United States President Obama stalled straddling the fence on whether or not to supply weapons including heavy crew served weapons to the presumably secular Free Syria Army until quite recently. If President Obama aimed to not actually support the Free Syria Army he handled the situation perfectly but if his aim was to assist in the overthrow of Assad and replacing him with a secular democracy then his actions have produced utter failure. The beginning of the end of the Free Syria Army came in the form of the assassination of one of the leading Free Syria Army Officers, Kamal Hamami whose nom de guerre is Abu Bassel al-Ladkani, by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with whom he was meeting to coordinate joint efforts. Qassem Saadeddine, a Free Syrian Army spokesman, gave the media a report on the incident stating, “The Islamic State phoned me saying that they killed Abu Bassel and that they will kill all of the Supreme Military Council.” This comes immediately after the beheading of a Catholic Priest, Franciscan Father Francois Murad, who was murdered with two other people in the countryside of Idlib in northern Syria on Sunday. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Islamist Sunnis have now declared Jihad against not only the Shiite and Alawite backers of Syrian Dictator Bashir al-Assad but also against the secular pro-democracy elements of the rebel forces.
One might seek to find out exactly what these developments will mean about the viability of the Free Syria Army and whether arming them at this point would end up indirectly but inevitably giving the arms to the al-Qaeda and other Islamist rebels. The truth is and has been almost since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War that the viability of the Free Syria Army had a limited use-by date. Unlike the Shiite and Sunni Islamist forces who are able to import reinforcements and replace those fighters who have fallen in battle, the Free Syria Army has no such luxury so as their numbers dwindled due to casualties they have been unable to replace these losses. This handicap is what made arming the Free Syria Army early in the Civil War an absolute necessity. The delay by United States President Obama in deciding to arm them was the death knell which has led to the point where their force strength has been so diluted that the Islamist forces no longer see them as a necessary force in the Civil War which is evidenced by the beheading of the Free Syria Army Officer Kamal Hamami. The efforts in Syria now have but two equally disastrous outcomes, either a Shiite run Syria with or without al-Assad but still completely under the control of and owing their allegiance to Iran or a Sunni controlled Syria under the leadership of either al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood or some combination thereof.
This present unfavorable situation within Syria where the possibility for a democratic state to result from the Civil War is no longer a viable option makes one curious as to why President Obama has chosen to start arming the Free Syria Army now when they have no future nor possibility of having any influence going forward. With the Civil War in Syria now solely a contest between Sunni and Shiite Islamist forces with no possibility for the pro-democracy Free Syria Army to prevail, is President Obama being given obviously false intelligence about the situation in Syria or is he intending for any arms now sent to arm the Free Syria Army to end up in the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood and/or al-Qaeda? Such a result cannot be a desirable result yet since the announcement last week of the intent of the United States to start arming the vetted members of the Free Syria Army with armaments the only reason they have yet to be shipped is because the Congress is standing in the breach preventing their being deployed. It is known that the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has the arms stockpiled currently in Jordan in the ready to transfer across the border into Syria awaiting the ‘go’ signal in order to make the transfer. With any luck and the providence of fate the Congress, with the obvious exception of Senator John McCain who never found a battle he didn’t wish to send arms, will continue to prevent the United States making a serious tactical error by supplying arms into a situation where these very same arms will eventually become possessed by mujahidin forces currently fighting in Syria. Strike up one more for leading from behind for the Ditherer in Chief, President Obama who is once more too late to the party. The real tragedy is that had President Obama allowed American arms to be supplied to the Free Syrian Army at the onset of the pro-democracy struggle against Bashir al-Assad there may have been at least a slim possibility for a democratic result in Syria and there very well might have been far fewer innocent civilian casualties and have spared Syria from near complete destruction that has resulted in the years of the Civil War.
Beyond the Cusp