If the jihadis are intent on isolating and purging the moderates, what exactly is the strategy for getting them to fight in concert against Assad? The assumption thus far has been, I guess, that once U.S.-armed units start to put a hurt on the regime, the jihadis will leave them alone and will try to multiply the effect by focusing on the regime themselves. But in light of this story, maybe that’s naive. Maybe the jihadis will launch a two-front war, one against Assad and one against the proxy army of their western archenemy, which in turn will make things easier for Assad’s forces by letting them fight a divided enemy. That would be the exact opposite of what the U.S. is out to do here, i.e. help the rebels beat up on the regime and drag out the war until Assad sues for peace.
The British public, by the way, is overwhelmingly against their leaders’ current posture. Only 24 percent back Cameron’s loony idea. My impression among friends in London is that they are terrified that this could lead not just to a regional but global war, if Russia, Britain, France and the US go to war old-school by elbowing their way into Syria’s civil war. Allahpundit continues:
Even in a best-case scenario, in which the CIA somehow builds a small moderate force and turns it into an effective army, what’s the plan for the obviously inevitable civil war after the Assad falls between the U.S.-backed Sunni moderates and the Sunni jihadis? You’re going to have to fight and kill them too, apparently, or else they’ll fight and kill you. That means committing to years of supplying one side here, and maybe doing more than that if/when things don’t go their way. How long, roughly, is all of this going to take?
Nicholas Thompson wishes the US had stayed out of the war altogether:
There were other options. Obama could have continued imposing sanctions and sending non-lethal aid to rebel groups. If the goal is to save lives and give comfort to the victims, we should give further support to the refugee camps. Joining the battle, though, transforms it. Now our weapons will be killing people. We will be tied by blood to one side in a sectarian civil war that seems likely to spread in an unpredictable fashion. We are now part owners of the pain it will cause—in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere.