MOSCOW -- An ad hoc coalition created for a special purpose to solve one specific task is a modern approach that has been gaining support since the turn of the century when it was first proposed by then U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Consolidation of efforts against ISIS, proposed by Russia, France and even the United States, is an example. Such a team would need no oath of allegiance or common values, but can be quite effective over a short period of time.
After a two-year absence from the international stage -- during which the mainstream media dispatched them to the realm of nonexistent entities -- on October 1 the "moderate rebels" of Syria were back. The New York Times said so. Russian attacks were targeting moderates rather than ISIS, a man with a camera was quoted saying; and the Times story by Anne Barnard appeared to confirm his suspicion; even as a companion report on Russian actions in Syria by Helene Cooper, Michael R. Gordon, and Neil MacFarquhar revealed that these are the same moderates who were carefully vetted by the CIA, and concerning whom little was heard ever after. Their numbers are put at 3,000 to 5,000, though the Cooper-Gordon-MacFarquhar article leaves uncertain if that is their original or their present strength.