“The Islamic State phoned me saying that they killed Abu Bassir and that they will kill all of the Supreme Military Council,” a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, Qassem Saadeddine, told the Reuters news agency, referring to the FSA executive body. “We are going to wipe the floor with them,” a rebel commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Reuters.
They are supposed to be allies.Seeing this level of internecine warfare within the rebel ranks was for me the first time it became clear their situation had become completely beyond hope. Remember, chemical weapons had been used, which the administration blamed on Assad (and threatened him with bombing only to later punt to Congress). But not everyone was convinced on the perps, although most dismissed the source:
Early last month, informed sources told FNA that the innocent people killed in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo in Northwestern Syria were the victims of the chemical weapons supplied to the terrorists by a Saddam-era General working under head of the now outlawed Ba'ath party Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.
"The chemical weapons used in the attack on Khan al-Assal area had been prepared by former Iraqi Military Industries Brigadier General Adnan al-Dulaimi and supplied to Ba'ath-affiliated terrorists of the Nusra Front in Aleppo through Turkey's cooperation and via the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province," an informed source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of his life, told FNA on April 6.Leaving out the conspiratorial Iraqi connection, some very credible people thought the rebels were behind the WMD attacks, possibly to include lefty hero Seymour Hersh, who's reportage on the region was almost completely ignored in the mainstream press. Hersh reported that Erdogan's government worked with al-Nusra to launch the attacks in order to cross Obama's red line and draw him into the fight, which would benefit Turkey.
The post also had a reference to some of the possible backers of the emerging ISIS, who have been tied to their quick rise to power in recent articles in picayune outfits like the Daily Beast and NY Times.
As to the "Islamic State of Iraq", the Free Syrians basically called them a group who used religion to perpetrate murder and crime. Interesting, since Saddam's old number two Izzat al-Duri (number one on Iraq's most-wanted list) has variously been tied to AQ and insurgent thugs over the years when he wasn't playing dead. He's very much alive and still causing trouble around the country, trying to bring back the Ba'ath.So, would it surprise anyone if the Sarin gas came from Iraq, even at the hands of former Ba'ath regime members? ISIS is a criminal organization as much as a terrorist outfit, unlike regular ole AQ. Has anyone heard from Zawahiri lately?
Anyway, this stuff has been rising up for over a year regardless of what the politicians say. Going forward, other than TV views of western hostages being trotted out (another Saddam tactic) we don't know what else ISIS might have under their hats as a deterrent. Maybe nothing, maybe these guys are bluffing again, or maybe there's something constricting a forceful response aside from politics. It's clear the US military could severely cripple these thugs over a few months if the order was given.
Whatever the case, chaos reigns. It's absolutely clear from the disconnected statements coming this administration that they've tied themselves into pretzels trying to grab a coherent policy out of the air that won't wreck their past snarky blame narratives or leave a mark politically, although hope sometimes dies hard. Quite fitting that a American named Douglas MacArthur McCain was just killed fighting for ISIS.