It turns out it's actually only the jihad-loving 'moderate' rebels who one isn't supposed to strike
Wait a minute. What's going over there in the land of Syria? Haven't we for 5 months been hearing American officials, ideologues and media incessantly howl about how Russia, instead of fighting ISIS in Syria, is actually pouncing on moderate Syrian rebels, including groups that "have in the past proved to be efficient against Isis"?
Well it so happens that the biggest rebel coalition in Syria by far is the Syrian Democratic Forces which is composed of the Kurdish YPG and its minor Arab and Syriac/Assyrian proxies, like the (very rebelliously-named) Army of Revolutionaries.
It also happens this coalition unlike the jihadis in the Army of Conquest, Army of Islam and Ansar al-Sharia that Russia has been pounding actually has a claim to being 'moderate' seeing how the YPG is ideologically speaking basically the Syrian wing of the PKK - the secular, left-wing nationalist guerilla army of Turkish Kurds.
Moreover, there has been no rebel formation more effective against ISIS than the YPG - let us recount its highly publicized defense of the city of Kobani and the way it later drove ISIS from a chunk of Syria's border with Turkey connecting Kobani with a Kurdish region to the east.
Well, right now we have the situation in northern Syria where Turkish artillery is pounding the hell out of 'Syrian Democratic Forces' to try to thwart their advance eastward that is covered by Russian airstrikes. Moreover, this advance will put the YPG of the Kurdish Afrin enclave in contact with ISIS-held territory in northern Syria and we know that the Kurds are inclined to carry the fight to ISIS to try to connect Afrin with the Kurdish-held Kobani.
As this is taking place, instead of condemning Turkey's actions in strong terms as it would do if Russians were doing it, the US is merely "expressing concern". More importantly western media is hardly shrieking about this as they did when Russia was pounding the likes of Al Nusra.
So let's recap, we have a formation here that is:
- affiliated with the opposition
- effective against ISIS
- spoiling for a fight against ISIS
Yet we see that it is US ally Turkey which is blowing it to pieces while it is supposedly rebel-hating Russia which is supporting its advance.
But if the measure of great power virtue in Syria is the support for moderate Syrian rebels, as the west has been insisting for so long now, so then where are now the neocon and liberal interventionist howls against Erdogan and the praises for Putin?
Or is it the case it is only support for "moderate" jihadi-loving rebels who rub shoulders with Al Qaeda that actually establishes one's credentials as a democrat?
The answer of course is yes.