Obama Administration Should Clarify Syria Policy (Al Monitor, July 14):
Underpinning congressional unease is how unpopular the policy seems to be with Americans. A recent Gallup poll reported that 54% disapprove of providing military aid to the rebels, while a Pew poll revealed 70% oppose such aid.A hopeless war pushes Syria's rebels apart (The National, July 14):
The administration’s difficulty in getting congressional and popular support for its Syria policy might in part be that the decision to aid the rebels has been portrayed as the outcome of an internal administration policy struggle, rather than a well-considered strategy with a clear objective.
This column has argued that the Obama administration’s decision to aid the rebels — in the service of a diplomatic surge to convene the Geneva conference on Syria — is indeed the right course.
A vague or open-ended commitment to rebel forces, on the other hand, could put the United States on the slippery slope to mission creep in Syria and prolong the war, leading to more death and tragedy for Syria and the region.
Every day the war continues, Syria’s neighbors — especially Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, all US allies — are further destabilized by the spread of the conflict and the flow of refugees. Ali Hashem reported this week on the bombing in Beirut, which injured 53, and which is only the most recent sign of the Syrian spillover to Lebanon. Iraq is beset by terrorism from groups directly or loosely linked to Syria, and Jordan’s situation is dire. Regular readers of the Israel and Turkey Pulses will be familiar with the costs and concerns about the Syrian war in those capitals.
Syria itself is becoming a failed and divided state. So-called liberated areas are now the scene of collapsed governance and fighting among the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Islamist factions and terrorist groups. Kamal Hamami, a member of the FSA's military leadership, was killed this week by an al-Qaeda linked group in Syria. Even with the supply of arms from the United States and its allies, the bitter reality is that the FSA — with its divided and factionalized political and military leadership — is likely to be no match for the anti-Assad Salafist groups, let alone the Syrian military, backed by Iran and Hezbollah.
As the war has continued - and as the fractious external Syrian opposition has shown itself incapable of organising the armed resistance - divisions have appeared among the various groups fighting the Assad regime. Islamists, of the Al Qaeda trend, have favoured increasing sectarian attacks, while the moderate elements of the FSA have pushed back. Clashes between FSA and Al Qaeda fighters in Aleppo were reported yesterday.Pakistan Taliban, Love Child of CIA-ISI, Join Their CIA Terrorist Cousins In Syria - Pakistan Taliban set up camps in Syria, join anti-Assad war (Reuters, July 14):
Another Taliban commander in Pakistan, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the decision to send fighters to Syria came at the request of "Arab friends".
"Since our Arab brothers have come here for our support, we are bound to help them in their respective countries and that is what we did in Syria," he told Reuters.
"We have established our own camps in Syria. Some of our people go and then return after spending some time fighting there."