Rebels Attack Syrian Airbase Ahead of Opposition Conference in Qatar

Many doubt the legitimacy of the US setting up an interim government, especially with the help of states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar

Syrian rebels on Saturday attacked a strategic airbase in an attempt to disrupt strikes by warplanes and helicopters that give the Assad regime a major edge in the 19-month conflict.

The continued fighting comes a day before the start of a international conference in Qatar, set up primarily by the United States, who hand-picked dozens of Syrian opposition activists to lead a united political opposition in Syria, replacing the defunct Syrian National Council.

The Obama administration denies it is sending any arms to the Syrian rebels; official policy is to send non-lethal aid. But they do admit that US allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are sending in weapons, and the CIA has been reported to have helped facilitate the delivery of those weapons to Syria.

The problem thus far has been that much of that aid has gone into the hands of extremists. Foreign jihadist fighters, many of whom have committed war crimes and are linked with al-Qaeda, have been increasingly flooding into Syria and the great bulk of the rebel fighters across the country are Islamists seeking to set up an Islamic state post-Assad that will potentially be exlusivist towards the country’s many ethnic and religious sects.

The influence of the Syrian opposition’s other primary backers – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – should be enough to establish that US meddling in setting up a potential interim group is unlikely to produce a democratic, rights-conscious replacement for Assad.

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Author: John Glaser

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