SYRIA ALERT – AT 8:40 A.M. ET: The UN-brokered "ceasefire" in Syria has failed to cease anything, which is fairly typical for UN-brokered agreements. The violence continues, with high daily death tolls. Now we're seeing what many observers feared the most, an influx of jihadists who are trying to infiltrate and take over the opposition. If they succeed, we'll have two bad forces against each other in that critical country. From the Washington Post:
BEIRUT — As Syria’s revolution drags into its second year amid few signs that a U.N.-mandated cease-fire plan will end the violence, evidence is mounting that Islamist extremists are seeking to commandeer what began as a non-ideological uprising aimed at securing greater political freedom.
Activists and rebel soldiers based inside Syria say a small but growing number of Islamist radicals affiliated with global jihadi movements have been arriving in opposition strongholds in recent weeks and attempting to rally support among disaffected residents.
Western diplomats say they have tracked a steady trickle of jihadists flowing into Syria from Iraq, and Jordan’s government last week detained at least four alleged Jordanian militants accused of trying to sneak into Syria to join the revolutionaries.
And, an interesting take on why the West might want to intervene:
...if the United Nations’ peace plan fails to end the government’s bloody crackdown and promises of Western and Arab help for the rebel Free Syrian Army do not materialize, activists and analysts say, there is a real risk that frustrated members of the opposition will be driven toward extremism, adding a dangerous dimension to a revolt that is threatening to destabilize a wide arc of territory across the Middle East.
“The world doing nothing opens the door for jihadis,” said Lt. Abdullah al-Awdi, a Free Syrian Army commander who defected from the regular army in the summer and was interviewed during a visit he made to Turkey. He says that he has rebuffed several offers of help from militant groups in the form of arms and money and that he fears the extremists’ influence will grow.
COMMENT: Some members of the U.S. Senate, like John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham – a heroic trio on foreign policy – have met with elements of the Syrian opposition and are convinced that they are sincere and non-radical. McCain has argued for military intervention, but has gotten indifference from the administration.
This is coming to a head. If Assad stays in power in Syria, Iran, Syria's ally, will have won a great victory. But if the opposition is indeed radicalized because of the West's failure to help it, we lose that way, too.
Decisions are difficult because the Mideast is a mess, there is deception everywhere, and the United States is weakened under Obama. But some kind of intervention is going to be necessary soon to prevent an absolute disaster in which we lose no matter who wins.
April 23, 2012