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The myth of moderate groups in Syria

May 24,2015 - Last updated at May 24,2015

As the crisis in Syria was progressing, the US administration floated a series of unrealistic proposals to address the situation.

The latest recycled proposal is to train so-called moderate rebels to be sent into Syria to fight terrorist groups and, of course, the Syrian Army.

There are ways to ensure that extremists are not being trained and armed in such a process, like conducting detailed investigations of candidates and their backgrounds. 

However, there are illogical elements to the proposal, such as to have the training for one to two years, which means that the situation will be allowed to worsen for another year or two, until the planned force is ready to fight.

It assumes that Daesh will freeze it activities and wait until such force is prepared, or will forfeit a continuous presence in that time.

It is also hard to see a considerable force of moderate rebels coming together. It is most likely to become a mediocre force that has been made from scratch.

Also, how will the forces be controlled? How can it be guaranteed that they will go into Syria and engage with the terrorist forces?

Will the situation in Syria even call for a small troop deployment like this in two years’ time?

All these questions should raise concerns and lead to the conclusion that the plan to train moderate opposition groups is mostly a symbolic move that is unlikely to have a concrete impact on the situation in Syria.

The US would be subjecting these groups to political exploitation to further its goals.

It may be a symbolic move made to create a military force that can be internationally recognised in order to deprive the Syrian Army of its legitimacy.

The greatest hurdle in resolving the situation in Syria remains the vast difference between each key player’s idea of a desirable outcome.

The Turks insist on toppling the Syrian regime, but for many international players this is not acceptable.

Jordan views this from a national security perspective and understands the risks and challenges it faces. As such, Jordan is clear in its insistence, in official statements and commentaries, that terrorist groups must be fought on the ground, and deep within Syria’s borders.

It seems then that the proposal to train moderate rebels to fight in Syria is less of a concrete solution and more of a strategic play by the US to leverage another position or lead to an alternative outcome.


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