According to Stratfor, the Free Syrian Army plans to restructure and rename itself the Syrian National Army. Stratfor describes the rebels as “a mix of secular defectors, Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and foreign Salafi-jihadist groups.” The change is being made “so the Syrian rebels can present a more united front and thus gain more credibility with foreign sponsors.” More on that here.
The Syrian opposition somehow reminds me of the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the four Pythons who make up the People’s Front of Judea (PFJ) are meeting in an amphitheater, with the character Reg played by John Cleese demonstrating his disdain for the Roman Empire by refusing to snack on rich imperialist tit-bits being hawked by Graham Chapman’s Brian Cohen character, “Larks’ tongues. Wrens’ livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars’ earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get ‘em while they’re hot. They’re lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar. Tuscany fried bats.” The PFJ spends most of its time casting aspersions on the old man sitting some distance away who is the entire Popular Front of Judea and also complaining about the Judean Popular People’s Front. “Splitters.”
And it’s tough to join the PFJ:
Reg: “If you want to join the People’s Front of Judea, you have to really hate the Romans.
Brian: “I do!
Reg: “Oh yeah, how much?
Brian: “A lot!
Reg: “Right, you’re in. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the f**king Judean People’s Front.”
Well, welcome to Syria. The only thing that the United States knows about the Free Syrian Army, which it is supporting, is that it really hates Bashar al-Assad. It remains to be seen whether the restructuring and rebranding efforts will transform it into a cohesive body of reliably pro-western liberal democrats and supporters of human rights. All indications suggest that this is unlikely, as there is much hate among groups within the insurgency which will be competing for power after the government falls.