Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Six-in-Ten Americans Oppose Arming Syrian Rebels

One of the key findings from the Pew Research poll out yesterday, "Public Remains Opposed to Arming Syrian Rebels: Six-in-Ten Say Opposition May Be No Better than Current Government."

The public is wise about this.

See the outstanding analysis from Rajan Menon, at the National Interest, "Obama's Confusing Syria Calculus":
The best forces fighting Assad are the radical Islamists, organized in such groups as Jabhat al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar al-Sham. The Saudis and Qataris would be pleased to see them take power in Syria. They are backing them partly because Syria’s civil war is also a conflict between the Sunni Gulf monarchies and Shia Iran; each has Syrian proxies. But the United States should have no use for these groups and others of their ilk. Indeed, among the reasons the Obama administration wants to supply the resistance is to change the balance of forces within the opposition between the hard line Islamists and other groups, who are said to be secular, moderate, democratic and other good things besides. But sending arms into the complicated, confusing Syrian battlefield requires (or certainly should) that there be a high degree of confidence that the weapons will only get into the hands of those deemed to be good guys, and will stay there. The mechanisms by which this can be ensured are unclear.
Well, it can't be ensured.

We'd be essentially arming al Qaeda (through the al Nusra Front). Assad's extremely bad. But why back America's sworn enemies to oust him? It's bad choices all around in Syria.