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Report: Nearly Half Of Syrian Rebel Fighters Are Jihadists Or Hardline Islamists

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As a peace deal is in the works it seems the earlier case for a dominant “moderate” rebel force in Syria keeps dissolving in the light of evidence. This should not be that surprising given that the leading voice for a dominant moderate rebel force talking point was proven to be a fraud. Now a new report by analysts with actual credentials demonstrates that nearly half of all Syrian rebel fighters are jihadists or hardline Islamists.

The new study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists – who would include foreign fighters – fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda… Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

So if the Assad government had fallen/does fall from American forces “deterring and degrading” him too much who would take over? Al Qaeda and people who basically agree with Al Qaeda. Wonderful.

Of course we can not allow Al Qaeda to setup a base of operations like pre-9/11 Afghanistan so we would be bombing and possibly invading Syria which would surely drag Iran and the region into another massive war. Not sound policymaking.

Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said: “The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.” The study is based on intelligence estimates and interviews with activists and militants. The lengthy fighting has seen the emergence of hundreds of separate rebel bands, each operating in small pockets of the country, which are usually loyal to larger factions.

Two factions linked to al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) – have come to dominate among the more extremist fighters, Mr Lister said. Their influence has risen significantly in the past year.

Which begs the question – who is the CIA arming? And if the fighters are moderates will those weapons stay with them for long? Is America getting back into bed with Islamic extremists? How did that work out last time?

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.