Virginia Senator Dick Black has been criticized for his letter to President Bashar Assad, a letter in which he thanks President Assad him for freeing Christians held captive in Syria by Al Qaeda. That group of Christians included 13 Catholic Nuns. Senator Black is responding to those critics who have contacted him with the following letter:
I appreciate your comments and feedback. I have attached my letter to President al Assad of Syria. For years, I have followed the Syrian War and certain other Mideast events quite closely, and I believe U.S. Syrian policy is dangerously misguided.
I am deeply concerned that if we oust President Assad, we will install a jihadist regime associated with al Qaeda. Since al Qaeda attacked the U.S. and murdered 3000 Americans on 9-11, it seems foolish to align ourselves with their forces.
The Syrian rebellion is dominated by radical jihadists. On Jan. 25, 2014, The Times of Israel reported a huge increase in global jihadists among the Syrian rebels. In just two years, Israeli intelligence estimates soared from 2,000 to 30,000. The Telegraph reported that nearly half of Syrian rebels are jihadists or hard-line-Islamists, citing highly respected military analysts at IHS Janes. Since the jihadists are the most powerful rebel forces, al Qaeda allies would certainly dominate Syria should it fall to the rebels. That would be al Qaeda’s greatest triumph in the War on Terror.
And we can’t limit arms to just so-called “moderate” rebels. We gave TOW anti-tank missiles to “moderates,” and they used them, on March 21, 2014, to help al Nusra terrorists overwhelm the Christian town of Kessab and murder 80 Christians, including 13 who were beheaded. Arming one rebel faction helps them all—including the most barbaric ones.
Further, President Assad has defended Christians in Syria as his father did before him. In contrast, the jihadists are sworn to behead the “Kuffar.” That includes anyone who does not share their extreme view of Islam—including Christians and many other Muslims too.
Syrian rebels recently crucified men in northern Syria. They routinely execute prisoners of war–a grotesque violation of the Geneva Convention. They are fond of public beheadings, and proudly post them to YouTube. [See e.g. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/07/syrian_jihadists_beh.php#]. It is revolting that our GIs must support such barbaric savages. We are forcing them to fight for evil.
Americans have fought against al Qaeda for 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I find it abhorrent that we train and equip those same men to fight against American interests in Syria.
Some claim the Syrians used poison gas, so we must attack them. Claims about the source of the Sarin gas attack were highly controversial. Many believe they were a ruse by the rebels to trigger an American attack. Regardless, we decided to accept Syrian destruction of their stockpile to resolve the dispute. That has been substantially accomplished under incredibly difficult circumstances. So that excuse for war is moot.
We are training western jihadists to attack the U.S. and western nations. The Daily Beast reports that 100 Americans are fighting for the terrorists in Syria. The BBC also reports that Britons join ISIL, the most savage jihadists. Their behavior prompted BG al Basheer of the Free Syrian Army to write of their participation in “beheadings, crucifixions, and ‘ill treatment of women’ [rape].” He warns they will return home to “continue on their pernicious path of destruction.” We have no business facilitating these loathsome behaviors by training jihadists to fight in Syria. [BBC, Syria crisis: Britons accused of brutal killings, May 26, 2014.]
Richard H. Black
Senator of Virginia, 13th District