The idea is that, if the moderates are properly armed, they will not only start winning against Assad. They will also be able to edge aside the jihadists. There is also a parallel attempt by Saudi Arabia to channel money from the Gulf to moderates. Although staunchly Sunni, it saw how its original help for al Qaeda in Afghanistan boomeranged into an attempt to foment revolution at home.
Advocates of the pro-moderate policy don’t deny that some of the presumably fairly sophisticated weapons intended for moderates may end up in the hands of jihadists. Nor do they deny that Iran and Russia may react by stepping up their own arms supplies to Assad, with the result that the pace of killing will increase. Their argument, rather, is that conflict will end sooner and that whatever comes after Assad is more likely to be pro-Western.
While that is certainly possible, there are other scenarios. One is that the so-called moderates – who aren’t Western-style liberal democrats to start off with – may become radicalised as the conflict goes on. So a victory for them might not be so good for the West after all.
Another worry is that it may be too late to turn the tide in the moderates’ favour. If so, they may eventually decide to throw their lot in with the jihadists – taking their sophisticated weapons with them. Syria would then turn from a triangular contest into a bilateral one. The West, having unwittingly armed the jihadists, might ultimately conclude it would have been better off with Assad.
Yet another concern is that weaponry intended for Syria won’t stay there. It could be redeployed in other countries, creating yet more carnage – and possibly threatening the West’s interests more directly.
Hugo Dixon (Reuters)
Maybe some of you complain about me just posting extracts and links to news and opinion pages but…. what can you do when your concepts and ideas are exactly those posted in articles like this?…
Also,applying a simplist logic… when you are complaining about people being killed, the last thing you must look for is to bring in more weapons to increase the chances for people to be killed.
And not just in Syria.