Obama to Rely on Syrian Leader Who Claims Al Qaeda Aren’t Terrorists to Keep Weapons Out of Al Qaeda’s Hands

Obama to Rely on Syrian Leader Who Claims Al Qaeda Aren’t Terrorists to Keep Weapons Out of Al Qaeda’s Hands

April 30, 2013 |  By Daniel Greenfield

How could you not trust this man?!..

In case you missed the big news, Obama may be considering giving weapons to this lovely secular fellow who is not at all involved with Al Qaeda terrorists.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Free Army led by Gen. Salim Idriss are seen as increasingly cohesive. Idriss, one of the few leaders who is acceptable to both the opposition and its range of international backers, impressed Kerry and other foreign ministers who attended a meeting with the Syrian opposition in Istanbul last weekend and pledged that he would keep weapons out of the hands of extremists.
Sounds good. Let’s take a closer look at the Syrian rebel command.

Syrian rebel groups have chosen Brigadier Selim Idris, a former officer in President Bashar al-Assad’s army, to head their new Islamist-dominated military command, opposition sources said on Saturday.

The joint command named Islamist commanders Abdelbasset Tawil from the northern province of Idlib and Abdelqader Saleh from the adjacent province of Aleppo to serve as Idris’s deputies, the source said.

The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam. It excludes the most senior officers who had defected from Assad’s military.

Its composition, estimated to be two-thirds from the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies,

And let’s take a closer look at Idriss, who is currently swearing up and down that he has nothing to do with the Al Nusra Front. Nope, not a thing.

Idriss was emphatic about his break from the al-Nusra Front, which is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq. “We don’t work with al-Nusra. We don’t share anything with them.” He said fighters from the extremist group had fought alongside some of his battalions, “but they were not invited.”

Sure, Dad. They just showed up. We didn’t invite them.

Back in Feb, Idriss said that he is absolutely not working together with Al Qaeda… not that there’s anything wrong with that because they’re not even really terrorists.

However, he said he had no evidence that the Al Nusra group, which is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, had been involved in terrorist operations in Syria or outside the country.

Then in March, he said that sure the Al Nusra front, which he totally is not allied with, is very helpful, but extremist.

General Idris said he could work with most of the Islamist factions fighting in Syria, putting their number at about 50 percent of the rebels. The exception was al-Nusra Front, blacklisted by the United States. He said that they were helpful in the fight — estimating that they had 3,000 men — but it was the only group he labeled extremist.
And at the end of last year, Idriss made it 100 percent clear that he utterly rejects the Al Nusra Front.

But rebel activists in Syria are opposing a move by the United States to designate the radical Islamist al-Nusra Front as a terrorist entity linked to al Qaeda.

“All rebels are fighting to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and before we designate anybody or accuse anyone of being a terrorist we should tell what they have done to terrorize others,” the Free Syrian Army military command’s Brigadier General Salim Idris, told al-Jazeera television. “Not everyone wearing a beard is an extremist.”

And then he made it crystal clear that he kicked out the Al Nusra Front and that he denounces them.

Idris said Nusra chose not to be part of the rebel command.

He estimated that about a fifth of Nusra’s fighters are foreigners, but said he believes they will leave Syria once the regime has been toppled. He said the Syrians in the group, which is believed to number several hundred fighters in all, could be brought back to a more mainstream Islam after the war.

“They are not terrorists,” he said of the Nusra Front.

Give the man his weapons right now. He will absolutely not allow them them to fall into the hands of the extremists whom he rejects as of three months ago.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

(Via Tim Anderson)