The US is now openly admitting it is supporting the rebels as exposed months ago. The public doesn’t recognize the significance of this. What this means is the U.S. has actively taken a side in an ugly civil war with very undefined lines. Further, I can say with some degree of authority, many of the “rebels” that are recipients of our aid and Saudi/Qatari weapons and funds are hard core jihadists. The very same “terrorists” the U.S has been fighting for over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. If that doesn’t raise all kinds of uncomfortable questions in the public’s mind, the public is naïve or worse. Further, the open ended option to strike Syria under the pretext of preventing weapons from falling into the hands of the “terrorists” the U.S. is actively supporting is as contradictory a policy as one could be for those paying attention. One could reasonably say the U.S. “is” creating its own crisis…or at the very least making the bloodshed much worse. The Russians are not wrong about their accusations in this regard. Our hubris to think we can pick a winner is pretty outlandish. After all, we have a horrible track record.
I would also point out that our actions in Libya have supercharged Islamic insurgencies throughout the northern half of the African continent just as I warned before NATO injected itself into the civil war. The rebels in Mali with brand new 14.5mm anti-aircraft guns strapped to the back of their pickups didn’t buy them on Amazon…they got them from Libyan arms depots that were raided by rebels. Now we have had to commit SOF assets to try and contain this mess (rather ineffectively). We have all of the hallmarks of this going repeating in Syria, with even more dire consequences for both regional and global stability. For example, if this spills over and involves Turkey (not exposed to be training rebels), we are looking at a major problem with the Kurds. On the southern flank, if the Israelis get the green light or feel threatened, they will launch into Syria. Once that chip falls, the U.S. is looking at almost inevitably being drawn into a war with Syria and then Iran and a potential new Cold War with Russia. Our best course of action would have been to stop fomenting insurgencies, but we have long past that point. Now all we can hope for is to contain the mess to Syria and Syria alone and even that is not likely at this point. If/when Assad goes down, the world will be looking at an orgy of special interests, ethnic identities, and religious factions fighting for power all while a vast amount of weapons to include WMD are unaccounted for. The CIA will do all it can to buy and take control of WMD stockpiles as soon as it can, but the fact is there are so many different factions, no one central hub of command exists. The decentralized command structure and massive amount of weapons almost guarantees even the CIA’s best efforts will be a miss. This can be viewed in no other way than very bad. From a policy standpoint, Syria again has become a lesson in what not to do and the worst is yet to come. Sadly, in all of this talk in policy circles, people seem to forget that tens of thousands of people are being killed, displaced, and wounded. I really think Washington’s elite needs a field trip to say…umm…Aleppo to internalize what that kind of horror looks like. I just don’t think it registers back here at all.