09.11.14

New York Times: U.S. Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Loyalties All Over the Map

Ben Hubbard, Eric Schmitt, and Mark Mazzetti report on U.S. plans to train Syrian rebels.

President Obama’s determination to train Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leaves the United States dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters.

After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

“There’s a lot of skepticism about this piece of the president’s strategy,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “The so-called moderate rebels have often been very immoderate and ineffective.”

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By:  Ben Hubbard, Eric Schmitt, and Mark Mazzetti
Source: New York Times