The President’s national security team begged him to do something about Syria back when the United States still had options. He turned them down flat, and the US and the world now face a problem for which few answers exist—and all of them are ugly. The New York Times has more:
The violence has underscored the continuing disarray across the Middle East in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Above all, it is the chaos of Syria, where foreign jihadis appear to be building to a critical mass and have overwhelmed the Western strategy of support for the moderate opposition, that could drive the Obama administration toward greater involvement, analysts say.But it is not at all clear what form that involvement might take. American officials are unlikely to open a new front of drone strikes in Syria. Other options carry large risks. In early October, American commandos carried out raids in Libya and Somalia aimed at capturing terrorist suspects. The Libya raid was successful; the one in Somalia was not.To some extent, infighting among the jihadist groups in Syria has recently mitigated the threat there, but it is not clear how long that will last. Mr. Zawahri sent an envoy, Abu Khalid al-Suri, in an effort to resolve disputes between the two main factions, the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Meanwhile, because the Saudis are so furious with the administration over its Iran policy, we must expect more money from the Gulf to go to the bad guys.Future historians will struggle to find kind words to say about President Obama’s handling of the worst humanitarian disaster of his time in office but one suspects that many of the people now working for him understand exactly what a mess he has made of what, long ago and far away, was a significant political opportunity for the United States.