I’ve argued that the West should have been involved in arming and supplying rebels in Syria from the start of the conflict. There was a point near the beginning of the fighting where it appeared that Assad would fall within minutes leaving a ramshackle Free Syrian Army to pick up the pieces of a relatively intact country.
Sadly there was no support forthcoming for the FSA and plenty of support for Assad from his allies Iran and Russia. Now it appears that the West has missed the boat for aiding moderate forces fighting for freedom, they’re all either dead or dying.
I have to concede that those arguing against intervention made a good point at the beginning. Since there’s no side in this war that we particularly like, why not just sit back and watch the various Syrian militias and their allies kill each other in the singular hope that there won’t be any enemies left standing when the dust settles. As Sarah Palin so eloquently put it; “Let Allah sort it out!” The only problem with that is that it ensures that the last man standing is definitely going to be our enemy.
More and more this conflict is between the Iranians on one hand and the forces of al Qaeda on the other. It is becoming clearer every day that by sitting back and watching this mess unfold we have guaranteed the worst of all outcomes, the winner, whoever it is, will be a virulent enemy of the West and he will be in command of a blooded, battle hardened army of fanatics. In short, whoever is victorious Israel and the United States are going to lose. Rather than shape events, as the Russians are doing, the West has allowed itself to be dominated by them and is now at their mercy.
In exactly the same way that Britain and France left the door wide open for the Soviets to dominate the Republican movement in Spain, the USA has given al Qaeda free reign to build up their strength while the moderate fighters grow weaker and weaker. How are they even supposed to recruit anyone when in the wake of weapons of mass destruction being used to kill innocents the West stood by and did nothing?
The rationale behind not arming the FSA was always the worry that the weapons would end up in the hands of the al Qaeda forces. Well, the way I see it, when they win they’re going to get their hands on a helluva lot of weapons anyway. By not supplying weapons to the FSA from the beginning the USA and the West handed their greatest enemies the opportunity to dominate the resistance. This blunder ensured that the West’s worst fears have become a self fulfilling prophecy.
At this point it’s worth remembering that the twin towers were brought done by men carrying box cutters. That the massacre just carried out in Nairobi was perpetrated by men armed only with the deadly Kalashnikov and a few grenades. The greatest weapon a terrorist has isn’t the portable surface to air missiles that the FSA have been begging for, but a hatred of democracy and willingness to die in order to kill. The apathy the world witnessed in the corridors of power has strengthened the hand of al Qaeda more than advanced weaponry ever could have.
Now the world is faced with either a resurgent Iranian Empire holding large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria as well as in control of proxy forces sitting on Israel’s Northern and Eastern borders, threatening Jordan and the whole region or by a resurgent al Qaeda more powerful than ever before with an army of victorious, battle hardened Jihadis looking to export their Holy War all around the world.
The West waited on the sidelines thinking that was the best option and now is confronted with the worst of all possible realities. The catch 22 that the last man standing will be our implacable enemy and, depending on who it is will be looking for blood or testing nuclear weapons.
We have nothing to look forward to but the worst of all possible outcomes.