Syria’s Civil War an Increasingly International Affair

onward to damascusAsitimes/Foter.comA U.N. chemical weapons team is in Turkey to investigate claims that the regime in Syria has used chemical weapons in the civil war there. Syria and its ally Russia rejected those claims. Nevertheless the U.S. said earlier this month it had concluded Syria was using chemical weapons, using it to justify direct military aid publicly for the first time (John Kerry also wanted immediate air strikes). While interventionists claim they can ensure weapons don’t go to rebels tied to extremist groups like the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat Al-Nusra, the claim is highly dubious. The U.S. is still trying to secure weapons  formerly of Col. Qaddafi’s stockpiles that were looted during and after the U.S.-backed intervention into the Libyan civil war. In the aftermath of the civil war, the weapons made it to Mali and possibly as far as Lebanon and even Syria.

In the meantime, Russia has continued to supply its ally Syria with weapons and other aid throughout the conflict, including anti-aircraft missiles that could thwart a no-fly zone. Russia said it would not allow a no-fly zone over Syria, and could prevent any measure from passing the UN Security Council (which Obama and NATO used for authority on the Libyan no-fly zone, and which had imposed previous such zones in places like Iraq). NATO could go it alone but Russia would likely attempt to escalate in kind its involvement in the conflict.  The Syrian regime is also backed by the anti-Israeli Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has spent much of its military resources in the Syrian civil war. Not unwelcome news to Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has stayed away from backing any anti-Assad forces, preferring instead to launch airstrikes without acknowledging them in an effort to manage the conflict to Israel’s perceived best interests. The conflict in Syria has also deteriorated the security situation in the contested Golan Heights border region,

Iran, a long time funder of Hezbollah, has also backed the Syrian regimes in other ways, with the United Kingdom (a loud advocate of Syrian rebels) accusing Iran of “propping up” the Assad government. Fellow European traveler in intervention, France, almost comically, said it was open to including Iran in peace talks on Syria. Peace talks without close regional allies like Iran are highly unlikely to induce any concessions from the Assad government. Those peace talks, anyway, don’t look like they’re going to happen, with pre-peace talk talks between Russia and the United States predictably falling apart, even as Russia effectively closed its Mediterranean naval outpost in Tartus by evacuating most of the personnel.

If this conflict is like the Balkans, as some interventionists like to declare, it feels a lot more like 1914 than the early 90s, and no American politician has been able to articulate any clear interest the U.S. might have in a proxy war in Syria.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Warrren||

    Getting involved in this will make the US a better country. I guarantee!

  • Pro Libertate||

    The best wars are wars we can all participate in. It's like a family reunion.

  • Hugh Akston||

    This one feels more like one of SugarFree's family reunions, where everyone ends up soiled, full of regret, and pregnant.

  • Warrren||

    And there are craters. Lots of craters.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It really is a family reunion, of course. We're all cousins. So we'll get together with some of our cousins and blow up some of our other cousins. Instead of having a big meal and getting pictures taken of all of us. Because we're an advanced civilization that blows up family members pretty much as a first response to anything annoying.

  • ||

    NutraSweeet has said that he likes butt-pregnancy the least.

  • SugarFree||

    So much farting. So much.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wars remind me of droning, so I'm going to share a thought I had about the IRS scandal. No, please bear with me. I think the administration is intentionally trying to discredit the IRS. So that it can replace IRS agents with drone collectors.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    no American politician has been able to articulate any clear interest the U.S. might have in a proxy war in Syria.

    American greatness, Kray-Kray, American greatness. Our greatness as a nation can only be measured by how many wars we are involved in. If we are engaged in wars all over the globe, then we are obviously the greatest nation of all time.

    USA! USA! USA!

  • Lyle||

    Krayewski you know this war has been international from the beginning. How do you know? Cause I've been telling you.

  • Almanian!||

    You know who else started an international war...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

  • Calidissident||

    Gavrilo Princip?

  • Lyle||

    How bout it. I agree with you.

  • Tman||

    That Peace Prize ain't gonna Nobel itself brutha.

  • PapayaSF||

    I must admit that I am seeing some upside to an extended war with Sunni jihadis, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood on one side and Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran on the other. Let's you and him fight!


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.