Sorting Out the Syrian Opposition

(Washington Post) David Ignatius - Most of the major rebel groups in Syria have strong Islamic roots and backing from Muslim neighbors. The disorganized, Muslim-dominated opposition prompts several conclusions: First, the U.S. will have limited influence, even if it steps up covert involvement over the next few months. Second, the post-Assad situation may be as chaotic and dangerous as the civil war itself as the Muslim rebel groups try to claim control of Assad's powerful arsenal, including chemical weapons. The biggest group is the Saudi-backed Jabhat al-Tahrir al-Souriya al-Islamiya with 37,000 fighters. Hard-core Salafist Muslims dominate Jabhat al-Islamiya al-Tahrir al-Souriya, financed by wealthy Saudi, Kuwaiti and other Gulf Arab individuals, with 13,000 fighters. Ahfad al-Rasoul, funded by Qatar, has 15,000 fighters. Jabhat al-Nusra, an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has grown to 6,000 fighters. The Free Syrian Army commands about 50,000 fighters.

2013-04-03 00:00:00

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