Remember Those 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels? They Sold Sotloff to ISIL


John McCain
U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

A spokesperson for the family of Steven Sotloff—the journalist gruesomely murdered by ISIL last week—accused "so-called moderate Syrian rebels" of helping the Islamic terrorist group to capture Sotloff in exchange for a cash payment.

Speaking for the Sotloffs, Barak Barfi—a friend of Sotloff and research fellow at the New America Foundation—told CNN's Anderson Cooper that "sources on the ground" had confirmed that moderate rebel groups were complicit in the crime.

According to Barfi, who spoke with Sotloff on the phone moments before his capture:

"For the first time we can say Steven was sold at the border, Steven's name was on a list that he had been responsible for the bombing of a hospital. This was false, activists spread his name around. … We believe that the so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to ISIS. And that was the reason that he was captured.

… We know this from our sources on the ground. It happened so quickly when he was kidnapped, they didn't have the time to mobilize those resources. Somebody at the border crossing made a phone call to ISIS and they setup a fake checkpoint with many people…

If Barfi's information is accurate, that's quite an indictment. Keep in mind that Republican hawks like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham had wanted to aid the Syrian rebels against Bashar al-Assad's regime just two short years ago. President Obama was also ready to intervene on behalf of the rebels at that time. While ISIL is indeed a different beast, the shifting and uncertain status of these various factions should make U.S. leaders hesitant to involve American forces. There are no good guys, and it's difficult to tell the bad guys from the even worse guys.

Barfi was also critical of how the Obama administration has dealt with the Sotloff family. The White House has made "a number of inaccurate statements" about Sotloff, he said.

What should libertarians think about ISIL? Reason explores the subject here.

Hat tip: The Daily Caller

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  1. Hey, *they* didn’t behead him. Of course they’re “moderate”.

  2. What should libertarians think about ISIL?

    They aren’t very libertarian?
    They don’t seem to care much for the NAP?
    They are Bad Guys?

    1. ISIL has many millennials in its ranks too.

      1. We need a poll

      2. I guess this represents the “55 percent said they have entrepreneurial ambitions” part of the demographic.

  3. The moderate rebels we were sending weapons from the “CIA Annex” in Benghazi? I’m shocked anything could have gone wrong with that plan.

  4. Keep in mind that Republican hawks like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham had wanted to aid the Syrian rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime just two short years ago.

    McCain only cares when those holding and torturing captives are gooks.

    1. Out of all the pejoratives to describe ethnics, gooks is my favorite.

      1. Limey brings a smile to my face. And Squarehead for German.

        1. Squareheads are Swedes, not Germans.

  5. US efforts to destroy Arab Nationalism (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt), are a huge mistake. It’s either that or Islamic fundamentalism. US used to understand it quite well, but now apparently it started believing it’s own ‘freedom and democracy’ propaganda.

    As for selling the poor guy, $50,000? I’m sure US would pay far more if the offer was put on the table. It was most likely political, a good will token.

    1. I don’t think we understood the nationalism/fundamentalism thing as much as we understood that either one could be useful against the Soviets.

    2. *As for selling the poor guy, $50,000? I’m sure US would pay far more if the offer was put on the table.*

      Heck, yeah, they’re willing to pony up 10 mil for the dude who sliced his head off.

      1. They could offer a trade. Obama usually overpays on those, too.

  6. A few years back, I came to the conclusion that the Canadian belief or ideal in a ‘balanced economy’ or ‘mixed-economy’ was nothing more than a misguided, vague term if not a myth. One side will ALWAYS have an edge.

    And so too it is in the political realm. I never understood what ‘moderate’ meant be it here in North America or in the Mid-East or anywhere else. Seems to be there’s no objective point of reference to determine this. A moderate is in the eyes of the beholder and little else.

    1. A moderate is someone who claims to agree with everyone except the “extremists.”

      1. Isn’t an “extremist” “anyone who doesn’t agree with me”?

        1. No. “Extremist” is anyone who passionately and uncompromisingly disagrees. Libertarians are “extremists” because we have principles. Someone who adheres to principles will compromise, thus they are “extremists.”

          Moderates do not follow any principles other than going along to get along.

