The Syrian Arab Government and ISIS Have Always Been Enemies

by | Aug 25, 2014

ISIS Enforcer

There is all kinds of nonsense circulating in the mainstream media and in the wilder reaches of the internet galaxy concerning ISIS (IS) and the Syrian government (SAG). There are also an amazing number of stories on the web that claim that “The Caliph Ibrahim” (Baghdadi) is actually an Israeli Jew, born in Israel to Jewish parents. Whoa! That’s a great one! It has its origins in Iranian media that is selling the idea that Snowden says so. OK. Let’s see the intercepts that Snowden is said to have on that subject.

The US and European foreign policy establishments are trapped in a situation in which they have declared themselves to be the enemies of the Government of Syria, dedicated to its overthrow in a world in which the Government of Syria has survived very well, thank you.

There are a multitude of rebel groups in Syria. The only effective ones are the Islamic ones. This was inevitably going to be the case. The pro-government forces are fighting an existential fight against Sunni Syrian Arabs and jihadi internationals who very much want to put the Alawis, Shia, Christians, Druze and the like either back in their kennels or in their graves. The Free Syrian Army (the fave of the US children’s crusade run from the NSC and State Department), has proven itself to be an “army” that does not want to fight. Why should it? These “moderate” seculars and other sane people want to live, not die for the faith, any faith. The serious opposition are the tough guys who DO want to die for the faith. There are many such groups.

The US Foreign Service types are trying to spin the narrative now to make the Syrian Government the secret sponsor of ISIS. The “evidence” cited for this is the relatively light engagement that the SAG had until recently against ISIS forces in eastern Syria. Well, people, that’s the part farthest away from the densely populated parts of the country that the SAG is trying to control. The SAG and their Lebanese Shia allies have a limited number of troops and aircraft and their strategy is clearly to re-take and hold ground and people in a deliberate process that does not waste assets. ISIS is now in possession of several former SAG installations in the Raqqa area of the eastern sandbox. They captured Raqqa air base in the last days. Wherever they have taken control they have butchered Syrian government personnel. That shows a bad attitude toward a government that supposedly nurtured ISIS. In addition to that, ISIS and the SAG are locked in battle in the Aleppo region.

Richard Haas sys that “the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy.” That may sound good on Zakaria’s Sunday kaffeeklatch or at a Manhattan dinner party, but it is a stupid idea. The US government adopted the regime change policy in the euphoria of the Arab Spring without calculating the staying power of the Syrian Government and without thinking through the inherently weak positions of westernized moderates throughout the Arab World, It has become clear that westernized moderates are as puissant as an army of unicorns.

Let us admit our bad judgment and abandon the regime change policy. Failing that we should covertly provide target intelligence to the Syrians on ISIS targets. The CIA ought to be able to do that… Oh, sorry, they will have to get DIA to do the actual work for them.

Reprinted with author’s permission.


  • Col. W. Patrick Lang

    Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years.

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