Back in November of 2012, the Tawhid Brigade declared support for the Syrian National Coalition – the American and Gulf sponsored opposition council said to represent the Free Syrian Army. The world was told that the Syrian National Coalition represented “moderates” and pro-democracy fighters. Such groups as the Tawhid Brigade collectively received millions of dollars from Washington in “non-lethal aid” early in the uprising, and more recently, the U.S. government has publicly admitted to weapons shipments.
Does anyone believe these are “moderates” worthy of U.S. aid?
At the end of September, the Tawhid Brigade and other Islamist factions announced the formation of a new Islamic coalition. The new coalition defines itself against the SNC and has now grown to 30+ Islamist groups. Though Washington will now attempt to distance itself from these reactionary groups, the fact is such outfits as the Tawhid Brigade have been the beneficiaries of American funding for the past year.
Anyone with an inkling of experience on the ground in the Middle East knows that Salafists are not hard to spot. Salafists (alternately called Wahhabis) emphasize a return to the purity of early Islam, and adopt certain external distinctives. One of the most evident distinctives is seen in facial hair: the beard is unkept and grows freely, while the upper lip is kept clean shaven.
Throughout the entirety of the Syrian crisis, major media networks have unwittingly promoted Salafists (the most extreme of the extreme Islamists) as Jeffersonian democrats and “freedom fighters” worthy of Western aid and help (just turn on CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, etc… and play “spot the Salafi” during the Syrian battle footage as pundits narrate “the fight for freedom against a tyrant”). The mainstream media, consisting mostly of reporters and pundits who have never spent time in the Middle East, has merely parroted the line of the American political class throughout the conflict.
The rebels are not hiding who they are.
The average American, with just a little information (on something as seemingly arbitrary as facial hair) , can spot what mainstream media is either too dumb or too ideologically blind to see: Washington is diverting our tax dollars to fanatics bent on the total reconfiguring of Syria as a hardline Islamic state.