November 8th, 2014
10:24 PM ET

Is backing Syria rebels a mistake?

Fareed speaks with Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma's Center for Middle East Studies, about his proposal for addressing the Syria crisis. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So let's understand why you think that the solution that so many people keep urging, which is that the United States supports those rebels in the blue areas and that they will therefore win. They will establish control, create perhaps a democratic Syria. Why is that not going to work?

Well, it's not going to work because most of the blue area are dominated by the big rebel groups which are al Qaeda and the Islamic Front, which are jihadist, very anti-American groups. The pro-American militias just got wiped out in the northern blue spot, Jabal al-Zawiya. They just got pushed aside by al Qaeda. And so they're very small. They may own perhaps 1 or 2 percent of Syria today, the rebels that are being backed by the United States.

So to turn those 2 percent into winners, that would not only wipe out ISIS, but taking on al-Assad would be a gargantuan undertaking.

So they have to beat Al-Nusra and al Qaeda and Khorasan. Then they've got to beat ISIS. Then they've got to beat al-Assad.

Yes, it's not going to happen. And we've only – President Obama has given them half a billion dollars. Now, at the University of Oklahoma we have an endowment of much more than a billion dollars and we can't even pay the students to go for free.

So they're not going to build an army for that kind of money. This is just chump change that's there to satisfy, I presume, people who are criticizing the president.

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Topics: GPS Show • Syria

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Hussam

    Hillary Clinton said in his book HARD CHOICES that ISIS was created by the US

    November 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Did you happen to look at the cover at all while you were reading it?

      November 11, 2014 at 10:16 am | Reply
  2. Crockett

    Just landed in Liberia from India !!!!! THANK GOD !!!! Kissed the ground in Monrovia. Checking into a hospital for Ebola/Hep A- C/E Coli/TB etc.
    Never again will I go to India ever again. EVER!!!

    It is absolutely terrible there beyond words. I will publish my comments as we go along.
    Suffice to say that India is disintegrating. People are beyond belief neanderthals and sooooo many of them. Raiping everything that moves including but not limited to water buffaloes and camels, Spitting, coughing in your face, smelling and just pure unhygienic. No moral values. Womenbeaters. Filthy people. Smell like rotten onions. In fact.....pardon my french..., they smell like pig s hit on a hot Indian summer day.

    November 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  3. A joke

    Joshua is a great academic and a spokesman for Assad. Unfortunately, his "plan" is a real joke. Chemical Assad is the problem. ISIS is just a symptom that he helped create to change the narrative. Assad and ISIS are two faces of the same criminal coin. As long as this brutal dictator is in power, there will NEVER be peace in Syria and ISIS will NEVER be defeated.

    November 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Reply
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