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Op-Ed: Why intervention in Syria is suddenly an option

By Shane Blanchard     Aug 28, 2013 in World
After the latest Syrian gas attack that killed hundreds, the U.S., France, and Britain appear ready to act. This is after two years of inaction in a war that has cost an estimated 100,000 lives. Many people are wondering why it is imperative to act now.
White House spokesman Jay Carney stated that "the use of these weapons on a mass scale and a threat of proliferation is a threat to our national interests and a concern to the entire world." The President of France has stated that France "is ready to punish those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents." Amidst the saber rattling, some are wondering why we should be willing to act now when we have not acted to prevent the deaths of an estimated 100,000 people in Syria.
One of the biggest concerns about military intervention has been the risk of helping Al Qaeda terrorists that are working with rebel groups such as the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant. However, on July 11, Abu Bassir al-Ladkani, an official with the moderate rebel group Free Syrian Army was killed and the members of that group blame the Islamist State of Iraq and Levant. Another member of the Free Syrian Army, Quassem Saadeddine, told Reuters " The Islamic State phone me saying that they killed Abu Bassir and that they will kill all of the Supreme Military Council."
Moderate rebels fighting with Al Qaeda backed rebels has to be very reassuring to western governments considering intervention in Syria. One rebel group is unlikely to share weapons with another group when they are shooting at each other. The chance to deal a blow to Syrian President Assad and Al Qaeda simultaneously has to be very tempting to Western governments. As the old saying goes, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The fact that the U.S. and its allies are considering military action less than two months after the killing is probably not a coincidence.
Military action against the Assad regime need not include any direct action against Al Qaeda-linked groups. The U.S. and it allies could simply supply better arms and equipment to the Free Syrian Army, as well as share information on forthcoming missile strikes against the Syrian government forces. In this way, the moderate rebel groups would be better able to capitalize on the attacks than the extremist groups, and possibly gain greater influence in Syria. However, while the infighting between rebel groups may encourage military action by Western governments, it does not guarantee its success in one of the most chaotic regions of the world.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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