Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/17/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There are fears that arming opposition forces would lead to weapons in the wrong hands

While U.S. Military intervention in Syria has appears to have cooled down at the present time, there are growing concerns that showing support for opposition forces in that country could wind up backfiring. According to a recent report from IHS Jane, a defense consultancy, many of those battling the Bashar al-Assad regime are hardline Muslim - with little connection to the U.S. And its western allies.

Among all other concerns is the very real fear that the rebellion against the Assad regime is being increasingly dominated by extremists.

Among all other concerns is the very real fear that the rebellion against the Assad regime is being increasingly dominated by extremists.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/17/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, opposition foirces, weapons, military intervention


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  According to the report, forces battling the Assad regime in Syria now number around 100,000 fighters. After more than two years of fighting they are fragmented into as many as 1,000 bands. The study has found that there are around 10,000 jihadists, fighting for powerful factions linked to AL-Qaeda.

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists. These factions are more concerned with defeating the Bashar regime in lieu of wider, international concerns. 

In addition, there are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character. Therefore, only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

Western diplomats estimate that less than one third of the opposition forces are "palatable" to the United Kingdom. American envoys put the figure even lower.

Among all other concerns is the very real fear that the rebellion against the Assad regime is being increasingly dominated by extremists. The west's support for these groups could in effect give weaponry that would later fall into hostile hands. These fears contributed to unease in the U.S. and elsewhere over military intervention in Syria.

"The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out," Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said.

Based on intelligence estimates along with interviews with activists and militants, the report contends that the fighting has seen the emergence of hundreds of separate rebel bands, each operating in small pockets of the country, which are usually loyal to larger factions.

Two factions linked to Al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) - have come to dominate among the more extremist fighters, Lister says. Their influence among the rebel factions has only grown over the past year.

"Because of the Islamist make up of such a large proportion of the opposition, the fear is that if the West doesn't play its cards right, it will end up pushing these people away from the people we are backing," he said. "If the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists."

Click here to learn about our 'Saint Michael the Archangel' conference this Nov 1-3!

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Middle East

AL-QAEDA ALIVE: 'We must eliminate the cross ... The bearer of the cross is America!' Watch

Image of  In the video, the nefarious

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"This is quite an extraordinary video," terrorist experts Paul Cruickshank says. There's another word for it: absolutely horrifying. In the video, the nefarious "crown prince" of al-Qaeda, Nasir al-Wuhayshi is seen addressing a group of 100 like-minded ... continue reading


Suffering, dying in silence: Syrian Christians face arduous holy week Watch

Image of Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a ... continue reading


Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


New Saudi Arabian law defines atheists as 'terrorists' Watch

Image of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists. King Abdullah has issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalizes "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison ... continue reading


Executions on the rise: United States among top five countries Watch

Image of The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Executions for criminals for a variety of crimes has risen across the world. While the majority of these executions take place in the Middle East, the United States is among the top five nations that has experienced an uptick in capital punishment. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter