One issue of concern regarding any vote to authorize it’s-not-really-war-but-an-action (a Senate panel voted in a split decision to authorize the not a war Wednesday) is the state of the Syrian opposition. And, shockingly, the NY Times actually discusses the state of the rebels and their brutality
The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.
The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.
“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”
And then they shot the prisoners. Remember when a Syrian rebel leader cut out the heart of a prisoner and ate it? On camera? While his companions yelled that special jihadist slogan “Allahu Akbar”?
As the United States debates whether to support the Obama administration’s proposal that Syrian forces should be attacked for using chemical weapons against civilians, this video, shot in April, joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.
And Islamic extremists, who were able to infiltrate the anti-Assad forces and offer aid since Obama and other world leaders refused to offer aid and comfort previously.
The video also offers a reminder of the foreign policy puzzle the United States faces in finding rebel allies as some members of Congress, including Senator John McCain, press for more robust military support for the opposition.
Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.
So, if the Senate and House vote to authorize it’s-not-really-war against Assad and Obama finally decides to launch some airstrikes against, well, targets of little consequence with some forceful finger wagging, that’s who we’d be helping.