icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Journalist who wrote about Al Qaeda-linked group ‘worth befriending’ slams Gabbard for suggesting the US backed Al Qaeda

Journalist who wrote about Al Qaeda-linked group ‘worth befriending’ slams Gabbard for suggesting the US backed Al Qaeda
Tulsi Gabbard drew criticism this week for saying that the US backed Al Qaeda in Syria. One of those offended was journalist Clint Watts — but it turns out, Watts himself was in favor of ‘befriending’ Al Qaeda-linked groups.

Gabbard slammed US policy in Syria during Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Ohio, calling it a "regime change war" in which Washington had sided with Al Qaeda and used the terror group as the "groundforce" in their efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Also on rt.com ‘How is there NO question?’ EVEN CNN hosts gasp at guest’s claim that Tulsi Gabbard is ‘a Russian puppet’ (VIDEO)

The Hawaii congresswoman’s comments prompted outraged MSNBC journalist Watts to tweet that her take on Syria was "completely false." The US “did not back al Qaeda in Syria,” he wrote, asking: “Why didn’t the moderators or other candidates challenge her on these falsehoods?” 

Watts likely immediately regretted jumping into the debate over Gabbard’s Syria stance, however, as he was swiftly reminded by journalist Max Blumenthal that he part-authored an article for Foreign Affairs magazine in 2014 which recommended that Washington “befriend” an Al Qaeda-linked group.

The piece focused on the Ahrar al-Sham affiliate, with the article subhead advising that it was a group "worth befriending.”

To be fair, Watts was certainly not alone in suggesting that the US become pals with Al Qaeda’s friends to fulfil wider foreign policy goals. 

Former CIA director David Petraeus also suggested using “moderate” members of the organization’s Syria affiliate, the Al-Nusra Front, to help fight ISIS. Former CIA officer Evan McMullin even confirmed that his own role at the agency was to "convince" Al Qaeda operatives "to work with us."

These facts admittedly blow quite a large hole in Watts’ argument against Gabbard this week.

Gabbard was also blasted by journalists for using the "Russian talking point" that the US “armed” Al Qaeda. Blumenthal was on hand with facts again, posting a photograph of an Al Qaeda fighter firing a US-supplied TOW missile in Aleppo.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.