Protracted efforts to convince the US to bankroll and heavily support the Syrian rebellion appears have given the US the impression of strong influence over the actions of their clients, but that may not be the case.
That’s because with US weapons about to begin showing up in significant numbers in the hands of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Syrian National Coalition, the nominal political leadership of the rebellion, is calling for a “unified” rebel army with the FSA at the head.
The so-called “National Free Army” would include everybody, according to SNC leader Ahmed al-Jabra. Everybody, for the record, would include an awful lot of al-Qaeda fighters across Syria, dominated by Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
That’s got the US concerned, with Gen. Martin Dempsey already warning that while “collaboration” with al-Qaeda wasn’t a big problem, US intelligence on Syria is going to have a hard time deciding where collaboration stops and alliance begins.
That’s going to put the US in a tough spot, because while some officials, notably Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), have insisted that regime change in Syria trumps all others concerns, the blowback from US arms finding their way into al-Qaeda hands en masse is liable to be huge.