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News is investigating the situation on the ground in Syria and extremely complicated task it has to be the government restricts access there -- you know a civil war is raging as you know and dozens of rebel groups.
Are operating in the country.
According to a report from the DC think tank called the Homeland Security project.
Which is part of the bipartisan policy center the rebel movement in Syria has a lot of overlap with al-Qaeda.
Now this report comes twelve years after the 9/11 attacks it says.
If the US decides to help the rebels it could mean we would also inadvertently help al-Qaeda militants.
One of the most effective Syrian rebel groups is called the nests were front and it is effectively a branch of al-Qaeda.
According to the think tank the rebel group has been providing social services to build support.
With people in the areas it controls if that group and others like -- gained control.
Of serious chemical weapons they could smuggle them out of the country.
And use those weapons in future attacks Robert Young Pelton is an author and filmmaker.
He has spent time with al-Qaeda members around the world since the group was formed.
In the mid 1990s and at one point Osama bin Laden was even his neighbor Robert good to see you sir thank you.
-- -- -- I'm I'm well sir thank you Mike my question is do you believe there's others do that al-Qaeda is is not on its heels that al-Qaeda is actually inside Syria flourish.
Well al-Qaeda -- -- a number of countries and have actually set up countries are Khalifa at some places that is as wide ranging as Somalia Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Even in Nigeria temporarily so al-Qaeda is doing very very well and they're more powerful in northern Africa and in the Middle East than they were back in the early nineties.
Remember they run option -- of -- funding.
The Islamic groups we fought against the Soviets so back in the eighties six billion dollars was pumped in to fundamentalist groups.
Which have been spread across the world Tikrit -- -- al-Qaeda today.
Yeah -- and we said in the intro that by helping.
Get rid of Bashir Assad that we might be inadvertently helping the rebels what about that what about the flip side of that Robert what happens if we don't help the rebels.
Do the rebels then say okay America have left us hanging and we're gonna lean more toward these groups like al-Qaeda they're giving us schools and if not schools giving us money and food and some housing in some cases.
Paul -- we have a mechanism that was set up from the sixties by president Kennedy's call the US special forces -- green berets they are specifically trained to go in and support and train rebel groups.
And shape them on the battlefield.
We neglected to do that may remember we did this and Afghanistan where we sent in special forces -- right after 9/11.
And we shaped the government of Afghanistan so it under the Obama administration we have chosen not to shape that conflict.
-- that conflict to shape us and we found ourselves between two rotating.
So the lawn mower blades they have you've got the Shia Sunni conflict going on and then you've got some of the east west thing going on and we got on the wrong side of it.
By going against the side who is essentially a moderate Shia leader.
And ended up supporting the growth of this -- -- or certainly.
Arm of al-Qaeda.
Yet you have long argued that the US is kind of been on its heels in the Middle East and Russia really has been kind of leading the charge.
When you watch what's happening this this chess game with with.
Vladimir Putin kind of leading the charge here what what are your thoughts on.
Over so I think Obama was playing -- was taking a very long time to make very complicated moves.
And I think -- Putin was playing checkers he basically stole president Obama's lunch money.
And moved quickly to form an alliance with the -- China and other groups like Iran to come up with this peace plan and as you know that's the main criteria of military action is speed surprise and balance of action.
I don't think President Obama understands that so we've miss that window.
So now we've got to -- with the UN and then the very complex group of sort of diplomats to come up with a very very unsatisfactory solution.
Now Robert Young -- good to see -- Robert thank you.
Always a pleasure trip.
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