Islamic Fighters Swarm into Syria

Islamic fighters from across the region are flocking to Syria to help fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, emulating previous mujahedeen-type guerrilla wars like in Afghanisatn. And this time may have similar blowback potential.

The Sunni fighters flooding into Syria from Iraq, Jordan and elsewhere, are receiving funding from private organizations in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait and hooking up with rebel militias in Syria. Some groups are linked to al-Qaeda and have agenda’s that go beyond toppling Assad, including sectarian rivalries.

Several of the Gulf Arab states, notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are providing the these fighters and the rebels with aid and weapons with the help of coordination from the CIA.

A similar phenomenon took place in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, in which many of the same countries – including the US – helped radicalize and militarize a generation of jihadis. Afghanistan then famously became an al-Qaeda hideout, as they planned the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That kind of blowback is liable to happen with Syria as well.

Last 5 posts by John Glaser

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • CanuckBC

    John, I think this could break the back to western propagated myth about "humanitarian" character of our societies in comparison with Middle East. It has been FSA who was designated by administration as not only "Syrian" but also liberal and not sectarian. Here we go: we have FSA taking over border posts on Iraq border capturing young officier and proceed to cut off his limbs. All liberal media should have been shouting with AWE over this war crime. They are not!

  • mlnw

    There is no "human rights" in any of these policies. The irony for the jihadis is that the US and its allies consider them no more than tools to be manipulated for the benefit of the US and the Israelis, to fight and neutralize each other, and never to reach a position where they might achieve any real power and stability to improve their lives. Moreover, by their actions- cynical massacres, etc.- they will have forfeited any claim to legitimacy or rights. So, once they cease to be useful, they will be spit out, and noone will care- and they will never know what will happen to them or where. It's what our neocon leaders did to us when they initiated 9/11, and sabotaged the investigations, and then conned our nation into war. So, in the end we are all knuckleheads and will remain knuckleheads unless we are able to create a change in our leadership and its policies.

  • steve

    The Israelis want Sunnis to run Syria instead of the Alawites – this will be useful in their coordination of a war with Shite Iran.

    Just like the Sunni Awakening that the US/Petraeus tried to engineer in Iraq – the bulk of Israeli/US strategy is the divide and conquer of playing off/using Shiites vs Muslims while Israel consolidates Palestine

  • pendulum

    I bet they are not flocking on foot

    • Mistic

      I bet they are AlQiada, as usual sponsored by USA & Israel

  • dmaak112

    History would inform us that revolutions have a tendency to spin out of control. Under reported by the major media outlets is disquieting details of local “democratic” fighters threatening those that did not share their passion for rebellion. Reports of hundreds, perhaps thousands, fleeing Damascus and heading to the Syrian Mediterranean shore are not the “scared” rebels, but terrorized supporters of the Syrian government. The imminent collapse of Bashar al-Asad’s dictatorship will not end in a rebirth of democracy, but of increased carnage. The “enlightened” Sunnis that have played a distant role in the revolt will not be the ones who are on the ground now and who will scrabble for power. These “freedom-fighters” will appeal to the least common denominator which means religious fanaticism. Within a year or two of Asad’s removal, the US will find that the contagion we helped nurtured will infect adjacent areas. Loss of life and destruction may result in a new “humanitarian” American military involvement in yet another Arab quagmire.

  • jeffc

    The observable continuity of tacit support to radical Islamic militias should call into question the notion that the events of 9-11 were some kind of "blowback". These forces are being used to facilitate destabilization: Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia, Libya, Syria. Perhaps they were also used to destabilize the legal, political, and social frameworks in the West which have been withered in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.