August 5, 2012

Syria: The Untold Story?

I spend a lot of time online¬†with nearly a dozen newspapers and many other news sources. There are stories every day about Syria, and, increasingly, stories of the growing resilience and success of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as it battles the forces of Bashar al-Assad for control of Syria’s major cities.

But I look — mostly in vain — for any detailed disclosure of the sources and methods that are making the FSA such a formidable military force.

We are told that a number of Sunni states — especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar — are providing generous funding, and in the last week I have seen references to a training facility in Turkey. The US, it is said, is providing non-lethal support, as are a number of other NATO governments.¬†

Fine, but effective military institutions — armies — do not happen spontaneously. They are built, painstakingly.

When opposition forces were battering the US in Iraq, we were treated to regular revelations in the media of Iranian supply of IEDs and other weapons, as well as training and direction. Some of those “exclusives” were based on very flimsy evidence, but that did not prevent them from becoming front page stories and lead items on the evening news, day after day. Even in Syria, we get a regular stream of speculative reports about Iranian support for Assad — money, oil, technical support, intelligence, even, some say, Revolutionary Guards fighting in Syria.

But now that the shoe is on the other foot, and governments friendly to the US are engaged in harassing Assad’s army, we are getting only the vaguest possible references to the description and sources of all that new weaponry, the training of FSA cadres, and how much it is costing to build a new army from scratch.

Since the folks doing it are generally friends, not enemies, and therefore much more accessible, wouldn’t you think that our enterprising media would be coming up with exclusive reports almost every day about how it is being done? Is this simply a tacit agreement to avoid embarrassing allied governments?

I don’t disagree with the objective of creating an alternative to Assad’s murderous army, but i think we deserve to know how it is being done.

Obligations are being created, and future political alignments are being purchased. Those investments today will have a payoff in the future, and it would be useful to know who is managing the portfolio.

  1. garysick posted this