Because first it’s writing things like this: “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats,” and then it visibly wonders why it is that such a thing could be happening. Well, it’s probably happening at least in part because the Saudi and Qatar governments are being bullied by the Obama administration into not providing official support for the rebels, leaving private subjects in both countries to take up the slack: ” …there are signs of an uptick in the number of young men crossing illegally into Syria from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, and of private fund-raising efforts across the gulf to help the rebels acquire heavier weapons.” Note: both quotes are from the New York Times.
Let me take this opportunity to say I told you so: if we don’t arm the Syrian rebels, somebody will, and that somebody might (read: ‘probably will’) not like us very much. More importantly, not only did I tell you so: so did Mitt Romney. From his VMI speech:
In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
Note: “develop influence.” You think that Obama’s hide-our-head-in-the-sand policies are developing influence with the increasingly best-armed contingent of the Syrian rebels? No, neither do I. And neither does the New York Times, although they’d rather cough up blood than admit it.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Joe Biden lied his guts out about this in last week’s debate. But you knew that already.
PPS: There are no good answers. Merely ‘less bad’ ones. Obama’s ‘do nothing’ is promising to be one of the ‘more bad’ ones that will eventually and inevitably cause us headaches down the road.