The Associated Press reports Secretary of State John Kerry is attempting to enlist “moderate” Syria mercenaries to battle against ISIS in Iraq. News of Kerry’s effort follows an announcement on Thursday that the Obama administration has asked Congress for $500 million for groups fighting both the al-Assad regime in Syria and ISIS and other radical jihadist groups in Iraq. “Obviously, in light of what has happened in Iraq, we have even more to talk about in terms of the moderate opposition in Syria, which has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against ISIL’s presence and to have them not just in Syria, but also in Iraq,” Kerry said at the start of a meeting with Syrian opposition leader Ahmad al-Jarba. Mr. Kerry’s initiative is primarily smoke and mirrors due to the fact few so-called “moderate” mercenaries exist in Syria. In 2013, it was reported the mercenary effort was dominated by Islamic groups. “The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out,” said Charles Lister, the head Middle East analyst at IHS Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Center. “Even the most senior Western-backed Syrian Military Council (SMC) commanders now frequently use vitriolic anti-Shiite and anti-Alawite terms in their statements,” Lister said in September. In order to demonstrate the disparity and shrinking numbers of moderates, Business Insider posted the following infographic: More than a year ago, members of the window dressing moderate Free Syrian Army were defecting in large numbers, pledging allegiance to Jabhat al-Nusra, the radical Muslim group now aligned with ISIS. Al-Nusra is armed by the United States and ISIS trained by the Pentagon. In April it was reported the CIA transfers weapons from “moderate” mercenaries in Syria to al-Nusra. The delivery was revealed by Jamal Maarouf of the Syrian Revolutionary Front. Earlier this month it was reported the U.S. military stationed in Jordan on the Syrian border was training ISIS terrorists. Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks are designed to create the appearance the United States is doing something about ISIS and the situation in Iraq. In fact, as Jamal Maarouf and others have revealed, the U.S. is arming and training radical Islamists.
Image Credits: Freedom House.