If you create one gang to carry out your strategic objective, and it fails, then you create another one and another one and another one, until you succeed. That seems to be the method the Saudis are employing in Syria these days, as the Syrian opposition splits over and over again, but always into factions controlled by the Saudis.
When the Free Syrian Army failed to achieve the objective of overthrowing Bashar al Assad, the Saudis moved to jettison it and replace it with the “Islamic Front” or “Army of Islam,” which, as EIRhas shown (see EIR, Oct. 11, 2013), are sanitized versions of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusrah Front and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The sanitized Islamic groups were necessitated by the open brutality of the AQ groups.
A Middle East source told EIR that in the last week, Turkey has now decided to sponsor a new Syrian opposition front called the New Rebels Front (NRF) that includes the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other non-Qaeda and non-Salafi Islamic organizations, with some presence of the Muslim Brotherhood. This group challenges the Saudi-sponsored Islamic Front (IF) and its Islamic Army (IA).
This larger context therefore raises questions about two developments reported by Reuters yesterday. One is comments made by Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal to a Reuters reporter in Monaco, and the other is a report that U.S. officials, possibly including U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford, may be meeting with representatives of the Islamic Front in Turkey sometime in the coming week. Prince Turki complained that the reason why the FSA is falling apart is that the U.S. and Britain failed to support it was heavy weapons which would have allowed it to confront a Syrian army equipped with tanks and heavy artillery.
“You have a situation where one side is lopsided with weapons like the Assad regime is, with tanks and missiles–you name it, he is getting it–and the other side is screaming out to get defensive weapons against these lethal weapons that Assad has,” Turki said. “Why should he stop the killing?” Turki was right up front with the Saudi objective in Syria. “For me … (to bring a) successful end to this conflict would be to bring an end to the Assad regime. It is because of the Assad regime that everything is happening,” he said. Clearly, Prince Turki has no commitment to a Geneva II peace conference, and Saudi actions suggest everything to prevent it from happening.
The end of the Assad regime is, in fact, no guarantee that the war will end, as the Saudis, with the deep involvement of Turki’s relative Prince Bandar, have used the war in Syria to create a worldwide-deployable terrorist capability. The Saudis are also behind the so-called Islamic Front, having created it out of the remains of the FSA, but Turki did not mention any of that in his complaints to Reuters.
So, the report of U.S. plans to meet with the Islamic Front raises the following question: The existence of the New Rebels Front seems to be sometimes treated in the press as if it is the same as the Islamic Front which is Saudi-created. So, which is the U.S. meeting with in Turkey, or both?