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US Dithers, Syria Melts, Dangers Grow

Just when you thought things in Syria were as bad as they can get, they got worse. The apparent involvement of Al-Qaeda and/or its affiliates in the recent Damascus bombings will make international policy even less coherent as poisonously radical forces rear their heads in a worsening conflict.

Adam Garfinkle offers a no-holds barred assessment of the US policy failures that contributed to what looks increasingly like a dangerous no-win dilemma. This crisis is likely to spread — as Garfinkle notes, Lebanon’s fragile peace is unlikely to survive given the direction of events in Syria today.

I would be worried right now if I were a Lebanese. It is impossible to say if the Assad regime can hold out against a radicalized Syrian opposition, with volunteer support pouring in from neighboring countries. Most likely, in my view, it cannot. But it could take many months, even a year or two, for this bloody drama to play out. In the meantime, the conflict will pour across borders, including the Lebanese border, as it has already begin to do. If, in the fullness of time, a jihadi-led or strongly influenced state arises in Syria, or parts of it, then it is virtually inevitable that the Shi’a-tilted status quo in Lebanon will be upset. Sunni radicals in Damascus will not get along with Hizballah, and there are homegrown Sunni radicals in Lebanon that “friends” in Damascus would encourage and support on their behalf. The likely result? A new civil war, with a beginning epicenter most like in and around Tripoli.

Read the whole thing.

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  • Kenny

    Hold the phone here, Mr. Mead.

    How is anything in Syria a failure of U.S. policy.

    A bunch of Third Worlders of an alien culture & religion start shooting up the place and America is somehow expected to get them to make peace! What an incredible proposition.

    But no. We are not the policeman of the world. We have already wasted too much U.S. treasure and blood trying to play that role, all to the boos of the ingrates of the world with the Euro-trash leading the choirs.

    Go to the backboard, Mr. Mead, and write 100 times: “The U.S. is not the policeman of the world.”

    And if you don’t have a blackboard at your disposal, do it on your computer — without copy & paste.

  • Ed Snyder

    Sure. Good idea. Let’s get involved and repeat our successes in…where? Libya? Egypt? Iraq? Afghanistan?

    Instead of handwringing, crying a bunch of croccodile tears, and a strategery that amounts to “Ready…fire…aim!!”, how about if we actually, for once in the last dozen years, think this thing through? You know, before worse guys than the bad guys that are in charge now take charge, or, worse, there’s no one in charge and a lot of weapons marry up with a bunch of crazy people. (See: Mali)

  • Kris

    “Just when you thought things in Syria were as bad as they can get”

    I am highly insulted.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    This isn’t a failure, this is a success inspired by the planting of a democracy in Iraq which has led to the ongoing Arab Spring as peoples all over the region demand more of a say in their future. In Capitalism there is a concept called “Creative Destruction” for when a business fails and its assets are sold off to find use elsewhere. What we are seeing with the Arab Spring is “Cultural Creative Destruction” as the frozen, stagnant, and failed cultures break loose and recreate themselves. I welcome the violence and bloodshed even if it only enables these backward cultures to replace one tyrant for another, as at least they are no longer frozen and there will be cultural lessons being learned.

    “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” Edmund Burke

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