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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:50 PM

West worried as Syrian rebels grow beards

The influence of hardline Islamists is increasingly being seen on Syria's battlefields, with even the more secular rebel fighters starting to sport jihadist-style beards, headbands and clothes.

The trend is confusing the West and complicating the dispatch of aid, especially weapons, to the insurgents, experts say.

"It is difficult to distinguish between moderate Islamists and Salafi-jihadists in the context of the Syrian civil war," says Elizabeth O'Bagy, author of a recent Institute for War report entitled "Jihad in Syria."

"The mainstream use of jihadi iconography by non-Salafist rebel groups distorts perceptions about their ideologies and end-goals," she says.

This represents a critical, if blurry line for Western powers who remain wary of providing weapons to the rebels for fear they may fall into the hands of extremists.

http://www.france24.com/en/20121204-west-worried-syrian-rebels-grow-beards

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Reply West worried as Syrian rebels grow beards (Original post)
FarCenter Dec 2012 OP
Warpy Dec 2012 #1
moondust Dec 2012 #2
slampoet Dec 2012 #3

Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:52 PM

1. They've got to feel largely betrayed by the west

since Russia and China continue to support Assad and stymie any efforts to bring in air support.

I don't wonder that they're starting to identify with the jihadists. It might be necessary, at least in the short term, in order to declare their independence from any foreign alliances.

Or they might simply have given up on personal hygiene while the revolution requires heavy fighting.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:05 PM

2. I would assume

Last edited Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:11 PM - Edit history (1)

that Western countries have been relying heavily on the intelligence and advice of other countries in the region such as Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. But even they are not going to go into Syria and interview all the "rebels" to see if they're "okay" and can be trusted with powerful weapons now and in the future. Appearances matter. The U.S. learned its lesson the hard way with the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:30 PM

3. They are growing their beards becauase the Govenment is cutting off water to them.

Also a beard provides a way to quickly shave and change appearance, like a reversible coat.

Reporter needs to get a fucking brain.

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