Arming the 'right' rebels is the real issue
Last summer, when the rebel offensive in Aleppo promised to wrest Syria’s largest and wealthiest city from Bashar al-Assad, Jabhat al-Nusra were relatively insignificant players.
Within six months, however, al-Nusra, proudly proclaiming its link with al-Qa’ida, had become the largest and most powerful organisation in the revolutionary ranks, well-funded and armed by backers in the Gulf. In contrast, the more secular groups were a fading influence. Receiving little support from the international community they saw the Islamists get the lion’s share of local and foreign recruits.
The push by David Cameron and François Hollande to send arms is supposed to rectify this. But will it work? One of the clichés trotted out is that “there are already enough weapons in Syria”. Well, not for the non-Salafist opposition there aren’t – and certainly not enough of the right kind.
The real issue is whether Western arms will get to the “moderates” or simply be taken over by the al-Nusra. The only way to keep weapons in the right hands would be through far greater Western involvement – in training, setting up command and control structures, and through covert presence inside Syria.
This could suck the West into the conflict; but then interventions in civil wars rarely have neat and tidy endings.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Boko Haram: Thousands march in Cameroon to protest against the Islamist terror movement
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Kelly Osbourne leaves Fashion Police after Zendaya dreadlocks racism row
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...