Obama Needs Help From Islamic Front For Diplomacy To Succeed in Syria

A recent
by Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times, who
advocated for increased U.S. intervention in Syria
back in March
, highlights an uncomfortable reality relating to
the Obama administration’s policy on Syria:

For the Obama administration’s diplomacy to succeed, it now
needs help from an armed group with the unpromising name of the
Islamic Front.

The Islamic front has been the subject of increased attention
recently. Last week, it was reported that the U.S and the U.K. were

suspending their aid to rebels in northern Syria
after members
of the Islamic Front captured bases held by the Free Syrian Army,
the rebel group backed by the U.S.

In the wake of the news that the Islamic Front were expanding
their foothold in northern Syria

that the Free Syrian Army’s Gen. Salim Idris had fled
Syria. Idris has
denied the reports
, saying that he moved to an office on the
Turkish border.

McManus quotes  Andrew J. Tabler of the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy, who characterized the Islamic Front
as “Salafists but not extremists.” However, while the Islamic Front
may not be directly linked to Al Qaeda-linked groups, the BBC
that they are open to working with them.

If, as McManus says, the Obama administration’s diplomatic
efforts in Syria will rely on help from the Islamic Front, it is
another sign that the U.S. should be less involved in the Syrian
conflict given their desire to establish an Islamic state
in a post-Assad Syria. 

Regardless of what policy the Obama administration decides to
pursue, it is unlikely that the Saudis are going to stop sending
lethal military aid to Assad’s opposition, including groups like
the Islamic Front. Over at
The Daily Beast
, Jamie Dettmer has written about the worrying
groups being helped by the Saudis and the number of Saudis who have
traveled to Syria to take part in the conflict. Dettmer also quoted
an unnamed American intelligence official, who said that Saudi
involvement in the Syrian conflict could result in Afghanistan-like

The Saudis are in jeopardy of repeating history, says an
American intelligence official who declined to be named for the
article. “There was blowback for the Saudis from jihadists fighting
in Afghanistan in the 1980s and that could happen again.”

As horrific as the situation in Syria is, the reality is that it
remains a bad environment for increased U.S. intervention. McManus
points out that the Obama administration’s most likely policy,
which will reduce the risk of direct U.S. military involvement,
will not end the suffering and the dangers posed by
“jihadist mini-armies” in Syria.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/16/obama-needs-help-from-islamic-front-for

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