The unchecked violence in Syria also opened space for Islamist extremists, who came to dominate the anti-Assad movement. The Islamic State now controls a third of Syria; al Qaida’s Nusra Front is a key military driver in roughly another third. Other Islamist factions, from relative moderates to militant jihadists, make up much of the remainder of the anti-Assad movement, while rebel groups espousing democratic ideals have been reduced to bit players.
“There was never a view, from the highest levels, that the U.S. had a big, important role – or should have a big, important role – in the Syrian civil war,” another former senior policymaker said. “It was always, ‘Let’s look like we’re on top of this problem, let’s look like we’re doing something, but let’s not own it.’”
“Nobody in the revolutionary coordination at that time thought the democratic world would fail us, or abandon us,” Abu Salim recalled. “I told them at that time, ‘I hope I’m wrong and you’re right.’ ”
Today, the remnants of the opposition groups that rejoiced at Obama’s statement, thinking that they had a superpower in their corner, now understand the words as they were intended by the speechwriters in Washington – as only “a preference and a prediction,” as one former senior official explained it.
Zaitouneh, the once-hopeful activist who went on to win two State Department awards for her work, was seized along with her husband and two colleagues in December 2013 – not by the regime she risked her life to oppose but reportedly by one of the many jihadist groups that have proliferated over the years. The activists’ fates are unknown.
At the time of her abduction, U.S. officials who dealt with her confided, Zaitouneh was so let down by the response from Washington that she wasn’t even on speaking terms with her old American contacts. That sense of betrayal is pervasive among opposition activists and armed rebels who say they wasted months on halfhearted, abortive projects and forged bonds with U.S. officials who turned out to be powerless or unwilling to help them.
Full Article by Hannah Allam here
Bill Clinton failed to help Rwanda because of what happened in Somalia when Bush 41 went in. President Obama failed to help Syria because of the previous Iraq war by Bush 43.
American foreign policy rocks between the aggressive and the passive always reacting to the last failed policy.