It gets more ridiculous by the day. Here’s how it goes. According to the US:
1. From the beginning: “We can’t provide arms to the FSA because they might get into the hands of the extremists” (ie al-Qaida linked groups Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS).
2. From sometime later: “The extremists are getting too strong so we might have to think about maybe providing some very limited light arms to some vetted moderate FSA groups if they’re very good to fight the extremists, or at least balance them.”
3. Also from that time: “But we don’t do (2) anyway, because of (1).”
(“Though eventually we kindly provide some ready-meals, night goggles, flak jackets, radios and, very occasionally, supportive speeches”).
“But also because, as we admit sometimes, we hate all of the rebel groups, as none of them serve our (or Israel’s) interests” (eg, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey http://blogs.reuters.com/david-rohde/2013/08/22/a-moment-of-truth-in-damascus-and-washington). “And of course, because in reality, for the US all the stuff about worrying about “extremists” is just code for our hostility for the entire popular revolutionary process in Syria, including the most democratic and secular” https://www.facebook.com/RadioFreeSyria/posts/284206428400250?comment_id=1359188.
4. From about late 2012: “But we might still think about perhaps maybe giving a few light arms to some very very very good FSAers if they will postpone (code for surrender) the fight against Assad and instead turn themselves into a full-scale Sawha force to fight the extremists first”
From late 2012 and through all 2013: FSA rejects this cynical US call for surrender and suicide for over a year, judging the balance of political and military forces to be not conducive of opening a second full front when confronted by such a powerful, massively armed, murderous regime. But then over that year, in practice, the FSA more and more does fight the extremists simply because these extremists attack the FSA in the back, and because the FSA goes to the aid of Syrian people when they resist theocratic repression, first by Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) and then more so by ISIS. But still none of that gets any US or western arms, because the FSA still prioritises fighting the regime, keeping its fight with JAN and ISIS mainly defensive. Not good enough. In fact:
October 2013: Even the minimalist non-lethal US aid to the FSA in the north (eg, the ready meals, tents, radios and other junk) was officially halted (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-halts-aid-to-syrian-rebels.aspx?pageID=238&nID=56624&NewsCatID=358) as part of the deal with Russia and Assad over chemical weapons removal.
December 2013: Just to drive the point home further, the US again cuts off this non-lethal “aid” in response to an alleged incident between the FSA and the Islamic Front, which was probably nothing of the sort (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-halts-aid-to-syrian-rebels.aspx?pageID=238&nID=56624&NewsCatID=358), even though they had already announced this cut-off in October.
Beginning 2014: All these ISIS attacks in the FSA’s back and theocratic repression by ISIS, combined with popular pressure from the masses, force the FSA to decide to turn their ongoing sporadic battle with ISIS into a full-scale offensive to destroy ISIS, the most dangerous, murderous and extremist wing of the jihadist fringe. They decide to do this in their own time, based on their own analysis of the balance of forces and the needs of the revolution at the moment, rather than do the bidding of US imperialism.
But still, even if late, and based on their own decision making, it is what the US has been demanding all along, isn’t it? So how does the US react:
6. Beginning 2014: “Now we can’t provide arms to the FSA because if we give them arms while they’re fighting the extremists, the extremists might get hold of their arms”!!!!!
This is explained in the January 13 Wall Street Journal article ‘Fighting Among Rebels Boosts Syrian Regime: Assad’s Forces Benefit From Northern Conflict Between Opposition, al Qaeda-Linked Group’:
“Also bolstering the regime is the caution of some rebel backers like the U.S. to boost assistance to moderate groups battling ISIS until the fighting in northern Syria ends.
“On Monday, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain this week would announce a further “major” donation of humanitarian aid for Syria and stands ready to resume and increase supplying nonlethal support for the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition group, when conditions allow.
“Some rebel groups such as the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, or SRF, hope their involvement in leading the fight against ISIS could reinvigorate waning international support for their cause, opposition members said.
“The SRF was formed in December with significant Saudi backing in part to temper Western concerns that the rebels were turning a blind eye to the rise of extremist groups in Syria.
“But the opposition’s attempts to drum up U.S. support for the SRF in recent weeks haven’t gained as much traction as they had hoped.
“The opposition recently extracted one SRF commander from the battlefields of northern Idlib province, where he was fighting ISIS, to meet with U.S. government officials in Istanbul. The commander, Jamal Marouf, appealed for help in arming the SRF.
“In the meeting, U.S. officials said they worried that if they sent arms to the SRF, they could fall into ISIS hands, said opposition officials with knowledge of the meeting.”
And to think that much of “the left” still echoes the lying imperialist media in calling the FSA “western-backed rebels”.