Besides the main battle in Syria—the rebels against Assad—there is also a nasty little war emerging among the rebels themselves, with the Kurds and moderates squaring off against the radical Islamists. Reuters reports:
Kurdish militants seized a Syrian border post on the frontier with Iraq early on Saturday, fighters and monitors said, after three days of clashes with an al Qaeda-linked group which had held the crossing since March.
The armed Kurdish group YPG told Reuters fighting carried on through the day and a senior security official on the Iraqi side of the crossing said he could hear gunshots, mortar fire and shelling.
The Yarubiya post and surrounding areas in the northeast were taken from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant rebel group, who had seized it from the army, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
There may come a time when a civil war between relatively organized factions turns into a generalized condition of anarchy and banditry over much of the country. With no political solution on the horizon, it’s hard to see anything good coming of it.
Future historians are likely to regard this as President Obama’s Rwanda moment: the United States chose not to make a difference back when it could have done with relative ease, and then watched in horror as a great tragedy unfolded. And just as the Rwanda massacre touched off a series of wars and mass murders that drew in neighboring states and is still convulsing the region after two decades of war, so the Syria disaster is likely to have horrible repercussions for many years to come.
There is, however, one difference between Rwanda and Syria. Because of geography, Syria is almost infinitely more important to the United States and its allies than Rwanda was. This time we didn’t just miss an opportunity for a humanitarian intervention; we missed a major strategic call to action.
[Obama photo courtesy Getty Images. Assad photo courtesy Wikimedia.]