Annia Ciezadlo takes an in-depth look:
Starvation thrives on the confusion and social disruption of war; famines and food shortages tend to have multiple factors. This makes it easy to portray them as unfortunate but inevitable, the outcome of tragic circumstance (potato blight in Ireland) rather than deliberate manipulation (British exports of Irish grain). The hunger in Syria is creating a new class of warlords among rebel commanders—a perfect excuse for the regime to employ its usual passive-aggressive politics of shifting the blame, by promoting the fiction that “both sides” are using siege tactics (a claim that sources inside Syria call ridiculous).
Michael Totten declares that we’re “not doing anything real about Syria, we were never going to do anything real about Syria, nor will we do anything real in the future”:
I thought we should get involved in a limited capacity by backing moderate regime opponents when they still had a chance, but the White House didn’t want to, nor did the American public—not after Iraq and Afghanistan—so here we are. Perhaps it was inevitable considering everyone’s interests and mood.
And now that we’re here, staying out of it is the right call. We can’t back Assad, and we can’t back Al Qaeda. Whatever moderate forces still exist have been marginalized. The odds that a stable and non-hostile Syria can emerge after an Assad or a jihadist victory are zero.