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 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...
£12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...