Possible Peace Deal In Mali


The Malian government has signed a peace agreement with some northern rebel groups, but the main armed coalition – Taureg – asked for more time to consult its grassroots, according to Aljazeera.

The Problem Of Working With Syrian Rebel Groups

Syriancivilwar1The “moderate” rebels and “extremist” rebels in Syria have a common enemy: the government regime of Bashar al-Assad.  When the U.S. is arming rebels, will it be difficult to distinguish between the two groups?

First of all, “There are moderates. The problem is they coordinate with jihadists against the Assad regime,” said Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“Syrian moderates are extremely difficult to deal with … because of their inability, or unwillingness because of the situation they’re in, to make clear distinctions” between groups the U.S. considers terrorists and others opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

National Security Council staffer Douglas Ollivant raised the prospect of “former Al-Nusra and Islamic Front fighters coming over, joining us, being trained by us, either in a covert manner or perhaps, eventually, overtly.”  Al Nusra is the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate.

U.S. alliances that include jihadist groups could have legal issues.  This could limit the provision of equipment or training to fighting forces that are not involved in human rights violations.

“Some people are grumbling about that all the time,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).  “The few times it has been waived, it’s come back to haunt us. As Americans, we understand that we have to stand for something.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said, “How can you truly vet them? And how can we have any hope that if they do agree to fight ISIL on some level, not just Assad, that they will continue to do so and not align themselves with ISIL when they feel like Assad is in their sights?”

The proposed legislation in regards to arming the rebels says that the vetting should focus on separating out ISIL, Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, other Al Qaeda-related groups and Hezbollah.


U.S. Politicians Should Be Required To Carry This

U.S. politicians should “concealed carry” this map and information.


Note that much of the Sunni areas are controlled by ISIS.  That’s because ISIS is a Sunni militant group.  The Shia militias are found in the Shia (same as Shi’ite) areas.  Bashar Assad is an Alawite Muslim, related to Shi’ite Muslims.   The ISF are Lebanese Internal Security Forces.

Here is more information about the rebel groups:

SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL: Syria’s more moderate rebel units, known together as the Free Syrian Army, and the primary object of American aid.

BREAKAWAY FACTIONS: These include several fighting groups with a mix of religious and nationalist ideologies that are highly localized, some of whom broke away from the FSA but still work with them. They include the Syrian Revolutionaries Front led by Jamal Maarouf, also known as Abu Khaled, the Islamic Army headed by Zahran Alloush and Harakat Hazm, reported earlier this year to have received U.S made advanced weapons including TOW missiles.

ISLAMIC FRONT: An alliance of seven powerful conservative and ultraconservative rebel groups that merged in late November. They want to bring Shariah law to Syria and they reject the Syrian National Coalition, but cooperate with some of their fighters on the ground.  U.S. aid could go to some of its factions. The Syrian National Coalition is a coalition of local councils, unions, and tribal groups that support the rebel movement.

Al NUSRA FRONT: Al-Qaida’s branch in Syria. It was declared a terrorist group by the United States.  THIS GROUP SHOULD NOT GET AID.

THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND AL-SHAM (ISIS or ISIL): Originally al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq, led by Iraqi militant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They turned against it because of its brutal tactics, but particularly because it seemed determined to take over the rebel movement for its own aims — creating a transnational extremist state. Al-Qaida’s central command ejected it from the network for its clashes with other rebels.  This group should also not get aid.