this was way, way, way more important than Libya, but that moment has passed. You don't get to rewind to 2011 and demand a do-over in real life.At the beginning, the Free Syrian Army consisted of protestors and SAA soldiers who defected to defend them.
When you say "unlike in Libya", do you mean to suggest that power vacuums in that country have not been filled by AQ affiliates?The power vacuum that occurred as a result of a lack of Western support - unlike in Libya - was filled by al-Qaeda's affiliates, as they had superior arms and ability (no doubt as a result of support from the Gulf States).
Again, you are conflating "Islamists" with "AQ affiliates", when those two things are not interchangeable.For quite a while, the FSA consisted of anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 troops and led the opposition militarily. al-Nusra had been the only Islamist faction with any meaningful connection to al-Qaeda, and it constituted only about 5% of the total opposition forces. Now, even though this proportion has been reversed, it demonstrates that there is no reason the Islamists must dominate the rebellion.
I agree. And the "something else" that happens here is that AQ & Co. and Assad/Iran/Hezzbollah exhaust each other. At current, we aren't going to get a better end result than that, and so our goal to maintain the current status where all players have enough incentive to project power to keep their proxies from losing, but not enough to decisively win. SO much better if Saudi Arabia and Iran can be convinced to use their terrorist offshoots to wage a war in Syria v the Persian Gulf.You know that great Hitchens quote you use so often? I can hardly think of a more applicable situation than that in Syria.
Why is that obvious? What seems to be happening is that conflict continues. If any side is winning right now, it is the Assad regime.Obviously one of those two factions is going to win absent Western intervention,
And set the stage for a power struggle between the Saudis and Turkey.and neither one is friendly towards American interests in the region or to the human rights of the Syrian people. If Assad wins, Iran's gateway into the Arab World is preserved (I will elaborate on this below). If Saudi Arabia and Qatar get what they want, Iran's influence will wane, but Syria will become permanently destabilized (almost certainly so that the Gulf States can preserve their oil duopoly) and a potential new breeding ground for terrorists, requiring an invasion in the event of a terrorist attack.
Again, I was yelling exactly this years ago, when the math was different. But the math has since changed, due to our inaction.Syria is how Iran delivers support to Hamas and colonizes Lebanon through Hezbollah. Remove Assad, and Iran's sphere of influence will collapse.
With trained individuals representing an able nationalist identity. The situations are indeed comparable as to the mission you are proposing - shaping the force in a way you are describing would require massive investment, for an unsure return.You probably are more knowledgeable on this than I am, but the situations don't seem comparable. In Iraq, the Baathist military establishment was dismantled and the Multinational Force had to start from scratch.
Yup. As I've pointed out, the moment for what you want has passed.What we've seen is that the number of FSA rebels has decreased as that of the Islamic Front, ISIS, and al-Nusra increases.
given the ideological overlap between the groups, that is not unlikely at all.Since the latter are objectively a more formidable force, it's not far-fetched to assume that desperate FSA fighters defected over, thereby changing the balance.
I can for one reason - we selected these guys are the ones least likely to abuse our aid. Those guys? They were the good guys. That's who we are going to be dealing with and supporting if we decide to go in and try to stand up and train an opposition force into a semi-professional fighting organization.Come on, you can't use isolated incidences such as these to indict a movement with at least 100,000 members