Thinking Aloud: The Southern Front, the Dog That Didn’t Bark?

Mar. 18, 2015 by Darius

Over the last few weeks, including earlier this week, I’ve heard several Syria experts talk about the success of the US-backed Syrian rebels known as the Southern Front.  Trained in Jordan in early 2014 and comprised of elements of the Free Syrian Army, the Southern Front has been fairly steadily working its way towards Damascus. But nobody seems to be talking about it.  Why not?

Let’s be honest here: the Obama administration is getting beat up on its Syria policy.  Thousands of civilians are still dying, ISIS is running rampant, chemical weapons, supposed to have been removed from Syria, have turned up in the hands of ISIS and, again recently, of the government.  At home, Obama’s political opponents have been relentless in their criticism of his handling of the Syria situation, now in its fourth year.  The Southern Front, though, is a small bright spot.

At present, the Southern Front is engaged in a major battle with pro-Syrian regime Shia militias, including Hezbollah fighters and elements from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, in addition to government troops.  This time, though, the Southern Front is winning, or at least holding its own, despite the odds.

So why not talk about it?  Perhaps the Obama administration doesn’t want to taint the Southern Front with the accusation of being US stooges, but then again, everyone on the ground in Syria already knows the Southern Front has US support.

Silence on the Southern Front isn’t helping anyone: not the Syrian fighters who remain underfunded and certainly not the Obama administration itself.  The question remains: why has the dog not barked?

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