The president’s decision not to arm the rebels is rational and sound. The chances are very good that any arms we give them will only be used against pro-western factions after Assad is overthrown. Why insult them by handing out a few scraps of food and a some pills?
Meanwhile, our erstwhile allies in Iraq have taken a hand in the civil war, firing at Free Syrian Army positions inside Syria.
For the first time, Iraqi forces opened fire on Syria shelling the positions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) days after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned that a victory of the Syrian opposition would spread chaos in the region.
Al Arabiya correspondent near the Syrian-Iraqi border reported that Iraqi snipers took up positions on buildings near the Rebiya crossing while others forces shelled the positions of the Free Syrian Army.
The correspondent said that large reinforcements were being deployed by the Maliki government in Baghdad near the Syrian borders.
On Wednesday, Maliki warned if victory by Syrian rebels will spark sectarian wars in his own country and in Lebanon and will create a new haven for al-Qaeda that would destabilize the region.
Maliki fears a post-Assad massacre of Shias and Alawites, which would enrage the Shia majority in Iraq and might arouse Hezbollah in Lebanon. While this is more evidence that Obama and the west are doing the right thing in denying the Syrian rebels sophisticated arms to aid Sunnis elsewhere in the region, the pittance with which we are supplying the rebels only breeds contempt for the U.S. among the very people inside Syria who we want ascendancy in a post-Assad political environment.
If we’re not going “all in,” we shouldn’t be going at all.