President Obama is slowly edging into a more interventionist stance in Syria. In an NPR interview yesterday, the President discussed a strategy for arming and supporting politically moderate rebels in the hopes that the U.S. will tip the balance of the conflict towards a political resolution.This comes, of course, very late. Figuring out how to help the rebels, and which rebels to help, would have been an easier task a few years ago, or even after regime forces danced all over Obama’s red line with a gas attack that claimed more than 1,400 lives last August. By now, a lot more opportunistic jihadis with a lot more money and arms have flooded into the country, and many more people have died. Chlorine gas attacks, a phenomenon not seen since the First World War, are reportedly on the rise, and UN weapons inspectors investigating these claims have come under attack.The President’s qualified optimism notwithstanding, there are no guarantees that U.S. efforts to empower moderate rebels will be successful. And even if the United States does pick the right moderates to arm, there are no assurances that those forces will be effective; political “moderates” aren’t always the best warfighters.We also hope that this shift is the fruit of a well thought out strategy, rather than a PR move intended to satisfy some of his interventionist critics. Time will tell.
Blurred Red LinesPaint Dries in Syria