Syrian opposition – to recognize or not?

- December 12th, 2012

After Britain and France, the U.S. now recognizes the Syrian opposition as legitimate representative of the people of Syria. And I’m decidedly unhappy about that. I think it’s too early and reckless – and it will come back to bite them smack in their comfortable behinds. There are too many Islamist fundamentalists in that gang for my taste. They are violent (there are videos online of them beheading Assad loyalists) and have made blood-curdling threats to Christians and other groups. The current regime is evil and brutal – but why the rush to endorse another group that includes too many evil and brutal guys for comfort?

Tuesday’s move came as senior U.S. officials warned that Syria’s civil conflict threatens to degenerate into a battle between al Qaeda-backed militias and Iranian militants and their proxies, a risk that has created new urgency for the U.S. and allies to accelerate a political transition.

“There is a small element of those who oppose the Assad regime that are affiliated with al Qaeda in Iraq…and we are going to make clear to distinguish between those elements of the opposition,” Mr. Obama told ABC News.

The Obama administration on Tuesday for the first time released intelligence directly tying a powerful Syrian rebel group to commanders of al Qaeda in Iraq. U.S. officials formally sanctioned the Syrian militia, called Jabhat al-Nusra—freezing any assets it may have in the U.S. and barring Americans from doing business with it—because of fears it is gaining disproportionate power among the rebel groups seeking to overthrow Mr. Assad.

Two things: One is that Canada has not yet recognized the Syrian coalition. The other is that Hillary Clinton was supposed to make that announcement regarding the US endorsement, but a last-minute stomach bug reportedly forced her to cancel all appearances this week. Maybe I’m too paranoid and cynical, but I can’t help thinking that this stomach bug’s timing is most excellent. That way, if it turns out in the future that endorsing the Syrian opposition was a mistake, well, it won’t have Clinton’s fingerprints on it…

Categories: Foreign affairs

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