With the (apparent) agreement by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to surrender his chemical weapons to United Nations’ inspectors, and the (purported) agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Soviet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on how to handle this — well, maybe, or maybe not — the imminent threat by President Obama to send in the Tomahawk cruise missiles has been at least delayed, and Syria has mostly faded from the public consciousness, and from he front pages of the newspapers.
But the civil war isn’t over by any means. From the Associated Press:
by The Associated Press |
BEIRUT (AP) — Nearly a dozen of Syria’s powerful rebel factions, including one linked to al-Qaida, formally broke with the main opposition group in exile Wednesday and called for Islamic law in the country, dealing a severe blow to the Western-backed coalition.
The new alliance is a potential turning point, entrenching the schism within the rebellion and giving President Bashar Assad fuel for his long-stated contention that his regime is battling Islamic extremists in the civil war.
The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition — the political arm of the Free Syrian Army rebel group — has long been accused by those fighting inside Syria of being a puppet promoted by the West and Gulf Arab states supporting the Syrian rebellion.
Wednesday’s public rejection of the coalition’s authority will likely be extremely damaging for its future in Syria, particularly at a time when the U.S. and Russia are pushing for peace talks.
More at the link. But the meaning is clear: whatever “moderate,” however “moderate” is defined, elements among the Syrian rebels are losing out in the internecine struggles.
President Assad is a very bad guy, no doubt about that, but the Syrian rebels are not exactly angels, and may well be worse than Mr Assad and his government. There is no side in this civil war that we should want to see win! The best “result” for the United States and the democratic West is that the civil war continues and continues and continues, with so much death and destruction that whoever eventually emerges victorious will face such a huge task in cleaning up the dead and the debris that Syria will have neither the time nor the resources to make international mischief.
But, however things turn out, this story is not dead.