From The Wall Street Journal:
An al Qaeda spinoff operating near Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, last week began a new battle campaign it dubbed “Expunging Filth.”
The target wasn’t their avowed enemy, the Syrian government. Instead, it was their nominal ally, the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army.
Across northern and eastern Syria, units of the jihadist group known as ISIS are seizing territory—on the battlefield and behind the front lines—from Western-backed rebels.
Some FSA fighters now consider the extremists to be as big a threat to their survival as the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.
More at the link.
The ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: Arabic: الدولة الاسلامية في العراق والشام اختصاراً: داعش Dawlat al-ʾIslāmiyya fi al-’Iraq wa-l-Sham) are the jihadi and they are a serious threat to the Western backed “moderate”1 elements in the Syrian rebel groups. Your Editor’s suggestion that the best outcome for the West in the Syrian civil war would be for the war to continue for so long, and be so destructive, that it doesn’t matter which side wins: there will be so much death and destruction with which the winners will have to deal that they will not have the time, money or other resources to make problems outside of Syria, seems to be on track. The Obama Administration’s policies seem to have forced President Assad to turn over his chemical weapons stockpile to the United Nations for reasonably prompt destruction,2 which should weaken the government forces, and infighting amongst the rebels weakens all sides of the opposition, making an earlier victory for either side appear to be less likely.
The Islamists seem bent on having their holy war, to establish a seventh century Islamic theocracy, and at this point, I say: let them, let them keep killing and killing and killing each other off until Allah won’t have it any more. It will be regrettable as far as the loss of life and the terrorization of innocent people are concerned, but as long as they don’t threaten the West, don’t attack Israel, and Middle East oil keeps flowing to the civilized nations,3 I see no reason to care.
- Whenever your Editor reads about “moderate” Islamic revolutionaries, he thinks back to the Reagan Administrations ridiculous and ultimately futile attempt to find “moderate” elements in the Iranian leadership; that didn’t turn out well. ↩
- Note: I have qualified that with “seem to have,” because I can easily see this promise on the part of Syria being broken or evaded or otherwise not kept. Let’s see what actually happens here. ↩
- The description of the nations outside of the Islamic world as “civilized” was both deliberate and paid attention to; it was not some casual word thrown out off-the-cuff, but means exactly what it says. It is your Editor’s view of the entire Islamic world, and it is completely true. I am not implying that the Islamic world is uncivilized; I am saying so directly and explicitly. ↩