Syrian "Rebels" In Turmoil After Qatar Crisis

The ongoing Qatar crisis has had an unexpectedly adverse outcome among the Syrian "rebels", in many cases formerly known as al-Qaeda, who expect the crisis between two of their biggest state backers - Saudi Arabia and Qatar - to deepen divisions in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria's Iran-backed president. However, in recent weeks the Gulf support has been far from harmonious, fuelling splits that have set back the revolt.

Quoted by Reuters, Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group in northern Syria said "god forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict ... the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (different) countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other."

"We urge our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to burden the Syrian people more than they can bear" he said magnanimously, when what he really meant is that he needs Saudis and Qatar on the same page so that the supply of weapons and cash can resume.

To be sure, for the terrorists rebels the Qatar crisis comes at the worst possible time: the opposition to Assad has been losing ground to Damascus ever since the Russian military deployed to Syria in support of Assad's war effort in 2015. As Reuters adds Assad now appears "militarily unassailable", although rebels still have footholds near Damascus, in the northwest, and the southwest. These are unlikely to hold without a continued infusion of support from the feuding Gulf states.

The splintering within the "fund flows" to rebels has further angered Saudi Arabia: in the fractured map of the Syrian insurgency, Qatari aid has gone to groups that are often Islamist in ideology and seen as close to the Muslim Brotherhood - a movement that is anathema to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. At the same time, Turkey, which has swung firmly behind Qatar in the Gulf crisis, has backed the same groups as Qatar in northern Syria, including the powerful conservative Islamist faction Ahrar al-Sham which in the past has cooperate with the al-Nusra front, also known as al-Qaeda.

Qatar is also widely believed to have ties to al Qaeda-linked jihadists of the group once known as the Nusra Front, which has rebranded since formally parting ways with al Qaeda and is now part of the Tahrir al-Sham Islamist alliance. While Qatar has officially denied Nusra ties, it has mediated the release of hostages held by the group including Americans, Greek Orthodox nuns and members of the Lebanese security forces.


Saudi aid has meanwhile been seen as targeted more closely at groups backed through programs run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency - programs in which Qatar has also participated even as it has backed groups outside that channel.


The United Arab Emirates has also played an influential role in that program, together with staunch U.S. ally Jordan. These powers wield more influence in southern Syria than the north.

Meanwhile, as the Qatar crisis shows no signs of a quick resolution, Reuters cited an opposition source "familiar with foreign support to the rebels" who said the schism "will increase the split between north and south, as the north is mainly funded by Qatar and Turkey, and the south is supported by Jordan and the (U.S.-led) coalition." A second opposition source, a senior rebel official, said the Gulf crisis "will certainly affect us, people are known to be with Saudi, or Qatar, or Turkey. The split is clear."

Adding to rebel concerns, the crisis has also nudged Qatar closer to Iran, which has sent planes loaded with food to Doha. "Any rapprochement between Qatar and Iran, or any other state and Iran, is very concerning for us," the rebel official said. A senior Turkish official said it was very important that the Qatar crisis did not take on "further dimensions".


"These developments will have certain effects on the developments in Syria, its effects will be seen on the field. The elements which Qatar supports may slightly weaken on the field," the official said.


Opposition sources fear the Gulf crisis could spark new bouts of conflict, particularly in the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus where the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam has been fighting the Qatari-backed Failaq al-Rahman intermittently for more than a year. That quarrel has helped government forces regain parts of the area.

For now the Qatar crisis remains in limbo: the Arab states that turned against Qatar two weeks ago issued a list of dozens of people named as terrorists with links to Qatar, including prominent Islamist insurgent Sheikh Abdullah al-Muhaysini, a Saudi national based in Syria known for mobilizing support for jihadist groups. They have not, however, yet issued a clear list of demands for Qatar to comply with in order to reverse the recent escalation.

