Rachel Marsden
A recent intelligence leak confirms something that regular readers of this column already know: that the Obama administration has officially authorized covert support of local "rebel" groups, through government agencies like the CIA, with the goal of destabilizing and subverting the Bashar al-Assad regime. The interesting consequence is that al-Qaeda is among the groups President Obama's directive now supports.

Just think about this for a minute. The president of the United States, according to an intelligence leak initially reported by Reuters, has secretly authorized support of an undisclosed nature for armed fighters in a region, including members of the group now synonymous with terrorism against American and Western interests in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Presumably, Obama is leaving it up to those responsible for distributing said "support" to ensure that no arms fall into the hands of any al-Qaeda members. But the reality is that, given the fog of war permeating Syria right now, Obama would have better luck determining which trick-or-treating children arriving at his door on any given Halloween are little hellions undeserving of candy.

Obama reportedly signed the order earlier this year, closer to when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suggested to the Senate Armed Services Committee that al-Qaeda had taken a discreet approach in Syria, choosing not to draw attention to itself. The Washington Post quoted Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess as saying that there was no "clarion call to outsiders coming in."

Well, Burgess must not have gotten the memo, because just a few days earlier, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had issued that call, declaring in an eight-minute video: "Wounded Syria is still bleeding day after day, and the butcher (Assad) isn't deterred and doesn't stop. However, the resistance of our people in Syria is escalating and growing despite all the pains, sacrifices and blood."

Obama has now engaged America in a covert war AGAINST a regime trying to wipe out al-Qaeda. If this was at all about fighting global terrorism, Obama would just sit back and do precisely nothing while al-Qaeda spilled into Syria and Assad's forces wiped them out. Assad is a horrible guy, but is it really worth getting in bed with al-Qaeda to have a hand in his ouster?

If Obama's order had anything to do with humanitarian intervention to assist the Syrian civilian population, he would be following Canada's lead in differentiating between genuinely innocent civilians and the undifferentiated mass of rebel fighters -- providing strictly humanitarian aid and protection to the former while letting the latter fight it out with Assad.

Rachel Marsden

Rachel Marsden is a columnist with Human Events Magazine, and Editor-In-Chief of GrandCentralPolitical News Syndicate.
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