This is the smoking gun memo to look at : http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf
It’s a DIA memo partially declassified under FOIA by Judicial Watch, and it was written in 2012.
The memo states “THE SALAFIST, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA”. It also states that “THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION”.
Elsewhere, it says, “OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS”. And also: “IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME”, and “ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA”.
So, to review: US intelligence knew that the anti-Assad opposition were primarily made up of radical Islamists (i.e. Salafists, AQ, and the Muslim Brotherhood). The memo also states that the West (which would include the US), the Gulf States, and Turkey support this opposition and their efforts to control Eastern Syria. The memo does not split hairs and delineate that we only support the “moderate elements”. In fact, that term or related terms describing moderate rebels appear nowhere in the memo. Underscoring that the US was supporting the opposition regardless of its makeup, the last two passage I cited make clear that the “supporting powers” (elsewhere defined as the West, Gulf States, & Turkey) actually want a Salafist principality (Islamic State) to emerge in Eastern Syria, because it would undermine Assad’s hold on Syria.
The “moderate rebels” narrative is just not present in the DIA memo. The moderate rebels only seem to exist in State Department PR, White House PR, and mainstream media. If the moderate rebels ever did exist, they were likely just cutouts for funneling money and weapons into the arms of Al Nusra (i.e. AQ), ISIS, and other radical Islamists.
Some people say that the creation of ISIS and the arming of this and other Islamist jihadist groups were an unintended consequence of Obama’s and Hillary’s policy, and not a goal of that policy itself.
I just don’t buy that it was merely an unintended consequence. The DIA memo makes clear that the Syrian opposition, even though it was dominated by Islamist extremists, was supported by the West. This support included their efforts to take Eastern Syria and establish a Salafist principality (Islamic State) there.
While the memo doesn’t specify if this support was material support or just “cheering them on”, there is an abundance of evidence documenting that US arms ended up in the hands of ISIS and other terrorists in Syria/Iraq.
The Obama administration and their cheerleaders/apologists can claim “unintended consequences” as an aspect of plausible deniability, but I don’t find it plausible. The consequences of the Obama admin’s actions were entirely predictable.
Did they not expect weapons and arms to eventually reach the most powerful opposition forces in Syria, i.e. AQ/Salafists/MB?
What was their expected endgame for Syria? Even if they were able to topple Assad by supporting the so-called “moderate elements”, did they expect that these moderates would assume control of Syria after Assad being deposed? That’s nonsense! If the moderate elements ever existed at all, the DIA memo makes clear that they’d be outnumbered by the aforementioned bad elements of the opposition. Which the Obama administration knew were the main composition of the opposition.
I can come to no other conclusion than that the Obama administration’s intended policy was to topple Assad by instrumentalizing ISIS and other terrorist groups for this purpose, and that they did not care if this meant that extremists took control of post-Assad Syria.