As the moderate faction of the Syrian rebellion implodes under the strain of vicious infighting and diminished resources, the United States is increasingly looking to hardline Islamists in its efforts to gain leverage in Syria's civil war. The development has alarmed U.S. observers concerned that the radical Salafists do not share U.S. values and has dismayed supporters of the Free Syrian Army who believe the moderates were set up to fail. On Monday, the State Department confirmed its openness to engaging with the Islamic Front following the group's seizure of a Free Syrian Army headquarters last week containing U.S.-supplied small arms and food.
"We wouldn't rule out the possibility of meeting with the Islamic Front," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday. "We can engage with the Islamic Front, of course, because they're not designated terrorists ... We're always open to meeting with a wide range of opposition groups. Obviously, it may make sense to do so at some point soon, and if we have something to announce, we will." On Saturday Reuters reported that Syrian rebel commanders in the Islamic Front were due to meet U.S. officials in Turkey in the coming days to discuss U.S. support for the group.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
U.S. Still Wants to Link With Jihadists in Syria
Latest from John Hudson at Foreign Policy. If ya can't do bombing, join 'em.
is author of a dozen books (click on covers at right), including the new "THE TUNNELS: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill." He was the longtime editor of Editor & Publisher. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @GregMitch