President Obama is unlikely to take any military action against Syria that will actually make a difference, but his administration is actively backing the radical Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda elements of the rebellion while leaving the Free Syrian Army high and dry, according to retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely.
Vallely consults with military leaders of the Free Syrian Army and recently returned from a trip to Turkey that also included a heavily guarded trip to the rebel stronghold of Aleppo. He was in the region when the apparent chemical weapons attack took place. Vallely believes there should be military action to take down the Bashar Assad regime, but he says the “shot across the bow” approach floated by Obama would be pointless.
“Obama’s really not a very brave person so I don’t think he’ll take any brave action,” said Vallely. “He is known, even in the Middle East and Syria, for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood as he did in Egypt. His trend is toward supporting those elements also in Syria.
“The Syrian generals who defected, they all know this. They look at America as very weak, very impotent under our leadership right now,” he said.
As a result of his latest consultations, Vallely reports that the U.S. is actively providing support and logistics for the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist organizations like Al Qaeda, but the more democratic-minded Free Syrian Army is essentially ignored. So why are Obama and his advisers siding with the more radical elements?
“They continue to make international mistakes like they did in Libya and that they did in Egypt. So there’s a pattern of ineptness and a misunderstanding about why this administration would continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical Islamists, rather than the Free Syrian Army which is the true opposition force over there,” said Vallely, who believes Obama has not been hoodwinked by the Muslim Brotherhood but simply embraces its ideology.
“I think they approve of it. It’s their agenda to support the Muslim Brotherhood. You don;t have to look any further than what happened in Egypt. There’s a perfect example of how Obama screwed up royally and that’s why the military has come in. They basically want to decimate the Muslim Brotherhood, whose ambition is Sharia government,” said Vallely.
Polls suggest Americans are overwhelmingly against any military action in Syria. Vallely disagrees. He believes action should be taken against Assad but that it should be action that leads to a collapse of the regime.
“Western or other forces in the Middle East really need to neutralize the Syrian Air Force. Assad would fall in about 30 days if the air campaign would occur and knock out the jets and the helicopters,” said Vallely, who says the rebels don’t have a way of countering Assad’s air power. But he says the need to remove Assad from power couldn’t be more urgent.
“Rest assured, Assad is just as bad as Hitler was and the international community needs to do something. First they need to ground and neutralize the Syrian Air Force,” he said.
But if Assad falls and the U.S. is actively backing the radical elements of the rebellion, won’t that leave Syria in the hands of extremists and the Free Syrian Army out in the cold? Vallely says that’s a hasty assumption.
“The Free Syrian Army is better structured and organized than is thought. They have many professional individuals, from legal to financial to government policy planners. Remember, many of the defectors were not only military but they were also political bureaucracy-type people. So they’re prepared. They’ve already mapped out a plan for post-Assad,” said Vallely.