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July 18th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Momentum Shifts in Syria, Bolstering Assad’s Position,” shows what happens when the West reacts with indecision and fails to support nascent rebel movements.
The shift of fortune in Syria is nothing short of remarkable and discouraging at the same time. After more than two years of civil war, Mr. Assad has begun to turn the corner and regain control of his country. Meanwhile, the European Union lifted their arms embargo, but no one seems to be sending any arms.
The West is so concerned about the possible participation of al-Qaeda linked groups such as the Nusra Front, that they are letting the entire country suffer as a result. The two other nations supplying weaponry, Saudia Arabia and Qatar, are inconsistent at best.
Assad with his control over major cities in the North has now subdued about 60 percent of the population, while the rebel leaders control the countryside and about the same percentage of the territory. But Mr. Assad appears to be gaining, especially after the entry of the Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in next-door Lebanon.
If ever there was a time for Presidential leadership, it is now. President Obama is rightly concerned about committing the United States to another Middle East conflict, but he must respond to the urgency of needs on the ground. Not everything occurs to our timetable, and sometimes you need to make exceptions to your rules and predetermined strategies.
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