America sank down another foot this week into the Syrian quicksand. Israel is putting the next stage of the conflict’s tactics on display, not only to the world but to the Syrian military with its last two strikes.
As the rebel assault has ground to a halt, and the superior manpower of the Syrian army having shown it can conduct search and clear operations, the Free Syrian army is in a war of attrition it cannot win. It is much easier to recruit when you are winning and casualties not too bad than when the tide turns to stalemate and losing ground.
The al-Nusra Front has been bleeding fighters away from the FSA. They are paying better and the AN brigades now have access to weapons the FSA does not. The al-Nusras had strategically focused on key infrastructure acquisition including some of the oil revenue prizes. Win or lose, Assad or no Assad, or even with a negotiated settlement, they aren’t leaving.
The West has been birthing another training ground in Syria for seasoned extremist Jihadis who will soon be looking for the next fight when Syria calms down. And it is just a matter of time before someone begins slipping them more powerful weaponry. But who will they using it on, next month, a year, or two years from now?
I fear that the West may now feel that the FSA could collapse if a stalemate continues and leave the al-Nusras the primary opposition force controlled by whom? Sure, the Saudis and Qatar warlords are supplying the payrolls and the weapons now, but new suppliers could always emerge, like Assad’s stockpiles if there were a collapse.
Libyan weapons and fighters are already in Syria with more said to be on the way. Is the CIA helping them hoping to kill two birds with one stone with two groups they want to get rid of fighting each other? And if Assad did fall and the FSA and al-Nusras began a civil war right away with the horrible civilian casualties that would be expected, who would carry that historical blood on their hands?