US Open to Backing Syria’s Islamist Rebels

Wants Salafist Bloc to Disavow al-Qaeda

In early October, the CIA admitted that the underlying goal of US policy is Syria is to keep the civil war going at all costs, and that all aid to the moderate rebels were designed to try to keep them in the fight, but unable to win it.

They appear to have dramatically overestimated the moderate rebels’ capabilities, however, and now the group is virtually irrelevant in the grand scheme of thing, as the rebels are dominated by Islamist factions.

But the goal must go on, apparently, and the White House now says its open to the idea of throwing its support behind the Islamic Front, a Salafist group that was involved in mass kidnappings and executions earlier this week on the outskirts of Damascus.

All the US is asking is that they disavow al-Qaeda, who was also involved in those executions. It wouldn’t do for the US to be backing al-Qaeda, you see, but backing their ideological brethren so long as they’re at least nominally separate, that’s evidently fair game.

Britain raised the possibility last week as well, and was reportedly holding face-to-face meetings with Islamist leaders on the prospect of them aligning themselves with Western backers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.