Thursday, December 12, 2013

fractured, failing Syrian opposition

It's discouraging, though not surprising, that the Syrian opposition to Assad is failing and Assad seems to be winning. A leader of the so-called moderates was forced to flee and the US and UK have suspended their nonlethal aid.

In the bad old days -- Iran 1952, Guatemala 1954 -- the United States could pick a horse and ride him into the presidential palace. Now there are several countries with the will and resources to overthrow governments, and in Syria they are backing different factions. Many in Congress who wanted to get rid of Assad thought it could be done at low cost and risk. While acknowledging public reluctance to get involved in another war in the Muslim world by promising "no boots on the ground," they pretended that weapons could go only to carefully vetted Arab fighters who wouldn't ally with al Qaeda or ever want to attack Israel.  In the chaos of Syria, that was too much to hope for, or achieve, given the many contending players.

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