Obama for the third time (after bin Laden and al-Awlaki) has discovered some Islamic jihadists he doesn’t like: he has an election to win. “U.S. yanks support for Syrian opposition group, warns of extremist takeover of uprising,” by Anne Gearan for the Washington Post, October 31 (thanks to Jacob):
ZAGREB, Croatia “” The Obama administration on Wednesday renounced the proclaimed leaders of the Syrian political opposition and said any group seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad must reject attempts by extremists to “hijack” a legitimate revolution.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Syrian National Council, or SNC, should no longer be considered the “visible leader” of the opposition. That made official what has been the increasingly obvious sidelining of an opposition group led mostly by middle-age Syrian expatriates.
“This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but have in many instances not been inside Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years,” Clinton said during a five-nation Balkans tour. “There has to be a representation of those who are on the front lines fighting and dying today.”…
Clinton and other U.S. officials are fed up with infighting among the SNC leaders seeking recognition as a shadow government and have become convinced that the group does not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria. It also has little legitimacy among on-the-ground activists and fighters, and has done little to stem the infiltration of Islamist extremists into the opposition forces.
Clinton had some of her strongest words to date about the risk that the uprising against Assad could be overtaken by militants who do not seek a democratic replacement.
“We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution,” Clinton said. “There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime for their own purposes.”…
The State Department helped to smuggle a few internal dissidents out of Syria and brought them to New York last month to meet with representatives of key nations trying to help the opposition, Clinton said.
The larger meeting during the annual U.N. General Assembly was public at the time, but the presence of Syrian-resident dissidents was not. Clinton did not name the participants nor say whether they had returned to Syria.
“We made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,” Clinton said. “They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice.”…