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U.S. Weighing Closer Ties With Hardline Islamists in Syria

Posted By admin On December 17, 2013 @ 6:38 am In World News | Comments Disabled

John Hudson
Foreign Policy [1]
December 17, 2013

As the moderate faction of the Syrian rebellion implodes under the strain of vicious infighting and diminished resources, the United States is increasingly looking to hardline Islamists in its efforts to gain leverage in Syria’s civil war. The development has alarmed U.S. observers concerned that the radical Salafists do not share U.S. values and has dismayed supporters of the Free Syrian Army who believe the moderates were set up to fail.

On Monday, the State Department confirmed its openness to engaging with the Islamic Front following the group’s seizure of a Free Syrian Army headquarters last week containing U.S.-supplied small arms and food. “We wouldn’t rule out the possibility of meeting with the Islamic Front,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday. “We can engage with the Islamic Front, of course, because they’re not designated terrorists …  We’re always open to meeting with a wide range of opposition groups. Obviously, it may make sense to do so at some point soon, and if we have something to announce, we will.”

On Saturday Reuters reported [2] that Syrian rebel commanders in the Islamic Front were due to meet U.S. officials in Turkey in the coming days to discuss U.S. support for the group. A Syrian opposition source speaking with The Cable said that efforts were in place to unite the Western-backed Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front under the same coalition. “There are negotiations planned for very soon between the [Free Syrian Army's] SMC and the Islamic Front to determine what the relationship will be,” said the source. America’s role in coordinating the talks remains unclear.

Full article here [3]

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URLs in this post:

[1] Foreign Policy: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/12/16/us_weighing_closer_ties_with_hardline_islamists_in_syria#sthash.vGadKsye.aU9lFl86.dpbs

[2] reported: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/14/us-syria-crisis-rebels-idUSBRE9BD08D20131214

[3] Full article here: http://freebeacon.com/chinas-state-media-blame-u-s-for-near-collision-of-warships/

[4] Top Western-backed rebel commander run out of Syria by Islamists: http://www.prisonplanet.com/top-western-backed-rebel-commander-run-out-of-syria-by-islamists.html

[5] U.S. Bolsters Ties to Fighters in Syria: http://www.prisonplanet.com/u-s-bolsters-ties-to-fighters-in-syria.html

[6] Syria: Time ripe for closer Russia military ties: http://www.prisonplanet.com/syria-time-ripe-for-closer-russia-military-ties.html

[7] US explores ties with Syrian Islamist rebels, possibly Assad too – for a lineup to fight al Qaeda: http://www.prisonplanet.com/us-explores-ties-with-syrian-islamist-rebels-possibly-assad-too-for-a-lineup-to-fight-al-qaeda.html

[8] Expert who traveled with Syrian rebels: So-called ‘moderates’ are Muslim Brotherhood-style Islamists: http://www.prisonplanet.com/expert-who-traveled-with-syrian-rebels-so-called-moderates-are-muslim-brotherhood-style-islamists.html

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