Efforts to find a viable partner force to help America combat first the Assad regime, and later ISIS, have been underway for several years now. Unfortunately, most of those efforts have focused around the so-called Free Syrian Army. America jumped in the Syrian Civil War way too late in the game. By the time the CIA got involved, most of the moderates had already defected to groups like Al-Nusra and ISIS. The latter two groups were well funded by fat cats in the Gulf States while the FSA was hanging by a thread until it’s dying ghost was resuscitated with Western shock therapy.
Even the vetting process was a mess, as turf battles erupted between the CIA and JSOC’s Intelligence Support Activity contractors who were collecting intelligence to vet those in the Free Syrian Army.
A number of different initiatives currently exist to arm, train, and deploy “friendly” FSA forces in Syria. One of them is now known as the GCC program and will be written about here in brief due to its abject failure, and the fact that is just a cause du jour for the Obama administration to point to and say they are actually doing something to fight ISIS. Despite the vetting, the FSA is hardly a moderate or reliable partner force. Those on the ground in Syria have told SOFREP about how they often partner with their so-called enemies in battles where they have something to gain. In other words, the FSA will marry up with Al-Nusra to fight ISIS one day and hang out with ISIS to fight back Assad another day.
While these sorts of Machiavellian politics seem curious if not ridiculous to Western observers, these alliances of convenience are quite common in the Middle East.