Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday warned against the conflict in Syria descending into sectarian warfare because of “proxies or terrorist fighters” being sent to join the fight, forgetting that this is actually US policy.
“We have to send very clear expectations about avoiding sectarian warfare. Those who are attempting to exploit the situation by sending in proxies or terrorist fighters must realize that will not be tolerated,” Clinton said.
But Washington has been using proxy rebel militias, many of whom have ties to terrorist groups, to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad for months now. So what she really meant was that no one other than the US or its allies better send proxies to fight in Syria.
The US has been sending non-lethal aid, like communications gear and intelligence assistance, to the rebel militias in Syria, while the CIA is facilitating the delivery of weapons from Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Meanwhile, Turkey, a NATO ally, has been providing safe haven to the Free Syrian Army and training them at a secret military base inside Turkey.
The great majority of the rebels are Sunni, a factor which has already – despite Clinton’s forewarning – redefined the conflict in sectarian terms as they try to oust an Allawite regime and have reportedly attacked minority Shiites and Christians, groups that have been historically favored by the regime.
Furthermore, many of the rebels have come from foreign countries like Iraq and have ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. They face a growing list of accusations like suicide bombs, torture, and extra-judicial executions.
“The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda,” reports the New York Times. “The presence of jihadists in Syria has accelerated in recent days in part because of a convergence with the sectarian tensions across the country’s long border in Iraq.”
According to one US intelligence estimate, as many as a quarter of the 300 rebel groups in Syria may be fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda, says Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Clinton’s inability to see that her own government’s policies have already been integral in accomplishing precisely what she warns against illustrates her ideological penchant for US interventionism.