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Mon Dec 16, 2013, 07:18 AM

Syria: Grasping at straws

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Editorial/2013/Dec-16/241185-grasping-at-straws.ashx



A general view of damage in the Umayyad mosque of Old Aleppo, December 15, 2013

Grasping at straws
December 16, 2013 12:10 AM
The Daily Star

The Obama administration’s “policy” on the Syrian crisis has been receiving considerable scrutiny of late, and perhaps special funding should be set aside to aid analysts in their efforts to actually discover whether any kind of policy exists to begin with.

Prominent figures in both France and Saudi Arabia sounded warning bells over the weekend about the alarming drop in fortunes of the mainstream military and civilian opposition, as the proposed Geneva II peace conference draws closer.

The recent decision by Washington and London to stop non-lethal aid to the rebel Free Syrian Army, in the wake of the seizure of its facilities by Islamist militias, is the latest body blow to the ranks of the opposition.

According to some reports, the U.S. now finds itself obliged to begin engaging in dialogue with the Islamist groups that are not affiliated with Al-Qaeda to see if anything can be salvaged. While this can be defended as a pragmatic policy, it also represents a resounding failure for the White House and its allies, who spent a considerable amount of time and effort trying to drum up support for the moderate segment of the opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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