NEO – The Strange Case of the Syrian Opposition

Is this the last FSA fighter, the "loneliest man in the world?"
Is this the last FSA fighter, the "loneliest man in the world?"
Is this the last FSA fighter, the “loneliest man in the world?”

…by  Gordon Duff, VT Sr. Editor,   and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

First published October 5, 2015

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has cited concerns that Russia may be hitting the wrong targets in Syria.  Does Carter believe that a Syrian opposition group utterly and absolutely divorced from terrorist allegiances exists?

Recent maps including one released by the UK Telegraph on September 30, 2015, attempt to show wide swaths of Northern Syria under control of a group referred to as the Free Syrian Army.  Carter is, we believe, acting in defense of what he purports to be a free Syrian opposition and its alleged bases near Idlib, near the Turkish border, concerned that Russian anti-terror operations will strike this group.

There is one problem, however.  The last vestiges of this group, after months of intense fighting, was crushed by the al Qaeda franchise, Jabat al Nusra.  This was February, 2015 when the leadership of the FSA as it calls itself, fled to Turkey while the surviving “free Syrian moderates” joined al Qaeda and ISIS or simply went home, part of the hundreds who chose to take advantage of the amnesty offers of President Assad.

Still, Kerry and Carter maintain the farce that a “government in exile” consisting of nameless Syrian “patriots” exists somewhere, no one knows where, no one has heard from them, no one has seen them, but they must exist or Kerry and Carter would be exposed as fantasists and fools.

You see, the old ploy, “government in exile” is long established.  During the Cold War, both Washington and Moscow each had dozens of puppet regimes, representing almost every nation seen as “in play,” the term used for targets of destabilization.

We have forgotten so much, the murder of Allende in Chile, the Bay of Pigs, America’s war on Nicaragua, not the one from the 1930s but the later one, the 1980s, after all there were so many.  How about the US invasion of Panama or Grenada?

Did we forget Vietnam?  How about the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan?  Do they count?  Is Syria just another example of what so many seem to have forgotten, “capitalist, imperialist aggression?” I know that term hurts many, trite, tired, overused and to most, forgotten.  Few leftist scholars would be caught dead using such terminology.

Let’s take a bit and look at what a legitimate puppet government in exile does and see if such a group exists.

Typically, a puppet government in exile works to gain the hearts and minds of “the people,” in this case the Syrian people, nearly 10 million in exile, 250,000 dead and much of Syria occupied by brutal terrorists who regularly behead and burn alive thousands at a whim.

What does the Syrian opposition say about this?  Anything?  What is their position on the refugee crisis?  Are they visiting European leaders on behalf of the plight of the Syrian refugees?  No, you say? How about the destruction of Palmyra?  Did they issue statements on that?  No, you say?

How about the theft of Syrian antiquities, Syrian oil, or Turkey carting away Syria’s industrial base to be given to Erdogan’s political supporters like party favors?  Did they have an opinion on this?  No, you say? Then again, what exactly is the “voice” of the Syrian opposition?

Let’s take a look at the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, the official voice of the moderate Syrian opposition. This London based group has an interesting background.  Sources within the group have made this clear as a bell, they are advised and managed by individuals employed by CIA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, the same company that runs the Moscow Times and other black propaganda operations with an almost unlimited budget.

We then took a look at their operations inside Syria.  SHRO has correspondents inside Syria and is prominently featured through Reuters and Associated Press.  The problem is, their correspondents operate exclusively in al Nusra (al Qaeda) or ISIS controlled territory.  The evidence is inexorable, they are closely affiliated with and, in actuality, support these organizations.

Is this because there is no real FSA and no area of any measure inside Syria under control of “moderate opposition?” Syria watchers saw the moderate groups rolled up, one by one, with few surviving into 2014.  No foreign jihadists, who make up the bulk of those fighting the Damascus government, seek to join a “moderate opposition.”

In fact, two recent groups of US trainees, immediately defected to al Qaeda.  There was no group for them to join.  US commander, now resigned, General Allen was careful to explain to the Atlantic Council in March 2015, that the US would have to defend any groups trained in the now defunct $500m project. Why did he say that?

What General Allen has been forced to accept, which led to his resignation, is that there is, in actuality, no legitimate “free Syrian” opposition in Syria, no territory held for US trained groups to be integrated into, no structure, no organization, in fact nothing at all other than propaganda and hot air.

One last word on the Syrian Human Rights Observatory.  We all have enjoyed their endless stories, long debunked but always reborn, the endless “barrel bomb” and poison gas accusations from the creative minds of Booz Allen Hamilton. Then again, most of their personnel inside Syria come from the Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post.

One thing is clear as the Russian bombing campaign gains legs, the US is trying to throw and umbrella over al Qaeda operations inside Syria and prevent Russia from attacking these terror groups that have, for years now, been given a free ride by the US led “coalition” bombing campaign.

Moreover, were one to actually examine US targeting, American planes have paved the way for the al Qaeda conquest of Northern Syria by destroying their enemies, America flying air support for al Qaeda in Northern Syria while the Israeli Air Force performs the same task in Southern Syria.

Didn’t al Qaeda attack America on 9/11?  Does America forgive so easily?  When American arms end up in the hands of al Qaeda, not just those turned over by American “task force” trainees but Stinger and TOW missiles as well, why is nothing said?  Why are there no voice in Congress asking the hard questions?

This is what can be supported, well past the hypothesis stage, as inherent to the Syrian War:

  • America feels even the pretense of a legitimate moderate opposition, press statements, white papers, diplomatic initiatives, is not worth the bother. In fact the normal mechanisms of a CIA puppet regime have been dispensed with.
  • The uniquely ineffective American military effort against the myriad of terror groups operating in Syria and Iraq, including 3000 American advisors in Iraq, despite available air assets which include the heart of America’s heavy bomber fleet flying out of Qatar, makes one thing clear, America is more interested in seeing the war live than the people of Syria and Iraq.

Were this true, the only option we would have at this point, based on Russia’s own coalition against terror groups operating against Syria and Iraq, would be for America to try to inhibit a Russian bombing campaign through smears and disinformation.  This effort is in high gear already.

The insanity is inexorable.  America, now standing alone, insists that it will continue giving military support to non-existent groups it alone says are representing the Syrian people.  How does American know this?  Are they psychic?  They certainly believe so.

Since both Kerry and Lavrov are in total agreement that there will be only one Syria, then isn’t it incumbent on the United States to prove, once and for all, that the moderate opposition supported by the US has the backing of the majority of the Syrian people?

Were anything else to be true, wouldn’t the US simply be using a manufactured puppet “government in exile” as a cheap ploy to tear Syria apart like was done with Libya, leaving a power vacuum that all agree would only be filled by extremist groups?  Why would the US want that?



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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.