The NY Times describes a puzzle that is apparently baffling the strategists in the Obama 'administration' - why does Al Qaeda hate us?
Rivals of ISIS Attack U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group
BAGHDAD — A Syrian insurgent group at the heart of the Pentagon’s effort to fight the Islamic State came under intense attack on Friday from a different hard-line Islamist faction, a serious blow to the Obama administration’s plans to create a reliable military force inside Syria.
The attack on Friday was mounted by the Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda. It came a day after the Nusra Front captured two leaders and at least six fighters of Division 30, which supplied the first trainees to graduate from the Pentagon’s anti-Islamic State training program.
In Washington, several current and former senior administration officials acknowledged that the attack and the abductions by the Nusra Front took American officials by surprise and amounted to a significant intelligence failure.
They did not see this coming?
While American military trainers had gone to great lengths to protect the initial group of trainees from attacks by Islamic State or Syrian Army forces, they did not anticipate an assault from the Nusra Front. In fact, officials said on Friday, they expected the Nusra Front to welcome Division 30 as an ally in its fight against the Islamic State.
The Nusra Front was going to be keen to embrace a US backed group as an ally? Maybe Division 30 is being commanded from Area 51, because under our our boring yellow sun a bit of history noted by the Times seems relevant:
The Nusra Front said in a statement on Friday that its aim was to eliminate Division 30 before it could gain a deeper foothold in Syria. The Nusra Front did much the same last year when it smashed the main groups that had been trained and equipped in a different American effort, one run covertly by the C.I.A.
This is tricky and I am not a highly-paid national security officer with access to the latest intel, but it occurs to me that Al Qaeda declared the US to be the "far enemy" back in the 90's. Since then, we have fought Al Qaeda and its offshoots in Afghanistan and Pakistan, (and still do), Iraq (yeah, yeah, after Bush invaded), Yemen, Somalia, and really, anywhere we can find them.
Yet for some reason the Qaeda affiliate in Syria was expected to welcome, or at least tolerate a US-backed group, despite a recent history suggesting the opposite?
I fear that the decriminalization of marijuana in Washington DC has had greater impact then expected.
IF YOU'RE NOT AGAINST ASSAD YOU ARE WITH HIM: Thomas Joscelyn at The Long War Journal has a different take.