When the definitive history of the conflict in Syria is written, the role of the United States in funding, training, and arming rebel groups will by necessity comprise a major chapter.
Washington’s announcement that the CIA has cancelled its program to support ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria – estimated to have cost the US taxpayer over $1billion and which has helped perpetuate a conflict in which up to 400,000 people have died, many in the most heinous way – was made recently in the manner of a multinational corporation wrapping up a failed business venture overseas.
There was no mention made that the program had been undertaken in violation of international law. No mention either of the fact it was in support of an insurgency largely been made up of non-Syrians, who over the past six years have descended on the country driven not by the desire to establish a democracy in the country but rather to impose religious and cultural tyranny.
Imagine, for a moment, if the shoe was on the other foot. Imagine if Russia’s FSB had set up and run such a program, one in support of an armed insurgency dominated by religious extremists with a penchant for torture, enslaving women, and chopping off people’s heads – whose objective was the overthrow of the secular government of a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state – imagine what the reaction would be in Western capitals. The outrage would be stratospheric – and justifiably so.
As for those who argue that the West has only ever supported moderate head-chopping fanatics in Syria, never the extreme kind, this is a preposterous distinction that the Syrian people have never had the luxury of embracing.
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