As for the rebels, as we said two weeks ago now that the Qatar pipeline to Europe no longer appears feasible, the rebellion against Assad now seems moot, which is why the most likely outcome is a continued phase-out of support for forces fighting the Syria government until eventually the situation reverts back to its pre-2011 "status quo" even as the next major regional conflict appears set to be between Saudi Arabia and Iran. All it needs is a catalyst.


NugginFuts Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:19 Permalink

"We urge our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to burden the Syrian people more than they can bear" he said magnanimously, when what he really meant is that he needs Saudis and Qatar on the same page so that the supply of weapons and cash can resume.aaaaaaand that's why there's war in the Middle East.

francis scott … Alt RightGirl (not verified) Mon, 06/19/2017 - 21:41 Permalink


Trump's only risk is that the Deep State is giving him guaranteed-to-fail,reworked-wolfowitzian advice.  Don't know if it's on purpose.  But Trump could care less.   "Wolfowitz's? The Romanian Steak House on the Lower East Side?   Delicious gribenes". (He plucks an earwig out his combover and squishes it into an ashtray made from GeorgeWashington's wooden false teeth.) 

In reply to by Alt RightGirl (not verified)

scraping_by BaBaBouy Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:56 Permalink

By a policy of setting up puppet regimes around the world, by assembling a bunch of neocons in and out of government, by having a MIC with lots of money to buy Congress, by joining at the hip with the House of Saud, by groveling obedience Israel, by a military that wants something to do, by supposed election success with anti-Muslim rhetoric...Certainly not by the wishes or interests of the American people.

In reply to by BaBaBouy

SDShack BaBaBouy Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:52 Permalink

"How did we get into this shit?"... neocons backed by Isreali money engineered then crossed a false flag "red line" to get their coveted nat gas pipeline from SA/Qatar through Iraq and Syria and into Turkey. It's been one giant clusterfuck ever since, so much so, that now SA/Qatar/Turkey have moved beyond just being opposed to Iran/Syria/Russia, and are now at odds with each other. This doesn't even begin to touch on periferal players like Egypt/Muslim Brotherhood, Yemen and Libya etc. which have also been destabalized or even plunged into civil war. The puppet masters are quickly losing control as too many strings are getting tangled together in a gordian knot. The only way out will be for someone to start cutting strings to let many of the puppets fall away, or else the entanglements are going to be so great that no one is going to be able to avoid it. Sociopaths running amok always kill millions and it is being proven once again.

In reply to by BaBaBouy

scraping_by Canadian Dirtlump Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:50 Permalink

The last two encounters in the skies were the USAF providing air cover for ISIS convoys heading south. Whether they're going to try to reorganize and keep fighting from Southeastern Syria, or cross into Jordan and do the cross-border insurgency thing, isn't clear. But this is the US trying to keep its mercenary force together. So, keeping the war going.

In reply to by Canadian Dirtlump

MK13 Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:34 Permalink

It's clear that SA/Qatar split has Trumps administration'S fingers in it - it happened after Trumps visit to ME and after US weapons sales to SA were finalized.

The split allows US to wash its hands of involvement in 'rebels' in Syria. Likely the same for SA. Conflict moves in Iran/SA direction - but what better way to get rid of Muslim problem than Shite/Sunni wars?

Phillyguy Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:32 Permalink

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US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria have been astronomically expensive strategic debacles. US foreign policy in the ME is in shambles. To quote Albert Einstein ““Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

user2011 Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:35 Permalink

People with same root are sponsored by foreigners to kill each other. While their Tru enemies are eating popcorn and watching from afar..  what kind of religion is can it turns people against sanity and humanity!

Insurrexion (not verified) Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:40 Permalink

Bullshit.Another propaganda piece of shit from Reuters:"Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group said, "god forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict ... the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (different) countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other."Sorry Mustafa, it FUCKING ALREADY IS TRAGIC. The fucking Western Deep State marked your country's ass for termination 16 years ago.Apparently, this "Mustafa" character has not been in the Civil War for the past 5 years that is ravaging Syria and sending its people to ravage Europe...For fucks sake, people DO NOT BELIEVE REUTERS, OR AP's bullshit NWO propaganda stories.

