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Fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front drive in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. (File)

An Uncomfortable Truth: Washington Caught Supporting Jihadists in Syria

© AFP 2016/ AMC / FADI AL-HALABI
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The Obama administration has found itself in an awkward position: the White House has long supported unsavory Islamist groups in Syria which are now spreading havoc in the region, New York-based independent foreign affairs correspondent Joe Lauria notes.

Ahead of the Geneva talks on Syria Washington should separate the wheat from the chaff and decide who the Syrian terrorists are that should be excluded from the negotiations, New York-based independent foreign affairs correspondent Joe Lauria remarks.

"The major obstacle is deciding who will represent the opposition across the table from the government. And that hinges on the question of who is a terrorist in Syria," Lauria writes in his article for Consortiumnews.com.

The White House has been caught in an awkward position: after excluding Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL) and al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria) from participation in the upcoming negotiations the Obama administration should decide what to do with the myriad of other opposition groups, some of whom cooperate closely with al-Nusra Front and other jihadists.

To complicate matters further, many of them have long been backed by Washington.

While the Obama administration asserted that it was "vetting what groups it supports," the pro-neocon Daily Beast revealed that CIA-backed rebels were collaborating with al-Qaeda, the journalist points out.

Lauria recalls Vladimir Putin's September address to the UN General Assembly: the Russian President stressed that it was irresponsible "to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them."

"Putin did not mention clear evidence he was certainly aware of from the US Defense Intelligence Agency. An August 2012 DIA document declassified by a judge says that Washington, Ankara and the Gulf States were helping to establish a Salafist principality in eastern Syria to pressure Assad and that it could team up with extremists on the Iraqi side of the border to form an Islamic State — the document uses that exact phrase," the foreign affairs correspondent underscores.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Istanbul, Turkey January 23, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace
© REUTERS/ Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters
He also refers to former DIA chief Gen. Michael Flynn who noted in an interview with Al Jazeera, that it was a "willful decision" of the Obama administration to team up with Salafists, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria back in 2012.

"I don't know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision," Flynn said.

In this light Washington's unwillingness to form a coalition with Russia that targeted Daesh and al-Qaeda in Syria comes as no surprise. Furthermore, the Obama administration has repeatedly made attempts to accuse Russia of hitting the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria.

"Washington leveled the tired charge that Putin is trying to reestablish the Soviet Empire and takeover the Middle East from the US: a duplicitous case of projecting imperial designs onto another," Lauria stresses.

The question then arises how to untie the Gordian knot of political and sectarian contradictions in the Middle East.

The Syria peace negotiations could potentially solve the problem.

United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has issued official invitations Tuesday for Syria talks which are expected to begin on January 29 and last for six months.

Despite contradictions still surrounding the negotiations, the agenda has been finally set: it will include governance issues ("new governance, new constitution and new elections") and humanitarian matters — most notably broad ceasefire and humanitarian aid access in the country, US journalist Laura Rozen reported in an article for Al-Monitor.

"There are political risks. But those political risks and tensions… should take into account that our line… is clear: no preconditions, at least to start the talks…. The rest is open," Staffan de Mistura told journalists in Geneva on January 25.

Related:
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Russian Actions in Syria Cause Daesh to ‘Lose Foothold for First Time’
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Tags:
NATO, terrorists, moderate Syrian rebels, neocons, Islamic extremism, negotiations, Jihadists, intelligence, The Syrian war, Daesh, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Al-Nusra Front, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, UN General Assembly, Vladimir Putin, Staffan de Mistura, Syria, Iraq, United States, Russia, Geneva
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  • Well better late than never, washington supports no moderates only terrorists.
  • Zhukov
    Why are the Anglo-US extremists even in these "talks"? They are enemies of Syria.
  • margaridaoulman
    The sadest part is that Washington does not care what anyone thinks of them, they will just bully /lie their way through. Europe has been coersed to comply Washingtons foreign policies. Hopefully the East will start voicing opposition to what the West is doing under the banner of Democracy, which is nothing less than mass human murder and suffering on innocent peoples that have no defense and are caught in the middle of the Wests folly.. As for the U S A, hopefully the dollar dwindles to nothing and there will be peace in the world.
  • dvdgrg09
    Anyone who thinks Washington gives a tinker's damn about "uncomfortable truths" take your dunce cap and go stand in the corner.
  • Mitach2002
    Terrorist American government.
  • cast235
    Is all the same with different seasoning. U.S is frantically searching for puppets. that Russian foolish leadership, did NOT marl on the intel. THAT's why U.S refuses to give any intel to Russia.
    There is not selected government, selected constitution , nor puppets taht MUST be placed in.
    The choices are clear. A new constitution with referendum so the people can select amendments.
    Next, full elections.ONLY Syrians inside Syria should vote. Or they will RIG the elections and fill them with lies and propaganda.
    At the pace things are going, Russia should seal borders soon..and reconstruction begins. WITHOUT IMF, WB, or U.N PARTNERS.
    Russia did the job, Russia should do all, including loans. And take over all it can... Not just leave, like Russia is FAMOUS for.
    India say it all the time.Russia go help, and when everyone is ready to begin celebrations, Russians are all gone. This come from Tsar days .. And probably before.
  • peaceactivist2
    Years of planning, recruiting, financings, supporting, cover-up, strategy revising and so on and so forth to achieve a goal. So who on earth would give up? No way! Supporting terrorists forever!
  • vendor
    ISIS should be present too. let's do not be cute about it. That would be the best thing that could happen.

    Imagine very lively talks around the table, and then suddenly the ISIS rep. gets up and says - we have a full support from and unlimited confidence in the USA!

    After which Lavrov would piss himself laughing. I want to see Lavrov laugh!
  • choticastilein reply toZhukov(Show commentHide comment)
    Zhukov, Always been my point too. Imagine you're the president of a sovereign country and a bunch of US sponsored insurgents bent on stealing your country away from you, start creating anarchy and division -- all with the end in mind, another orange revolution. The US using its powerful media, creates a picture of a dictatorship with a despot for a president and that civil war is breaking out. Loosely that's what happened in Syria. It is then clear that Assad, recognised too late that these insurgents were backed by the US, or maybe he had long been wary of this happening, as he is a man of fine intellect and listening to him speak, also a common sense guy. That's when Syria's hell started, covertly, but fully backed by the USG and its western satellites -- all with an agenda in mind for Syria.

    Getting to why, as you say, the Anglo-US extremists are even included in these talks -- the US (IMO) has been scrambling like mad to find, what would be considered a reasonably realistic opposition and they're in a pickle, because their ain't none -- they're all terros. Why is Washington then still involved in the ME, if not serving only its own Syrian theft agenda?
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