Turkey and Saudi Arabia have come up with an aggressive new strategy to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad: they are aiding extremist rebel groups.
“The two countries — one a democracy, the other a conservative kingdom — have for years been at odds over how to deal with Assad, their common enemy. But mutual frustration with what they consider American indecision has brought the two together in a strategic alliance that is driving recent rebel gains in northern Syria, and has helped strengthen a new coalition of anti-Assad insurgents, Turkish officials say.
“That is provoking concern in the United States, which does not want rebel groups, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front, uniting to topple Assad. The Obama administration worries that the revived rebel alliance could potentially put a more dangerous radical Islamist regime in Assad’s place, just as the U.S. is focused on bringing down the Islamic State group. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issues, said the administration is concerned that the new alliance is helping Nusra gain territory in Syria.”
Bashar al-Assad – the current leader of Syria – is an Alawite Muslim – related to Shia Muslims (also called Shi’ite Muslims). He is aligned with Iran, a Shia-oriented nation.
Al-Assad, however, is considered a moderate. However some nations that are U.S. allies look at Assad as an enemy for political reasons.
So, is the situation in The Middle East becoming more of a train wreck? Should the U.S. take a stand against its own allies?
What is the situation with NBC correspondent Richard Engel’s capture in 2012?
To summarize, Engel said just after his hostage ordeal that he was taken hostage by a Shi’ite militia affiliated with the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, as well as Iran and Hezbollah.
However, it recently emerged that he was taken hostage by Syrian rebels who are possibly associated with the Sunni Free Syrian Army that the U.S. supports.
So he was apparently taken hostage by our allies, not our enemies. The story could have created a shift in foreign policy and public opinion against the Shi’ites of Assad, Iran, and Hezbollah and for the Sunni rebels.
His captivity showed the Sunnis of the Free Syrian Army in a good light and the Shi’ite militias in a bad light, whereas the truth was the opposite.
Gunmen in southern Afghanistan kidnapped 30 men from the Hazara ethnic community, authorities said Tuesday, in what appeared to be the latest in a series of attacks on Shiites in the predominantly Sunni country.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack Monday afternoon, police and officials said, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The gunmen kidnapped the 30 people, all men, from two buses on a major road in Zabul province, provincial Gov. Mohammad Ashraf said. He said all women, children and non-Hazaras were left behind.
Abdul Khaliq Ayubi, a local government official, said the gunmen all wore black clothing and black masks. Others claimed they had “military clothes.”
“Their faces were covered and they were wearing military clothes,” said a witness, according to the BBC.
The Interior Ministry said the buses were driving from the southern city of Kandahar to Kabul when the kidnapping was done by “unknown armed individuals.”
Authorities were searching for the people who were kidnapped. It is unknown whether they are still alive. Some of whom may be government officials, Ashraf said.