August 20, 2013

Al Qaeda Dog Biting Assad Hand in Syria

Some may have forgotten this, but many if not most of the jihadists who made their way from abroad into Iraq while US forces were there came through Syria. And when we say "came through" we don't mean this as an incident of geography. We mean that the Assad government actively facilitated al Qaeda movement through Syria to Iraq.

But Rusty, you say, every one knows that Assad's regime is Shia. Why would the Shia regime support Sunni insurgents? This is true, but what this forgets is that first and foremost the Assad regime is Baathist. That would be the same political movement of Saddam Hussein.

And that the regime is also virulently anti-Israel and anti-US. Common enemies make strange bedfellows.

Sure, the political fault lines in Syria today are split along Sunni/Shia lines, but not so just a few years ago when the Muslim world was united in decrying the US "occupation".

How involved was the Assad regime?

Gen. Keane, recalling briefings he received in Baghdad, said the Assad regime actively promoted the flow of terrorists into Iraq.

Syria intelligence services facilitated the movement of al Qaeda fighters from Damascus airport to the eastern border of Syria,” he said. At Damascus airport, he said, they were easy to pick out: “Bearded. One-way ticket. Very little luggage.”

So, where am I going with all this?

Payback: it is a bitch

“Al Qaeda fighters who are back in Syria, I am confident, they are relying on much they learned in moving through Syria into Iraq for more than five years when they were waging war against the U.S. and Iraq Security Assistance Force,” said retired Army Gen. John M. Keane, an adviser to commanders in Iraq.

In fact, al Qaeda kept alive its networks in Syria, according to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, N.Y., which advises Washington policymakers. It notes in a May 2012 report, as jihadists streamed into Syria, “Al Qaeda has an active affiliate in neighboring Iraq that has long-standing logistical capabilities in Syria.”

When you lie down with the dogs, you shouldn't complain when the fleas begin to bite.

This is why you haven't seen me complain all that much about what is going on in Syria. However this started, with whatever good motivations from the protesters who just wanted Assad gone, this thing has become a war of al Qaeda types vs. a virulently anti-American regime backed by Hezbollah types. It's black hat vs. black hat.

It's not our problem. It's a strange game and the only winning move for us is not to play.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:46 AM | Comments |