Syria is a mess. Assad’s men are being backed by Hizbollah, which the US says are terrorists. The rebels in Syria receive aid and support from al-Qaeda, which the US says are terrorists. Does this mean now that the enemy of my enemy which is still my enemy that is friends of a friend of a friend is my friend in this localized context? And you thought the Chinese were inscrutable… this takes the cake.
And, yes, we’re in cahoots with al-Qaeda on this one, same as we were in Libya. What gives? They blow up our stuff and murder people indiscriminately, but we’re still cool about hooking up with them on projects to get rid of unfriendly regimes in the area? The Saudis are every bit as oppressive as the Assads in Syria, but they’re on our side, so we let that stuff slide. Lean in the direction of Russia, though, and we’re ready to let al-Qaeda go crazy on you.
The US involvement in Syria was bad to begin with. It wasn’t a case of freedom-loving people trying to overthrow an evil ogre. It’s a case of power-hungry baddies (al-Qaeda) in a near-genocidal struggle for conflict with another group of power-hungry baddies (Assad’s Alawites). We really don’t want either side to win, but we know one will.
Well, Russia’s backed Assad’s side, with more than just words. That means Russia has to take the side of Hezbollah and, with it and Syria, Iran. Once again, the conflict in the Middle East is a proxy war for superpower struggles. In this version, though, we seem to have picked up a terrorist organization to do some work for us.
I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable with that…