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‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Now Opposing US Airstrikes In Syria

In an ironic twist to the ongoing and controversial US bombing campaign in Syria, the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels are telling the Western media that they too oppose US airstrikes in Syria and think the campaign will do more harm than good for their cause. The US-led bombing campaign recently hit grain silos and killed food workers making a bad situation worse and reminding many that US intervention in the Middle East rarely leads to anything other than increased suffering for everyone.

Now members of the Free Syrian Army have told Foreign Policy that they want Washington to send its planes back home. Fighters and commanders in the FSA told FP that the US airstrikes were just providing political capital for ISIS and other Islamic groups that opposed the moderate rebels. ISIS could point to strikes on civilians as evidence that the US was a wicked power and that ISIS’ jihad was just. The FSA rebels also feared the airstrikes would strengthen the Assad government.

America’s most plausible allies on the ground in Deir Ezzor, however, remain critical of the international effort. Foreign Policy interviewed six FSA commanders from the province who are currently exiled by the Islamic State and hiding out in southeastern Turkey. All of them were arrested at some point by the jihadist group; some were tortured. They all agree that the U.S. airstrikes in their home country are a bad idea.

FSA fighters and commanders complained to Foreign Policy that they have received no increase in support since the international effort to combat the Islamic State began, despite promises from the Obama administration that the United States would begin supplying arms to the rebels. The FSA fighters also disparaged the airstrikes, saying they would mainly kill civilians and give the Assad regime a chance to gain ground.

Does anyone outside the White House support these airstrikes at this point? Given that ISIS is active in such a large area it is going to be pretty hard to “degrade and destroy” them without taking a lot of civilians with them. In other words, even if the air campaign is successful it’s going to create a lot of enemies and radicals.

Combine universally unpopular airstrikes with a now-exposed hyped threat and the Obama Administration’s Syria program looks like a total disaster. But will he double down? The GOP in the House and Senate want ground troops with even House Speaker Boehner being open to the possibility. Too bad President Obama hyped the threat of ISIS to such a degree that now he would look ridiculous pulling back. Trapped by his own lies.

CommunityThe Bullpen

‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Now Opposing US Airstrikes In Syria

In an ironic twist to the ongoing and controversial US bombing campaign in Syria, the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels are telling the Western media that they too oppose US airstrikes in Syria and think the campaign will do more harm than good for their cause. The US-led bombing campaign recently hit grain silos and killed food workers making a bad situation worse and reminding many that US intervention in the Middle East rarely leads to anything other than increased suffering for everyone.

Now members of the Free Syrian Army have told Foreign Policy that they want Washington to send its planes back home. Fighters and commanders in the FSA told FP that the US airstrikes were just providing political capital for ISIS and other Islamic groups that opposed the moderate rebels. ISIS could point to strikes on civilians as evidence that the US was a wicked power and that ISIS’ jihad was just. The FSA rebels also feared the airstrikes would strengthen the Assad government.

America’s most plausible allies on the ground in Deir Ezzor, however, remain critical of the international effort. Foreign Policy interviewed six FSA commanders from the province who are currently exiled by the Islamic State and hiding out in southeastern Turkey. All of them were arrested at some point by the jihadist group; some were tortured. They all agree that the U.S. airstrikes in their home country are a bad idea.

FSA fighters and commanders complained to Foreign Policy that they have received no increase in support since the international effort to combat the Islamic State began, despite promises from the Obama administration that the United States would begin supplying arms to the rebels. The FSA fighters also disparaged the airstrikes, saying they would mainly kill civilians and give the Assad regime a chance to gain ground.

Does anyone outside the White House support these airstrikes at this point? Given that ISIS is active in such a large area it is going to be pretty hard to “degrade and destroy” them without taking a lot of civilians with them. In other words, even if the air campaign is successful it’s going to create a lot of enemies and radicals.

Combine universally unpopular airstrikes with a now-exposed hyped threat and the Obama Administration’s Syria program looks like a total disaster. But will he double down? The GOP in the House and Senate want ground troops with even House Speaker Boehner being open to the possibility. Too bad President Obama hyped the threat of ISIS to such a degree that now he would look ridiculous pulling back. Trapped by his own lies.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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