Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ready to Be Even More Confused About Syria!

Who are the approximately 100,000 rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad?
Assad claims that “80 to 90% of those [the Syrian government is] fighting belong to al Qaeda."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claims that 15% to 25% of the opposition is "bad guys" who belong to an extremist groups.
Neither is accurate.
The complex reality is that there are as many as 1,000 individual armed rebel groups, each of which fall somewhere on the spectrum from al-Qaeda ideologue to secular Syrian Arab Army defector.
Charles Lister of IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center recently published a fantastic article detailing "specific nature and composition of the insurgency itself." According to Lister, nearly half of the rebel forces are jihadist or hardline Islamists.
We've drawn on Lister's insights and other estimates to establish a rough breakdown of the rebels fighting Assad:

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