Despite its longtime leading role in the attempt to overthrow the Syrian government, the U.S. government is increasingly frustrated. The failure of the “rebels” — who are really reactionary mercenaries — to make significant gains, or even hold territory, is leading top U.S. officials to try to “reshape the Syrian opposition” according to the Oct. 31 New York Times.
The assault on the Gadhafi government in Libya in 2011 was soon followed by targeting the nationalist Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad by the imperialist Western powers. From the beginning, Washington encouraged rebel groups, which operated under the name of the Free Syrian Army. The U.S. assigned its client states — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to carry out the direct arming of the rebels. Washington provided communications, other aid and full diplomatic backing at the United Nations and other international forums.
An April 1 meeting held in Turkey intensified the intervention of the U.S. and its allies by approving $100 million to further equip the Syrian rebels. According to the April 1 New York Times, however, “the opposition had pledges of $176 million in humanitarian assistance and $100 million in salaries.” The rebel groups reported that they were put on the payroll with the $100 million to pay them for three months.
While bringing tremendous pain and disruption to Syria, the opposition hirelings have been unable to chalk up any major victories. This led to Washington’s blatant intervention to reorganize its puppets in the region. In old fashioned colonial style, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Oct. 31 that the U.S. was going to form a new leadership for the rebellion by bringing in more representatives of the military units on the ground in Syria. She denounced the current leaders as out of touch and having “not been inside Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years.”
A meeting to carry out this plan is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Qatar, completely orchestrated by the U.S. The Times revealed that Clinton “had been heavily involved in planning the meeting, including recommending individuals and organizations to include in any next leadership structure.”
This game plan may be carried out with the aim of using a new rebel leadership to “invite” the U.S. and other imperialist states to directly intervene inside Syria with military forces. It should be remembered that the so-called Libyan rebel groups were unable — on their own — to make any serious headway against the Libyan government. It was only the continuous and massive bombing campaign by the Western powers that literally cleared the way into the capital, Tripoli.
The Syrian rebel fighters may not prove to be a stable grouping to lead the puppet opposition. Not only are they divided by loyalties and ideologies, but they are increasingly being exposed as murderers and war criminals. A Nov. 2 New York Times article revealed that videos from inside Syria clearly show rebels capturing, beating and then summarily executing dozens of Syrian army soldiers.
Even the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights publicly called it a war crime. This is just the latest of charges, not given much coverage in the major capitalist media, that the Syrian rebels have for many months been executing thousands of civilian supporters of the Assad government in areas where they have taken control.