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Check this out from Patrick Cockburn:

The very existence of a “moderate” armed opposition of any strength inside Syria has always been a matter of wishful thinking by Western leaders. Some intelligence agencies were aware of this from an early stage, but they were either ignored or governments did not really care who they were backing in trying to displace President Bashar al-Assad. As early as August 2012, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, had written a report which firmly stated: “The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Iraq.”


I thought the sentence in quotes had a familiar ring. It was in a memorandum submitted to the Pentagon but never adopted as policy that appeared on the rightwing Judicial Watch on 2012 and that has made the rounds on the Baathist amen corner ten thousand times.

Cockburn, the world's greatest journalist next to Seymour Hersh and Judith Miller, includes this sentence to establish that the resistance to Assad is made up of suicide bombers. But what does the sentence say? It says, "Driving the insurgency in Iraq". If I recall correctly, Iraq and Syria are different countries.

Cockburn asserts that there is no "moderate" opposition in Syria, a position he has held for the past 5 years. This, of course, is a position that he puts forward without any documentation. To start with, the term "moderate" is a loaded word. Almost all of the militias have a degree of Islamic motivation. I imagine that this is inevitable given the social composition of those who took up arms, namely the rural poor. Apparently, Cockburn is offended by the profession of faith except when it comes to the Shia sectarianism of Hizbollah and the Iranian foreign legion that is waging its own holy war in Syria. Some day the historians will look back at people like Cockburn and judge them harshly. The sooner the better.
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