The Joint Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a bid to help him defeat jihadist groups, a bombshell report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claims.
Hersh writes in the London Review of Books that the group of senior military leaders who advise Secretary of Defense Ash Carter sent intelligence through Israel, Germany, and even Russia.
The secret missives were transmitted with the understanding they would be forwarded to Assad in his quest to defeat Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State.
“We weren’t intent on deviating from Obama’s stated policies. But sharing our assessments via the military-to-military relationships with other countries could prove productive,” a former Joint Chiefs of Staff adviser adviser told Hersh.
“It was clear that Assad needed better tactical intelligence and operational advice. The JCS concluded that if those needs were met, the overall fight against Islamist terrorism would be enhanced. Obama didn’t know, but Obama doesn’t know what the JCS does in every circumstance and that’s true of all presidents.”
Hersh also writes the military actually stopped a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels to prove it was on the level about helping Assad finish off the terror groups.
Discussing his article with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, an independent global news blog, Hersh said of Assad: “He has a lot of native support, and even from Muslims, because every Muslim in Syria is not a Wahhabi or a Salafist, an extremist.
“Many are very moderate people who believe they would be in trouble if the Islamic force, the Islamic groups, came into power, because they would go and seek out those fellow Muslims that don’t agree with their extreme views.
“So he does have an awful lot of support, more than most people think. This is not to say he’s a good guy or bad guy. We’re just talking about reality.”