          They’ll compromise with pure evil if it means making nice-nice.

          1. will *not* compromise

        2. NO!

          Anyone who doesn’t agree with ME is an extremist, you radical reactionary!

    2. Moderate generally means “so unprincipled as to make team red and team blue look like unwavering ideologues”

      1. At least in American contexts.

        In international contexts, it means “the folks were running guns to”

  7. US policy makers ought to read my Grand Unified Theory of the Middle East:


    1. My local paper published it in the LTE section.

      1. Well, I gave it the triple zorro snap in the Z formation!

    2. I just wish there were a lot fewer Muslims. It would reduce the evil levels in the world.

      1. Muslims top the list but you can add basically every supernatural belief system, some worse than others. The Abrahamic religions and Hinuism might be the worst owing to their pervasiveness. But the sub-saharan African animists are still sacrificing children and so forth so they’re certainly the worst if we are going to measure it’s evils on a per capita basis.

        1. Sub-Saharan animists don’t have an ideological goal of taking over the world, or international terror gangs, or a billion followers, etc. Abrahamic religions and Hinduism have many followers, but again, no world-conquering beliefs and no terror gangs.

          In the game of “Who would you kill if you had a time machine?” Mohammad is now my #1 choice. Imagine a timeline in which the Middle East was Christian, Jewish, and pagan. It might not be perfect, but it would be a heck of a lot better.

          1. Islam is an Abrahamic religion and with the exception of Judaism they have certain proclivity towards conversion and spreading their faith. But I did give them the top spot “owing to their pervasiveness”. But it’s important to note that whatever dumbfuckery the Muslims are doing in their socities’, to my knowledge they aren’t sacrificing babies and ritualistically castrating kidnapped little boys as African witch doctors are wont to do.

            1. I should have written “other Abrahamic religions.” I know Islam is one of them. Many Muslims are ritually mutilating the genitals of girls, though.

        2. Socialism is a supernatural belief system, and probably has killed more than the others you list.

  8. What should libertarians think about ISIL?

    Whatever the fuck we want. Free minds, remember?

    1. “But I *don’t* think of ISIL.”

    2. Well, they routinely violate the NAP. So we’re justified in bombing the fuck out of them.

  9. The “moderates” only sold one little American citizen to ISIL. There is no way they would sell American supplied weaponry to ISIL.

    1. Didn’t you wander around the southern and southwestern modern-day U.S. for about nine years after you were shipwrecked in Florida?

  10. Maybe McCain and Graham could pivot and demand we bomb the “moderates” for human trafficking?

  11. If only we had provided them with air support! Then they wouldn’t have been so hard up for cash that they’d have to sell anyone!

  12. These guys make a lot of sense dude. WOw.

  13. *What should libertarians think about ISIL? *

    What is this, a religion? I think whatever I damned well please about ISIL.

  14. It was pointed out earlier that the “Moderate” Free Syrian Army is the group to blame for beheading American ISIS member, ‘Dougie Fresh McArthur Patton Sherman Pershing McCain’ (or something)

    It will come as no surprise to anyone that no matter who you think “the Good Guys” are, some commit atrocities sooner or later. it only happens more often when you think you can find proxy-war on the cheap.

    Also: If you call it “ISIL”? You’re a loser and they win.

    “On June 29, a spokesman…Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, announced that it would renounce the ISIS/ISIL appellation… It was now simply ‘Islamic State'(al-Dawla al-Islamiya).

    …not everyone got the memo. The U.S. government still refers to the group as “ISIL.” And although The Washington Post, the Associated Press and some other news organizations diligently updated their style guides, Poynter reports that the New York Times, the L.A. Times, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News all still use “ISIS”.

    In the last 30 days…”ISIS” was mentioned 1,371,277 times…
    ISIL ? the L for Levant ? was mentioned 55,000 times

    ISIL is the terrorist label of LOSER LOVERS. With itchy crotches.

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  21. Not to be a jerk, but “so what.”

    How naive are we to think that bombing the shit out of people is somehow okay because they killed two journalist. ISIS has been commiting war crimes from the start. Chicago whacks Americans daily. The world moves on.

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