Thursday, June 20, 2013

The demise of "moderate" rebels

Special Report: Syria's Islamists seize control as moderates dither tells the story of Ghurabaa al-Sham, a rebel group in Aleppo that was attacked by Islamist groups and reduced from 2000 to 100 fighters. The Islamists claim that Ghurabaa al-Sham - that controlled the industrial area - was pilfering and didn't want to talk.

I believe that the demise of moderate rebels in Syria is unavoidable. Most moderate rebel fighters who care about democracy and freedom will at some point come to the conclusion that it just isn't worth it. Too many people are dying and too many things are destroyed while at the same time the likelihood of a desirable outcome is only shrinking with the rise of Islamists. And so the idealists quit. That means that you keep two remaining kinds of people: those primarily motivated by hatred for Assad and opportunists motivated by greed or hunger for power.

That means that over time the moderate groups tend to loose their soul and risk to be taken over by opportunists. That makes those still fighting moving towards the Islamists. But like all idealists Islamist groups tend to be pure in the beginning but to get contaminated by greed and opportunism when the group acquires more money and power.

Why Rebels and Islamists Are Pitted Against Each Other in Aleppo Province’s Manbij tells the story of the criminal gang leader Abu Hashish near the town Manbij (about 80 km north east of Aleppo). He appeared affiliated to Ahrar al-Sham and Islamist groups refused to arrest him, so the FSA affiliated Golan battalion did it, what led to fights with Islamists that killed about 20 people.

Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra: Abu Ahmed and others say the FSA has lost fighters to al-Nusra in Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Deir al-Zor and the Damascus region. Ala'a al-Basha, commander of the Sayyida Aisha brigade, warned the FSA chief of staff, General Salim Idriss, about the issue last month. Basha said 3,000 FSA men have joined al-Nusra in the last few months, mainly because of a lack of weapons and ammunition. Looks like propaganda for more arms for the FSA.

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