Boy, no sooner had I written about Obama’s complete cluelessness on what to do with Syria, then the Washington Post provides devastating confirmation that the Obama Administration is making policy without a shred of solid intelligence. The level of ignorance is staggering. They do not have good intelligence on what is going on inside Syria.

Sixteen months into the uprising in Syria, the United States is struggling to develop a clear understanding of opposition forces inside the country, according to U.S. officials who said that intelligence gaps have impeded efforts to support the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. spy agencies have expanded their efforts to gather intelligence on rebel forces and Assad’s regime in recent months, but they are still largely confined to monitoring intercepted communications and observing the conflict from a distance, officials said.

Interviews with U.S. and foreign intelligence officials revealed that the CIA has been unable to establish a presence in Syria, in contrast with the agency’s prominent role gathering intelligence from inside Egypt and Libya during revolts in those countries.

As I pointed out in my piece yesterday (Obama Still Doesn’t Get It on Syria), Obama and his “crack” national security team are backing the move to oust Assad without a goddamn clue about who comprises said opposition.

I know for a fact, without the benefit of having to rely on the CIA, that part of the opposition–the most lethal part I must add–consists of individuals with direct ties to Al Qeada in Iraq. How do I know? Simply look at the techniques and tactics being employed by the Assad opposition. They mirror the techniques and tactics used against us in Iraq by the Sunni elements we labled as “Al Qaeda in Iraq.”

I am not some teary eyed tree hugger who believes that we only need to give the world a Coke and teach them to sing in perfect harmony. I am a realist. Yes, Assad is a son of a bitch, but at least he allows Christians and Sunnis to hold power in his Government. That would not be the case with the hardline Sunnis leading the push to oust Assad and his regime. So, in the interest of maintaining a counter-balance to the rise of Sunni extremism, I would tolerate and even embrace the regime of Bashir Assad. Better the Devil we know.

I am sad to say that Secretary Clinton has bought into this nonsense and is helping Obama try to cobble together international pressure to force Assad to resign. But Assad has the backing of the Russians and the Chinese, who have told us, properly so, to fuck off.

Civil wars are a fact of human history. We had a bloody episode ourselves, which was far more deadly and brutal than anything we have seen yet in Syria. If we are going to interfere in Syria then we better have a plan in place for what follows in the aftermath of Assad. Hope is not a policy. And you cannot make sound policy without good intelligence. We have virtually no good intelligence, as reported in the Washington Post, about who is in control of the opposition and what is the extent of their influence inside Syria. What we do know (and Obama and his team are ignoring) is that a significant element in the opposition hold the same beliefs and goals espoused by the likes of Osama Bin Laden.

Bringing back Bin Laden is the practical effect of Obama’s bizarre Syrian policy.

UPDATE–Who knew that I control the content of the NY Times. In contrast to the hysterical protests of the Obamabot, who writes under the name of LOLA828, looks the NY Times confirms my analysis is spot on:

It is the sort of image that has become a staple of the Syrian revolution, a video of masked men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and brandishing AK-47s — with one unsettling difference. In the background hang two flags of Al Qaeda, white Arabic writing on a black field.

“We are now forming suicide cells to make jihad in the name of God,” said a speaker in the video using the classical Arabic favored by Al Qaeda.

The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution, with a growing although still limited success that has American intelligence officials publicly concerned, and Iraqi officials next door openly alarmed. . . .

The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda. An important border crossing with Turkey that fell into Syrian rebels’ hands last week, Bab al-Hawa, has quickly become a jihadist congregating point.

Are all Obama supporters really as stupid as LOLA828, or is he/she an aberration? Like shooting fish in a barrel. To repeat my previous message–Obama and team are lost on the matter of Syria and are enabling the rise of the Sunni extremists, who are eager to oust Bashir Assad. Simple.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.