President Barack Obama is set to announce his plan to combat ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria by arming so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels despite the fact that such militants have openly aligned themselves with Islamic State fighters.
“Obama has told congressional lawmakers that he has the authority to proceed with much of his plan without their formal approval,” reports the Associated Press. “However, he is seeking authorization from Congress for the train-and-equip operation for Syrian rebels, a request he first made earlier this summer.”
Obama is expected to unveil the plan to send weapons to FSA fighters during a prime time speech later tonight.
The lunacy of such a policy is illustrated by the fact that Bassel Idriss, commander of an FSA-run rebel brigade, recently admitted that Washington-backed “moderate” rebels are still collaborating with ISIS.
“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” Idriss told Lebanon’s Daily Star. “Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.”
A July report in Stars and Stripes also documented how the 1,000 strong Dawud Brigade, which had previously fought alongside the FSA against the Assad regime, defected in its entirety to join ISIS.
Also in July it emerged that “several factions within the FSA, including Ahl Al Athar, Ibin al-Qa’im” had “handed over its weapons to the Islamic State in large numbers” and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Islamic State fighter Abu Atheer also told Al-Jazeera, “We are buying weapons from the FSA. we bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”
Three leading Syrian rebel commanders also announced back in December that they had relinquished ties with the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, the military wing of the western-backed Syrian National Coalition, in order to join ISIS.
In addition, a recent study by Conflict Armament Research revealed that Islamic State militants obtained U.S. supplied weapons, including M16 assault rifles, which were originally smuggled out of Jordan and provided to so-called “moderate” FSA rebels.
ISIS terrorists also acquired M79 rockets which were initially given to FSA rebels by Saudi Arabia. The rockets, “were part of the arms shipments from Croatia that were meant for the Free Syrian Army. The weapons were either captured, or acquired by former FSA fighters as they joined ISIS,” reports LJR Review.
As further evidence of FSA rebels collaborating with ISIS, it recently emerged that murdered American journalist Steven Sotloff was sold to ISIS by FSA militants.
FSA rebels and ISIS militants also fought together to seize control of the Menagh airbase in August last year.
Obama spoke today with Saudi King Abdullah as part of his efforts to build an international coalition against ISIS. What was probably absent from the conversation was any discussion about the fact that the Saudis, along with U.S. allies Qatar, Turkey and Jordan, armed and funded ISIS from the beginning.
The Obama administration is clearly using the threat posed by ISIS as an excuse to get done what it has thus far failed to accomplish – the overthrow of the Assad government – by embarking on a huge transfer of weapons to FSA rebels, despite the fact that FSA fighters are openly collaborating with, defecting to, and fighting alongside ISIS militants.