Chupacabra-322 Insurrexion (not verified) Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:42 Permalink

Edited version:

Quoted by Reuters (Rothschild), Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group in northern Syria said "god forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict ... the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (UNITED STATES) Vassal countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other."

In reply to by Insurrexion (not verified)

Chupacabra-322 johnnycanuck Mon, 06/19/2017 - 13:42 Permalink

Reuters was previously owned by the Rothschild banking family. They sold Reuters to the Thompson family in 2008. The new company is called Thompson-Reuters. The Thompson family owns a majority of shares at 53%. Historically, no single individual has been permitted to own more than 15% of Reuters, under the first of the Reuters Principles, which states, “Reuters shall at no time pass into the hands of any one interest, group or faction.” However, that restriction was waived for the purchase by the Thomson family.

Pehr Gyllenhammar, chairman of the Reuters Founders Share Company, explained that the Reuters Trust’s First Principle had been waived for the Thomson family because of the poor financial circumstances that Reuters had been in, stating, “The future of Reuters takes precedence over the principles. If Reuters were not strong enough to continue on its own, the principles would have no meaning.” He stated, not having met David Thomson but having discussed the matter with Geoff Beattie, the president of Woodbridge, that the Thomson family had agreed to vote as directed by the Reuters Founders Share Company on any matter that the trustees might deem to threaten the five principles of the Reuters Trust. Woodbridge will be allowed an exemption from the First Principle as long as it remains controlled by the Thomson family.

In reply to by johnnycanuck

Thom Paine Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:40 Permalink

FSS Russia, just give Iran a whole bunch of nukes and a bunch of S400s across the country.Assured MAD within the ME will cause Saudis and Israel to shut the fuck up. I am sure they will be very careful about creating instability in Iran, lest unintended consequences see them both turn to ashes.They will give up their Iran ventures because of MAD, and so give up this other shit, which is all about the final goal of Iran anyway.

Xredsx Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:51 Permalink

I cant't wait for the day when the whole world learns the truth to terrorism. But that probably want happen until the far right are branded with the same brush.

johnnycanuck Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:56 Permalink

Latest news from pro Assad news sites and some pro opposition groups is Qatar funded Ahrar al Sham signed four ceasefire agreements with the government.  Ahrar al Sham is denying it.Yesterday 2 major Islamist terrorist groups aligned with Nusra Front, (Hayat Tahrir al Sham) switched sides and joined Ahrar al Sham.  There have been numerous fire fights between several Islamist groups in Idlib recently and a number of assassinations. Some posit much of this is due to squabbling over diminishing funding and armaments from their out of country backers.Clearly all is not well in Whackbar land. 

scraping_by johnnycanuck Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:03 Permalink

This could also be part of the endgame, which began when Russia bombed out Turkish supply routes. Rather than flee over the border with the foreign mercenaries, the Syrians could be trying to get back with the legal Syrian government. Part of the deal would be to show they really have switched sides. By shooting up groups that haven't. Only then they might be allowed to surrender.

In reply to by johnnycanuck

scraping_by johnnycanuck Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:38 Permalink

The 'safe-zones' balkanization of Syria was an American proposal. And it's still their fallback position now that the coup against the Baathists has failed. Barry and the Deep State put American forces into the country to send that one up the charts. But no one's dancing.And the Cold War 2.0 pretense that Putin is working toward a world empire along the American Model is pure projection. Their aims are just like their resources, limited. Not that they're on the side of the angles, they may or may not be. But simple geopolitical calculation includes cost and benefit analysis.Yes, Israelis dance in the street and the thought of dead Muslims. But even with an open American checkbook, they can't be more than pests. Lebanon proved that.

In reply to by johnnycanuck