Whom Would We Be Helping?


In a new war, who would benefit from US intervention? Rania Abouzeid is one of the few reporters to make it in there. So take a deep breath as you read her account of the most militarily effective rebels:

The men were openly disdainful of the Free Syrian Army units, saying they were engaged in “tourism” well behind the front, and were also openly hostile to the Alawites, or Nusayris, as they called them. “Even the Shiites have declared them kuffar [nonbelievers],” said one. “They are all the same. They view us Sunnis as the enemy; they are all involved in the war against us,” said another. “They won’t want to stay here after this,” said a third, meaning after they’d swept through the villages. The men also mocked the Muslim Brotherhood as inadequately committed to its faith …

“The decision-makers in this country will be those with military power,” Mohammad said. “If they”—the F.S.A. and Syrian political opposition—“want a secular state and have the military power to create one, let them. If they are going to confront us because of our project, we will confront them. We are fighting for religion, what are they fighting for?”

Why is the United States taking a position on an ancient schism in the Muslim world – picking sides, Shia and Sunni – and embittering both at the same time? Why do the citizens of Ohio have to take a position on whether the Alawites or the Sunnis should run a crumbling French colonial remnant? It’s like walking into a bar in a foreign country, seeing a brutal fight going on, walking up to the parties slugging it out and saying: “Why not hit me instead?” It’s not so much the Ugly American any more. It’s the Really Dumb one.

And the hits would keep coming. Already Shiite forces in Iraq are aiming to hit American targets; we will endure another wave of terror at home, and surrender another round of freedoms to the behemoth of the intelligence-surveillance state. Putin? He won’t have to worry.

(Photo: Fighters loyal to the Free Syrian Army pose with their weapons in a location on the outskirts of Idlib in northwestern Syria on June 18, 2012. By D. Leal Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)